Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Halloween Fun - Toga, Toga, Toga!

We have a vintage mannequin in store that we call Midge. Midge is usally kicking around in a sequin tube dress (Which we sell by the way.) but since Halloween is coming up, I thought it would be nice to help her get into the spirit and dress her up accordingly.
The other day she was in the mood for toga. She was feeling very Helen of Troy so we decided to deck her out in the best of Roman finery and it couldn't have been easier.
Here is what I did....

- Take 2-3 yards of opaque fabric with a nice drape. I used a heavy ribbed taffeta. Reminds me of a big version of grosgrain ribbon. All opaque fabric with a drape would work for this. Slinky fabrics like rayon might just be too slinky and will slide.
- Place over shoulder of your choice and let the fabric hang even at the bottom front and back.

- Take the front part of the hanging fabric and put it around your waist and use a safety pin to secure it at the base of you back. Let the back part drape. You can then take some more safety pins and secure it down the back or over your tush. If you know how to sew, pin down the back and make a simple seam.
- Adjust the front fabric over your bust. Might be a good idea to wear a bathing suit or leotard underneath.

- If you wish you can stitch the bottom hem and the back drape with your machine or by hand. I used a blind stitch.

- Take a a cool piece of trim or belt and tie around your waist. The trim I used was white with a silver Roman Key design.

- Make sure all raw edges are folded into the drapes.

- Accessorize with your favorite gladiator sandals, earrings or even a laurel wreath and you are done!

So simple and so much fun. Such a better quality then the stuff you can buy at stores. Also, it doesn't have to be just a toga. You can use this costume to be Cleopatra or even add a corset for a witch's costume and so on.
Here are some other looks Midge tried on! The first photo features a vintage bugle bead, embroidered belt I call the "Lady Gaga Belt". Makes it feel sort of Egyptian. The second photo has a more elaborate vintage belt that has a velcro back perfect for the look. Both belts sell at $10 at our store!

So if you are interested in any of the fabric, trim or belts featured here in this post, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone, store or our Etsy shop. Those belts are just too cool and you can not beat the price!

So have fun and stay tuned for more easy to make Halloween costumes. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

September is National Sewing Month!

September is just around the corner and I'm so excited! It's National Sewing Month!

When I first started working here at Sew What's New I didn't know how to sew...at all. My mother was a sewer so I dusted off her old machine and started learning. I am so glad I did. I love having control over what I wear especially because I am on odd fit. Even though I am still a novice, I am able to make my clothes fit me better and make clothes just for me.

There is so much fear when it comes to sewing machines and sewing but I can attest, as someone that has an attention span of a gnat, it is really easy, fun and you get instant returns. I made my first pair of pants in an hour! See above for my pajama capris!

So to get us in the spirit, here are some things I picked up while learning on my machine...

- If you have an old machine with no manual, simply contact the company who created the machine and they may be able to send you a manual. My machine is over 40 years old and I emailed customer service. They sent me a PDF of the manual for my machine! If they do not have the manual, try searching the net. There are many sewing machine websites that might have what you need.

- Tune-up your machine! Look in the phone book for sewing machine repair shops or search the net. I am sure there is a place in you town. For under $100 you can have your machine repaired, oiled and tuned up good as new.

- Don't have a machine? There are machines for every budget. I bought a new one for under $80 but have seen them go as much as $8,000! So shop around and get the machine that is right for you.

- Hit the books. One of my favorites is a children's book by Winky Cherry. My First Sewing Machine Book is a great starter but I think the best thing is to hit the library. Pick up all the books you can. Even if you don't understand everything in the books you are still immersing yourself in the topic. When you are ready to learn that skill you didn't understand before, you will learn it faster because you have some previous experience with it.

- Surf the web. There are ton of websites that can help you on your way. Craftster is my personal favorite because of all the information they have but there are a ton more as well.

- Take a class. Check out sewing stores for classes. Even chain stores like A.C. Moore have classes. We will soon be offering classes as well!

- When you are ready for patterns choose "Simple" or "Simple to Make".

I think that is all I have for now. So help us celebrate National Sewing Month by sewing something!

If you have any other tips, leave a comment! We would love to see them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Follow Us Sale! 20% off your next order!

We've been busy here at the store getting everything ready for Halloween and with Halloween comes Thanksgiving and then Christmas and Chanukah. We have everything you need to make those holidays shine and we are hoping that you will try us out for all your crafting needs so we are offering an awesome sale on our Etsy site and in store!

Until September 3, 2010, become a follower on our blog, our Twitter or Facebook and get a coupon code for 20% of your next order! Simple send us a message on the site you joined for your code!




See how easy is it to get some cash off on some amazing fabrics and buttons? So get going and follow us!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Halloween is Coming!

Even though it is still hot as Heck most these last days August, when dusk comes one can catch a slight whiff of wood burning, earth and something else, something most definitely Fall. The scent of apple picking, pumpkin carving, leaf jumping and hot cider drinking. I spend the whole summer looking for this scent because once I smell it, I know Halloween is on it's way!

Halloween is by far our favorite holiday. There is nothing like eating embarrassingly large amounts of candy and dressing up and acting silly. Halloween and Fall is an adults excuse to just play and the joy of sharing this fun with our children. (and sometimes our pets!)

Here at Sew What's New there is no limit to the costumes and decorations you can make from our endless supply of fabrics and buttons. Sometimes great costumes are as easy as just a few safety pins and a great trim. (Togas anyone?)

In the next couple of weeks we will be posting great and easy costume ideas and tutorials. We will be also offering costume kits on our Etsy site to make it even easier to make the neighbors jealous!

For now take a gaze at the wonderful cat costume made from our fabrics! I mean you can't beat glittery leopard print!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our New York Times Feature!

This is too good not to share. Our humble little store was in the New York Times!

Check out the article here.

PERSONAL SHOPPER; Period Costume for Midcentury Furniture
By Marianne Rohrlich
Published: February 10, 2000

IF it's time to reupholster that midcentury sofa or chair, why not pick a fabric pattern with a pedigree of its own? Paul Hazlett, a restorer and upholsterer of modern furniture in Orangeburg, N.Y. (914-398-1315), enjoys combing shops for bolts of vintage fabric. ''If the material has been stored properly,'' he said, ''the fibers will be strong enough to use.'' Mr. Hazlett also uses new wools and other materials true to the spirit of the period. ''It's the colors that are sometimes different,'' he said, ''and there are more synthetics today.''

In fact, some textile manufacturers are reintroducing (and sometimes reinterpreting) patterns that have been out of production for years. Many of the new fabrics have a tweedy, textured surface associated with post-World War II design. George Marcus, a co-author of ''Landmarks of 20th-Century Design: An Illustrated Handbook'' (just reissued by Abbeville Press), thinks what was modern then is still news. ''Nubby tweeds, neutral colors and informality: when good design reigned, texture in textiles was emphasized above all else,'' he said.

1. Alexander Girard designed this red-and-orange-striped wool for Herman Miller in the 1960's. The vintage cloth is $100 a yard in limited quantities at Form and Function, 95 Vandam Street (Hudson Street).

2. Futura, a new textile by Unika Vaev with small geometric patterns, was inspired by designs of the 1950's. Its blend of cotton, polyester and nylon is woven with a boucle yarn; $58 a yard at ICF, (800) 237-1625 or www.ICFsource.com/uv.

3. Bossanova is a 1999 interpretation of a 1950's American bark cloth, a crepelike patterned cotton. Designed by Michelle Mancini for Full Swing, it is one of 24 reproduction patterns offered by the company. It costs $54 a yard to the trade at Donghia, 979 Third Avenue (59th Street).

4. Cato, a nubby wool and nylon blend designed by Florence Knoll in the late 1950's, is still in production; $100 a yard at Knoll, 105 Wooster Street (Spring Street).

5. Melooni, designed by Maija Isola for Marimekko in 1962, was reintroduced last month with six other classic patterns; in cotton, for $72 a yard at DelGreco, 232 East 59th Street, (888) 343-7285.

6. Cranbrook, a woven rayon fabric designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1929, is still in production and costs $65 a yard at ICF. Limited quantities are available for $30 a yard at Sew What's New, a 6,000-square-foot discount fabric emporium at 263 Main Street in Nyack, N.Y. (914-358-3000), where Mr. Hazlett often finds his treasures. (In fact, we still have that fabric along with others designed by Eliel Saarinen in stock! We, however, are now 845-358-3000.)

7. Shinano, a new design by Sherry Donghia, is an irregular weave of cotton chenille, rayon and thin metallic yarns with a handmade look; $94 a yard at Donghia.

8. Next month, four 1947 patterns originally designed for the Museum of Modern Art by Charles and Ray Eames will be reintroduced. The Small Dot pattern (on the chair) and Circles (background) are $63 a yard. Both are from Maharam, (800) 645-3943; to the trade only.

9. Compagna, a field of squares and rectangles originally designed by Angelo Testa in 1951, is now a woven upholstery fabric of polyester and cotton, rather than a printed cotton; $33 a yard at Knoll.

Photos (Photographs by Tony Cenicola for The New York Times; chair from Modernlink at ABC Carpet & Home)

Cool huh?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Buttons? We've got your buttons right here!

When we decided to go online we were sure that our fabric would speak for itself. It turns out, however, that the buttons are speaking louder than the fabric!

We do have an amazing array of buttons that would make any collector drool. I've even turned my macho co-worker into a Buttonist! When we have a little slack at the shop, we are up and down looking for interesting buttons, comparing them in the book we have and setting them aside for the true button enthusiast! I mean look to the left, those buttons are in a large garbage can and customers can buy them by the cup load. I know, its nuts.

In fact when a person buys a button from our shop I always make sure they know all about the origin of the buttons they are purchasing. I'm a little protective of our buttons. I always say there are little bits of history!

Our buttons come from a variety of different places most notably a button store that was located close to our shop. They closed in the late 60's and we got their buttons! So, a lot of our buttons come from as early as the 1930's up to the late 60's and some more modern buttons thrown in from our own collection.

On our Etsy shop I try to showcase the best of the best but since I am new at buttons I never know what I have. Which makes it fun to shop with us because there are always surprises. Here is just a sample of the vintage carded buttons we carry.

Thanks to some great people I have learned so much about our buttons and if you are interested there are great societies and clubs dedicated just to buttons that will be more than willing to help you with your collection. Here are some links to get you started...

- National Button Society

- I Want Buttons - More Button Society links.

- Button Collectors - Tons and tons of different links.

And of course there is always us! We offer millions (Literally.) of different kinds of buttons in all shapes and sizes. You don't need to be a collector to appreciate a good button. We have buttons for all your projects. There are even buttons that would be perfect for jewelry making. Have you made a project using our buttons? Let us know and we will post it right here! For example, on of my favorite customers makes gorgeous hats, belts, headbands and so much more with some of our buttons and trim and the results are amazing! Take a peek...

You can find her on Etsy as Earthgatherings and she makes beautiful stuff and I wish I had the same figure as her model!

So, if you are interested in any of our buttons, fabrics or all the other stuff we have here then please do not hesitate to ask us. We are here to help you make the best of your projects. Sometimes buttons make all the difference in the world. Check us out on Etsy and on Ebay for all types of great items that I just know you will love. Look at the left, that's just one of our "purple" button drawers!

Remember please do not hesitate to ask us for any measurement or photo. We are here for you!