I'm in the Mood for Fabric

If you ever hear me speak of Susan, she's not a real person. She's my height. Or she would be if she had a head. She also has the exact same proportions in the bust, waist, and hips as I do. But she has three legs instead of two. And she's blue.

She's not a Na'vi. Susan is my body double. My dressmakers form. And here's a secret. I can sew. And pretty darn well, too.

The last "simple" skirt I made had 18 pieces, and that's not counting the lining pieces. My favorite cocktail dress is a made-by-me sumptuous brown 100% cotton velvet completely lined and with boning in the waist. And no, I don't sew for others unless I've birthed them or married them. So don't ask.

On my way to Parents' Weekend at Finola's college last month, I made a pit stop in Manhattan. There are certain places in Manhattan that require a pilgrimage. One of those is a shop in the Lower East Side, but it was too far to travel for just one store. They have beautiful fabrics and are right next door to a bialy store. But a critical mass is more than one fabulous store in a two block radius.

How about dozens of fabulous stores in a two block radius? If you ignore the gentlemen's clubs and topless bars, my pilgrimage stores dot the side streets just south of Times Square off Seventh Avenue. So Rudy cleaned up Times Square. It just means that the seedier side moved a few blocks away from where the tourists are. Back at the fabric stores, I was like a kid in a candy store.

And when in the Garment District, 'tis best to dress in black, and funky shoes if possible. I didn't mention my pit stop to a friend I ran into getting coffee before getting on the road. 'Tis best to leave an air of mystery and then show up a few weeks (or months depending on how fast my project goes) wearing expensive looking togs that were handmade for more than half the cost of ready-to-wear.

And shhh . . . keep this under your hat. I don't want Dierdre to know that I shop at Mood, where the Project Runway contestants shop. She'll want a weekend shopping trip.


  1. OH, I am green with envy! Just to think that you can SEW and make all these gorgeous things -- and I know you do -- well, I'd give my eye teeth to be able to do that. I've tried and tried and tried over the yrs to even cut out a pattern and screw it up every time, yet I can fix a fridge, go figure. I've even taken classes, 3 times, and still couldn't get the hang of it. Something is very missing in my brain. Mom was a master at at, but she couldn't fix a fridge, lol. Still...what a dream to be able to do what you do. I know you don't sew for others, but I could seriously make it worth your while to help me rework a silk/satin comforter. No dice, huh :(

  2. WHAT fun! Seriously. I guess all we ladies have our own individual candy stores. Mine isn't the same as yours of course, but I do have one..three matter of fact. All hobby related. :-) Enjoyed this.

  3. I shudder at the thought of going to mood but there are some good places to eat nearby: Gogo Curry, is a strange and cheap Japanese curry place at 273 West 38th Street that I ate at the last time I was in the neighborhood that is worth checking out. Also you are not far from the little Korea section on the other side of Madison Square Garden.

  4. You are such a Renaissance woman!

  5. Well, piss. Gourmet cook, reader of Russian literature, ballet dancer, and now primo seamstress? I'm beginning to not like you...in a jealous kinda way.

  6. @Jenny, Maybe. Let me think about it.

    @Rambling, Sewing is a hobby for me.

    @Laoch, Thanks for the recommendation. I'll put it on the short list the next time I'm in NYC.

    @Gail, I thank thee.

    @Angie, :P LOL