I had the most lovely Saturday morning – a trip to the Historic Garment District Museum in downtown Kansas City followed by stop at the Kansas City Public Library to see, “Apron Strings: Ties to Our Past“, a special exhibit on aprons. One last stop in the West Bottoms to get some much “needed” fabric at Modern Makers closed out the morning. What a day!

Our trip the the Garment District Museum was fascinating. I had no idea that Kansas City was home to 75 garment manufacturers back in the day! Our tour guide, Ann Brownfield, was the woman responsible for creating the museum and curating its contents. Turns out, she was actually a designer for one of the local manufacturers back in the day, so she had a unique perspective to offer. It was so great to have the opportunity to hear her speak!

Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City Sign

Here are a few interesting tidbits I picked up:

Every morning, people would ride in on buses and walk to their places of work (factories). No one had cars, though if they had, there would have been no place to park them – there were no parking lots in the area!

While Kansas City was big on garments, St. Louis was all about shoes. While there were wholesalers in the KC area, you wouldn’t find many, if any, shoe manufacturers here. You could, however, find many milliners (hatmakers).

Hats on Display at the Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City

TWA, the airline based in Kansas City (long ago – it’s not even a company any more), had their stewardess uniforms made by one of the Kansas City manufactures. The museum has two of the suit uniforms on display – one designed by Oleg Cassini and another designed by Valentino!

Vintage TWA Stewardess Uniform

Our tour guide and former designer shared a bit about her time working with the manufacturers. On fabric buying trips, she’d buy three-yard cuts that she’d bring back to her design team (made up of production people and her bosses). Knowing she often worked with wools and heavier materials (as she worked for a company that made suits and coats), we asked what she typically paid per yard. $1.00! One dollar per yard. I’m still trying to get over it. ;) She also spent a lot of time picking out and ordering buttons. Must have been rough, right?

Vintage buttons on display at the Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City

Nelly Don could be spotted all over the museum. This sparked a whole new interest in entrepreneurial women in Kansas City, but that’s a post for another day!

It’s not a huge place, but the museum was very informative and just wonderful to see. I’d recommend paying it a visit if you’re interested in fashion, vintage fashion, garments, textiles, manufacturing, or Kansas City in general. Visit the website for more information.

Our next stop was the downtown Kansas City Public Library, which is in THE more gorgeous building. While we were there for the special apron exhibit, I would have been perfectly happy just sitting there for hours staring at the ceiling and the light fixtures that hung from it. And maybe picking up a book or two. ;) But I digress.

“Featuring aprons from as early as 1900, the exhibit chronicles changing attitudes toward women and domestic work and presents aprons as vehicles for self-expression.” It was an interesting glimpse into the past. I originally went to admire and appreciate the textiles, but it really did make me think (mostly about how thankful I am to have the opportunity to work outside the home if that’s what I wish to do)!

After the aprons, my MIL and I headed to the West Bottoms. While we went for Modern Makers, we wondered our way through a few antique shops before dropping some serious cash at the great new fabric shop. ;) My findings:

Playful Little Paper-Pieced Projects

Fabric from Modern Makers

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American Textile Mills

by Katie on August 1, 2014

Whilst searching for some simple, unintimidating (is that a word?) shirt patterns to try, I stumbled upon Grainline Studio. The fabulous blog instantly sucked me in and has definitely inspired me to give garments a serious try (I think the last garment I made was for senior prom!)!

While clicking through the blog (SO many things to try!!), I couldn’t help but notice this post about a New York Times article featuring photographs of American textile mills shot by photographer Christopher Payne. The article details some interesting tidbits about the history of textile mills in the US. It’s a must-read if you, like me, love all things textiles! :D And the photos – don’t they make you want to reach out and touch EVERYTHING?! Just look at those beautiful old machines. *sigh*

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

Here are a few words from Christopher’s website:

Historically, the textile industry has been an essential component of the US economy, but in the last two decades, overseas competition, unfair trade policies, and a flood of cheap imports have decimated US factories. Since 1990, job losses in the apparel and textile manufacturing have been greater than those in any other type of manufacturing.

In 2010 I was searching for a new project after Asylum, and I stumbled on an old yarn mill in Maine. The vintage machinery and small scale manufacturing taking place there reminded me of the workshops I had seen in the state mental hospitals, and I was amazed that a scene from the past could coexist with the present. From the mill employees I learned about other mills in the area and the project took off, taking me all over the Northeast and even down South. In some cases, I’m trying to document mills before they close, while in others, I’m trying to show that they are not only surviving, but actually thriving in a marketplace dominated by foreign imports. I also hope to pay tribute to the undervalued segment of Americans who work in these places. They are a diverse group, comprised of young and old, skilled and unskilled, recent immigrants, and veteran employees, some of whom have spent their entire lives in a single factory. Together, they share a quiet pride and dignity, and prove that manual labor still has value in the 21st century economy.

Read the article the caught my eye here and see all of the FABULOUS photos in the series here.

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A Day in LA

by Katie on June 15, 2014

When the hubbs and I were thinking about moving to California, we talked about living in either Los Angeles or San Diego. It was a pretty easy choice in the end – we had family in San Diego, it was more “us” than LA, and well, apparently traffic wasn’t as terrible in America’s Finest City. ;) But! There were so many things about LA that we loved that we’ve visited often in the last 3.5ish years. Today was the last trip for a while (since the drive from Kansas City likely wouldn’t be quite as pleasant ;) ).

LA Garment District Buildings

We stopped first at my favorite spot – the LA Fashion District. The district has different areas for different goods. The best, in my humble opinion, are the streets lined with FABRIC SHOPS! The shops primarily offer material meant for garments, and home dec fabrics are a close second (followed by trims and other goodies of that nature). And here and there, you can find pockets of cottons perfect for quilting. During my first trip there in college with Brandon’s family, I acquired so much fabric (I was into kints at the time) that I had to borrow a second suit case to get it all home!

My most favorite spot within my most favorite spot – Michael Levine. It’s really three stores – a main cotton/apparel fabrics and trims/notions, home dec, and then “The Loft”, which offers fabrics by the pound. Yes, by the POUND people!!! I always seem to come home with a lot of shirting fabrics when The Loft is open…alas, today it was not. Probably a blessing in disguise…as I have yet to actually use those fabrics to make shirts. ;)

Michael Levine Fabrics

I managed to decide on a few Kokka/Echino fabrics, and a cut of Dear Stella‘s Woodwinked Mushrooms, and another of Sarah Jane‘s Wee Wonder Naturewalk in Grass. I’ve made my stash very happy today, indeed.

After the fabric, we found our way to The Last Bookstore. It’s THE coolest bookstore I have ever had the opportunity to visit. I encourage (nay, demand!) you to visit if you’re ever in LA. Most of the books are used, meaning they have unbeatable prices. There’s a whole level just for $1.00 books! ONE DOLLAR BOOKS!! The dollar books are arranged in “the labyrinth”, which is quite possibly the best place in which I have ever been lost. There’s also an Artists’ Nook, where a few artists are able to vend their pieces. This place couldn’t possibly have more character.

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore

Before we left, we had to get our “housing fix” so we HAD to pay a visit to H.D. Buttercup. With a name like that, you might not expect to find wondrous treasures of the home furnishings variety inside, but oh, what treasures you do discover! Fabulous furniture on top of (literally, in some cases) fabulous furniture, basically as far as the eye can see. The kind that makes you drool. And want to redo you ENTIRE dwelling. And then do it over again just to live with even more great furniture!

H.D. Buttercup

I was too distracted by all of the prettiness that I didn’t get any pictures of the inside….so you’ll just have to visit so you can see it for yourself! :)

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Come Fly With Me

by Katie on June 7, 2014

The hubby laughs at me for loving this video so much! My talented, film-making cousin shot this with some of his new toys and I just adore it. It makes me feel like I’m flying! And I love the music. I have watched it no less than 30 times in the last three days. Come, fly with me –

DJI Phantom 2 Aerial Demo Reel from Christopher Olson on Vimeo.

See more of Chris’ work here.

Missouri Fun Fact – The ruins in the film are the remains of the Ha Ha Tonka Mansion – not something you’d expect to see in the middle of grand ole’ Missouri, #amiright?

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Quilt for Baby Gage

by Katie on May 31, 2014

Kristi and Nate (members of my “California family” ;) ) are having a baby boy in June and a few of Kristi’s local friends and I had a shower for her in May! I had been following Kristi’s nursery Pinterest board to see what she might be planning for Baby Gage’s room. I had seen quilts like this floating around the quiltosphere and thought it would fit the bill!

Quilt for Baby Gage

I picked my five colors, cut a bunch of squares, stitched and cut them into HSTs, and laid ‘em out. I had the hubby critique, made a few adjustments, then sewed it all together. The back is pieced, but the few photos I took of it were so washed out, you couldn’t see the cuteness!

Quilt for Baby Gage

I also tried using my walking foot with some straight line quilting – this was my first non-tester project! It’s not perfect, but it works. Man, does quilting take a long time or what?! I can’t imagine FMQ a full-sized quilt, especially on my machine! I think I’ll be sticking with my walking foot and hand work (my favorite!) for a while! ;)

Quilt for Baby Gage

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Spring 2014 Quilt Market | Part 2

by Katie on May 25, 2014

Round TWO of Spring 2014 Quilt Market!

First up, my favorites from Art Gallery. I’m pretty sure I fall in love with everything they release. The exterior entrance of their booth was covered in colorful yoyos – so fun!! And I was especially excited to see April Rhode’s Arizona, Angela Walter’s Athena, Sarah Lawson’s Jungle Avenue, and Frances Newcombe’s Cherie, all from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Art Gallery Fabrics

Arizona - April Rhodes

Athena by Anglea Walters

Jungle Ave by Sarah Lawson

Cherie by Frances Newcombe

And of course, the environmentally friendly Birch Fabrics had a precious booth. I loved their giant flower display! So many adorable garments for little ones. Aren’t those chairs great?!

Brich Fabrics Booth

Birch Flower Detail

I ADORE Heather Ross’ work, and of course I am excited to get my hands on some Far Far Away fabrics (I’ve already preorded a bundle ;) ). I snapped this not-so-great photo of Princess and the Pea – so whimsical. *Currently channeling my inner Princess!*

Far Far Away - Heather Ross

How about some fabulous pattern designers?

A modern favorite, Carolyn Friedlander! This just looks like one amazing office/work space, doesn’t it?

Carolyn Friedlander

Cute as a button “whimsy kits” from Heidi Boyd. Doesn’t this make you want to be little again?

Heidi Boyd

Zen Chic by Brigitte Heitland – love this color palette.

Brigitte Heitland

And one of my favorite apparel brands – Violette Fields Threads! That dress in the front – MUST HAVE!

Violette Fields Threads

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Spring 2014 Quilt Market

by Katie on May 23, 2014

I LOVE MY JOB! I get to do fun stuff with pretty things and surround myself with gorgeousness every day. I get to work with the most creative, inspiring, talented people, who also happen to genuinely kind, generous individuals. I mean really, I get PAID to do this?! I know, sometimes I can’t believe it either. ;)

I’ve been to a handful of Markets during my time working in this industry, yet I haven’t taken the time to sit down, reflect, and write about my experiences! That’s crazytalk, I know, because Market is such a fun, inspiring, tell-everyone-about-it event! I decided that this Market was THE Market to put everything down into writing. Or, er, into pictures.

SO, here goes – Spring 2014 International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh!

Lovely as always, the Moda booth. I’d like to shake the hands of the people that set this thing up (this picture is one tiny corner of the Moda setup)!

Moda Booth Detail

Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman. Wish I could sit on that loveseat for an afternoon soaking in all the color!

IMG_3891

Blueprint Basics by Valori Wells for Robert Kaufman. Doesn’t this just make you want to get out your graph paper?!

IMG_3892

I love Monaluna, and of course I loved their soft yet colorful (and whimsical) booth!

Monaluna Quilt Market Booth

Monaluna Quilt Market Booth

Monaluna Quilt Market Booth

Oh Dear Stella! I always look forward to seeing their fabrics…and the fabulous illustrations in their ads! I especially love their Woodwinked, Wild, and London Calling lines right now. Gimmie!

Dear Stella Booth

Dear Stella Pillows

I adore the softness of this room (that features Camelot’s Iconic fabric line) – I’m pretty sure I could sleep for days on that chair.

Image

And of course, the highly anticipated Cotton + Steel booth! It was pretty much perfect – had it not been awkward, I would have probably spent all day in there looking at every single detail. I’ll take every single fabric, thanks! ;)

Cotton + Steel

Cotton + Steel Booth

Cotton + Steel Booth Detail

Cotton + Steel Booth Detail

Cotton + Steel Booth Detail

Cotton + Steel Booth Detail

Cotton + Steel Booth Detail

I have so many more pretty photos to share – maybe I’ll get them posted one of these days! ;)

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Awesome Customer Experience – Tea Forté

by Katie on February 2, 2014

I put a lot of weight in the “customer experience”. Sure, sometimes it doesn’t make much of a difference – if you want a candy bar and you’re too lazy to go anywhere but the CVS a block away, most likely, you’re going to go there no matter what. BUT! When a business goes above and beyond to make your experience with them is a good one, or a GREAT one, it stands out. That extra mile, for me, usually means the difference between indifference and extreme loyalty.

As a person who “works in marketing”, I consider it my duty to spread words of LOVE about a company who seems to be doing things right (at least when it comes to customer experience)! This post, my friends, is full of love for a company for which I will be forever faithful – Tea Forté.

I’ve loved tea for a while. Am I an expert? No. Do I drink a lot of it? Yes. Last November, the hubby and I took a trip to India where we saw how ingrained tea was in the culture. Of course, their tea of choice is chai (YUM!). Seeing the industry around this one single drink (and after vising various tea shops and rooms) sparked a, dare I say, new passion for me. I came home excited to learn about the history of this historic beverage, and the culture that surrounded it.

Over Christmas, I received a bunch of tea related presents from various members of my family (though I don’t think it was planned ;) ). One of the gifts was a Pugg Ceramic Teapot from Tea Forté (thanks Grandma and Pa O!). I’ve used it almost every day since. It was perfect – the infuser was perfect for all my loose leaf teas, and the metal lid, which kept my tea warmer longer, popped off for easier cleaning. It was true love.

Pugg

And then one horrible afternoon, I realized the infuser had gone missing! I destroyed the kitchen looking for it (Brandon helped), but nothing! We came to the conclusion that the kitchen elves must have sneaked in and carried it away (though we were probably both silently blaming the other for accidentally tossing it). But, this is where the story starts to gets good.

Sad but not hopeless, I hopped onto www.TeaForte.com and searched for a replacement infuser for my beloved Pugg. Surely they would have a simple replacement I could pick up for a few bucks! After a few minute of looking and not finding what I was looking for, I thought I’d email the customer service address to see if perhaps I had missed it on the website. Not expecting much, other than perhaps an email reply a week or two later, I explained what had happened and clicked “send”, then devised a way to use my pretty pot without its infuser.

A day later, an email appeared in my inbox. It was none other than Colby, a Customer Experience representative from Tea Forté! A reply in 24 hours? I think I really like you. But what did Colby say in this email of his? That if I would provide my mailing address, he would send me a replacement for free. FOR FREE. No hoops to jump through, no payment to make, no shipping to pay! You have won me over for life. Sure, the infuser probably cost pennies to make and a few dollars more to ship, but the small gesture means a whole lot more to me. It fills me up with warm fuzzies just thinking about it (just like a nice hot cup of tea)! So I am going forth and proclaiming my love for Tea Forté! THANK YOU!

While I am always in favor of shopping small and local, I can’t help but to fall in love with a company, no matter its size, that treats me right.

Thanks Colby, and Tea Forté, for being awesome!

And since, you know, Valentine’s Day is coming up, I thought I’d share a few of the items on my wishlist (ahem, Brandon, hope you’re reading ;) ).

Tea-Forte-Wishlist
1. Kati Tea Brewing System in Birch Forest (it even has my name on it! ;) | 2. Tangerine Rosemary White Loose Leaf Tea Canister | 3. Diva Glass Teapot and Infuser | 4. Chamomile Citron Herbal Loose Leaf Tea Pouch

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Divided Tote from Noodle-Head

by Katie on January 21, 2014

Quick sewing projects are the perfect cure for “I have so many projects I don’t know which one to work on right now” syndrome. Because naturally, when you have a gazzilion unfinished projects, starting a new one will surely help in some way. ;) Ok, so maybe that’s not true, but I DO love a project that you can start and finish in a single day! It’s just so satisfying.

After seeing all of the adorable baskets on Sarah Quilts, I just had to give one a try. The Divided Basket pattern from Noodle-Head was so simple – I can’t wait to make another.

divided basket 3

My first try consisted of Leah Duncan’s Tule fabrics [a la Art Gallery] (with a few stash pieces mixed in) that I picked up at Urban Arts and Crafts (my favorite sewing and craft supply store in, quite possibly, the world) over Christmas. Instead of using the suggested interfacing and fleece, I used some fusible web and batting. It still came out great, though next time I’ll pick up the proper supplies, or try making the baskets out of canvas. Such a fun project!

divided basket

divided fabric basket

It’s such a lovely pattern. Check it out if you’re in the mood for a quick, simple, useful project!

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Sweet as Honey

by Katie on January 19, 2014

I’m fabric obsessed, and I happily accept it. I could spend hours looking at fabric, and I do, but every once in a while I find a fabric or a line that I seriously can’t stop thinking about. I don’t even know what I want to use it for, but I must have it.

I have recently found such a line – Sweet as Honey, by Bonnie Christine of Art Gallery Fabrics. I’ll let the images speak for themselves. Don’t they just make you want to empty out your piggy bank and buy ALL OF THE FABRIC and then spend all week at your sewing machine?

Sweet as honey logo

My most favorites!

sweet-as-honey-favorites

And the whole, beautiful line!

Sweet-as-Honey-Line

I love Bonnie Christine’s style, her fabric and her blog are, well, addicting. Read her wonderful blog, Going Home to Roost, and check out her online community for creatives, Roost Tribe.

Now, I think I’ll go sew awhile. :) Happy Sunday!

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