Monday, February 07, 2011

Curtain Call

Gardeners are a creative bunch of people and most of us have others things we do when we are not gardening.  One of my other lifelong endeavors has been sewing, clothes in the beginning for myself and my children then home decor, curtains, draperies, dust ruffles, duvets, pillow shams and pillows.

A trip to Chicago to a very old warehouse building

Sometimes I get ahead of myself in regard to what I can accomplish and have to rely on the trades to get me through a project like the fabric and fringe I had for a year to make new animal print pillows for my husband's chair.  He finally convinced me to bring the materials into the store and have them made.  I hate to give in to this because I know I can save a lot of money doing it myself - they're being made!

Yesterday, my daughter, sister-in-law and I took a trek into the city to a place that few fellow seamstresses could envision.  It is called Fishman's Fabrics (10,000 square feet of warehouse space established in 1903) and it is the largest collection of fabrics, supplies and trims that I have ever seen, overwhelming.  I had been there many years ago but as I remember was so confused by the multitude of materials I didn't buy a thing.

The city is still in disarray with cars totally buried in the snow, forget about street parking, and many chairs and tables holding parking spaces.  We were lucky enough to get into their small lot because we got there early.

There are three full floors of fabrics, every type imaginable, at bargain basement prices, racks of silks, velvets, sheers, linings, etc.  It is easy to get lost in there going from room to room to room on each floor.  The elevator is out of the 1920's, you know with the iron cage that comes down when you get on and you have to raise it up manually when you've reached your destination.

Racks of laces


More trims

Glitzy trims

A sale on trims

My daughter found some beautiful materials for draperies and valences for two of her rooms.  She is an excellent seamstress but has very little time, so seeking out the trades to help out may be an option.  My sister-in-law teaches Home Economics including sewing so she has many projects going at all times.

Checkout time

I didn't buy anything today either, they brought me along as a "color consultant."  This is the first time I've been called that, but I did enjoy the experience.


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, What an amazing place. The sheer scale of it all is so impressive but, as you say, it can leave one stunned and incapable of buying anything. I am not at all surprised that you were called in as a 'colour consultant' since certainly in your garden planting schemes you have an excellent eye for colour and detail.

Karen said...

As a lifelong seamstress, I can certainly appreciate this post! What an amazing inventory to choose from, I've never seen that much stock all under one roof. If I'm ever in Chicago, I'll have to search this place out.

Mary Anne said...

OMG I am sheepishly ashamed to say I have never been there! Now, I must really did it! Instead of showroom after showroom, it is isle after isle. Even I might be overwhelmed. Thanks for the inspirational post. Eileen!!!

Bonnie said...

I would be overwhelmed too. I just told my daughter this weekend that if she wants me to hem her curtains, she'd better get them to me before gardneing season!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

OMG ! Eileen I would be so overwhelmed .. yet even though I am not a sewer .. seeing all of this gorgeous material would drive me mad thinking I HAVE TO SEW SOMETHING !!! LOL
... I can well imagine the excitement of some one who does sew and seeing this place .. colour consultant is perfect .. did you give them a discount rate for your services because they are family ?LOL
Joy : )

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Edith,

It is a unique shopping experience, not sure I would want to do this on a regular basis. But, my daughter found some beautiful fabrics at resonable prices.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, I know you sew and that you would love this place. But, when you go here you have to have a plan or the whole day would be gone before you knew it.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Mary Anne,

It is an experience, we would need a week there to see everything!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

BOnnie, that's what happens to me. I have too many plans and too little time once the spring hits.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joy,

Once the weather warms up, the sewing will take second place and I really don't need to make anything else at this point. You can only use so many pillows!


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

What an amazing place! I've never seen so many choices of laces and fabrics. My mom sews and I do have a machine but getting myself to sit down and do it is the hard part.

Zoey said...

Wow, Eileen, I can see why you get too overwhelmed to buy anything. I think I would be the same...although I wouldn't mind a few yards of some of that glitzy trim!

I would love to see some of your sewing projects.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Catherine,

I am not as anxious to take on more sewing projects right now. I am pretty well saturated with pillows, etc.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey,

I have sewn since I was a young child, much to my mother's dismay, needles all over the floor, etc. I still have my original sewing machine, a Singer Featherweight, mother's but she never used it.

Maybe, I will do a compostie of some of my recent projects, mostly home decor.


Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Eileen, My Mum made all our clothes growing up and so I am well used to visiting fabric stores. Even so I am sure I too would have been overwhelmed with the vast selection. Picking the right fabric for a project can be tricky! I'll bet you had great fun as the color consultant for the day.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I love that you call your Mother, Mum. My mother was born in Ireland and my cousins that are living there called their mother Mum.

My daughter brought along paint samples, fabrics, photos, so it made being a color consultant very easy.


joey said...

Wow, most impressive, Eileen. My mother was an excellent seamstress, made everything we wore, including coats, on an old Singer treadle machine. And shame on me, I can barely thread a needle!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joey,

My mother did not sew at all. She bought a sewing machine when I was about nine and I took it over. I don't know where I got the sewing gene.


Indoor Fountains said...


You are truly multi-talented!!