Category Archives: Field Trip

A common thread…


Last week, I visited the cutest little sewing shop here in Austin, Common Thread.

One of my favorite things about the store is that it seems to primarily cater to apparel sewists, which is a refreshing change! A few years ago, I had been so excited to visit a little fabric store that had popped up on SoCo, but was bitterly disappointed when I found it to be mostly craft and handbag textiles. Since I’m not big on patterns, the mismatch was very large!

But Common Thread had very little craft fabric and was almost exclusively high quality fashion fabrics. They even had cotton gauze in two colors and patterns! I didn’t even know that gauze could be made out of cotton!

I found some beautiful voile (post coming) and trimmings, and also some remnants of a gorgeous black linen, and also some cotton/bamboo fabric for pretty cheap. I was actually shopping for the voile/batiste because I wanted to make some edwardian night gowns and chemises, and I did check prices online before we went, because I still don’t know what things should cost. I was pleasantly surprised that the voile I found was a little cheaper than it would have been online — lots if you count shipping and disregard sales tax (which I do)!

We also got the supplies and instructions on how to make this knit and lace green and black top… I love it! It was my first time working with either of those fabrics, and it was so much fun!


Isn’t it darling! One of their customers came up with the design and left instructions at the shop!

Notice I said “we” above… Because Mister came with me. Common Thread is where he started thinking about sewing a shirt. He looked at their fabrics a while, then decided he’d make a muslin first! But he did buy his shirt pattern there!

All in all, we’ll definitely be back.

If you want to read more about the shop, check out this lengthy article from our local Indy paper, The Austin Chronicle.

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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in creations, Field Trip


I’ve been too busy to blog!

Oh dear friends, it’s been a busy sewing month of September! I’ve had a rough time trying to stop and blog what I’ve been up to! A lot of the projects I’ve been working on have been in muslin, rather than finished fabrics, so I guess I wasn’t as excited to show you the results 🙂

All except this one…


I’ll be catching you up on all my projects over the next few days, but here’s a quickie preview!

During the month of September, I…

  • Visited a new sewing store in town, Common Thread
  • Dropped my vintage Bernina off at the store for a much-needed tune-up
  • Bought a bucketload of patterns, many from Colette!
  • Bit the bullet and bought my first silk charmeuse…and then washed it! A terrifying process that worked better than I could have dreamed!
  • Bought a new sewing machine… introductions will be made later
  • Learned how to grade a pattern
  • Learned how to modify a neckline
  • Started watching Project Runway… I’m not sure I’m happy about it, either. More on this to come.
  • Started working with voile for the first time
  • Made an adorable shirt out of lace + knit…on a whim! My first time working with either and it was so rewarding! (see above)
  • Modified my dress form so that it actually matches my own measurements…what a difference!

I’ll also confess that it’s been busy at work, and here at Maison du Chat… but October marks the beginning of fall here in Texas, and I’m so inspired by my successes that I can’t wait to finish some of my projects and share them with you!

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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Field Trip, new skills, planning, Rookie Mistakes, shopping


Final haul from the CWGS

My favorite reason to go to the city wide garage sale is the fabric tables.

These are dealers who sell fabric — all sorts — by the pound. It might be dresses, or quilts, or kitchen towels, or hankies, or vintage clothing… you never know what you’ll find.

But my favorite table has to be the scarves. I like to wear them in my hair, mostly. They’re all $2 a piece, and here’s my goodies from last weekend:

Blue and pink sheer loveliness:


A stately paisley:


Blue upon blue polka dots:

Royal blue with white flowers:


Army green with green prints:


Black with white polka dots and a solid border:


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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Field Trip, shopping


Other goodies from the CWGS

Here’s find number two from the City Wide Garage Sale.

I’ve never bought or worked with a vintage pattern before, but I have really wanted to take the plunge. All the ones I find on Etsy, though, are way too expensive for me to experiment with, especially considering all the modifications I’ll have to make because — really? — girls just didn’t come in my size back then (or so it seems!).

But these? These were $1 each. How could I resist?

These are so Audrey Hepburn I could just scream. Of course, I’m not build like Lady A, but I still think they might work on me…

I’m kind of a sucker for the bodice detailing here… and I love stripes, even though I don’t own anything striped!

The pants are just silly, and I don’t know that the top will work, logistically, with my tummy, but isn’t it adorable?

Best $3 I’ve ever spent at the CWGS!

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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Field Trip, shopping


City Wide Garage Sale

I’ve been too busy sewing and stashing to blog! And there’s still the little matter of the summer rush at work, too.

Last weekend, I visited the City Wide Garage Sale. Which is a really misleading name. It’s more like the city wide dealers-who-think-their-stuff-is-worth-more-than-it-is type sale, but sometimes, you can find great stuff.

This go round, I found a woman who was de-stashing from a lifetime of fabric collecting. She’d overpriced everything, but hadn’t had luck selling it, so she said half off every tag. Which meant I got all of this for $80 (and before anyone asks, I’m wearing a tank top in these photos…photography can be so tricksy sometimes!

4 yards of red silk duponi… perhaps a sheath dress….

2 yards of military green wool for a military skirt…

3 1/2 yards of a red shirtweight silk and 2 yards of white with red polka dots cotton for two Colette Sorbetto tanks, styled differently!

And 3 yards of a flowered blue silk with white stripes, which is totally not my style, and I have no idea what to do with, but I loved it too much at $12 to pass it up:

I got a few other goodies, too, which I’ll share tomorrow!

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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Field Trip, shopping


Field Trip: Silk Road Textile Merchants, Austin, Texas

There are a limited number of fabric stores in Austin, and since I don’t usually find what I’m looking for at the Big 3 (JoAnns, Hancock Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby), I’m always excited to learn about a new (to me) fabric store in the area.

Silk Road is not a new store — in fact, I’d always looked longingly at their little storefront-in-a-house on Lamar, where they used to be located. When I saw the building was for sale, I thought I’d missed my chance to visit some of their legendarily beautiful fabrics… this was about 2 years ago.  Then, yesterday, I discovered that they had not closed down, but instead had moved to a new location — and that new location was less than a mile from my house.

Oh, behave.

Finding the Flat Bed building where they’re located was no trouble at all — those green steps are hard to miss! — but once I was outside the building, I wasn’t sure I was in the right place. Luckily, the owner of SR was on the steps, people watching as bikers from the ROT Rally drove by, and she welcomed us inside. As we left, I did notice that Silk Road was listed among the shops painted on the green steps, but I didn’t even notice when we arrived!

The owner (I’m guessing) led us down the art-lined hallways to a small space crammed with fabric.

And oh, what fabric!


Gorgeous cotton batiks….


Lovely silks… sorry I forgot to grab a photo of the bolts and bolts of dupioni! I’m also kicking myself for not grabbing a photo of all their buttons… sooo many buttons, and even a card catalog (be still, my heart!) filled with yet more buttons!


And a rainbow of linen… including the yummy burgundy I took home as my prize…


I will definitely be back to the Silk Road…


… though, at these prices, I can tell it’s going to be only once I’ve perfected a pattern, and am ready to make the investment in a quality fabric that will make it a permanent member of my wardrobe.

This linen is going to make up another version of the black & white dotted skirt and top outfit, but this time, I’m going to make a muslin, and really work on getting a perfect fit, before I get anywhere near this fabric with a pair of scissors!


Posted by on June 12, 2011 in Field Trip, shopping