Meeting an old friend for the first time!

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Los Angeles for a bit of a break from winter. (Although I seemed to have brought the winter along with me from Toronto — the LA newscasts were full of handwringing about how damn COLD it was there. Alas.)

Anyway, one of the reasons for my trip was to hang out with Helena, who you might know is my co-host on the Clothes Making Mavens podcast. She’s also an extremely talented sewist with an incredible sense of style. Helena and I have been doing the podcast together for almost two years but we’ve only ever connected via Skype. I was super-excited to be finally meeting her in person!

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We had a great time together! Rarely do I get a chance to go fabric shopping with someone who wants to spend Just. As. Much. Time. in the the store as I do! What a treat. We compared notes on how we like to shop for fabric, which we both agree involves several steps:
1. tour around the store checking everything out
2. tour around the store again deciding what to buy
3. get fabric cut
4. tour around store again to make sure no fabric bolt has been left unturned!

As you can see from the photo above we made sure to visit Mood in LA! While we were there we realized we pretty much have the exact same taste in colours. Big fans of blues, hot pink, blush pink, and purples; not so big on orange. We ended up buying a LOT of the same fabrics.

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WHY didn’t I buy some of this knit??? Oh well, there always has to be “one that got away” to keep you feeling wistful.
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Looking like the cat that ate the canary at the checkout

After lunch we headed to the downtown fabric district. OH. MY. GOD. My head almost exploded. We’re talking several square city blocks teeming with fabric stores, one after another. There was so much sparkly sequinned fabric glittering on sidewalks in the California sun I’m sure my retinas are irreparably damaged. There were entire stores that seemed to specialize in nothing but fun fur! You’d need at least an entire week to check out every store. And do I have pictures for you? NO, OF COURSE NOT. I always *think* I’m going to take a ton of pictures for my blog but then I get happily caught up in the moment and don’t want to be a slave to my phone.

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I’m so glad I was with Helena, who piloted me to a couple of her favourite shops. General Textiles at 425 East 9th Street was great — I met Aries who works there and helped us find some cool fabrics. Such a great guy! I bought some metallic gold, diamond quilted, faux-leathery type thing to make a bomber jacket! (Helena practically forced me! — LOL!)

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Aries at General Textiles, with Helena and me and our loot!

We popped into Golden Cutting and Sewing Machine Supplies at 921 East 8th Street which seems to stock every do-dad you could possibly need for sewing, along with trims, buttons, snaps, etc. Then we hot-footed it to Tex City at 520 East 9th Street just before closing time. Helena was on FIRE in this store; she rummaged through bolts on top shelves like a pro and I basically just stood around waiting for her to come up for air with some incredible gem and bought some of that! She found a beautiful navy blue bonded stretch leather, and some blush pink sweater knit. We made a good haggling team — Helena would get the price down and then I’d pipe up that I’d buy some, too, if they lowered the price even more.

I almost forgot to mention that we also stopped in at the FIDM Scholarship Store. This is the store run by the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in which they sell clothes, fabric, shoes, and accessories donated by fashion companies. Helena bought some beautiful lace trims there and I bought a couple of necklaces. The clothes were interesting but of course we are both on the Ready-to-Wear Fast this year so they were off-limits.

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Lace trim from the FIDM Scholarship Store. Photo: Helena’s Instagram account @grayalldayblog

We rounded out our day by heading back to the apartment I’d rented in LA for a glass of wine and donuts for dinner. If I didn’t already know how much I liked Helena, the moment she agreed that for dinner we should just eat the donuts we’d picked up earlier sealed the deal! We went through our fabric hauls together like kids after trick-or-treating.

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Pistachio lemon thyme donuts — nuts, a fruit, and a vegetable, so that obviously makes them a good choice to eat for dinner. 

All in all it was a great day hanging out with an old friend that I met for the first time! What a treat. I texted Helena in the morning to tell her I had a happiness hangover.

This sewing hobby of ours has some really great side-perks, don’t you think? Making friends with other sewists through this great online community we have is AMAZING. I’m grateful you’re all out there, connecting with each other. ❤

Cool fact: next week I’m meeting up with Ramona of Knit Me Too for a coffee. Another cool online connection manifesting in real life. Yippee!

Hot tip: never be afraid to reach out to someone in the sewing community if you know you’re going to be in their neck of the woods, including me! If you’re in Toronto or ever thinking of visiting, let’s hang out!

Another cool fact: I have just bought my ticket for Pattern Review Weekend Canada, in Stratford, Ontario on June 1 & 2nd. Will I see you there?

What real-life connections have you made from the online community? Not that the online connections we make aren’t ‘real life’ — maybe you’ve made fast-friends with someone just online? I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping by!

— Lori

 

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17 thoughts on “Meeting an old friend for the first time!

  1. What a great story! If I were still living in Kitchener I would have been at the patternreview weekend retreat FOR SURE but alas I won’t be flying from here (Victoria BC) to attend…regardless of how tempting it is. Such a treat to have it in Canada – I don’t think Deepika has ever done this? This was great fun to read! I was surprised to read you & Helena have only just met – on your podcast you seem as though you’ve been friends for years and so I’m not surprised that it would be just like that upon meeting in person for the first time. I’ve made many online sewing friends – and offline too. It is a uniquely inspiring and warm community!

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  2. You. So. LUCKY! It sounds as though you had the perfect day with the perfect person.

    I have another commitment on the PR weekend so I won’t be attending. Ironically, it’s a weekend of fun with a group of ladies I met through blogging. You really can, and do, make some wonderful connections through this blogosphere. And speaking of….I’ll count on you to steer me towards a fabric store and a wine bar, in no particular order, when I get to TO one day!

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  3. Thanks, Helen! That’s great you’re coming to PR weekend. I can’t wait to meet you and Caroline in person, too. Helena is even thinking about coming from California…I’m pouring the pressure on right now. 😉

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  4. Hi Lori, I am so tempted to take you up on that offer to hang out as I am coming to Toronto next week. Unfortunately, I will be there only for a day and a half and have many other commitments already. But definitely next time! But could you recommend a fabric store not far from downtown I could pop in for a quick fabric fix (if such thing is possible because I can totally identify with your fabric shopping steps). Inna

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    1. Hi Inna! I’m sorry you won’t have time to meet up! You’re in luck — there are plenty of fabric shops in Toronto within a block or two of each other, mainly on Queen Street West, just west of Spadina Ave, which is very central. I would go to King Textiles at 161 Spadina Ave, then head along Queen Street to say, Downtown Fabric at 436 Queen Street West, then on to Affordable Textiles (2 shops next to each other) at 529-531 Queen Street West. You’ll spot several other fabric shops & sewing supply stores along this block, so just pop into any that catch your fancy. I hope you have a great stay in “The 6ix”, and make sure you hit me up next time you’re here. 😀

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  5. Hi Inna! I’m sorry you won’t have time to meet up! You’re in luck — there are plenty of fabric shops in Toronto within a block or two of each other, mainly on Queen Street West, just west of Spadina Ave, which is very central. I would go to King Textiles at 161 Spadina Ave, then head along Queen Street to say, Downtown Fabric at 436 Queen Street West, then on to Affordable Textiles (2 shops next to each other) at 529-531 Queen Street West. You’ll spot several other fabric shops & sewing supply stores along this block, so just pop into any that catch your fancy. I hope you have a great stay in “The 6ix”, and make sure you hit me up next time you’re here. 😀

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