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Aug 11, 2019

MPB DAY 2019 -- "The Family That Sews Together, Grows Together!"

Friends, yesterday's MPB Day set new records: the biggest crowd, the best weather, the largest pattern swap, and the cutest guys!

Andrew from the UK!  He writes the blog mensew and also teaches tap!
MPB Day veteran Enrique (with Johanna)

Studly Burda pattern -- are you taking notes, McCalls Pattern Company??

We actually had an unprecedented male turnout if you count spouses: more than ten.  Of course, more women than men sew so naturally we always get a larger female turnout. All in all we had around 60 people--crazy!

Another MPB Day first were the delectable brownies attendee Veda baked and brought to lunch -- enough for everybody!  I definitely think this home-baked dessert thing should become an MPB Day tradition.  The Panera staff seemed cool with it or maybe they didn't notice amid the second-floor bedlam.  Next year I'm hoping for lemon meringue pie!

Yes, that's celebrity sewist Kenneth D. King (left), with Becky and Veda the Brownie Baker!
Veda's brownies came both with and without nuts. 
Here's a quick rundown of the day.  I met up with a group of earlybirds at 9:30 am to explore the nearby Chelsea Flea Market.  Among us were Becky and daughter Jess, visiting from Mobile, Alabama; James from Virginia; Joanne and Glennys from Ithaca; and Jessica from Cornelia Street! 

James is predicting statement eyewear for Fall 2019.

At 11 am we met up with the larger group at the Fashion Institute of Technology museum where we saw the lovely Minimalism/Maximalism exhibit.  I'm pretty sure our crowd favored maximalism but I could be wrong.

One of the really interesting things I observed was that after we made our brief introductions and took our group photo, everybody seemed to want to just hang out and chat: I actually had to shepherd people into the gallery.  I suspect one of the things people enjoy most is just catching up with each other, especially repeat attendees, some of whom have been coming nearly every year since the beginning.  It's like a family reunion and the family keeps growing.

As always, after the museum we headed up the block to Panera's for lunch.  There I noted that some attendees are absolutely fixated on the pattern swap: I'm not sure they even ate anything other than Veda's brownies.  I'll admit free patterns are extremely compelling--people were incredibly generous this year, like Carrie, who shlepped a 20 lb bagful--and I still have EIGHTY-FIVE sitting in my living room (all of which will be donated).

Christina was all over those patterns!
Liz is planning a very special muu-muu.  Julie looks on approvingly.
I call this a Donna Don't.

Michael and I wore our hot-off-the-sewing-machine Singer Featherweight shirts: mine is a camp shirt, Michael's is a standard dress shirt style but with contrasting collar and cuffs.
After lunch we all headed up to the Garment District for some serious fabric shopping.  This day is not for shopping amateurs--the crowd is focused, determined and--fueled on Veda's brownies--highly energetic!  Once again Kashi at Metro Textiles opened just for us.  So many treasures there.

Frances fingers a lovely cotton eyelet.
Fiber-fanatic-and-beekeeper Kelli and me!
Smiles, smiles, smiles!
There were two definite highlights this year: the newly opened FABSCRAP store on West 26th Street and Gray Line Linen, whose elegant new space on 37th Street captured our hearts with their beautifully curated collection.

Love this linen stripe at Gray Line Linen!

Fran wore one of my favorite outfits of the day, a dress she made embellished with eyelet woven with ribbon.

Mimi and Karen are all about the summer prints
We split up into separate shopping groups, though we hit a lot of the same places.  In addition to Metro and Gray Line Linen, I visited Chic Fabrics on 38th Street, and AK Fabrics and Fabric Garden on 39th.  By that point I was all shopped out.

I'm pretty sure Mary isn't shoplifting in this photo, is she?
Inspired by the famous song, at Fabric Garden I "Thought" pink.  Then I thought again and walked away.

After nearly three hours of fabric shopping we all met up again at beautiful, verdant Bryant Park.  The weather couldn't have been lovelier and the fabric scores everybody shared were inspiring!

Claudine found some great pants-weight fabrics for her new fall wardrobe!
James' Metro score is going to decorate his Virginia home.
Dawn found some amazing wool-bonded-with-neoprene fabric at Mood.  I predict a woolly wetsuit in her future!
Michelle scored BIG at AKN Fabrics, which specializes in African wax prints.
Look what machine-knitter/sewer Cherice found at FABSCRAP!
Katherine (I hope I got that name right) purchased a gorgeous pink silk dupioni.
The gang in Bryant Park.

Roberta scored big-time with this lovely floral-meets-feline print from Chic Fabrics for just $2/yd.
Rebecca wins the prize with this Alexander Calder mobile print she got at Metro for FREE!!

In closing, I know I always say that this MPB Day was the best ever, but this MPB Day truly was the best ever.  Many thanks to everybody who attended and I hope you come back next year.  I'm not sure I'll be hosting again in March--stay tuned--but next summer's date will be Saturday, August 8th--so mark your calendars now!

Anything you'd like to do on the next MPB Day we didn't do this year?  Let me know!

Have a great day everybody!

UPDATE: You can read Andrew's recap of the day here!


  1. You're gonna need a permit going forward -that's no crowd, it's a parade.

    What a day!! Senor King, Dawn-nearly-out-of-control, and two kinds of brownies - where were the off-duty police officers???

    If you have extra pictures (or even videos), please consider an additional post. MPB Day is the national convention for the unconventional sewists (do you attract any other kind?).

  2. This is spectacular! What awesome turn out. Plus brownies!

  3. I would die of excitement if I met Kenneth D King!

  4. Oh Em Gee! I think I should probably be ashamed that I didn't know about this! This post most definitely lifted my day! I am putting this on my calendar for next year. I live in the Chihuahuan desert of west Texas but my family live in VA and NC. I normally visit in August so this is wonderful. Thank you for sharing all of the activities. Everyone seemed to be smiles ear to ear.

  5. Amazing! Peter, can you point me to (or maybe compile) any participants' sewing blogs we should check out?

    1. Tony, check out my blogroll (on the right side): lots of creative people doing some great work!

  6. Just for the record, I wore that Donna Don’t to last year’s MPB day😂🤣. What a spectacular event you have created, Peter. I am not going to let anything prevent me coming next year. Viva MPB Day and all the joy it conveys!

    1. I love that Donna Don't dress! It looks like a great pattern.

  7. Wow! MPB Day has become huge. Keep going at this rate and you'll need to hire crowd control. The only thing missing is a guest appearance by Cathy Lane.

  8. Hahaha, I totally picked up the Donna Don't. (And not the super-sexy Burda. #regrets) And the Baby Ruth and Paraphernalia dresses were 2 of my favorite pieces in the exhibit.

    I know I keep saying this, but...thanks again for doing this! Hope to see you next year.

  9. Its on the calendar for 2020. Sorry I missed this year. The weather was wonderful for such a great crowd!

  10. Peter, Thank you SO much for putting this all together. It was such a wonderful day--you are just terrific!

  11. Hi Peter,
    MPB day was totally fabulous! I don't know where to begin!The FIT museum installation was not only informative but was inspirational too.From the pattern swap to the garment center trek it was all so much fun!

  12. What a great day! Congrats on yet another successful MPB Day! Thanks for ordering the perfect weather.

    I chuckled when I saw the Dr. Scholls exercise sandals exhibited at FIT. I still have my originals. Those babies were made to last.

    I had a wonderful time catching up with repeat attendees and making new friends. Our group was like a giant, happy bulge, making its way through the garment district. My fabric bargains were just the icing on the cake.

    And speaking of baked goods, thank goodness for Veda’s delicious brownies that gave me some energy. Panera was completely overwhelmed by our hugeness and gave my order to someone else, so I spent most of our lunchtime trying to get the staff to give me my food!

  13. I anticipate being unemployed and therefore available for the 2020 edition. Such fun! Happy people! Andrew!


  14. All that lovely fabric--swoon--is reason enough to aspire to making it to a future MPB day, once I hit the big lotto jackpot.
    Thanks for mentioning new stores-always fun to add more places to see one day!


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