Category Archives: great fabric

Fabric shopping in the Netherlands – how pretentious does that sound?

The market in Leiden proved to be a treasure trove of cute fabric!

The market in Leiden proved to be a treasure trove of cute fabric!

One of my favorite things to do when I travel to other cities is to scout out unique fabric stores. Part of the reason is because I don’t spend a lot of time fabric shopping at home, and also it seems that almost every city has a unique gem of a fabric store that is the antithesis of the standard Hancock or Joann’s where you can find some unique fabric that you couldn’t find anywhere else.

This week I was in Europe at a conference in Brussels and then to teach a weekend workshop in Leiden. (The university where I teach has a campus in the Netherlands). On Saturday morning – the morning after I arrived – the city market was happening! Imagine rows of booths selling everything from fish to lingere to FABRIC! And of course – a lot of that fabric didn’t look anything like what you find at Joanns.

Because of the different meauserment system it was a bit tricky to gauge the amount of fabric I wanted to buy and how much i was spending. Most of the fabric seemed to be akin to 54″ wide and priced by the meter, of course. So I had to do a bit of guessing at the cutting table. I tried to purchase several small pieces for appliqué but found a darling little red riding hood print and a fabric printed with the map of Amsterdam that I just spoke to me and I bought a bit more.

I am hoping I didn’t get too caught up in the thrill of the environment and end up with buyers remorse with all this fabric I bought. Hopefully you will be seeing some projects with my new Leiden market fabric.

Ok – and I know this is not related – but check out these beautiful flowers at the market in Leiden.  So inspiring!


It’s inspiration Sunday and I’m inspired to make my own fabric

Spoonflower - make your own fabric

Spoonflower – make your own fabric

If you watch Project Runway, then you are probably familiar with the challenge where the contestants have to design their own fabric. They do their design work on their HP tablets and then the fabric is printed for them and delivered back to the studio. To be honest with you I think most of the prints they come up with are pretty hideous, but I do think the idea of making your own fabric is pretty cool.

I love the idea of creating a fabric design through a repeated embroidery pattern and have done a bit of experimenting with this technique. For example, when I made the skirt with the abstract flower designs inspired by my sister-in-law’s dress, I stitched out all of the embroidery prior to putting the skirt together. (Let me tell you… embroidering on a pattern piece sure beats the hell out of stitching out an embroidery design on a tiny little baby onesie.) I have grand visions of designing some embroidered fabric with some big bold designs using my mega hoop, but haven’t quite gotten to that one yet.

Anyway, getting back to the idea of printing a design on fabric. My friend, Anna, introduced me to a website called Spoonflower where you can submit your graphic and have it printed on the fabric. She is actually doing a project requiring her to print her husband’s family crest on fabric. One of the great things about Spoonflower is that it’s not that expensive to print the fabric – only $15.75/yard. So lets all design some fabric ourselves and see how hard it actually is.  Maybe I’ll see how hideous mine looks then have to go easier on the Project Runway contestants.

Fantastic fabric store in Madison, Wisconsin: Sewcial

Hello from Madison, Wisconsin. Here’s the great thing about your husband working in Madison for the day and being left with all the kids: dragging them to the fabric store. If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably know that I love to check out cool independent fabric stores when I travel to different cities. And in Madison, there is a really great one: Sewcial.

Sewcial: independent fabric store in Madison, Wisconsin

Sewcial: independent fabric store in Madison, Wisconsin

Sewcial reminds me a lot of the Fabric Nosherie in St. Louis as they have a lot of retro cotton print fabrics and focus primarily on quilting. Owner, Sarah teaches sewing lessons of all types in the back of the store.

Sarah is lovely and so is the store, so when in Madison – definitely check it out.

Oh and I indulged in a bit of Chevron print fabric. I have no idea what I will be using it for, but I could not resist.

Thanks, Sarah of Sewcial and all the best to you!!!

My daughter, Ilse, explains her vision for her next outfit.

My daughter, Ilse, explains her vision for her next outfit.

My inspiration this Sunday… Chevron print fabric

Is it just me or are you seeing chevron print fabric EVERYWHERE??? And you know what… I’m totally into it. There are so many pretty Chevron fabrics around these days and I just need to get my hands on it. I have literally been dreaming about Chevron.

Chevron prints have been around a long time. The term Chevron literally means “having the shape of a v,” and is used to describe certain military insignia as well as v-shaped architectural details. The Chevron pattern is bold, architectural and eye-catching. Maybe this is why I love it so much.

Chevron print fabric seems to be equally trendy in both home decor and wearable items. Don’t quite know what I mean when I refer to the Chevron print fabric? Check out some of my favorite Chevron print items that people are making and selling on Etsy (and one from another site).

Chevron print bag from MelenArt Bags on Etsy

Chevron print bag from MelenArt Bags on Etsy

By the way… I completely wasted my time today stopping at JoAnns fabrics in an attempt to pick up some Chevron fabric. Nada.

It’s Inspiration Sunday! And guess what I am inspired by?

Great cotton fabric from Walmart

Great cotton fabric from Walmart

I got really, really lucky this Sunday and a neighbor friend took all three of my kids, yes all three to the zoo.  It was pretty amazing.  But somehow I ended up in the vortex of Walmart.  And because my kids were not with me – I took my time – and two hours later – I emerged.  I am not kidding.

Anyway – the whole reason why I went to Walmart in the first place is because it offers the rare combination of groceries, plants, hardware items, toys and sewing notions… which means I end up shopping there instead of the more civilized option across the street, Target.

But getting back to the point… My inspiration Sunday came from Walmart was because I found such stinkin’ awesome fabrics!  I have found great fabric at Walmart in the past which actually inspired some embroidery designs that I created and stitched out on a skirt based on the design on the fabric.  But this week – I hit the jackpot.

I was getting pretty tired of the fabric I had lying around that I have been using for appliqué projects so indulged in a few new yards of fabric… all cotton and all only a few dollars/yard.  I have some visions about how I will use these in the future but I’ll have to keep you in suspense!