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Aug 11, 2014

Laura Mae, Why Can't You Stay?

Readers, there are two kinds of house guests: the ones you wish would leave yesterday and the ones you wish could hang around longer.

Laura Mae is the second kind.

You probably recognize Laura Mae from her excellent sewing blog, Lilacs & Lace.  She was coming to NYC for a long weekend, and since Michael isn't working this month and I knew she'd be suffering from chihuahua withdrawal, I invited her to spend a few nights here with us. 

I'd like to think it was solely MPB Day that brought Laura Mae to New York, but I know she also wanted to see the Charles James exhibit at the Met museum, which was closing this Sunday.  Since I hadn't seen the exhibit yet myself, we made plans to see it together last Friday.

Outside the museum, who did we run into but Kelli with her two children in tow.  This city is positively teeming with sewing bloggers!

Once in the museum, we headed straight for the exhibit, which as you may know, was split in two sections: one for James' iconic sculptural ball gowns and the other for his equally beautiful, if less elaborate, tailored day and evening clothes. 

As if running into Kelli wasn't enough synchronicity for one morning, in the Charles James exhibit we stumbled upon none other than those celebrated sewing sisters, Marcy and Katherine Tilton!  (Marcy has a pattern line for Vogue and Katherine for Butterick.)  They're both so funny and fun that I didn't mind when an hour later we bumped into them again at lunch on Madison Avenue.  Clearly the universe wanted our paths to keep crossing!

After lunch, Laura Mae and I explored Central Park, and then slowly worked our way down to the Garment District, entirely on foot.  Based on my experience over the past four days, Laura Mae simply does not tire, wilt, or visibly perspire -- ever! 

We popped into a few fabric stores and since I knew we wouldn't be able to hit Metro Textiles on MPB Day, we spent most of our time there.  I'll let her tell you what she purchased,  but we saw some beautiful things -- in fact, we returned early today for even more.

You've already heard about Saturday, MPB Day. We spent most of Sunday taking it easy: we had brunch in my neighborhood and walked the High Line, with a few stops for serious high-end window shopping at Jeffrey and DVF in the meatpacking district.

The dogs were infatuated with Laura Mae (and the feeling was mutual).  They couldn't get enough of each other!

Laura Mae had an evening flight today, but there was still plenty of time to return to the Garment District.  Again, this is Laura Mae's tale to tell, but rest assured, fabric was purchased!

At Elliot Berman, we got to chat with the famous Eugenia, one of the most helpful, patient, and well-informed fabric store employees I have ever encountered. When Laura Mae couldn't decide between two fabrics, Eugenia actually held up a mirror so Laura Mae could see how each looked against her skin (great, needless to say).  You don't get that kind of service at Joanne's!

I will share what I bought: my very first panel print, a beautiful woven cotton from Italy which will soon become a very cool shirt.

Laura Mae met Clio for lunch; I had to pick up some things at Mood for the sewing week ahead.  These will be the last summer fabrics I'll be sewing with this year: a bold cotton voile print and a pale avocado linen.

All too soon, Laura Mae had to part.  I don't know what her bags weighed on the way here, but I can guarantee you they weighed a heck of a lot more on the way out!

And that's my long weekend, readers.

It's quiet here in the apartment tonight, a lot like the dwarfs' house after Snow White goes off to marry the prince: neater, but notably emptier.

Guess who and her chihuahua, Tino.

Meanwhile, what the hell am I going to do with the 75 patterns left over from our pattern swap on MPB Day?

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. I love it when my favourite bloggers are friends in real life! I hope to make it to the next MPB day!

  2. Lovely story :) Love your panel too - I'm making mens' shirts from panel fabrics right now and ooh lala theya re so special! :)

  3. I am a huge admirer of the Tilton sisters. Wow, you met them! So cool!........Love the inside scoop on Elliot Berman. Laura Mae is such a beauty!

  4. I think those patterns need to be prizes for the next MPB raffle/quiz/game, etc.

  5. I'll bet if you show those patterns on your site, you'd be able to find homes for them for the price of postage and a small gratuity.

  6. So gracious of you and Michael to let Laura Mae stay with you. I'm sure it was a fun weekend.

  7. I love a weekend visit with a beloved, like minded friend! They can leisurely flip through your books and stash without you worrying that your books are lost forever.

  8. Sounds like such a fun weekend.

  9. What a nice story! And so wonderful of you and Michael to open your home to a friend.

    And is that Vogue 1263 sticking out of that box? Because if it is, you have to make it for someone, Cathy perhaps? It is such a fun make. One of my favourite patterns.

  10. You could list the patterns on the facebook group "SEW, You're Destashing"

  11. [screams in the distance - all the way from Ohio]

  12. Peter - I'm so glad that Laura got to go back to Metro and got to Elliot Berman! Dontcha just love Eugenia!!! Finally wish you were on Instagram and you'd see that I've just finished a dress using part of that cotton you just picked up. Can't wait to see your shirt because it's an awesome border print!

  13. I walked a few blocks with Laura Mae a couple of weeks ago - she in heels, me in flats. Guess which one of us could barely keep up! :D (hint: it wasn't the one wearing heels....)

    1. I left most of my heels home on this trip. The only exception was my night out at the theatre (I just couldn't bear to do that in flats!).

      And if you think I'm fast, you should see how speedy Willy and Freddy fly around the Manhattan streets!

  14. Wow! I wish I could join you :) Maybe next time you'll organize a sewing bloggers weekend in Istanbul and I'll take you to some other amazing fabric shops :D
    I love your shirt fabric by the way.

  15. Wish there was so many great fabric stores here. Looks like a great time was had by all. Your border print is fab. Can you have MPD day on location sometime?

  16. Wow, what a great post! Sorry I had to miss MPB day,but it fell over my weekend to work. :(. I hate when that happens. A good friend of mine organized a "field trip" to see the Charles James exhibit last month, and I was lucky enough to go. I thought of Laura Mae immediately standing in front of the tableau of muslins at the exhibit's entrance. She must have been both enthralled and frustrated that she couldn't crawl inside each gown and see its inner workings. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  17. How fun!! Laura Mae seems so sweet! As I was leaving the Charles James exhibit with a non-blogger friend, we saw Tim Gunn across the street and it took every last ounce of my willpower not to chase him down and bear hug him against his will! Seems like everyone who's everyone has seen that exhibit!

  18. Such a treat to meet up with you and Laura Mae in person! The Universal Coincidence Control Committee was at it again...

  19. It was so great to meet Laura Mae! What a sewing celeb filled weekend!

  20. I hope this isn't inappropriate but Laura Mae looks as though she stepped out of an 18th century painting, her beautiful skin, great coloring, luxurious hair, those beautiful eyes -- radiant! I could easily see her in some of those Charles James designs.

    By contrast, why is the exhibit so dark and dreadful? Are they trying to protect the fabric from light? Performing a seance because they've run out of design ideas? Rosemary's baby is due?

  21. No flash photography in the exhibit, and yes to low lighting protecting the fabrics. They did let folks take photos (unlike the Isabella Blow show in London - not even sketchbooks!) so I would like to thank all the blogger gals and pals for their snaps, as I never had a chance in hell of getting there. Oh my! (having a grateful for the internet weepy moment) See, this internet thing is a really good idea, bringing good people together (runs off for more tissues)

  22. I so want to meet you and Michael. Remember that I'm the one who gifted you the toy Singer. I've had either sick dogs or a too active rescue puppy. Next year is it!


  23. I got to speak to Laura Mae toward the end of the day at Bryant Park and I agree she is one lovely lady!

  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Peter for an amazing New York experience. You may want to consider setting up as a local tour guide. But, in fact, the most fun I had was chatting with you in your living room about any and everything.

    And by the way, I would never have dreamed of traveling all the way across the country if not for MPB Day. The fact that I could stop by and visit the yummy Charles James creations was just the cherry on top of the sundae.

    After all that city walking I decided climbing five flights of stairs was out the question this morning after Tino’s walk. I am totally exhausted . . . but it was so worth it!

    Love to Michael and the pups.


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