Fabric Shopping, Portland Opera

Today the group went fabric shopping. Visited a couple of fabric warehouses. The first, Mill Ends Store, is a huge barn of a place which sells, you guessed it, mill ends! The selection was overwhelming. I was so busy looking at fabric I forgot to take any photos! I managed to find two different fabrics for swimsuits, some batik for the back of quilts and a bit of print silk chiffon for a scarf. I stopped looking at that point.

Our second stop was the Pendleton Outlet store which sells cuts of discontinued woolen and cotton fabrics made in the Pendleton Mill here in Oregon. I ended up with some lovely plaid for a cotton shirt, and two yards of a light weight purple wool for a jacket. Again, I forgot about photos!

After a tasty lunch at a small restaurant we headed to the Costume Department of the Portland Opera. I did remember to take some photos here!

The costumes are amazingly well made and very expensive to “build”.
This costume made from upholstery fabrics and trims was for Falstaff in a recent production, who was a large man to begin with and the costume designer wanted to make him much larger.

This wedding dress was exquisite, but it was only carried onto the stage by the maid servant – not worn, nevertheless it was completed as a wearable garment.

A half yard of silver fabric (made of real silver thread) which will be used to trim the jacket cuffs of a suit in the upcoming opera “Salome” – the cost – a mere $350/yard!

We ended the day with Marsha showing us actual travel garments made using her Safe-T-Pockets line of patterns – these travel wardrobe pieces all have many concealed pockets – the point being to travel without a handbag.

It was an enjoyable day.

Pattern Fitting

The greatest challenge for the garment sewer is a garment pattern that fits! The truth is that very rarely will a pattern actually properly fit the wearer – that’s why so many people give up making clothing.

Pants! For more than a decade I have been on the hunt for the perfect pants pattern. I’ve tried lots of things. I’ve come close but my pants pattern still needed tweaking. Today we did a paper pattern fitting, starting with taking body measurements, cutting out the pattern pieces, pinning them together, then trying on the pinned tissue so darts can be added or taken out or moved, seam positions shifted, etc. My pants pattern fits fine from the hips down; today Marla showed me how adding half an inch to the center back (leaving the front as it is) will allow me to sit and bend without having my shirt pull out. I made that adjustment to my pattern – At home I have fabric for five new pair of pants. I’ll get to them as soon as I return.
I had also brought the pattern for the winter jacket I had intended to make last winter; I just never got around to it. I was planning on making a size M, but after fitting the tissue it was obvious a size S was a better fit. So that jacket is back on my To Do list.
All in all a productive day!


I arrived in Portland late Sunday. Yesterday I played tourist. Took the hotel shuttle back to the airport so I could take the public transit train into and around town. A senior day ticket – just $2! That allows you to get on and off at will.


I got off and back on at several stops. The first location was a farmers’ market – had lunch there.


I walked around a bit after that, then got back on the train a couple of stops later. Lots of empty shops wherever I got off. You can see Portland was hit by the economic downturn.


After a couple of hours I returned to the airport, 20130618-074619.jpg
back to the hotel for a snooze and then an early dinner. My body is definitely still on east coast time! I was ravenous by 4:00 pm.

It’s now Tuesday morning. Time for breakfast and then to meet the other gals.
more later.



I’ve had this Rhododendron growing in a large pot on my deck for several years; it has flowered each year but this year it’s loaded with blooms!

The bird bath is brimming with rain water – no birds splashing about this afternoon, though – too cold and rainy.


The last time I was in Hawaii (Oahu), I took cuttings of Bouganvillea growing along the roadside in Mililani – white, orange, bright pink, red – the colors were gorgeous. I trimmed away the leaves from the six inch twigs, washed them thoroughly, dried them out and brought them home. I was able to root successfully four of the ten and they grew for a while. I gave two to a friend and this is the sole surviving plant.

It over-winters in her greenhouse successfully. She’s discovered that the way to get the plant to bloom is not to water it through the winter, and only a wee bit when leaves start to appear in the spring. This is the display she has got this year.

Yellow Socks


Finished this pair of socks last evening. Never leave the needles empty – but I have yarn for just one pair in my stash. I have some leftovers – enough for some legs with solid feet, but I prefer to have most of the sock patterned. So it will soon be time to shop for more sock yarn.


Walking by the orchid display at the supermarket this morning and saw this unusually colored Phaelanopsis. I have white and purple ones, some a few pale yellow, peach, but nothing in this shade. I just had to add it to my collection.


It Arrived – Benartex Fossil Fern Fabric

The box of fabrics arrived this morning – 90 fat quarters in all the colors of the rainbow. They’ll be fun to work with, combining them with other fabrics I have in the stash. The collection, made by Benartex, is called “Fossil Fern”. While the fabrics are in a “family” there is quite a lot of variation in the batik pattern.