Weekend reading: vintage sewing, painting your upholstery, and the Chanel supermarket

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The other day, I shared this gorgeous spread from a French pattern catalog from 1956 on Instagram.

It made me realize that Instagram is the perfect place to share some of the gorgeous vintage patterns, books, and illustrations that I’ve collected over the years. This catalog in itself is absolutely stunning and brimming with inspiration.

If you want to see more, head on over to instagram and follow me. I’ll be sharing way more images from these books over the next few weeks. They are pretty incredible and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share:

Follow me on Instagram for more vintage inspiration all month!

Here’s some reading for you. Have a great weekend, friends!

By the way, how is everyone doing on their knitcation plans?

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How I organize my fabric stash + free downloadable stash tags!

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You’ve seen how I organize my enormous stash of patterns. But what about fabric?

I will admit, my stash is bigger than I’d like it to be. In spite of fabric swaps, donations, and finally getting rid of a lot of the useless leftover scraps I’d been holding onto, I have a lot of fabric. 12 boxes of it, to be precise.

I could conceivably use the same method I use for patterns with my fabric, but I don’t think it would be ideal. That’s because:

  1. Fabric isn’t as resuable. The sewing patterns can be used over and over, but the fabric can be used up, so things cycle in and out more frequently.
  2. Fabric is tactile. I often make decisions based on how the fabric feels, so swatches are a must.

My old method

Years ago, some of you might recall the method I came up with for storing it in boxes and attaching swatches to the outside.

This worked fairly well, but it wasn’t perfect. When I found a swatch of fabric that looked like I might want to use it, I’d still have to root through the box and figure out how much I actually had.

It was also hard to flip through all my swatches, because they were attached to the boxes where the fabric was stored.

I needed some tweaks.

My new swatch system

I decided to keep the swatches in one place so that I could look through them all at once. Instead of attaching them to the storage box itself, I’d just note the location of the fabric.

In addition to the swatch itself and location, I wanted to keep track of how much fabric I had, how wide it was, a short description, and any other relevant information.

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I created these simple little hang tags where I could note the yardage, the width of the fabric, a short description, and attach a small swatch. The hang tags are strung onto key rings that I hang on my tool rack.

Whenever I want to browse my stash, I have a neat little library of swatches to paw through.

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Make your own swatch tags

Want to try it yourself?

All you need is the hang tag template (see below for the free download), scissors, a hole punch, some hole reinforcers, and key rings. You’ll also need a way to attach swatches to each tag. I used a stapler.

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Print as many tags as you like. I printed mine on a cream colored background, and I think they look particularly nice on colored paper. Cut them out with scissors. You don’t need to be too precise about it, just cut the lines away.

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Punch a hole in each at the top, and group them by location onto keyrings. So everything in box 1 is on one ring, box 2 on another ring, etc.

If you don’t want to keep it in boxes, you could just as easily number your shelves or other areas. Or just write down the location if you like.

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Cut a little swatch and staple it to the tag, and fill out the info.

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Label each box or other container or shelf. I just used a piece of washi tape, nothing fancy.

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That’s it! The only trick is keeping the yardage on the tag up to date if I use part of the fabric, or remembering to throw the tag away if I use an entire length.

This has made it so much easier to use what I have instead of letting it languish unseen.

Enter your email below to get the free tags I made for myself. I’m just putting them out there since I already had them made and thought you guys might enjoy them.

Oh, and when you enter your email, we’ll send you other cool free occasional goodies and updates. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you (emails are pretty infrequent) and you can unsubscribe at any time if you don’t like the bits we do send.

Enter your email to get the free template!

How do you organize your fabric? Any tips to share with the rest of us?

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Do you wear more dresses or separates?

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I wear dresses because I am lazy.

As much as I love clothes, putting together complicated outfits has never really been my thing. I like things that are comfortable and easy, both physically and mentally.

I keep it simple.

Dresses are a godsend for a lazy dresser, because they’re basically an entire outfit in one piece. Throw on some tights and boots in the winter, done. Add some sandals in the summer, done. Why complicate things?

Add to this the fact that I have a high, wide waistline. I just can’t deal with anything that cuts me in half, and dresses rarely do that.

However, in recent years, I have seen the allure of separates over dresses sometimes. You can do a lot with just a few pieces, for one thing. It’s hard to deny the versatility of a pair of black trousers or a classic white button-up.

Slowly, I’ve been won over a little to the separates side. But in my heart, I think I will always worship the dress.

Are you a dresses or separates kind of person? And which do you prefer to sew?

Giveaway: Sewing Fashion Knits with Linda Lee at Craftsy

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Craftsy has chosen a winner! Congratulations to David, who has been notified privately.

Obviously, we’re all about knits right now. I’ve extolled their virtues left and right lately, and if you’ve been following my Me Made May posts this month on Instagram, you might notice that I’ve been wearing them just about every day.

If you’re new to sewing knits, or just want to go beyond the basics in a class environment, Craftsy has the perfect class for you: Sewing Fashion Knits with Linda Lee. And today, we’re giving away an entry to this class (scroll down for details).

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In this class, designer and star sewing teacher Linda Lee goes over just about everything you’d want to know about working with knits, including techniques to use with or without a serger.

I think that’s one of the most valuable aspects of this class. Since everyone has different equipment, there are a lot of options and different ways of doing things when it comes to sewing knits. Having all of those options clearly laid out for you is incredibly valuable.

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What you’ll learn

This class covers a range of topics that are essential to sewing knits:

  • How to prepare and cut knit fabrics.
  • Seam finishes you can acomplish without a serger.
  • Techniques for stabilizing knits.
  • Hem finishes.
  • Edge finishes (like necklines).

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Each lesson is fairly short (between 10-30 minutes), so you’ll get up to speed very quickly.

If you’ve started getting into knits more and more lately the way I have, this class is a really nice compliment to books and patterns.

Win this class!

Craftsy has generously offered a free enrollment in this class to give away!

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To enter, visit this link on Craftsy and join using your email address or Facebook.

If you’re already a Craftsy member, all you have to do is visit the link, click the “sign in” button, and sign in with your Craftsy account. If you’re already logged in to Craftsy, be sure to log out before clicking the link or you won’t see the special sign up/log in screen.

Craftsy will pick one winner from all the entries.

Good luck! And be sure to check out the class after you enter.

Click here to enter to win!

{This giveaway was generously sponsored by Craftsy, one of our partners this month. Thanks Craftsy!}

Weekend reading: Ballet, wildflowers, and lovely US-made clothing

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Last weekend, I took an amazing class on natural dyeing at Wildcraft Studio. If you are in the Portland or Hood River areas, I highly recommend taking one of Chelsea’s incredible classes. I also took a textile design class with her a couple years ago, and she is a phenomenal, inspiring woman.

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In this class, we took a short hike and collected wild lupine, which we used along with other plant material (like onion skins and wild fennel) to dye silk, cotton, and wool. I am so excited about all the possibilities (even though my silk scarf came out a rather uninspiring khaki due to overdyeing with too many colors).

Here are a few good links I came across this week. We’re off on a short trip to Victoria, BC to do a little orca-watching! Whatever you’re up to, have a good one.

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