Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Notes from my Sewing Machine - Early Fall Update

While I was on my sewcation, I needed buttons for one of my garments. So I went searching amongst my extensive button collection. As I was describing it to one of my sewing friends, she didn't realize that the last job I had in the Garment District was for a button company. Rochester Button Company to be exact.

During my three years there I learned a lot about button making, the different types of materials used to make buttons, how buttons are dyed, etc. I also accumulated A LOT of buttons. Sample buttons were ordered in gross amounts (144 pieces) and we typically ordered 5 gross. Which meant that my boss allowed me to take 2-3 dozen buttons, no problem. Three years of collecting free buttons, means that 23 years later, I still own a lot of buttons.

The other day I happened upon a history of Rochester Button Company and if you're interested it's here. Another article on the updated history once RBC left Rochester, NY. The second internet piece is for the reincarnated version of RBC with some of the team members I worked with in the 90s.

I've since purchased buttons especially during Frocktails weekend. I go through a lot of them for shirts and my TNT maxi shirtdress BUT I still use a lot from the collection too.


* * * * *

Sometimes when I look at my fabric collection, I KNOW deep down in my soul that I'm never sewing all of this before I pass on.  Yet, I continue to add to it. I'm definitely YOLOing in this circumstance!

I've also made the decision that I'm going to downsize some of my collection. Still thinking about how and when but I'm definitely thinking about sharing some of my goodies with my friends.

* * * * * 

I didn't sew half as much as I wanted to because work kept contacting me...and since I'm now the only one doing my job...I ended up working several hours every day for the first 10 days. I didn't sew or barely sewed until the Thursday before my vacation ended the following Tuesday.  To say I was upset in the way things turned out would be an understatement.

So I never got around to the Farm Rio dress. I knew that I needed time and space to work out the particulars and I didn't get it. I've shelved the project until next year. It was the only way I could move forward and sew the few pieces I did complete.

I did make a few dresses...which I've worn but still not photographed for the blog. With school starting and after school activities my daughter's availability has been slim to none. When she has been available either the weather wasn't cooperating or I just didn't feel like going through the process.

The Rivera Dress

Sewhouse 7 Romney Dress

Style Arc Montana Dress

Then work intervened again. I've been really busy and my sewjo fled. It turned back up this weekend. So I got this McCalls 7969 finished which I started during my sewcation.


 *****

BTW, I did attend NYFrocktails on October 1st. I wore this dress and had a wonderful time reconnecting with sewing friends I hadn't seen in over 3 years. You can see my recap here.

If I can get my act together and schedule a little time with my daughter, I have a bunch of blog posts about garments I've sewn in the last 2 months to share. That's my update. To all who reached out and asked where I was, thank you!


...as always more later!



27 comments:

  1. I, too, needed to pare down my stash. So during Covid shut down I went through all of it and decided what made me happy. The end result was 12 completely full large green garbage bags full of garment fabric. I took it to the local community college that has a Fashion degree. Students have NO money for fabric and the school is very limited in what they can provide. Much of the fabric came from Marcy Tilton's and Emma One Sock so some very good quality. The instructor called me later and thanked me for the contribution. I feel good for promoting young fashion designers having an opportunity to create something with good fabrics. He did say they are using the 'lesser' fabrics for muslins. Karen

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  2. Robin here. Carolyn, your dresses are lovely, looking forward to seeing them on you. The Rivera especially with its perfectly arranged panels is just amazing. I enjoyed the first article on Rochester Buttons (the second link does not link to an actual article, BTW) - vegetable ivory, skim milk - who would have thought it? Thanks so much for sharing your story and the story of the button, truly a core part of American industrial history! Also, it is comforting to read your blog and hear you are okay, I was concerned. So sorry about your stolen sewing time.

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  3. I hadn't been doing too badly on buttons until I got Mom's stash after she passed away. That included her buttons, her mother's buttons, and I suspect some of *her* mother's buttons. And so many of them were saved from garments, as attested to by bits of thread and fabric still attached. I got them sorted by color, but finding matching buttons, let alone a set for a garment...nearly impossible. Someday I'll get them sorted more. Maybe. The same with zippers - I now have a great many old fashioned metal zippers also removed from garments.

    Stinks that you lost so much vacation time and sewing mojo to work interruptions. I hope they didn't make you count those hours against your vacation hours. The Rivera dress is awesome - so colorful and happy.

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    Replies
    1. JustGail - we lose the vacation days at the end of the year so I'm letting them roll because I don't have enough time left in the year to take more days off. It's fine. I will choose better next year!

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  4. WOW Carolyn, Those dresses and the fabrics are Beautiful!

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  5. Beautiful dresses and fabric Carolyn. You so inspire me!

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  6. I have also been the only person doing my job at work for a while (we were finally able to fill the vacancies, but now we have to train a bunch of people...), so I totally get how that impacts the sewjo. It's really hard to have energy, motivation, or creative problem solving capacity after dealing with work things all day. I'm sorry your vacation was ruined though; that's really not fair. It is still inspiring to see what you have been able to create though - your new dresses are lovely!

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  7. Jacqui from New Zealand. Beautiful dresses as always. Your fabric choices always inspire me. Like so many in these times I am sewing from the stash but am not keeping a tally of in or out. So sorry to hear of your interruptions to the vacation. I hope they give you time in liu, which is a thing in NZ unless you are a teacher 😔. Great to see the sewjo back. I am about to make the Montana dress for our summer so it was great to see it on the manikin. I also bought the latest expansion pack in the sale and hope to try some of the variations.

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    Replies
    1. Jacqui - thanks! I want to purchase the expansion park for the Montana Dress too.

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  8. Love this post and agree with purging a fabric stash to make room for...whatever you love: more fabric or room to create or just dance! PS been a fan for years way back to before the Prince was born and Sewcialist hour was a new idea; also wondering if there's any more of sewcialist soirees, because I enjoyed that post and your 10 years review of favorite dress creations. Also don't ever feel guilty about taking a break or decompression time for yourself; we as women work ourselves too hard and sometimes forget to unwind, and reward ourselves or just treat ourselves???just for the heck of it..no excuse needed. Stay creative motivated and blessed because you are one of The best designers I have seen create from altering patterns to details and beautiful fabric ( I still can't sew but there I live vicariously thru you and your projects which seeing how plus size fashions are going lately very very slow changes but more variety yet still have a long way to go proffer more flattering styles and better fabrics that I can remember from 1990s). anywhos lol more later if I'm feeling brave~Ms J Martin

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    1. Ms. JMartin, here again to correct myself on the Sewcialist inquiry since it ended summer 2021. (could have clarified this myself with a simple google search but I was on a roll with typing my comment.) Forgive me :p

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  9. Love your creations!!! and your joyful attitude. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I just recently combined 2 houses and am now living in a house with no basement. That means all the stuff that was downstairs had to find a home upstairs. Before I moved, I got rid of a ton of stuff and when I got here, I still had to get rid of stuff. After putting shelves anywhere a shelf could be, I called my local fabric store to find out if they had a source for charity sewers. Someone is coming this afternoon and picking up 7( yes 7) boxes of fabric. Maybe I will actually use up what is left before I die. My nephew would be glad of that!! (He doesn't sew) LOL

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  11. I love reading your blog, so good to have you back

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  12. Lovely, lovely dresses. I am also trying to sew from my stash but new pieces are still finding their way home with me. I am envious of your button collection. My best option for buttons is a store that is 25 miles away. And they have beautiful fabric too. Which is why new fabric keeps appearing.

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  13. Hi Carolyn, so glad all is well... except the fact that your sewcation got messed up! That is the pits! I'm so sorry. Hopefully they will somehow make it up to you. I really enjoyed the article about the button factory... (I must say though, it made me think of the old silly story about the guy John: Hello my name is John... I work in a button factory etc... Lol) But I am so thankful we have buttons... so many are works of art. Thank you for always sharing with us. Take care can't wait to see the pictures.

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  14. Every dress is wonderful and I can't wait to see them on you. Love that "Sicily" fabric! You may not have achieved your sewing goal but damn, you were productive!!! Love buttons here. My dear friend and former neighbor was a lifelong traveler and button collector. She is now deceased and she left me her button collection. It is truly amazing. Many of her special buttons are in the big coffee table book "Buttons". I love opening my boxes and looking at her collection, pure meditation and memories of her. Sorry your vakay was so rudely interrupted. The nerve!!!

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  15. Hi Carolyn, I’ve enjoyed your blog for a number of years and always look forward to seeing what you’re working on. Since I’ve retired in 2018, I’ve been working on pulling together all the fabric and notions resources links I’ve collected over the years. I just launched a sewing resource dirff we story (with links) that allow sewists to shop online from the comfort of home. Check it out: www.sew-source.com. Please share with others if you like it.

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  16. I know you likely posted the pattern you used for the Rivera dress but I cannot find it. Love this dress and would love to know what pattern
    Thanks
    Donna Wicks
    Wickscraft@shaw.ca

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    1. Donna - the top is from the Verona pattern by Christine Haynes

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  17. Thanks so much!
    DonnaWicks

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  18. Nancy K here. That first dress is amazing. Wonderful fabric. You have such a wonderful eye for pairing fabric and pattern. They are all beautiful and I look forward to seeing them on you.

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  19. I'm currently working down my fabric and yarn stashes. Whilst nowhere near as extensive or exciting as your collection, I have felt the need over the last to years to clear mental and physical space to allow room for.....something else....I don't know what. Possibly just good old creativity. I gave a lot of fabric away during the pandemic to groups making masks and hospital scrubs, and I'm slowly ticking through the rest of it. I've managed to only add two pieces of fabric (one of which was gifted) and possibly 5 skeins of yarn in the past 2 years (again these were gifted) unless I've purchased something to specifically make a gift for someone else. I've probably another 6 months to go (I've not much time for sewing/knitting for me at the moment) but it's feeling good. I highly recommend!

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  20. I keep checking for a new post. I hope you're doing well. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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  21. Ahhh, to have a sufficient button collection. I feel like I'm always having to buy buttons. It's annoying.

    I will probably not stop stashing fabric, though I know there's some I could probably unload now. Prints that I love (but probably won't wear). Fabrics that I just don't want to sew (looking at you, chiffon!). I feel like I don't "need" more fabric but I "need" more suitings and blouseweight wovens. Need, schmeed :-p

    Too bad your sewcation wasn't as productive, but can't wait for the posts on what you've been sewing.

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  22. Happy Thanksgiving! I've been following your blog for a while. Hope you are doing well. The dresses are great. My favorite is the style Montana dress. (I like the Italy fabric used, but my mind has been wondering if someone might come up and point to a place on the map where their family came from! Hopefully, no one does that.)

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