Sewing & Summer Selfcare
It has been a minute! How's your summer (or winter for my southern hemisphere friends) going? I always get that lag of sewjo when the sun comes out, which took until July in the PNW where I live! July!!
Let's back up. To kick off summer, I piggybacked a local fabric store's trip down to LA to experience the garment district and what it's like to buy wholesale. My friend Karleen owns the Sewing Studio, an online only fabric store, but her space is in the Portland-metro area. Unbiased, I promise, but if you're not on her mailing list, I highly recommend. She has weekly sales, great deadstock, and her Sunday night remnant clear-outs are to die for.
I digress. I've been to the NYC garment district as a retail buyer, but going to LA as a wholesale buyer was an entirely different adventure! It's post lockdowns, so part of the adventure was seeing who's businesses survived. That part was a bit jarring. There were a lot of empty spots, a lot of those remaining were pivoting to polyester and/or formal dress fabrics (not really what Sewing Studio carries), fewer natural fibers, and quality was hard to find. We figuratively and literally dug through what was left. You can see some of my reels on Instagram of the footage I took, like here's a good one.
Which brings me to...YouTube. Video is the way, and I take a lot of video but it hasn't been until recently that Instagram has become all but useless. We knew it was coming, but wow. What a brain suck, amirite? So, I'll work on putting all the great jobber footage on YouTube for you. You can watch the adventure all in one spot, and I'll do some voice over for you too, so explain what you're looking at if you haven't been to LA's garment district. If you want to subscribe now, cool. If not, that's cool too. I think we know by now I'm easy going.
AND I'm an avid biker. I say biker....but I'm a cyclist...without the spandex. I love all cyclists, and I do own a zippy road bike, but I'm mostly a slow, transportation human on a big fat tire ebike going to the farmers market kind of cyclist, so I say biker, but not biker like Sturgis and...
We had a little Pedalpalooza ride called #sewmanybikes! Portland is a bikey city, and every year folks post rides on this shared Pedalpalooza calendar to bike together. Marne had this great idea...this is Marne and me:
As there seems to be a sub-niche of sewing cyclists, and I had the Frocktails audience...and holy macaroni. Folks, we had over 50 people! And here's the weird part... normally at a sewing event, I know a lot of the folks. I didn't this time. Like, pandemic moving shifts, job shifts, niche-uncovering, crossover newbs...the whole thing. It was BEAUTIFUL. I LOVE meeting new people. In fact, here's me doing my ride sweep duty (caboose of the ride so no one gets left behind) and fixing a flat in my 6 year old Cone Mills Ginger Jeans no less, LOL:
Here's the video I took, but there's more online under the hashtag on IG and on other YouTubes (who am I with all the youtube??):
It's really cool. Not gonna lie. I can't even be humble...but it wasn't about me, so I guess that's moot. It's just cool. I'm sure next year it will be even bigger. Do you have stuff like this in your city? I'm telling you...with Frocktails and with this Pedalpalooza ride...anyone can make it happen. If you don't have one where you live, make it. It's so worth it.
I also had a kid move out to Boston and I have another moving to university in the fall, so I redid the whole upstairs to make it more tween friendly for the tween remaining, and more boy-cave (not shown) for the teen boy remaining.
Went to the Portland Art Museum with tween and her friend on a rainy summer day...
Did another ride with the tween and a neighborhood crew...
which ended at a pub with an arcade...
and all in all, it's been pretty cool to slow down. I've had a little medical scare with my peri menopause being weird and a dental thing come up, and I'll write more on that later as I integrate more of my real life here and less on Instagram, but slowing down has been good. Gaining some perspective. I've been a mom so long and putting myself on the back burner for so long, the pandemic+political bullshit that is now, and not stopping to take care of me properly, I feel like I had a little wake-up call and need to shift gears into more me.
So, I'll be more regular here. Mostly with self-care and life things and as they relate to our sewing world. Sewing isn't an island, and while it is self-care and it can be our escape, sometimes we need to know we are not alone in other ways...sometimes that's biking, sewcializing, going to garment districts, or stopping to paint the upstairs a more grown-up color for the kids but really so you can listen to an audiobook for a few days by your damn self, because that's really half of what I was doing, and that's ok.
In my experience, especially with the pandemic of added stress, we need each other more than ever and need to connect more than ever. So, I'll reach out more.