Dear ASDP Board

  • 06/04/2016 6:24 PM | Anonymous

    This year, many members of the Baltimore Chapter are participating in the chapter’s evaluation program that was developed in 2001. There are 5 levels, 3 of which members are currently working towards: Dressmaker I and II, and Master Dressmaker. Consequently, most of the year’s programs are related to the requirements needed to successfully complete each level. A number of our members shared their expertise and tips for such topics as seam techniques, thread carriers, darts and gathers, invisible zippers, collars, cuffs and plackets, and hems. It seems like no matter how much experience we have, there are always some new tips to learn to make constructing these things easier, faster, and better!

    Our May meeting had a little different format. One of our members, Kathy Sack, has been making skating costumes for the last several years and gave us lots of good info about the process and the differences between sewing these and regular clothing. The members in attendance don’t have much experience with this type of work, so it was all new to us!  Keeping with the costume theme, Andrea Hoover, who got her costuming degree from Penn State University, presented the second half of the program on how to build the costumes for a theater production and all the people involved in the process. Using some Elizabethan sleeves as an example, she explained all the steps from going through the design stage through the pattern-making to the muslin to the finished garment.  Then we got to have an up-close look at Debby Spence’s winning (Most Successful Application) Challenge garment as she explained how she put it all together. Susan Khalje, who judged the Challenge, was at the meeting and it was interesting to hear a judge’s perspective of the garment.

    A highlight of our year was an all-day workshop to learn Sashiko stitching, lead by Nancy Long, from Lancaster, PA. She has extensive knowledge of the art form and of Japanese textiles, so she had lots to teach us. It was a fun day, and greatly enhanced by the presence of some members of the NJ chapter who drove several hours to take the workshop!

  • 06/03/2016 6:22 PM | Anonymous

    We have had a busy Winter/Spring.  February found us learning how and when to fix our furs, led by our own Dot Treece.  In March we started to learn some basics of fashion sketching with Carol Kimball.  Our chapter also hosted a three Saturday workshop with Clara Dittli on the fine art of the couture skirt. In the workshop we had two snow storms and one rainy day, but we didn’t let a little spring snow get in our way. 

    Clara taught us how to draft our own pattern, how to mark our fabric with our seam allowances, thread marking, basting, underlining, lining, zipper, waistband and hem techniques.  Clara apprenticed in a Haute Couture Atelier where she learned couture sewing, pattern drafting, draping and fashion illustration. Clara continued her career as a fashion designer and consultant in some of Zurich’s finest houses.  In 1985, she moved to Denver and established her own couture Studio.

  • 06/01/2016 6:16 PM | Anonymous

    For our March meeting, we saw the exhibit Nebraska: State of Fashion at the Hillestad Textile Gallery on the campus of the University of Nebraska.  Fashions from the wardrobes of three Nebraska families dating 1920 – 1990 were on display.  We also saw the exhibits at the International Quilt Study Center.  We also attended the spring runway show of Omaha Fashion Week.  This event has really grown since we first started attending it.

    We met at a local sewing machine dealership for our April meeting.  The owner did a presentation on sewing machine maintenance and repair.  He also shared a lot of information of comparison of features and of the different brands of machines they sell. 

  • 03/06/2016 6:25 PM | Anonymous

    “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come" - Victor Hugo

    This year ASDP celebrates its 25th anniversary. In that time we have experienced the ups and downs of economy, world politics, and market trends while we sought to find our place in a world dominated by high tech and fast fashion. At this year’s strategic planning meeting, the board of directors crafted a vision statement that supports our mission and our guiding principles. This vision statement is a picture of our preferred future; i.e. it describes how the future will look if we achieve our ultimate aims.

    Our Vision: A recognized global trade association for all sewing and design disciplines.

    In creating this vision statement, we brainstormed what that preferred future would look like. We saw a future where the plumber, electrician, and dressmaker commanded comparable hourly rates and generated similar annual incomes. Then we imagined a future where our influence was so far reaching that seamstresses around the world had safe working conditions and a wage similar to other tradesmen in their area. Admittedly, this future is a long ways off as consumer and cultural attitudes would need to dramatically change, but it can start with our vision.

    Vision and Mission statements along with Guiding Principles/Values in Action help define an organization and how the world is better because it exists. We have long had a mission statement and guiding principles. A Mission statement is a statement of the overall purpose of an organization. It describes what we do, for whom we do it, and the benefit. On our “About Us” page we read “Our mission is to support individuals engaged in sewing and design related businesses, in both commercial and home-based settings.” How this support manifests itself is found in our tag line: Education, Networking, and Referrals for Sewing and Design Professionals.

    Guiding Principles/Values in Action are defined as general guidelines which set the foundation for how an organization will operate. Our Code of Ethics serves as our guiding principles and values in action.  When I first read our Code of Ethics, I found them burdensome. After rereading them and with the help of others, I saw their benefit and more properly understood them. While they may seem overly demanding and exacting of our members, they provide tremendous clarity for what we mean by “professional.” You may not be as intimidated by our Code of Ethics as I was, nevertheless, in future newsletters officers and members will write about and explain a proper understanding of the various articles and sections of our Code of Ethics.

    For our organization, as in life, there is more to be done than can ever be done. With our Mission and Code of Ethics, our Vision gives us tools with which to measure every opportunity according to its ability to propel us toward our preferred future – A globally recognized trade association for all sewing and design disciplines. Truly, an idea whose time has come.

    Written by Debra Utberg, President

  • 03/05/2016 6:22 PM | Anonymous

    This is the first in a series of articles written by your ASDP Board of Directors concerning the ASDP Code of Ethics.  You can find the Code of Ethics in its entirety on the ASDP website here.

    The ASDP Code of Ethics applies to all categories of membership and is a guide for members in the ethical conduct of business.  ASDP is a trade organization and our reputation depends on every person in the Association.  The code is divided into 4 sections:

    • Responsibility to the public
    • Responsibility to the client
    • Responsibility to other sewing professionals and members
    • Responsibility to the profession

    Starting with our responsibility to the public the code states: “Members shall comply with all existing laws, regulations and codes governing business practices established by the federal government, state, community or other governing body where they conduct business.”

    This means ASDP members must:

    • Identify and pay any license fees needed to establish their business.
    • Comply with any zoning restrictions and building code requirements.
    • Determine tax liabilities. This includes paying quarterly federal Income taxes and state income and sales taxes where applicable.
    • All funds collected for services rendered must be reported. No “cash under the table.”

    As stated in the official copy of our Code of Ethics, “The Code of Ethics expresses a commonly held set of values that clearly differentiates us from those who do not have the benefits of membership.  In other words, our Code of Ethics is one of our member benefits. 

    Written by Linda Stewart, President-Elect

  • 03/04/2016 6:16 PM | Anonymous


    The Wisconsin chapter hosted their annual Professional Development Retreat January 22-25 near Whitewater, WI.  Major kudos to Sue Tenney, for masterfully out-maneuvering the ice dams along the Rock River (which forced a cancellation at the original location) by securing new venue, Kettle Moraine Retreat, just a few days before the retreat!  The two ‘rules’ for this annual event:  no client sewing and have fun!   Projects included sewing gifts for family members, brushing up on various skills, muslins, and various garments for personal use.  And food…there was lot of food, too ;) 


    In January, the Heartland chapter enjoyed a wonderful weekend in Nashville, IN during their first annual chapter retreat.  Many garments were sewn, much food was eaten, and many wonderful memories were made.  In February, the chapter enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at artist Sylvia Gray’s studio in Westfield, IN learning the art of Shibori Dyeing.  Each member was able to dye yardage of silk to take home.  It was extremely educational and the take-away will be very beneficial to our businesses. Coming up, the Heartland chapter will be hosting a bias class by author and teacher, Julianne Bramson.  It will be July 14-15, 2016 in the Indianapolis area.  While it is open first to chapter members, the remaining spots will be made available to ASDP members in March.  Please contact Joyce Hittesdorf if you are interested.

    Great Plaines

    We met at Do Space in Omaha NE.  This is a new community technology library with digital workshops.  This just opened in November and the only facility of its kind in the US.  This facility is funded by private donations thru a nonprofit organization and use of everything  and all classes at Do Space are free.   We are especially excited that Do Space has 3D printers, a 3D scanner, a laser cutter and large format printer.   Our heads were just spinning thinking about things to do with the 3D printer and laser cutter.  The only cost for any of this is the cost of supplies.  Many of the computer classes and workshops they offer will be great chapter programs.  I know, this sounds unbelievable, but this place is amazing.  It has over 200 computers for use by the public.  Their website is if you are interested is checking it our.


    The Colorado chapter welcomed a New President and a new member at large to our board.  January, Clara Dittli showed the members how to measure a body for a skirt and then how to draft out are own personal pattern.  February we explored the Denver Art Museum.  We also headed for the Mountains for our 14th Annual Sewing retreat.  In March, Dot Treece, will demonstrate how she repairs fur coats. April meeting Carol Kimball will be introducing the members to the art of fashion sketching.  Also in April Clara Dittli will be leading our Spring workshop, The Couture Skirt.


    Our January meeting began with our semi-annual election of Chapter officers, and thankful recognition of out-going officers.  Here is our new slate of officers:  Robin Bolton, President; Michelle Davis and Elizabeth Miles, Co-First VP for General Meetings; Suzanne Olson and Jennifer Phillips, Co-Second VP for Website/Communication; Tania Naef, Secretary; Judi McKamey, Treasurer; Krysti Emerson and Marsha McClintock, Co-Membership Chairs; Tricia Crockett, Education Chair. Tricia would love to share the Education Chair job; any volunteers? The educational content of our meeting focused on setting goals and refining vision.  It was offered by Brandon Cordell, a chapter student member currently working on his MBA in entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon.   Here are a few practical comments he made about goals, based on his studies and his military experience:

    1. Always have goals.
    2. Always set them high.
    3. Goals give you direction.
    4. Expectations give weight and conviction to your statements.
    5. What you aim for often determines what you get.
    6. This carefully about what you really want (your passions or core values).
    7. Set optimistic and justifiable targets.
    8. Be specific.
    9. Get committed.  Write them down and discuss them with friends.
    10. Carry your goals with you.
    11. Force yourself to improve your skills to match your goals.  Ask for feedback, get mentors.
    12. The way you spend your time reveals/points to priorities within your core values. 
    Brandon also told how he has developed multiple business plans using the nine-part Business Model Canvas developed by Steve Blank.  A free template can be found at  Using this template you can build a successful company, using a "guess, test, search, prove" methods for each aspect of the business. Everyone attending the meeting was energized by the practical tools Brandon offered to help us run our businesses successfully in 2016.

    New England

    The chapter started the year off with our annual holiday gathering in January – held post holidays to avoid conflicting with other festivities. Donna Fortier and Janee Connor hosted a tea at Janee's home – complete with cream scones, clotted cream, lemon curd, and raspberry jam among many other yummy goodies; with a vast variety of teas served in Donna's collection of china teacups. 12 chapter members enjoyed the afternoon, touring Janee's studio and looking at her current projects, and swapping fabric gifts from our stashes. The discussion was casual but really lively, with the topic of how we set our pricing rate front and center. This set the stage for February's meeting, a program on Alterations Pricing presented by Janee Connor. Held at the Charleton Sewing Center and open to non-members as well, the presentation included a review of the $NAP Tool for Alterations Pricing from JSM Tailoring tools, along with an overview of methods for estimating pricing for custom garments. The chapter's April meeting will feature Gail Yellen in her only Boston area appearance this Spring. The program entitled "It's all about embellishment... I know how to do it, but where do I put it?", will take place on Sunday, April 24th and is open to all ASDP members and the public. Attendees will learn some of the techniques Gail uses on her amazing garments, come away with suggestions for beautiful designs, and be more confident in deciding what will or won't work on a garment.  Contact for registration information.              

  • 03/03/2016 6:03 PM | Anonymous


    Where is your business located?  Do you work out of a home studio or do you have a brick and mortar location?

    My business is located in Gowanus area of Brooklyn, NY. The neighborhood used to be pretty industrial, but right now it is one of the most up and coming areas in NYC. I have two shop spaces on the same street (about two doors apart). In one space we do the majority of the work. In the other, we receive customers, but I also have a fully functional sewing room there as well. One block away there is a bridal salon and across the street from that another bridal designer has just opened up. We also have a wedding cake designer and florist right here so we are working on building a new "Bridal District".

    What kind of work do you specialize in?

    I specialize in bridal alterations, but we offer all types of alterations as well as custom monogramming and embroidery.

    Tell me a little about your favorite part of your sewing space.

    Right now my space is still fairly new so it's a work in progress. It is extremely functional and I have plenty of space, but I am looking forward to having it completed. We are adding new lighting soon as possible and a few space savers and details. I have a local artist adding an art installation in the front of the shop in the next few weeks and we are really excited about that. I also have a number of posters and pictures that inspire me that I am waiting to get hung up. I have a Cyndi Lauper poster from when I was a teenager, a Tank Girl Poster, a Pretty in Pink poster, a picture of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, one of Amy Poehler with a quote from her, and a poster of the Ms. magazine Wonder Woman cover from a while back. Most importantly, I have photos of my great aunt, great grandmother and grandmother when you first walk into the shop. They are such a part of this shop for me. I light a candle and greet them every morning.

    Do you work alone or do you share the space with others?

    Right now, I have a great assistant (Stephanie) who handles appointments, phone calls, emails, errands, and greeting clients. She is a god-send because I am the only tailor. I have tried hiring someone to help with the sewing, but have yet to find a qualified candidate.

    How did you develop your layout?

    Trial and error!!! Still trying out new things and then trying something different. We have a lot of space but we also have a lot of equipment and a LOT of wedding dresses. Maybe we'll find the magic combo or maybe I'll keep rearranging forever!

    What's the first thing that clients notice about your space?

    The one thing clients always first comment on when they come into our shop is how peaceful it is. I worked hard to make sure that a strong sense of calm comes over anyone who comes in and so far it has worked great! People love being in my shop. It makes them feel relaxed, gives them a time out from the insanity of wedding planning, and instills a sense of confidence that they have made the right choice for their alterations.  I find that clients will sometimes hang around a bit after their appointment just to enjoy a peaceful moment in the wedding planning process. I have also noticed that my brides are starting to chat with each other while waiting and it's becoming a social place, which is what I wanted. I keep saying that I am going to pitch a class in creating a sense of calm in brides (and their families) for conference one year, but I have yet to get a proposal in.

    What makes your sewing space unique?

    Honestly, my first response to that is this: It's mine, and I am unique! But that is probably not what you are looking for.  I guess the first time I ever thought about owning a shop was when I saw "The Color Purple". When Celie is in her own tiny shop, "Folkspants", I loved it. In the movie, it represented an independence and freedom that she had never known before. She was happy and at peace and her own woman. That little shop was one of my first inspirations. I also loved the early 20th century idea of people having a true neighborhood tailor and that was something I wanted to bring back. The front of the shop has an easy chair and a love seat and encourages people to make themselves comfortable, have a cup of tea, and stay for a while.

  • 03/02/2016 5:57 PM | Anonymous

    Joyce Simons Murphy tells us about her latest adventure – building a school!

    What is SCCandA? SCCandA is a virtual school (offering online classes only) that will eventually have a complete curriculum for tailoring stylists (dressmakers and tailors who co-design with their clients) to take courses in all aspects of tailoring, altering, designing, and running a business. To view the school, go to and enroll in the two sample courses for free!

    One course is on using the JSM pricing system Joyce calls SNAP Tools 2015.  The other course is from guest instructor Brenda Breitenmoser on covering a hair comb to attach a bridal veil. Both courses use still images and narration to present the materials in a pre-recorded video clip format Joyce calls a "smarticle". The smarticle is the main content piece of each lesson within the course. Other content options including worksheets and printable pdf files will be added to some courses along with a discussion group and homework review options. The video clips are prerecorded and fully-captioned so they can be reviewed and studied at any time.

    Addressing a need. Joyce saw the need for better schooling for tailoring stylists soon after graduating from what is now the School of Apparel Design and Development in Seattle in 1983.  She was fortunate to have this schooling available to her for skills such as tailoring, dressmaking, design, and alterations. She was in the right place at the right time.  Shortly thereafter the program gradually changed from a custom program to train tailors and dressmakers to a program with more emphasis on training designers to work in the ready-to-wear industry.

    Joyce says, “Before attending school, I thought I had learned it all from my mother who made most of my clothes (until I took over) and my aunt, the home economics teacher at the local high school. The program proved me wrong. I had much to learn about menswear alterations and pattern making; information not available to me outside of class. I found there were time-honored procedures that were taught in class but not written in books – for example, techniques that tailors traditionally passed on from father to son.” These techniques will become part of the curriculum at SCCandA.

    Meeting this need with education to call our own.  There are many wonderful classes and workshops in tailoring, dressmaking and design providing great educational opportunities.  However, they are generally geared to the sewing community at large and most do not address the business needs of the professional, nor do they include practice on numerous body shapes or the gamut of personal style considerations that tailoring stylists are expected to know. This is the niche Joyce is planning to fill by building SCCandA.  ASDP conference courses are excellent, but the structure does not allow for a set curriculum that covers all the bases and is accessible to students when the students need them. This is the role of a school.

    ASDP friends are already playing a role in SCCandA’s development.  Joyce appreciates the involvement and freely admits, “I cannot do this alone!”  She needs your help. You can read "It Takes a Team to Build a School," a recent post to Joyce's Tailoring YOUR Style blog on the JSM Tailoring Tools website. Go to http://www.jsmtailoringtools. com/it-takes-a-team-to-build-a-school/  to read the post and view the video clips. (Patty’s enthusiastic response to Brenda’s comb covering technique is worth a listen!) The post tells the story of a fun get together in Bellingham, Washington that Brenda

    Breitenmoser, Patty Robison, Linda Macke and Joyce Murphy cooked up at the conference last fall in Minneapolis. Brenda moves into the teacher’s role. Patty, Linda and Joyce become Brenda’s students as they experiment with Joyce’s method for bringing an online tailoring lesson to life with pictures, screen-casting and narration all pulled together on the computer and recorded for future development.

    Joyce is looking forward to SCCandA progress in 2016. Joyce has been working on SCCandA as time allows inbetween caring for grandchildren (her other passion in life) with plans to return to business full-time mid-March. The new pole barn studio anxiously awaits!

    Early spring in northern Michigan is an excellent time for new beginnings as the ground starts to thaw and new sprouts emerge. Look for new courses to appear on the SCCandA website by late spring / early summer now that the groundwork is laid. Joyce has promised to keep her ASDP friends abreast of SCCandA developments as they occur. She sincerely appreciates your kind words and moral support!

  • 03/01/2016 5:50 PM | Anonymous

    I was recently planning to visit the small community of Winchester in northwestern Virginia, and a few garment-sewing enthusiasts mentioned that I shouldn’t miss the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley where there was a clothing exhibit. Winchester is a charming old town, and I love its historic nature, including red brick buildings and uneven sidewalks. While charming, it’s a sleepy kind of town, and when I heard about this clothing exhibit, I didn’t have particularly high expectations.

    When I walked up the staircase of this beautifully situated museum, I was greeted not only by a docent who was eager to tell me a few things about what I was about to see, but also by a gorgeous dress worn by Angelica Huston in EVER AFTER. The elaborateness and attention to detail in the sleeves really captured my attention!

    Worn by Angelica Houston in Ever After

    The clothing exhibit turned out to be “CUT! Costume and the Cinema,” a collection of about forty garments from the illustrious British costumer Cosprop, Ltd. If you’ve ever seen a period piece movie, it’s pretty much a certainty that you’ve seen garments from the Cosprop archives or made by Cosprop for that particular movie.

    Worn by Radha Mitchell in Finding Neverland

    Historically accurate (although occasionally with some changes for the actors’ comfort), and sometimes using fabrics from the time period being depicted in the movie, these garments are astoundingly beautiful on many different levels. To say they were inspiring to me is an understatement. I was awed by the workmanship, and my head was swirling with ideas by the time I left.

    Worn by Radha Mitchell in Finding Neverland

    Seeing a stunning exhibition like this always stirs my imagination. Even though I was working on garments of a completely different nature, I couldn’t wait to get home and sew. It’s simply inspiring to see what can be done with cloth.

    Worn by Nicole Kidman in Portrait of a Lady

    If you have a chance to see this traveling exhibit, by all means make an effort to do so. It will be at the Heritage Museum & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts next.

    Worn by Minnie Driver in Phantom of the Opera

  • 12/08/2015 8:15 PM | Anonymous

    Do you have a favorite shopping area? Please consider writing it up for us.

    Montreal isn’t just a city of great international restaurants and chic boutiques. Montreal hosts a fabric district to rival New York’s – and the prices are much better. Many of the vendors will first address you in French, but almost all are fluent in English as well. No one will tell you “they don’t make that any more” in order to get you to buy something else. If they know someone else has what you’re looking for, they’ll tell you which store to try next. If you’re making small purchases vendors will appreciate it if you offer Canadian cash. There are ATM machines in the Jean Toulon market and in the pizzeria on Rue St-Hubert. Stores will sometimes accept American cash, but they might offer you a one-for-one trade. Fabric is measured in metres (39.37”) rather than yards (36”), so there’s a built-in bonus. Most of the stores are talking about getting websites, but don’t have them yet.

    The majority of  the stores are along Rue St-Hubert. You can start at the farmer’s market for lunch and work your way up Rue St-Hubert from the lower end shops that carry odd lots and polyesters, ending on the far end at the couture fabric stores, or you can start at the couture end and work your way back. For fabrics, my favorite shops are Textile Couture Elle and Tissus St Hubert.


    Tissus St Hubert, 7399 Rue St-Hubert, is owned by Joseph, who makes trips to Italy to source fabrics. He has luscious Italian wools, boucles, silks (especially 60” wide Italian prints), and suitings. I bought an exquisite new boucle for $70 a metre Canadian – that’s $52.50 a metre American. I’ve also bought doublefaced wool and a wool/cashmere mix at Tissus St Hubert. I think the wool/cashmere was $40.00 a metre, which equals $30.00 American. Kitty Daly purchased a 4-ply off-white viscose for a wedding gown, $40 Canadian a metre, exquisite quality. Take time to talk to Joseph and his helper, Omar. They both have a great sense of color and an intimate knowledge of their vast stock. They have 2 warehouses across the street and if you describe what you’re looking for they will happily bring it from one of the warehouses.

    Kitty’s note: I dare you to get out of there empty handed! Omar told us about Daou, a Lebanese restaurant around the corner and a great place for a leisurely break. Tissus St Hubert will have a website (it’s not running yet) at

    Textiles Couture Elle, 7361 Rue St-Hubert, is run by Jean and his family. Jean is Omar’s uncle and he and Joseph go on buying trips abroad together. Couture Elle also has boucles, Italian wools, silk tulle, 4-ply silk crepe in a variety of colors, evening wear fabrics, and designer fabrics. Jean carries a nice range of high quality laces. His prices for lace were close to what I pay for wholesale, with the advantage of being able to buy less than 4 yards of a pattern.

    On one trip I bought three laces and accidentally left the bag at a trim store. I called the trim store and the owner said she had my bag. I called Jean and he immediately offered to go get the bag and to mail it to me – at no extra charge.

    There’s very little overlap between Couture Elle and Tissus St-Hubert. They shop together and divide up the fabrics between them. I was introduced to Couture Elle by Kitty Daly and she recognized boucles she had seen at Michael’s and in New York. Jean is their source and he, as the source, charges much less.

    C&M Textiles, 7500 Rue St-Hubert, carries a wide range of fabrics, notions, and patterns. There is a large showroom of home-dec fabrics and a bargain basement. They have rayon Bemberg lining in a wide range of colors, but at full cost. Many of their fabrics are synthetic blends. They also have the best rest rooms in the fabric district, and maybe in North America.

    Riatex, 7360 Rue St-Hubert, has fabrics arranged in aisles by price. Most are between $2.99 and $9.99. Remember that these prices are in Canadian dollars. Most of the fabrics at Riatex are stretch fabrics or polyester. They also have some home-dec fabrics. They have a nice weight of stretch satin in many shades of white, 60” wide, for $7.99 a yard.

    Goodman Carlyle 7282 Rue St-Hubert is a large dark store with odd bolts from jobbers, the middlemen who buy overruns from manufacturers and sell to retail shops. You can find treasures here if you take the time to look. Silk and wool are at one end, home-dec at the other. Everything imaginable is in between the two.


    Rix Rax, 801 Rue Gilford at the corner of Rue StHubert, is a button store to die for – cabinets made for blueprints are full of boxes of buttons, buttons are in cases, on the walls, on rotating stands, on cards. I found the perfect vintage button for a client’s coat. The store is open from 11 until 6 most days. Don’t get there until at least 11:15. 11:30 would be even better. It’s a small shop that rarely opens on time and the owner gets rattled when a disgruntled crowd descends on her at opening time. Allow time to browse and be patient as you wait your turn at the antiquated cash register. I recommend paying with cash to save time. I also recommend a GPS to get there as there’s construction in the neighborhood. When the construction is completed, you’ll be able to drive from there straight up St-Hubert to the fabric stores.

    Rubans Boutons, 7363 Rue St-Hubert, is a tiny store run by Richard Letendre, a theatre buff and button collector. His stock is much smaller than Rix Rax’s, but his location is more convenient. He has a nice selection of buttons, both new and vintage, and has a chest of ribbons.

    Trimcite 7381 Rue St-Hubert, has ribbons, trims, and all kinds of elastic by the yard. It’s a great place to look for trim for your Chanel jacket.

    Kava, 7609 Rue St-Hubert, has industrial supplies, invisible zippers, and large cones of thread for $2.50, machine needles, bra hooks, elastic, sewing machine parts, Velcro, and irons.

    Add to this mix dozens of smaller fabric stores, button shops, and even a sewing machine shop with a treasure trove of used machines and you have the making of a fabulous few days in Montreal.

    Jean Toulon Farmer’s Market: the second most important reason to travel to Montreal! Glorious fruits and vegetables all year long, beautifully displayed and at bargain prices, as well as meat markets with

    handmade sausages, pates, and exotic meats and fowl hard to find in the States. The downside is you have to eat any uncooked items there, as they don’t permit bringing them across the border. However, there are several eateries, making it an excellent lunch stop, and a few bakeries where we buy treats for our husbands to keep them from getting jealous of our trips.

    Montreal is a four-hour drive for me. Kitty Daly and I go and make a long day of it. Ideally you’d spend a few days, allowing you to see all the fabric stores and to eat a few meals – Brazilian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, and Lebanese Montreal is a multi-facetted city. Allow time for the Botanical Gardens and take the family to the Biodome!

    There are also several small lot wholesalers who exhibit at the Fabric Expo in New York. Many are in a large building at 5445 Rue De Gaspe. We plan to check it out on a future trip – so much to see

    Written by Rachel Kurland and Kitty Daly

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