Finally, gingko

black cotton poplin with print of large gingko leaves in purple, blue, yellow, orange, and gray
gingko fabric!

The fabric above is from MaaiDesign in Australia (the actual fabric designer is Alicia Marshall from Winding Road Design Studio), and I CANNOT WAIT for it to arrive. I have been obsessing about gingko fabric basically forever (really, forever) and this is better than I could have hoped for, to wit:

  • cotton poplin
  • black background
  • multicolored leaves

Plus the shipping was … reasonable? for something coming from Australia?

Since we’re moving (imminently!) I had a fabric purchase moratorium in place but I made an emergency declaration and managed to get this one in under the wire. I may be throwing the parcel into the last box to be sealed (well, depending on shipping speed) but I was not going to miss out on ACTUAL GINGKO FABRIC.

Also, while you’re here: quick purge update! There are still a few dresses left, and since I realistically can’t buy any more fabric until at least June, I’ll be donating all the proceeds of the purge (net of shipping) to relief efforts for Ukraine and trans rights orgs. So grab the last dresses while you can, I’ll officially declare the purge done on 1 May!

An entertaining coincidence

About a month ago I managed to see the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the DeYoung Museum here in SF, and it was lovely. If you like that sort of thing, it’s the sort of thing you really like, etc.

As I exited through the gift shop I checked out the postcard rack, and was struck by this image of an Oscar de la Renta dress featured in Harper’s Bazaar in 1969:


I was struck not so much by the dress (which is lovely, of course), but by the fabric—it was the same as some Marc Jacobs fabric I’d bought a few years ago! (I blogged about a dress I made in a different colorway of this fabric back in 2015 here.) It’s silk/cotton, not organza:


You can tell better in this color image:

image from
image from Rare Vintage

Or in this of another Oscar de la Renta piece in Vogue:

I think this is a jumpsuit?

It’s not uncommon for designers to revive print fabrics—most designers don’t create their own prints, but instead work with fabric houses to select fabrics for their collections. (Here’s an interesting article about the process.) Some French and Italian print houses have been around for hundreds of years, and have catalogs going back pretty much forever.

It looks like this fabric was used in the Marc by Marc Jacobs line sometime before 2009; you can see a dress made with it here:

image from
image from

Rashida Jones even wore something in this fabric in an episode of Parks and Rec! But I’ve only found one thing from the orange colorway—a strappy top.

I still haven’t made up this fabric, and probably the upshot of learning all this is that I will wait even longer to find the “perfect” pattern. (But I can tell you right now, it probably won’t have ruffles …)

No Logical Reason

For no logical reason, I bought some laminated denim.

If you’re not familiar with laminated denim, it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trend of the last season. Or maybe season before last? (Who can keep track any more?) Sewn up into skinny jeans, worn with the inevitable (and inevitably boring) drapey tee and fancy shoes and statement bag and jumble of necklaces. Every time I saw it, it was styled in a kind of leather-pants-lite way.

So since I am just about the furthest thing ever from a leather-pants person, I’m not sure why I bought it, other than that I thought “wow, I will probably never see this again, maybe I should get some” (this is how fabric hoarders are made, people). It showed up today and I kind of love it.

It’s shiny, but not latexy or leathery — it’s definitely denim with a layer of plastic on it. It’s very future-mod. The juxtaposition of the plain denim and the laminate shine is pleasantly incongruous.

The obvious thing to do would be to make a very fitted bombshell dress out of it, but I almost want to do another 9929, instead. The only problem would be gathering the fabric — it is REALLY heavy and thick. Maybe I should go back and do another Heidi? Or something else I haven’t thought of yet? This pattern would be really fun.

Suggestions? Has anyone sewn with this stuff before?

Too Much Fabric Never Hurt Anyone

Here are some recent additions to my stash:


More dotted swiss! Remember the pink dress of last year? Well, it will soon have a cousin (oh, and here’s me wearing it). I also bought some bright green, but it’s sold out now … I love dotted swiss. Not sure why — part of it is that I love the texture, but that can’t explain this level of devotion. Perhaps because I didn’t get enough party dresses as a child? I’m making up for lost time now, in any case.

On a completely different tack is this chambray (which also comes in brown, click any image to go to the store page at Fabric Mart)


I love this fabric so much I’ve been dreaming about it. I’m pretty sure this is going to be my favorite dress of this summer, if I can just decide what pattern it wants to be! It is so lovely and crisp, but it’s also lightweight. It may have to be a shirtdress like this one … maybe with a deep, topstitched hem to weigh it down? Still thinking.

This next fabric was a total splurge. Way more expensive than I usually am comfortable with (although it’s plenty wide, so that’s a plus).


It’s a linen-cotten blend from Marc Jacobs, pretty heavy, I think. This is going to be a horizontally-striped dress, with the fullest skirt I can manage with the yardage I bought. Really. I saw it and thought YES THAT’S WHAT IT WILL BE. YES. I cannot wait.

I’m trying to remember to add fabric that I buy (or just like) to Pinterest, if you keep a fabric board too, let me know!

More Fabric!

You didn't think that piece of Liberty from last week was the only fabric I bought in Japan, did you? Perish the thought. :-) 

Here's the rest of my haul, this all from Tomato Fabric in Tokyo. First up: blue and mustard camo!


This is a really nice weight, and the blue is a little darker — not as teal as in this photo (not that teal is a bad thing). 

I'm not a huge Kokka fan but this print was just irresistable:


(I've been really drawn to that mustard color lately. I love it with red, so interesting!)

Another adorable conversation print (this is a nice heavy weight): 


There was also some plaid corduroy, so I bought it. Wouldn't you?


I also bought a single yard of this crazy super-narrow number fabric:


I forget who the designer is, but I saw it first made up into scarves in a department store in Japantown here in San Francisco, and loved it. But not enough to spend whatever the department store wanted, obviously. I probably should have bought two yards, because what the heck am I going to do with a yard of 22" wide fabric, I don't know. (It was still expensive even in Japan!) But I'll think of something …

Just looking at all these makes me want to jump up and start cutting things out, but it will probably be a few weeks until I have a little space clear for making these up. Suggestions welcome!

Big in Japan

Fabric is, don't you know:

That's the Japanese Liberty print I bought in Tokyo, oh, lo these many weeks ago. (If you hadn't noticed, I got a bit behind on blogging there before Christmas … sorry about that.) I bought it at the same place I went to back in 2008 — so glad it was still there! 

It took me a while to choose this — I really wanted something dark, but of course all the spring prints were calling to me. I should have taken pictures of the runners-up, but they were mostly dark ditsy florals. This one has a little more heft to it, and the olive color is just gorgeous. Here, have a closer look: 


Not quite sure what this will be yet, but Vogue 8728 is a strong contender … 


I Feel An Obsession Coming On

Getting an obsession is like getting a cold, only over a longer time period. First there's that little tickle in the back of your throat, and then you feel a little achy, and it's harder to get up in the morning, and the next thing you know you're sneezing at a Gatling-gun pace and getting carded when you try to buy Dayquil. 

Sewing obsessions have the same progression … first you start to notice something you've never noticed before, and then you start thinking "huh … maybe I could make that," and pretty soon you have fifty browser tabs open, you're abusing Pinterest, and you're thinking about the shoes you're going to wear with a dress you haven't even made yet.

I'm a little bit worried that I'm at the tickly-throat stage of an obsession with guipure lace, which is just FLAT OUT DUMB. First of all, the number of occasions where I could wear a guipure lace dress in a single year is measured in the average number of fingers in obscene gestures. (And that's in a year where I decide to get married. Again.) Secondly, I've never, ever sewn with lace, and thirdly, it's ungodly expensive, and fourthly, well, fourthly, I already have a curio cabinet of previous sewing obsessions, which, like all good obsessions, are only dormant, not dead. (Shirtdresses: I am talking about you.)

But: isn't it pretty? 



So: is there any kind of zinc lozenge you can take to ward off a new sewing obsession? Please send help. 

Never Fails

So, just as things start turning to fall (here in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) I always find one piece of summer fabric that I just HAVE to have: 


This stuff reminds me of those tubes of frozen colored sugar water that every kid under the age of eight loves. Otter Pops? Anyway, there it was at Fabric Mart Fabrics, and I had to have it. I'm sure you all understand. And they have 21 yards left, at this writing … 

Here's a closeup:


This is going to be … I don't quite know yet. But whatever it's going to be, it's probably not going to be that until next March, at the earliest. Summer fabric is going into hibernation for a few months. 

Well Hello, Kitty


Y'all have already seen the new Hello Kitty fabric from Liberty, yes? (Thanks to Sherri for reminding me to post about this.) I love the idea but I'm slightly meh about the execution. It's too floral for me. Where are my beloved geometrics?

Oh, here they are, from their "Rock Star" (oh, sorry, "Liberty Rocks") line: 


Turns out that guy from the Stone Roses is now an artist. Who knew? (The whole Artist line is pretty cool, actually.)

The other disappointment is that only the Tana Lawn is available on their site, although supposedly the fabric is also available in the (much more versatile) poplin weave as well. (Dear Liberty, Please make more poplin. Also, how about a "Famous Scientists Design for Liberty" line? Love, Erin.)

Do you have a favorite in the new line?