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Mar 8, 2020

MPB Day WINTER FROLIC 2020 -- Keep Calm and Buy Fabric! 

Friends, I certainly don't want to make light of the serious global health threat represented by the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, not to be confused with Product 19, the popular Kellogg's breakfast cereal of yore.

 But I do think that, beyond taking the obvious precautions like washing your hands frequently and not rubbing your eyes, nose, or any part of the stranger standing next to you on the subway, you still have to get on with your life. Which is why I was so delighted with the turnout at yesterday's 3rd Annual MPB Day Winter Frolic (and 12th officially sanctioned MPB Day event--accept no substitutes!).  Fun was had by all and hopefully nobody carried home with them anything more challenging than slippery silk charmeuse.

The weather was relatively mild and very sunny. If there was somewhat less hugging and kissing this year in acknowledgement of contagion concerns, it seemed a small price to pay.

Me, Jean, Meta, and Pam at Panera Bread.
 Here's a quick synopsis of our day!

We met at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum at 11 am and viewed three exhibits: "Power Mode: The Force of Fashion," "Ballerina: Fashion's Modern Muse;" and "Eleanor Lambert: Empress of Seventh Avenue."

Tutu in the Ballerina exhibit. It also reminds me of an Esther Williams swimsuit.
Claire McCardell on display in the Eleanor Lambert exhibit.

After the museum we headed to lunch at Panera Bread, where we had a chance to get to know each other better while fortifying ourselves for the hours of shopping ahead. At lunch we also dug through the enormous pile of second-hand patterns at the MPB Day Pattern Swap. I have noticed that over the years participants have gotten more aggressive at the swap. Next time I may have to recommend elbow pads and safety glasses.

Sadly, not all patterns get re-homed. I still have this one available if you're interested!

At lunch we were joined by celebrity sewist and teacher Kenneth D. King. His jacket-making class just launched at Bluprint!
Michael and Cherice, in the gorgeous sweater she knitted and embellished with cowrie shells!

Lilian, Rebecca, and Syreeta
NY native Marty and visiting Californian Maureen.
Thank you, Pathmark (like the supermarket) for bringing along name tags--a great idea!
First-timer Chris, visiting NYC from Florida, and MPB Day veteran Rhode.
Ever-elegant Tomasa
After lunch it was time to hit the fabric stores. We split up into four groups, with one starting out at FabScrap, another heading directly to AKN Fabrics to look at African wax prints, a third going to Chic Fabrics, and my group which started at Metro Textiles (Kashi opened just for us).

Dawn and Francis heading up the Garment District.
Carol, Pam, Jeannine, and Claire at Metro Textiles.
Christina and Sasha at Chic Fabrics
Is there any truth to the rumor that sequins ward off viruses?
After a few hours of intense shopping we were beat, so those still standing met up at 'Essen on Eighth Avenue in the Garment District. In the upstairs dining area we shared our fabric purchases and hand sanitizer just in case.

Sewist Steve and wife Lorraine joined us late but it was great meeting them both!

This year I decided not to award actual prizes to participants since nobody wants to lug home a silver-plated loving cup these days, but I do want to want to recognize a few extra-fabulous outfits.

Lilian's gorgeous color-blocked Melton wool coat (below left), made from the Sapporo coat pattern by Papercut received more attention than I did, not that I'm bitter or anything. And how about Cindy's intarsia sweater, which, naturally she knit herself (she made her blouse too).

Julie never disappoints. Her outfit consisted of a faux fur skirt and wool jacket ensemble (the skirt has a very flattering wool hip yoke) with matching faux fur handbag. I am not worthy!

Michelle wore an emerald green brocade jacket made from fabric from Emma One Sock. So pretty!

There were also some wonderful fabric purchases of course, too many to name them all.

Carol and her Milly silk chiffon from Metro Textiles.

Lilian loves stripes!
It's hard to see here but Chris bought a beautiful wool/silk blend in a windowpane pattern he's going to use to make himself a formal suit.
Maureen found some wonderful cotton shirting fabrics in the B&J bargain bin: I must check it out.
I'm going to have to return to Metro for some of this vintage-inspired floral-print cotton. I find it hard to make purchases for myself on MPB Day!

In closing, the Frolic was a big success. As always, it's great to see old friends and equally fun to make new ones. It's also inspiring to see how warmly the newcomers are embraced by the old-timers.

I know I'm missing a few names, but I want to thank everyone who attended, including Christopher, Lorraine, Steve, Marty, Jean, Meta, Rebecca, Maureen, Ali, Sasha, Christina, Amanda, Angie, Carol, Grace, Syreeta, Pam, Cherice, Gloria, Mary, Laura, Ruth, Julie, Michelle, Jeannine, Cindy, Ariel, Bonnie, Pathmark, Tomasa, Rhode, Aimee, Claire, Dawn, Lilian, Mimi, Noile, Julie, Frances, Kenneth, Rebecca, Susan, Michael, and Kristen.

Hope to see you all on Saturday, August 8th for our summer MPB Day extravaganza.

Happy sewing, everybody. Stay healthy!

Rebecca, Michelle, and Chris. Embroidered patches from Hai Trim & Feathers.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ah, fun to see familiar faces from prior MPB days! I hope to attend in August. And thanks for the tip about KDK’s jacket class!

  3. Of lemons swapped
    for faux fur,
    scan for Cathy,
    none of her.

    Smart name tags,
    and now new faces.
    Senor King,
    keeps going places.

    Cindy is so
    sick of it.
    Kashi's tradition,
    so tightly knit.

    They get familiar
    at the swap,
    share their buys,
    after they shop.

    This day is one,
    for any book,
    success confirmed,
    in Carol's look.

    Us others simply,
    Next installment,
    come August.

  4. That looks so fun! Just being around other sewists sounds amazing. Happy sewing!

  5. Totally jelly. It looks like it was a fun group having a lot of fiber fun. I really want to see Chris in his suit. I hope you asked him to send a photo to put on the blog.

  6. Every year I enjoy your photos and commentary of this event but KENNETH KING with what looks like a jacket made out of Pendleton fabric? (I have one which I bought in Santa. Fe two years ago: way too heavy for SoCal but...). Cowrie shells! faux fur! beautiful block color coat! Dear Michael's tractor shirt! Each event exceeds expectations. Maybe next year.

  7. Amazing @Testosterone! I hope you come to the August MPD Day.

  8. Looks like a fun day! I love that floral print from Metro, but I can't swing a trip to NYC any time soon.

  9. looks like such a fun day! sorry I missed it. and Lilian's jacket is fantastic!

  10. I had a great visit to New York City and was delighted to meet everyone - and was impressed by all of the creativity of the participants, and joy of sewing. Thank you for organizing us and I kept the list of fabric stores to visit when I return to New York City.

  11. Completely forgot about Product 19, now I can actually taste it! Kenneth King! And Michael! What fun. You ore a great sport Peter. Hope I can make it one of these years.

  12. Oh Peter.... I almost booked to go to NYC again just to see that ballerina exhibition at FIT. Kind of glad I didn't now. The "tutu" I your photo is a Ruby from Balanchine's Jewels. (It's not a tutu, btw. Tutus have net or tulle skirts by definition.) Last time I visited your lovely city I had a ticket to see ABT perform Jewels but I was so severely jet lagged that I was literally falling asleep in my seat so I left at interval :-(... one day i will make it to an MPB day. Just not sure when!

  13. Lela S Ontario CanadaApril 20, 2020 at 7:10 PM

    Must say that you and Michael (wearing that tractor print shirt) ought to visit local or state fairs. You'd increase the style game of many men volunteering at agricultural fairs (usual attire of t-shirts and jeans and ball caps unless older men, who elect to wears plain colour sleeved shirts and pants and suspenders). I bet you'd cause a stampede around the sewing sections of the fairs! Actually, do you currently doing speaking engagements at the fashion schools or convocations in NY state and beyond? Ryerson University in Toronto or Creativ Festival in Toronto should book you and bring you to Ontario!

    Greatly appreciate the public service you provide in making this event happen in NYC--all the more for your readers to want to join in at a future date. The outfits, the fabrics, the camaraderie, the exhibits, the pattern swap--and you blog about it all! ^-^


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