Currently on the backburner

The other weekend MS and I went to the Minnesotan Mecca of fabric, SR Harris. After the Textile Garage Sale I didn’t need to buy more fabric but *spoiler alert* I left with fabric I’m pretty excited about.

Since we both play ultimate, the spandex section gave us inspiration to sew some unique leggings.  We both bought two yards of this geometric print, because it was also glittery with gggoooollllllddddd.


Until a few years ago, if I worked out at all, my gear consisted of old cotton t-shirts, the one sports bra I bought at Target in 2007, and one pair of aged running shorts. I do have many more polyester jerseys and running shorts, but leggings are still scarce. Target is great for most of my  athletic gear needs but all their leggings are too low cut. Combined with my generous bottom, I’ve experienced the unfortunate feeling of my butt crack exposed to the elements or threatening to expose itself to said elements. NO THANK YOU.

Mom taught me well and I refuse to pay full price for clothing. This policy generally works but makes finding athletic gear harder. Some of the smaller pattern companies like Fehr Trade, Jalie, and Sewaholic offer athletic/atheleisure patterns but since this is a test, I wanted something cheaper and more readily accessible (I hate assembling PDF patterns). The Big Four pattern companies don’t offer many options in athletic wear but recently seasons have produced a few, perhaps due to the popularity of atheleisure wear. Kwik Sew 4163 looked promising and I picked it up today.

Line art for Kwik Sew 4163

I don’t care for the tank top but the legging pattern looks like it would hold up while running around. The line art makes it hard to discern whether there is a crotch gusset to facilitate movement and prevent seams from rubbing at the crotch. I also appreciate the hot pants option; if this patterns pans out, I could see shiny gold athletic shorts (gaudy yet functional) in my future!

Treasure hunting at the Textile Garage Sale, part 2/2

Sarah and I were at the Textile Garage Sale for about two hours, and I was tired by the end of it. When you’re sifting through tables of disorganized goods, it can get overwhelming exerting energy into digging and debating over what’s worth taking home.


For about $33, I left with some great finds:

  • 3 yards black sand-washed rayon ($6)
  • 4 yards retro printed red rayon challis ($4)
  • 4 yards black, white, and coral linen from Elliot Berman(!) ($4)
  • 68 inches green and white print poly knit ($1)
  • 1 yard of cotton/poly Bermuda plaid ($2)
  • Several books and pamphlets on fitting ($10)
  • 20ish sewing patterns ($3)
  • Vintage buttons ($4)


Day to day, I wear mainly solids and stripes. Consequently, I tried to look for those although prints much more visually appealing! The black sandwashed rayon was a triumphant find and I hope to use it as a pair of casual pants or wrap dress.

The linen was luxurious find; it was stuck deep in a metal bookshelf. Originally $30  per yard at Elliot Berman. It has an 80’s take on the 50’s vibe. Destined for a sundress this summer.

I snagged the green and white polyester knit on my last lap around. It reminded me of a print used for a vintage Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, like the one below. There’s only 68 inches of it, so a faux wrap dress might require less yardage.

I can live without a collar though

Not sure what the red rayon challis and plaid will be made into. The rayon challis was neatly packaged in a ziplock bag with the yardage and label of “pre-washed.” Clearly, it came from a loving home so I was obliged to take it with me.

The poly knit and challis smelled musty even after washing. A few spritzes of vodka and hours out in the sunshine got rid of the basement smell.

Came home with quite a few buttons too. Hoping they’ll inspire/encourage me to try making buttonholes on my sewing machine


Patterns were a mishmash, but mostly Stretch & Sew. I’ve heard positive things about them so I was interested in trying some out. I also found some lingerie patterns by Dolores of St. Paul. Sewing + local history = interesting, but Google didn’t produce any valuable information about this local pattern designer.


The Textile Garage Sale was immensely satisfying. It was awesome seeing so many people of various ages and ethnicity together with the common goal of finding a great deal on crafting supplies. It’s definitely going on my calendar for next year. Now, to actually start using my finds…

Treasure hunting at the Textile Garage Sale, part 1/2

Last month the Textile Center held its annual Textile Garage Sale. I hadn’t been in a couple years since my last sewing phase. With a friend, we drove over to the University of Minnesota’s ReUse Program warehouse on Saturday. Parked in the adjacent lot for $4. Doors opened at 9am and we rolled in a little after 10am; already people were walking out with enormous bags and I panicked on the inside. What if all the good stuff was taken?


The ReUse warehouse is exactly that; a big rectangular building with high shelves of castoffs from the university.  Chairs from various eras, sturdy desks, more chairs, lab equipment, the random popcorn machine…did I mention they have a lot of chairs? It’s open to the public on Thursday mornings and their Facebook page lists new items on Wednesdays, often with amusing captions.

An interior shot of the ReUse warehouse, courtesy of UMN

Some of the aisles are consequently made wide to allow for forklifts and items that couldn’t make it onto the shelves. They also make a perfect place to hold a textile garage sale. People donate their unwanted textile-related goods – sewing machines, weaving looms, yarn, fabric, etc – and volunteers bravely sort through and price everything the Thursday evening prior. On Friday you can attend a preview sale for $25-35  and Saturday is open to everyone for the more acceptable entry price of $2.

I didn’t need to worry about not finding anything. After my eye adjusted to the dim lighting, two enormous aisles presented themselves. The first was filled with books, magazines, bins of sewing patterns, and sewing machines. The second – as seen below – was filled with yarn, fiber, knitting/weaving/sewing notions, and best of all, A TON OF FABRIC.

The fabric/yarn/notions aisle

A couple of tips when diving through such a divine yet chaotic place:

  • Bring a snack and a bottle of water
  • Bring hand sanitizer
  • Bring a Benedryl if you’re allergic to dust
  • Bring a tote bag or collapsible shopping cart
  • Be really, really patient

Anti-anxiety meds are also work great if you hate crowds! Some people had backpacks or wagons, which was smart. I brought a collapsible shopping tote, which worked great but gave me a crick in the neck after walking around a few hours with all the weight on one side. They stamp your hand upon entry so you can walk out and take a breather. They also had a “coat check” where you could check in a big pile of goods before diving in to find more. Smart ladies.

I brought water, but a snack would have helped. Thankfully, I ate breakfast before leaving. Volunteers walked through, bravely trying to re-organize the shelves and tables of fabric and what not. A Sisyphean task, as another wave of shoppers would pick through and create more work.

An example of what you have to dig through

I took photos on my phone, but they turned out blurry on account of needing more food and a break. My hands were feeling very shaky. Perhaps it was from all the excitement of rooting through so much fabric. Probably a combination of both. Next post is about my finds.