Two and a half years ago I moved from San Francisco to Eugene, Oregon when I got into the MFA program here at UO. It’s beautiful here, and, contrary to popular belief, there is actually a lot to love about living in the Euge. That said, the shopping scene leaves much to be desired. That said, so many people wear pajamas, leggings, thermals, and UGG boots that a girl doesn’t have to work very hard to feel like she’s pretty damn well-put-together. But I’m getting off the point. The first point is, because there is no place to shop I got into sewing. The second point is, there isn’t really any where to shop for apparel fabric either. And so, over Thanksgiving break I drove back to the Bay Area to see friends and family and buy myself some fabric!
One of my best friends just bought a jaw-droppingly gorgeous condo in Berkeley. I stayed with her two nights and, as luck would have it, her place was about five minutes away from the fabulous fiber shop: A Verb For Keeping Warm. I’d never visited Verb when I was an SF resident, and actually discovered them via the Colette patterns launch party post. Since I do much of my fabric shopping online, it was cool to have the chance to see and feel some of my favorite fabrics in person. Fabrics like the Nani Iro double gauze, and Liberty of London Tana Lawn, which does, in fact, feel just like silk! I have long range visions of sewing up Gertie’s Shirtwaist dress in some LofL Lawn, just like she does in the book, but for now I only allowed myself to fondle the gorgeous bolts and sigh wistfully.
Fortunately, the folks at Verb were not at all weirded out by my fondling the fabrics. In fact the owner, Kristine, was super sweet and friendly. When she found out I lived in Eugene she told me all about the yearly Black Sheep Gathering up here . For two years I’ve lived in Eugene and that awesomeness has been happening right around the corner from my very own house, yet I’ve never been! I think I should be around for one last Eugene June and will be sure I make it over there to meet all those sheep and their owners! But for anyone in the Bay Area, I highly recommend stopping by Verb when you have a chance. The fabric selection is small but impeccably curated. And, unlike many smaller fabric shops, which tend to focus on quilting cottons, Verb actually has a decent selection of apparel appropriate fabrics. I ended up buying up the last of a burgundy silk cotton blend that I intend to make up into a tank top, something like this one:
Later, I made it into the city and stopped by Discount Fabrics on Mission Street, which is probably the best damn fabric store ever. Their prices are always pretty great, but they were having a huge sale, which included 50% off all the silks!!! The highest priced silks they’ve got are $19.99 a yard so, yeah, that’s right, I only paid $10 a yard for some pretty darn gorgeous fabric! I almost lost it when I found this lovely, sueded, mid-weight (crepe de chine? china silk? no idea…) in the most perfect grayish-mauve. It is a fabric I’ve seen, and lusted after, in several ready to wear garments. Seriously, I’ve had my eye out for a fabric like this for years, people. I’m not even joking. I said, “No way!” out loud to no one and did a little happy dance when I pulled that bolt from the pile. I also found some rad printed silk chiffon that I will boldly use to try and re-craft a dress like this one I found on Pinterest and have been obsessing over ever since:
And I bought some super soft cotton gauze with the plan to try out everyone’s favorite shirt pattern, Vogue 1247. Working toward something like this:
Finally, here’s a pic of all my lovelies, plus one piece I scored at the thrift store here in town, which, incidentally, turns out to have the best apparel fabric shopping in town!
Hmmm, anyone see a color palette emerging? Guess that’s not a bad thing, though it was not exactly intentional, just following my taste and my whims! Anyway, on the left is a (most likely synthetic) crepe from the thrift store. Then there’s the cotton gauze, the burgundy cotton-silk from Verb, that’s the gorgeous grayish-mauve in the middle and the patterned chiffon on the far right. The other, gray chiffon is intended as a slip or lining for the patterned chiffon. Whew! I’ve got my work cut out for me, eh? How exciting.