Monday, May 21, 2012

PR weekend 2012 NYC recap

Welcome to the Fashion District


Fashion Ave and 37th!

How are you???

the big button

I'm just resting and recovering from buying 47 yards of fabric (and many many yards of lingerie elastic) at PR weekend in NYC. (Yes, 47 yards, and then Kashi threw in another yard (as below). Reading my post from PR Weekend 2010 Philly, where I bought 7 yards of fabric and spent $16 and $24 on notions, then PR weekend Chicago 2011, where I bought ~15 yards of fabric and spent maybe $120, this year was hopefully just an outlier year and not the midst of an exponential shopping curve!)

the big button

Here's the recap:

needle and fabric

Day 0:  Pre-conference Thursday
Finished packing in the morning after having a major shoe conundrum. Felt excited that I was bringing 30 patterns with me for the pattern exchange so I knew I had 1/4 of my luggage space devoted to the stuff that would be coming home with me. (I was committed to shipping fabric home, and was also committed to giving but not taking patterns at the exchange).

Took the bus to NY Port Authority. The bus picks me up practically in front of my house, so it really couldn't be any easier than that.

Ran into Lisette while pushing my bag from Port Authority down 7th Ave.  She was in front of MSG waiting for Connie to emerge from the train.  So we chatted awhile and with Connie's appearance, made our way to the hotel on foot (this is sounding like The Amazing Race, only it's the fabric, not the world, that's waiting.)   The hotel was really great--I enjoyed it a lot--pretty quiet for NYC and cozy  (but not as cozy as Rome, that was the smallest hotel room I've ever stayed in.)

After lunch on a bench in Madison Square Park, we hit up The City Quilter, across from the hotel.  They also have a gallery space devoted to amazing quilts.

Lisette and Connie talk quilts at the City Quilter
Lisette and Connie talk quilts

That's where I bought my first piece of fabric, a half yard for a bag, woot!

Then we continued on to Truemart Fabrics on the corner, which is probably the smallest, most claustrophobic fabric shop I've ever been in. I didn't buy anything there, but am still thinking about some brown embroidered fabric I saw there...
TrueMart fabrics
At TrueMart we ran into PR member Cassy. Lisette, Cassy and I went to the FIT graduating student exhibits and we ran into Rachel, who was my seatmate on the bus last year at PR weekend Chicago.
FIT campus
On the recommendation of a friend of mine, Geralyn and I had dinner together at a restaurant called Cafeteria, which was fantastic. I could have had a big bowl of their mac and cheese as my dinner and been satisfied!
the mac and cheese at Cafeteria
me at Cafeteria for dinner  
I'm wearing Butterick 5559
Geralyn at Cafeteria for dinner
I really enjoyed our dinner, Geralyn--it was great talking with you!

After dinner we registered and got our PR goodies: a specially-made ceramic mug with the PR logo on it, and a PR measuring tape.
PR mug and tape measure

Day 1: Friday
I went to Blue Dog Cafe down the street for an omelet, which came with mashed sweet potatoes, toast and salad. YUM!
yummy breakfast from Blue Dog Cafe
It was just the start I needed for the big day o' shopping!
A group of us went to Spandex House first.
Spandex House
Next stop was Mood! Was so excited to finally get to see Swatch after two prior failed attempts! Also got to see Meg again, first time since PR weekend Philly 2010, but she didn't want her picture taken. Swatch said no problem.
me and Swatch at Mood
I'm wearing New Look 6071

Also got to meet up with TJSews who is a fellow Jersey Girl.
me at TJSews at Mood
I was able to get the fabric I want for a raincoat. Brown exterior and turquoise poly lining.

lining and raincoat fabric from Mood
 The cutter even cut a swatch, put in the palm of his hand, poured water into it and showed how it HELD water like it was a cup--that's how water repellant it is! I want to make that McCall's raincoat everyone else made 2 years ago. I'm ready to make it now.

Mood offered a 10% discount and free tote bag.  woot!

This is the foyer in Mood, with the step and repeat (that background that says Mood over and over is called a step and repeat--I had no idea!). And this is me and Karen. I could crop it but I like how it shows the ambiance.  Basically, this is where you wait for the elevator to leave the store.
Karen and me with the Step and Repeat at Mood
And here are Sherill and Stephanie.
Sherril and Stephanie with the Step and Repeat at Mood
I then found myself at Kashi's (Metro Textiles). At first Geralyn was there, then I was all by myself for a pretty long time which was pretty awesome, actually, for ease of looking at All That Fabric.  I was also pleasantly surprised that Kashi has organized the store somewhat--all the double knits were actually together in one place!
me and Kashi at Metro
Kashi said he should run for president, he has his picture taken so often by us sewing bloggers.
By the time other folks showed up, I was almost done shopping.
Here's my haul from Metro (yes, both piles):
my haul at Metro
I asked about the fabric on the dressform in the hallway. Kashi's son said everyone wanted it, they don't have any more left, and he didn't think Kashi would let me have the piece. Well, after my total came to $161, I asked Kashi if I could have the piece. He said, everyone wants that piece, they don't have anymore, there's only a yard left. And I repeated, can I have it?  Well guess what,  I got it for free!!!  When I told others this later, they said that's because I'm from New Jersey.
I scored this piece!
I went to Pacific Trimming (no picture of the store this time, but I bought bought bought there too) and gosh I think one other store maybe and then I went to have lunch in Bryant Park where Fashion Week used to occur...
Bryant Park
After lunch I went to M&J  and Daytona Trims (Turns out that I prefer Pacific, but still bought at both!) and then to Chic Fabrics where I saw fabric I liked, but I had to move on to the Simplicity tour!

Deborah from Simplicity led the tour. I have met her before at the American Sewing Expo and of course she immediately recognized my dress.  It's my favorite one, Deborah--I wear it pretty much once a week ever since I made it!

She explained the pattern process from concept to printed pattern. We also got to see the space where they are sewing the garments and fitting them. There were a lot of cool tidbits in the tour, but I thought it was neat that they make sure the test garment will fit over the shoulders of the dressform without collapsing the shoulders first.
the entrance to the Simplicity Creative Group
The foyer to Simplicity Creative Group

At the Simplicity Tour
The conference room at Simplicity.

A HUGE thanks to Simplicity for adding tours so we could ALL see where the magic happens.
Deborah let us each pick one pattern, and also gave us a trend forecast: Simplicity gifts
Then I went to a Chocolate Cafe to relax a bit.  I had iced chocolate for the first time since Japan.

Chocolate Bar
It felt good to get off my feet and relax a bit.

Then I decided to go to Chic Fabrics again to secure the fabric I was interested in. (Thanks Antoinette for researching from Austin what the hours were for Chic! At that point it was approaching 5pm, so I didn't want to set off for Chic without confirmation they would still be open and I still don't have a smart phone).

At Chic I got all of this:
Chic fabrics
With these two knits being my absolute favorite:
my two favorite chic fabrics
Notice the sparkle in the brown knit??? 
and then a bunch of us went to dinner at Westville, another rec from a friend of mine.   Such a nice meal and great conversation.
dinner at Westfield

Day 2: Saturday 

Saturday daytime was spent at Pace University.  I led a small group on the subway even though I haven't used the subway in 7 years. It all worked out!

First up was master raconteur Kenneth D King. About a year ago I realized that teaching is actually about putting on a show, like a play, every time I teach.  Kenneth is the master at performing.  I first heard him at PR weekend in Philly in 2010 and he is still a hoot. He talked about his 25 year career so far. If you ever get a chance to hear him talk or teach, just GO! I wonder when he'll get his own reality show.  He told stories, he showed pix of his work during the years, he talked about the good and bad times, Martha Stewart, Fortuny fabric, what to say when you don't know how to respond to someone else...(indeed).  I laughed laughed laughed.
Kenneth and Deepika
Kenneth and Deepika
 Kenneth and Bonnie
Kenneth and Bonnie. Bonnie, I'm totally making that top!  And her white Jalie jeans are even more amazing in person!
 Kenneth D King
We listened with rapt attention!
Then it was time for the pattern exchange! Yes, patterns spanned the entire back table!
the massive pattern exchange
I think there were waaay more patterns than last year! I didn't take any and barely looked as I didn't want to be tempted.

Then it was time for lunch. Afterward, Kitty and I walked to the Brooklyn Bridge.  Kitty, I really enjoyed talking with you!
me and the Brooklyn Bridge
I'm wearing New Look 6067

Then Diana Rupp from Make talked about her career teaching sewing, which was also really interesting as there were several parallels between her and Kenneth.
Diana Rupp from Make
She was selling copies of her book, SEW, so I bought one. She asked me what my sewing story is, and when I said my mom taught me how to use the machine but I taught myself the rest, she inscribed the book as follows:
 inscription by Diana Rupp
And then it was time for Jill Ralston from Fabulous Fit to talk about the Fabulous Fit Fitting System. This I was SUPER interested in because when I last did my dressform research 18 months ago, I thought the FF form was the one I would buy. She demoed the Fabulous Fit Fitting System, where you take a dressform (any dressform) that is one size smaller than you are, then you pad it out to look like you. It comes with the pads and bodysuits to keep the pads in place. If you gain or lose or your weight just shifts around, you can move the pads with those changes. If you are fitting others, you can move the pads around to make the form look like them.  It was pretty amazing to watch her. She also sells dressforms, but you can use an existing dressform you own if it is smaller than you are. So I bought the system for $69 on this morning, but looking at my mannequin it probably won't work as my mannequin ends not too far down from the waist so there are not really any hip or upper thigh area for me to pad out as the mannequin is not as long as a standard dress form. So I will buy a dressform but need to figure out what I'm going to do...
Jill demoing the Fabulous Fit fitting system
For Sat night dinner, most of the 100 of us went to the group dinner in Times Square.  I took the subway in my heels and Burda crazy ruffle dress.

I was 2nd place for most fabric purchased (someone else bought 49 yards--I don't know who, I could barely hear in there!)     So I got a Jalie pattern for 2nd place.  I think they said the grand total of yardage purchased by the 86 people who responded to the survey during Kenneth's lecture was 1147 yards or something. I'm not sure who won the bag contest but I think it was Sherril.
Fit Made Easy and Jalie pattern
That's the pattern I won. Also there's Jill's book that I bought. me and Jacqui
Me and Jacqui.  I'm wearing Burda 7379
me and Connie
Me and Connie
me and Bonnie
Me and Bonnie
The Empire State Building on the walk back
Saturday night outside M&J
Our walk back included a stop to ogle the M&J window. How many sewing bloggers do you recognize in this photo???

even the garbage bags are branded in the fashion district
Even the trash has a label in the Fashion District.

view from my hotel room
The view from my hotel room Saturday night.  Any reported tweets of me being able to see the ESB from my hotel room are false.

Post-conference Sunday 
So Sunday morning a bunch of us went to Whole Foods. Every WF I've been to now (San Diego, Austin, Atlanta, Chelsea) is larger than the one in Princeton, what is UP with that?? Even Chelsea had 4 food bars and Princeton has 2.

We had a great time talking on the patio. Then Jacqui and I went to Doughnut Plant. I've seen da Plant on Food Network twice now, on two different shows, and it was on my list of must-dos. Plus it was so close to the hotel!
doughnut wall
Doughnut wall art 
 doughnut bling
Blingy doughnut
I got 4 doughnuts to go and have been eating them over the past two days. The blackout is my favorite, followed by the triple chocolate.
The blackout doughnut and the daytime view from my hotel room.  

And then it was time to check out and go home. I wanted to go to a performance at the Princeton Public Library at 3pm, which I think was a really good thing for my bank account as if I hadn't had to get on the 11am bus, I probably would have fabric shopped some more (and on the way to the bus station, I ran into MissLadyAudrey who was on her way back with more fabric in hand!)

I got home and the box of fabric I bought at 5:45pm Friday night from Chic was already waiting for me on my doorstep! And the box from Mood arrived today at 4:20pm.

So here's the elastic, ribbon, and buckles I bought, plus the half yard of fabric from The City Quilter: elastics, piping, buckles and my badge
Love the "i tweet" ribbon on my badge in twitter font.

So it was fun and inspiring as always, and makes me want to strive to improve my sewing skills more.  Thank you Deepika, Connie, Bonnie and the volunteers who made this weekend such a success.  I regret not taking more photos of me with my peeps, like Lisette, Rachel, Kitty, Andrea, Geralyn, Deepika, Sherril, Sandra, Audrey.

Kathy in NM, Leslie in Austin, Trina, Renee, Elaine, Bonnie from Philly, Allyn, Rose in SV, Lee, Tina, Antoinette, and any other veteran PR member:  you were sorely missed!

Well, there's always next year!  Mark yer calendars, it's in San Francisco April 26-28.

Other resources:
PR weekend 2012 NYC group on Flickr
PR weekend 2012 nyc tweets (click on All at the top to make sure to see all #prw2012nyc tweets, not just the Top ones!)
My recap of PR Day 2011 Austin
My recap of PR weekend 2011 Chicago
My recap of PR weekend 2010 Philly

Be well!


  1. Truely a worthwhile weekend in NY.

  2. Whew! Great recap! Can't wait to do it all again with you!

  3. What a lovely recap! I was thinking of you and all the PRers shopping away on Friday. It sounds like the shopping, lectures, and tours were great,

    Rose in SV

  4. Wonderful recap! I totally missed visiting Chic. I love those knits! Hmm, wonder if I can call in an order??? It was so good to see you again and I look forward till next time!

  5. it sounds like a great weekend. I can't imagine what it would be like to sewing 'geek it up' all weekend like that, but I bet it's really fun.

  6. Great recap, love hearing about all the festivities! I really missed you guys and hoped to attend next year, but I've ALREADY got a conflict! Drat!!!

  7. What an amazing recap!!! LOVE it! And loved seeing you again! Can't wait for San Francisco!

  8. How did we both manage not to have a picture together? Oh well, we did spent time together and that is what counts!
    Wonderful recap! I can't believe I missed the double knits at Kashi's, I must have gotten blinded by the knit prints...

  9. I was hoping you would post a recap and your's is great! I'm inspired to set up a blog and post to PatternReview. It looked so fun.

  10. Sounds like a real blast! thanks for sharing.

  11. Your pix and write up summed up the entire event. I was worried that I'd missed the point cause I only got 8 yards. But I was so overwhelmed at the shear amounts of fabric in the small shops.

    This was my first trip to NY and I think my system had to get thru the initial shock of it all. I literally experienced a sensory overload when it came to the amounts of fabric and fabric related stores.

    It was great spending time with you. I can't wait for SF 2012. I'll be better prepared :) (Cassy)

  12. Thanks for sharing your recap of a great weekend with PatternReviewers. I went to a local G Street fabrics and dreamed of being in NY too.

  13. 47 Yards! And you didn't win the most yards purchased prize. Amazing!

    PR Weekends are so much fun. I'll bet you were happily exhausted when you got home. Thanks for posting with detail. I almost felt like I was there.

  14. Great recap! I feel like I was there the whole time with you. Cute photo of you and Swatch.

  15. Oh wow, what a weekend. You are going to have so much fun sewing up all 47 yards of fabric! Can't wait to see all your wonderful creations.

  16. I enjoyed reading about that fabulous weekend in NY! How awesome! You have a lot of wonderful memories with all of your trips. Not to mention a good haul of fabric and sewing gear to remember your good times!

  17. Wah! Stinkin' anniversary! LOL And in my new favorite city. I will make it next time! Glad it was so great, and you're welcome for the smartphone assistance last Friday. :)

  18. Your PR weekend write-up and accompanying photos are wonderful It is sure to inspire other PRers to sign up for SF. I think it was Mary, who was sitting next to me at dinner that won the most yard purchases with something like 49. I know she was excited about having a new, inspiring stash of fabric to sew from, and I'll bet you are too. Happy sewing!

  19. Epic post and great pictures!

  20. What a great trip and your fabric pr0n made me drool almost as much as the food pics. I'm sorry I had to miss it this year--next year I will be back in my regular job and hope to make it. Now get to sewing!!!!

  21. WOW!! I certainly missed a treat. And I can tell you guys had so much fun. The fabric and food looks delicious. Okay, now we are waiting for more beautiful garments from you. Wink, wink.

  22. What a great post! It really was as fun as you described. I ordered more fabric from Mood. (Thank you employees for being so insistent on giving swatches!)

  23. Thanks for that great summary, for those of us who couldn't go. :) AnneM

  24. This sounds like a blast! I have the S*E*W book. I love's the best I've ever seen for teaching new sewists....


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