Several years ago, when I had the fabric designing bug, I created a fun fabric and posted it to Spoonflower. If you have never heard of Spoonflower, it is a cool website where creatives can post their digital design files and turn them into fabric, wallpaper or wrapping paper. This is the website, in fact, that I used to produce the fabric I needed for my bridesmaids dresses for my summer 2009 wedding in Bar Harbor Maine (!)
Subsequently, I have created other fabric. Sadly, after I had it printed and shipped to me in northern Virginia, I never used it (!) There it sat for years. Finally, while down in Florida visiting my folks, I cut into one of my favorite prints called Pink Grapefruit Puffs. If I could imagine a grapefruit turned into flowers, well, this is the design in my head and brought to life. I enjoyed pairing this fabric with a black, white, and gray check fabric to make my sweet Eden an Antalya dress.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, Eden, something overwhelming hit me: I NEEDED TO SEW MY BABY GIRL A WARDROBE FULL OF DRESSES! Little girl dresses🙂 And thus began my obsession. Dress pattern after dress pattern, there I chugged away on my Pfaff. But my favorite pattern to date is the the Tinny Dress Pattern by Straight Grain Patterns. Here is the reason why I love this pattern: TONS OF VERSATILITY!
In Kids fashion, it is super important that I stretch my dollar. I really appreciate that this pattern is like getting 2o patterns in one. An, the creator-in-chief over at Straight Grain, has made sure to really pack a ton of options in this dress pattern. For me, right now, Eden is all about the “twirl factor”. I call her my “Twirl Girl” Look at her spin!
This pattern not only offers a skirt that twirls (Circle Skirt) but there are two other skirt options as well. In fact, there are 8 collar options, 2 bow options, 3 sleeve options, and 2 bodice options! And, can we please just talk about what every sewist wants in a pattern? It is being able to print just the size you need. And that is just the way I like it. With any luck, I’ll have Eden twirling for eight more years to go.
Have you made a Tinny? What’s your favorite combo? Do you have a little girl dress pattern that you are ga-ga over? Tell me about it! Leave me a comment below. Please follow me on Instagram @WeatherKim to see what I make – would love to connect.
About a week and a half ago, my girlfriend @AmyLouWhoSews (on instagram) asked me to tag along with her to the talented Laura Gunn’s house. Laura’s soon-to-be-released fabric collection called “Vignette” for Michael Miller Fabrics, had arrived and she was busily getting projects sewn up with the fresh stash for promotional uses. So, I grabbed some wire lampshade frames and headed over! Before you knew it, Amy and I were knee-deep in pretty and starting our next challenges using Laura’s array of textiles. It is fascinating to know that all her work starts out as paintings. Here are AmyLouWhoSews and I below in Laura’s living room.
Once I got home I had my pretty fabrics (“Bouquet Stripe” and “Scattered Posies”) all ready to go and a vintage shade begging to be clothed in them!
What do you think? I can’t seem to stop making these shades. If you want to follow my process, just follow me on Instagram (I’m @WeatherKim). I like to post pics of what I am up to every step of the way (and often ask for advice!)
WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE THESE LAMPSHADES?
WANT TO SAVE 10% OFF SUPPLIES?
Read on and I’ll tell you how you can WIN A BEGINNER DVD and where to SOURCE THE SUPPLIES.
A little over ten years ago I was trolling the acres of Brimfield, in Massachusetts looking for my usual diamonds in the rough. Think of Brimfield as endless farmland with countless antique estate sale finds, just begging to hop in your car to be taken home. I came across something unusual, though – beautifully hand-sewn lampshades. They weren’t grimy or tattered, but rather over-the-top AH-mazing! I purchased one from the artist selling them and over the following year, commissioned her to make several more for me.
Here’s a look at the shade that got me hooked:
I studied them closely and tried making my own. I got the hang of it, but I had a problem: other than stumbling across vintage-style wire frames at garage sales and other “picks” across the northeast, I didn’t know where to source the wire frames. Luckily for me, I came across Mary Maxwell and her website: Victorian Lampshade Supply.
Mary has been sewing truly beautiful victorian style lampshades for 38 years and has mastered her craft. Not only does she offer the wire frames for purchase on her website, she also carries the other materials needed for the lining, seams, fabric, trim, beads, and even the lamp bases themselves! But here is the BEST PART: she has created DVD’s to help you learn how to make these one-of-a-kind shades yourself!
Here are just **some** of the lampshades Mary has made. The frames are available for purchase on her website:
I am a sewer who likes to make garments for my baby girl and the occasional quilt. But LAMPSHADES? I can’t stop! If you come from a quilting background, making lampshades are perfect for BUSTING into all those FAT QUARTERS you’ve been hoarding:-) If you start small (with a boudoir style lamp shade), they really don’t require that much fabric. I **do** recommend always sewing the lining fabric in (as boring as it may get) because if you don’t, you are liable to see the lightbulb outline directly through your outer fabric. The lining truly makes the light more diffuse and stops from having an ugly lightbulb appearing through your darling outer fabric.
Here are some “before” and “after” shots of the shades I made over the last 3 weeks.
The larger shade took me about 2 weeks to sew together (a few hours each night after the kiddos went to bed and 2 weekend days). The smaller shade took me about 2 days (16 hours.) I would like to point out that this process would probably go a little faster if I wasn’t a stickler for sewing on the trim. As you will see in Mary’s DVD’s (if you get one) she uses glue for that part and it looks like it saves a lot of time🙂
So, did I provide enough eye candy for you? Are you ready to get started sewing? I HEAR YOU!! Mary is so cool. She has graciously agreed to let readers of my blog save 10% off their purchase in her store now through March 1st 2015. All you have to do at the checkout is leave “WeatherKimShades” in the comments section of the checkout and she’ll apply it to your purchase (this excludes shipping.) I encourage you to check out this link HERE and HERE and consider purchasing one of Mary’s two beginner lampshade KITS & DVD combos. The kit/dvd combo is awesome because she provides everything you need to make the shade featured in that kit for one low price. Below are the 2 kit/beginner dvd combos available:
Additionally, she has a ton of wire frames, lining fabric, trim, seem binding and other materials to help you on your way. All is located in her online shop HERE.
To top it off, Mary has graciously agreed to give one lucky winner a FREE COPY of her beginner DVD🙂 !! Not to worry, though, if you go ahead and purchase the dvd and end up winning it. She said she’ll give the winner copies of her other 2 DVDs featuring advanced techniques should you have already purchased the beginner one🙂
HOW TO WIN A COPY of “HOW TO MAKE VICTORIAN STYLE LAMPSHADES” dvd:
- Follow @weatherkim on Instagram (that’s me!)
- You must follow me on Instagram to win AND you must tag 2 friends on Instagram in the comments section of the picture of my Instagram feed featuring this give away.
That picture looks like this:
- Another way you can win is by following @WeatherKim on Instagram AND re-gramming my picture featuring the give-away with the hashtag #WeatherKimShadesGiveaway on your feed. You decide.
I’ll announce the winner on my Instagram feed sometime Monday evening February 9th. Until then, let your fingers do the walking right on over to Mary’s website and bust out that fabric stash – we’ve got some lampshades to make!
Every summer I retreat to the far northeast reaches of our country with my family to escape the traffic and heat of our Capital Beltway and breath in the fresh pine tree air of Maine. This year, my quest for lobster could only be trumped by my quest for fabric. In part I of this series, I told you all about two adorable modern fabric shops (not too far from each other) along Maine’s “midcoast” region. Today, I’ll tell you about two other places to procure yummy, sewable fiber that are also kind of close to each other: Under the Dogwood Tree in Southwest Harbor and Marden’s in Ellsworth, Maine.
UNDER THE DOGWOOD TREE
SOUTHWEST HARBOR MAINE
This shop has all kinds of on-trend items from stationary, apparel, jewelry, dry goods, rugs, artwork, children’s books to a cozy upstairs corner of modern fabric.
While they don’t have a large selection, what they do have is modern, fresh and current. I love the over-sized wooden spool they use to house some of the bolts.
Mixed throughout the shop (and it is no different in the fabric section) are old and new items. Aren’t these vintage buttons darling?
Off to the side corner near the stairway is a small section of sale fabric ranging from $4-$6 a yard.
I love the idea of this cutting table. I also appreciate the honor system the owner puts into our hands – allowing us to cut what we need, writing it down on a slip of paper to bring to the checkout downstairs. Unfortunately, the planks on the table are not even so your trip with the rotary cutter skips over fabric during the dips. It gets an A for form but a D for function.
I noticed a nice selection of Heidi Boyd patterns (who is a local Maine artist) for felted toys. They were so cute! I love it when boutiques carry items from local artisans. Yay!
Marden’s is a locally-owned chain of 14 discount supply stores. They exist only in Maine. You will find everything under the sun in this place. I could go on and on about the shoe department alone, but I want to let you in about Maine’s best kept FABRIC secret! Are you sitting down? No? Then go hit the restroom, get yourself a snack, put your phone in airplane mode (unless you’re reading from your phone, of course), hide yourself from your husband-kids-pets-nosy neighbors-whatever distracts you- because I am going to get your fabric seeking radar on HIGH ALERT! Feast your eyes:
Now, if you’re looking in the front row of this picture and are like “no great shakes” then I HEAR you. BUT, you did not prowl through each and every bolt of fabric in this joint (don’t forget the bottom shelves on the floor) as I did. Anna Maria Horner ring a bell? CHECK. Denyse Schmidt Chicopee collection anyone? RIGHT OVER HERE, Tula freakin’ PINK??? Ummmm Hmmmmmmm. “Fine” you say. “Fine, my local fabric shop carries that – what’s all the hoopla about?” you say. I’ll tell you:
$1.50 – $5.49 a yard
is what. And that $5.49 was mostly on select Riley Blake fabric (I don’t understand this, but this particular store had a minor crush on Riley Blake (not that there is anything wrong with that) and had all their fabric priced the highest – unless it was in the super-sale section.) I’ll tell you this – I didn’t pay a dime more than $4.50 a yard for my haul. Now, will there be some, let’s say, less desirable fabric you have to weed through? YES. But is it worth it? YES.
Above is a look at their sale section (yes a store who’s prices are less than $5.50 a yard has a sale section.) If you squint you might be able to make out that pink sign that says $2.99 a yard. Below is an example of some of their $1.50/yard fabric.
I had baby girl with me that day and I was torn over this vintage-looking rainbow fabric, also for $1.50/yard. (I wish I had gotten it.)
Here is some Denyse Schmidt for you. Again, all this was priced between $3.50 & $4.50 a yard:
Now, if you’re thinking “No problem, I’ll just give Marden’s a call and order some.” Good luck with that. They don’t ship fabric. They don’t take orders over the phone. So, you’ll have to take that leaf peeping trip this fall to Maine and hop a flight to BGR or PWM (don’t pick the wrong Portland or you’ll end up in Oregon.) Whatever you do, be prepared to spend hours in that place. Remember, I didn’t even go into the shoe department details. You might be wondering “How do they get this stuff?” Well, the inner journalist in me asked and basically one of the examples an employee game me was that there was a fabric store in some other part of the country that had a fire in their bathroom. Insurance company comes in and takes all the inventory away to replace it. The inventory wasn’t damaged at all. Marden’s steps in to buy it all. CHEAP. Thank you, Marden’s.
IF YOU GO:
- Allow a good 2 hours
- Don’t deprive yourself of a lobster roll while in Maine
- Bring me back some whoopie pies (also sold there)
- Store locations: Biddeford, Sanford, Scarborough, Gray, Lewiston, Waterville, Brewer, Lincoln, Calais, Houlton, Ellsworth, Presque Isle and most recently Rumford and Madawaska (and each one’s stock can vary.)
Oh please please PLEASE share your Marden’s victories with me in the comments below. Oh how I love to hear how a good bargain is procured🙂
Have I told you how much I love the state of Maine? The unofficial slogan for “vacation land” is actually “Maine – the way life should be” (or at least something like that.) I’ve been coming to the far northeast reaches of our country since the 70s, every summer. Heck, I even got married here – in Acadia National Park, no less (that’s me and Big Ben on Bar Harbor’s sand bar at low tide below.) I l o n g to be here when I’m not. It’s the same kind of yearning I have to touch, cut up, and sew beautiful fabric. So, this year, I decided to merge my favorite place with my favorite hobby and visited several Maine fabric shops along my trip.
Now, Maine is a big state and I didn’t get to go to every fabric shop on my list. So, there are lots more shops to be explored. The shops, in this blog, are just the few I managed to squeeze in. It’s a fine line – fabric shopping with family. Perhaps you’ve walked up to the edge of that line? You know, the one that has you on one side – wanting to go into just one more itty bitty fabric shop in some kind of vintage-y old barn or something that you only know about because your bionic eyes for “fabric” signs with small arrows pointing down some dirt road alerted your attention – and on the other side are your 2 small children who are in the back of the Prius watching their 5th episode of Elmo with your husband whipping out his smart phone downloading divorce papers should you make that detour following the enchanting “fabric this way” arrow… Yeah, that was me on this trip. So that left me sneaking away during nap time (que “Handel’s Hallelujah”.) The shops I’m writing about are the ones I liked. I did go into a few other shops that I won’t write about because A) someone probably likes them and who am I to put down their business and B) I believe in karma. By the way, one of my favorite shops isn’t even a “fabric shop”, rather it’s a boutique kind of place that carries all kinds of neat things, but they just happen to have some modern fabric.
This is part one. Below I’ll write up my experiences in both Alwives Fabric and Fiddlehead Notions for Artisians. Coming up in Part 2 I’ll write about my experiences in Under the Dogwood Tree and Martens. I hope you find the information below useful and you’ll please drop me a comment. I’d love to hear about other modern fabric shops in Maine that I should check out and all the juicy tidbits that will make me want to go more! Heck, let me know about any cool fabric shops ANYWHERE because I’m always road-tripping🙂
- 10 I55, Nobleboro, ME 04555
- (207) 563-5002
The shop warns on their website that your GPS might have trouble finding their physical location. While I do have gps in my car, I wasn’t about to disrupt my husband while driving to pull over to actually let me plug-in the coordinates. So, I relied on my smart phone and google maps to navigate me there. I didn’t have any trouble, but you might want to look up their “old-fashioned” directions ahead of time (especially if you’re planning on ambushing your husband with a fabric stop out of the blue – not recommended, but desperate times call for desperate measures.)
I love that it is in some kind of historic building in the middle of nowhere and their old red barn paint. I couldn’t wait to charge right in. As soon as I opened the door, THIS (below) was the first fabric collection I saw FRONT & CENTER:
COTTON + STEEL. That’s right, their entire line including all their basics, lotsa pre-cuts and just plain old can I roll around naked in this fabric and spend the night here goodness (I’m sorry, was that a wee too perverted of me? Am I the only fabric-a-holic who dreams of such things?) Next, look left and this is what you’ll see:
Oriental rugs on the floor with bright white shelving holding very current lines of fabric. Some of the bolts are lined on the floor, too, but I’m really okay with overflowing merchandise! Now walk straight back towards the cash register and cutting table area and this is what you’ll see:
And if you turn around and look back at the entrance to the store from behind the selection of fat quarters, here’s your view:
For those of you with lotsa coin, there is a nice selection of Liberty of London awaiting your $32 – $35/yard purchase here:
I also spotted a selection of laminated fabric in the back corner:
Their prices were standard brick & mortar prices (higher than what I tend to pay online at etsy or at Stash Fabrics), but if you want to touch and see your fabric before you buy, then sometimes you have to pay the higher price. They did have some sale fabric off to the right of the main room. I scooped up some older Echino for about 50% the normal price. Below is what I ended up buying. It’s funny, but as I went into more stores, I learned that at least in Maine, they carry a lot more “nautical themed” fabric because it sells well. I would imagine that lobster fabric that I purchased put me dead center into the “tourist” category of shopper!
- 159 High St, Belfast, ME 04915
- (207) 338-8422
I love shopping for fabric in old buildings. While Alwives Fabric was in an historic building in the middle of nowhere, Fiddlehead Artisian Supply is in downtown Belfast Maine – a quaint old town along route 1 north of Camden. Below is what you’ll see when you walk inside the door:
How can you resist a pressed tin ceiling? There was lots of room to stroll the store. The brightly white painted shelving held oodles of modern fabric. What I especially liked about this shop is that hanging in almost all the nooks and crannies of the retail space were dresses and shirts sewn from the fabric and patterns that were for sale. It made me want to pick out a pattern and start sewing right away. But, having just bought a ton of Oliver + S digital patterns during their 40% off sale, I thought twice about it. I wish I had taken more pics of the inside, but I was a little too excited looking at everything. Here is an example of one of their samples sewn hanging right next to the fabric for sale. I think everyone is a Rae Hoekstra fan, right? How about that versatile and ubiquitous Washi Dress pattern? I spotted a sample along with the pattern below:
Here’s a peek at the back corner of the store. Lots of laminated fabric standing upright in the corner. Since I mostly construct garments for my daughter and do quilting, whenever there is yarn or felting, it tends to get blocked out by my fabric eye goggles that tighten their straps on my head whenever I go into a craft store. So pardon me if this post is incomplete at best at telling you that Fiddlehead Artisian Supply has a boatload of other supplies like felt and yarn….
I was kind of bummed out as I did not see a single scrap of Cotton + Steel. But I was pleased to find some Essex Linen (something I don’t always find in brick & mortar fabric shops.) The prices were standard (higher) for a non-online shop. That didn’t keep me from hauling this bagful out to my family waiting for me in the car! Lizzy House Catitude & Mousey Mouse, Essex yarn dyed linen in black and blue, Jeni Baker’s Nordika, and “Avant Garden” by Momo for Moda in two colorways.
Drop me a comment and let me know about your favorite fabric shop and why. I’m always looking for a fabric road trip. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Maine Modern Fabric Shop Crawl soon🙂
She’s been sneaky, our little one year old. She’d slip in a few steps here and there, but never when I had my camera rolling! That is, until today (and last night.) We finally caught our little toddler on camera. I love how she raises both arms in the air above her head when she walks (as if Ben or I are still holding her hands for practice.) I made a little movie to celebrate Eden’s new milestone. I hope you enjoy it!