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Aug 14, 2011

MPB DAY -- We're a hit!

Friends, I lead with this photo for two reasons: 1) it makes me look popular, and 2) it makes me look tall.  An entirely spontaneous yet brilliant composition!

What can I say, folks --  MPB Day was a rousing success.  We had an excellent turnout (more than twenty-five people!) and the weather couldn't have been better, which, given the summer we've had, is a minor miracle.

Naturally you're not going to like everybody, but I especially bonded with Jane, Patricia, Noile, Gillian, Maritza, Kimberly, Laura, Amanda, Gardin, Travis, William, Rachel, Cindy, Johanna, Tambira, Sally, Suzanne, Gina, Roberta, Claudine, Grace, Jackie, Jaeng, Jennifer, Joanne and Oliver...have I forgotten anybody?

Every large group has its troublemakers and this group was no exception.  Especially irksome were these two perky blondes, Noile and Gardin, who had the audacity to show up bright-eyed at 9:30 am and by 5 pm were still as peppy as June Allyson in a Depends commercial.  The nerve of some people.

These two made me feel like Burgermeister Meisterburger.

I was basically a cross between the Pied Piper of Hamelin and Maria Von Trapp, and if I'd had my guitar, would certainly have led the group in a rousing rendition of Do Re Mi and My Favorite Things.
And speaking of The Sound of Music (Read no further, Travis!), MPB Day participant Travis had moved to New York City from El Paso, Texas only two days earlier -- after a highly successful run as Rolf at the UTEP Dinner Theater.  I think I speak for everyone when I say I would gladly have danced with him in a moonlit pavilion, swastika or no swastika.  Just say the word.

Travis tells Liesl what she can do with her Edelweiss.
Sixties Going On Seventies?

While Travis didn't fly to New York specifically to attend MPB Day (or so he says), William had flown in from Florida, Joanne came all the way from Ithaca, and Jane and Gardin had bussed up from Baltimore that very morning. Wow!

With the exception of Rachel, Claudine, Suzanne, and Amanda, there were, thankfully, very few other bloggers.  Who needs the competition?

UPDATE:  How did I forget Noile?

Of course, as you'd expect in a crowd of sewers, everybody looked great.  There were, however, a few exceptional ensembles.  Claudine wore this smocked dress she made (inspired by a Bottega Veneta creation) and it is a work of art.

Cindy wore a smashing orange sundress she'd hemmed with horsehair braid.  She told me something about the print and Elvis and I can't for the life of me remember what.  Had he worn the same dress?

UPDATE:  Elvis had worn a shirt made out of the same Alfred Shaheen print.  (Thank you, Sammi!)

Gillian (on the left below) was sporting her own beautifully tailored pinstripe pants.  Very chic!

And I must mention Rachel's sailboat print top if only because -- typical blogger -- she kept forcing me to inspect her handiwork whenever I was nearby.  Kidding aside, I love that blouse!

Here's the basic run-down of the day:

A small group of us (including the aforementioned perky blondes) met at the flea market in the morning and combed both indoor and outdoor lots for fantastic finds.  This is where I did all my shopping for the day.

As you know, I have a bit of a ladies glove fetish, and I picked up four fabulous pair, in pink, beige, metallic silver and gold!  I also found a pair of cuff links that look like they'd been stolen by a male hustler right off Liberace's night table.  I must make a French cuffed shirt specifically for these cuff links.  The whole lot -- $10!

Hat maker Sally, or as I call her, Thoroughly Modern Milliner, found milliner's wire and a gorgeous Mr. John original straw hat -- which she insisted I try on. 

Gardin and Sally

At the flea market, we were also joined by Amanda, Kimberly, and many, many members of Kimberly's family!

Readers, I had literally visualized the image below the day before, no joke.  I call it "Peter and the Wolf."  Spooky, right?

At 11 am we all met outside the FIT museum, where we caught the very wonderful Sporting Life exhibit.  The whole group hung out in the gallery for an entire hour, claiming every available seating surface and kibbitzing loudly.  I'm sure the guards were like, Who are these people and when are they leaving?  

While I warned everyone not to lean in too closely to the mannequins so as not to set off the alarms, do you think they listened?  Thankfully, no one called the cops.

We had lunch around the corner at the yummy Brown Cup cafe, and when the twenty-five or so of us entered on what is normally a sleepy Saturday morning, we nearly gave the staff a heart attack.  Needless to say, the other customers quickly cleared out and we took over yet again.  It's all a bit of a blur but I think I had half a roast beef sandwich and something with provolone and salami (Michael, who joined us for lunch, and I split two sandwiches) -- delicious!

Patricia, Jennifer Travis, Cindy, Jane, William, Rachel, Suzanne, Joanne, Gina, and Jackie
Can I stop smiling now and eat my sandwich, please! (Kimberly and Maritza)

After lunch we worked our way up to 38th Street, home to Pacific Trim, Sil Thread, and the overwhelmingly immense (and stretchy) Spandex House.

Grace, Tambira and Patricia at Sil Thread
Travis and the Von Trapp Family Sewers at Spandex House

We then walked up to 39th Street and hit H&M (my old fabric dive) and Chic Fabric, before heading to the more upscale -- and jam-packed -- Mood on 37th Street. 

Do, mi, mi/ Mi so so/ Re fa fa/ La ti ti!

We next stopped at Around the World Magazines (on 40th St. off 5th Ave.), which carries a huge selection of international pattern and fashion magazines (and books), before advancing to Kinokuniya, where the most beautiful Japanese pattern books can be purchased.

Exhausted and nearly bankrupt, we grabbed some cool refreshments from the Kinokuniya cafe and then successfully captured and held the southwest corner of Bryant Park for the next hour and a half.  There might be a few people camped out there still.

Miraculously, there were no traffic accidents, fatal allergy attacks, or police escorts out of fabric stores.  Any shoplifting that took place was performed deftly.  Having overheard a number of conversations, I'd say the consensus is that, in person, I am older, crankier, and more controlling than I appear on the blog, but more masculine.  A trade-off.

In closing, friends, it was a wonderful day, and a real privilege to get to meet so many of you in person.  Where should we celebrate MPB Day next year?  Maybe London!

Of course I am eager to hear how you spent your MPB Day.   Picnics, barbecues, fireworks?

You can see more pics from yesterday's festivities here

Happy Sunday, everybody!


  1. Oh, how I wish I could have joined in the fun. It looks like you had a blast. That was a long day! You crammed loads in. Yes, DO come to London for the next MPD Day. We'd love to have you!

  2. You are an absolute star, I really wish I could have been there. Looks like you had so much fun. Yes, come to England next time!!

  3. A frajbous day, to be sure! But I must stand up for my largely-absent blogger brethren - Noile is a blogger, too! The URL is www.Noile.Net. (Who knew that MPB had such a non-blogger fan base?)

  4. Oh so jealous! Looks like oodles of fun was had by all. I expect Cathy was disappointed she couldn't join you.
    Living in Australia has its disadvantages sometimes :(

  5. That was a blast...albeit from the computer screen! Me? Went garage sale-ing and thrifting, scored an awesome oak sofa table for $80!! Thanks for the post, Peter.

  6. Looks like a fabulous day! Sorry I missed it! And definitely COME TO and Karen can have a host-off :)

  7. Congrats! Seems you all had lot of fun! way to go!

  8. Thanks again for the great day! I loved meeting you AND all the other sewers. It was such a diverse bunch of people, and everyone was so sweet and fun. I hope you make it a tradition! Here's my blog post on the day:

  9. Yes, London! Come! We will show you how it's done over here... basically the same way but with tea and cake. What's not to like?

  10. Jeeze. If I'd known someone was going down from Ithaca, I'd have made an effort to set up a ride share and come down too. Bummer. It looks as if everyone had a wonderful time. I'll have to make an effort to get down to see the FIT exhibit some time this fall after all the summer activities slow down. My day yesterday was spent running errands, going to the farmers market, working on garden produce and going to see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

  11. This was such a nice time! I loved talking to everyone and meeting some new people. And thanks for the nice comments on my dress. I was far too exhausted from all the excitement to meet at Kinokuniya, which I now regret. Till next time! Claudine

  12. When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything!
    Looks like a wonderful time. Now you can add Event Planner to your repertoire.

  13. Wow! It looks like it was so much fun - how I wish I could have been there! I am going to try to make the next on wherever it is! Hopefully, it won't be on a day one of my stepsons graduates from college!

    We did have a nice celebration with lots of yummy food!

    Vacation for yours truly this week - so I probably won't be blogging much, but I will be reading yours while I'm away!

    Have a great week Peter and everyone!

  14. Peter, I had so much fun yesterday! Great re-cap of the day. I'm so glad I was able to make it and meet a bunch of sewists. The weather was beautiful as you said and I even came away with fabric for 2 planned dresses. That was funny how the Brown Cup seemed to clear out after we got there! I'd love to do this again, especially in London (but NYC is just fine too)!

  15. I'm so jealous! This is the first time I've ever regretted living in Australia. Way too far from NYC on MPB Day. I had lunch at Coffee Haven in Palm Cove, beautiful and delicious but I didn't see any sewists there.

  16. Oh, that sounds awesome - and what a hilarious retelling of events.

  17. Now I know why I was so cranky yesterday...I was missing out on all the fun!!!! I did get to wait on Suzanne Vega even though I had no clue who she was.

  18. I vote for NYC, since I wasn't able to make it this year. I'll sure put it on my calendar for next year though, for either London for NYC.

    Looks like *so* much fun was had by all. Thanks for organizing it Peter -- and I wasn't even there. ;-)


  19. Sounds like y'all had lots of fun! Me, I spent the day cleaning house. My sister and her husband and kids are wishing themselves on us today. We've been informed that they're spending the night tonight, we're to take them to the airport tomorrow, and we're keeping their kids for three days while her and her husband are going to her brother-in-law's wedding in California and a mini-vacation. She's also informed us that her kids get their own rooms that we're somehow supposed to pull from thin air. Not looking forward to this. She oughtaa just rename my nephew "destruction" as a warning to everyone...

  20. It looks like a great time was had by all! Awesomeness. I spent MPB Day shopping at Fabricland. I went there looking for one of those pin-cushion bracelet thingy but was quickly distracted by the fabric sale and new fall patterns. I didn't buy a stitch because I forgot my membership card. Yeah, so I'm heading back today to pick up the loot. Apparently MPB day is actually a weekend affair here in Canada.

  21. Since I did not have ready access to FIT, I saw the Helmut Newton photography exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Good photography, but fashion needs clothing! Much of his work, even for Vogue, was nudes.

    CHARLES LEDRAY: workworkworkworkwork was an unexpected pleasure - loads of very small clothing, sewn and adorned beautifully.

  22. Wow! What a day-trip into the fantastic!

    What a magical meeting.

    I spent part of my MPB day with a cadaver.

  23. Slightly jealous that it was too far for me to trek over to NY for the day. Sounds as though everyone had a wonderful time.

  24. Oh dear gosh - I love your day - and your comments, too funny - "Burger Meister Meister Burger!!" I love it - I would have attended if I didn't live in LA! Glad you all had a ball!

  25. I would loved to have been there. I spent the afternoon choosing upholstery fabrics and carpet for the interior of our little single engine airplane, so I was with you in spirit.

  26. I would have been there too with Pammie if you had been in LA. It looks like you all had lots of fun.

  27. London? If you throw a party in London next year, I'm coming!

  28. Thanks for the great day! It was wonderful to meet you and all the other sewists. What a fabulous group! Everyone was so warm, friendly and willing to share. We covered a lot of ground and I thought I would need to be carried towards the end, but it was worth it.

  29. What a fantastic day! I spent my MPB day running a burlesque show. :)

  30. Fabulous company, beautiful fabric and books, and great weather. A fine day all around! Thanks again for putting this together.

  31. Congrats to all on what looked like a fabtabulous MPB Day!
    Whenever I watch 'Sixteen going on Seventeen', with Charmaine Carr and Whassisname, Rolfe reminds me of a sort of Mitteleuropean emasculated version of Nelson Eddy....then Leisl opens her mouth to sing and she sounds like Rita Hayworth in 'Pal Joey'!!
    (p.s. Peter, how did Rita's dress stay up in the 'Zip' number??? More than a few pieces of whalebone surely!)

  32. I so wish I could have been there and gone to the Spandex House! And all the other places too. Sounds like amazing fun. Glad it was such a success hope it works out next year too!

  33. So glad the day was a great success, because now you might consider making it an international event- London 2012, then Melbourne (or even if you MUST Sydney) 2013? I spent the day sulking because I wasn't in New York, cheered up when I realised that the Fabric shop in Fitzroy had a 50% off sale, then sulked again because they didn't have any pale stretch denims.

  34. I'm glad to read that the day was successful! It looks like everyone had a great time. I was actually *still* in NYC until about 5.45p. My 2p flight was delayed due to lack of power (again!) and the closing of DC National Airport due to the weather.

    Since August is the only month without an official holiday (besides my birthday), I think the second Saturday in August should be declared MPB day. =)

  35. Thanks again for hosting, Peter -- it was such a nice group of people and a lovely day. And didn't we have luck with the weather? Both yesterday and today (for enforced recuperation).

  36. I sure wish I could have been there, but I had a great day anyway. I left the baby and husband at home and went to see my friends in another city. I bought shoes, ate lunch and dinner uninterrupted, and had time to actually knit! And my friend gave me a dress that doesn't fit her anymore. No actual sewing, but a lot of talk about it, showing fabrics etc.

  37. The day looked FABULOUS! oh how i wish i was close enough to join the fun. My MPB Sunday was spent bonding my newest family member; a furbaby. Wilbur is an 8 week chocolate labrador who arrived by plane of Friday. By Saturday morning he had turned from a shy little boy to a naughty pants! LOL

  38. London - this would be fantastic! I read your blog every week, being in the UK and a almost prelific habadashery hoarder. I love vintage. My BF also likes lots of suiting and wool/cotton blended fabrics - you can guess who is my regular model. (very similar tour your cousin Cathy)Will miss your contributions to Burda.

  39. Wow! What moxy that group had in taking over such a large parcel of Bryant Park! It sounds like a fantastic day was had by one and all. Sadly, I was in the car all day either sitting in traffic or in torrential rain.

  40. Looks like so much fun! I wish I didn't live on the other side of the continent! Maybe next year...

  41. Thanks for such an awesome day! You kids really know how to party. I'm still recuperating. Already looking forward to the next time.

  42. Well, I had to listen to you drone on and on about your french-seamed set in sleeves so I thought it was only fair that I crow about my amazing shirt.

  43. I'm still cranky about missing this. Stupid having to take a vacation and all that. Still, I got to inspect some awesome authentically dressed cowgirls/boy and their clothes, so I guess it was worth it.

  44. So glad I came across this post! I'm going be in New York from mid to late October, and want to go fabric shopping! I shall use the MPB Day tour as my guide. So thanks!

  45. London would be good, Paris would be better ! ;-)


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