Friday, July 28, 2006

Fabric Store Closeout on B'way

Hey there! How many of you shop for fabrics down on lower Broadway? At the last Saplings meeting I mentioned one that was going out of business and starting to sell stuff for super cheap prices (we got some very good stuff for $3-6/yd). I don't have the exact street number, but it's on the west side of Broadway, probably just below Walker St. (not quite as far south as P&S). You might know it. It's the crazy one that often has scrappy looking huge bins outside, and in the window are scrawled signs that say, "PANTIES $2" and inside it's complete chaos. There's lot's of lace trimmings hanging near the front. It's really a fright. But go inside, and you never know what you might find! Moriah and I got some good cotton jersey (there are several varieties - some with much more Lycra than others); some rayons, a lot of prints; etc. A lot of it is quite synthetic, but there is a large range of quality mixed in. Anyway - the guy who runs it is very nice; he's on his way out, and bringing up more stuff from downstairs everyday. I can't vouch for the exact deals, but after we bought a ton of stuff he showed us the downstairs area (lots of stripes) and said to come back in two weeks and buy more stuff and he'd give it to us for $2/yd. I'm afraid this isn't the best time to for ME to be accumulating more fabric, but maybe other Saplings want to organize a group trip there to buy in bulk and therefore score better deals + share cabs back to Brooklyn.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Health Insurance

Hanna said that some of you (Becky- who I don't know and Moriah) have really good, free health insurance. I was wondering if you could pass on the info to me. Mine is not good and very expensive. Also does anyone know about Freelancers Union insurance, hows that one?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


this is the stamp i got at the flea market that i thought could be a cool starting place for the logo for the hangtag to put on stuff we make that's sewn at MCIF, or even just anything made with care and a good conscience, in which case maybe it shouldn't be a sewing machine? can anyone think of a good way to say what i mean? i don't really want to say 'sweatshop free'. which reminds me, it was really funny that chisara, the manager at MCIF, was wearing a sweater and poncho because it was so cool in there. definitely not a sweatshop!

MCIF sample

I got my first sample back from MCIF and its great! It looks just like the one that I gave them. I give them an A++ on sewing jersey.
I left them with about 30 more pieces. I’m going back on Monday so they can show me a sample of another design I brought in with me today. I think that their pricing seems fare. They asked me how much I was hoping to pay for each garment and said they would maybe have to adjust it if that price was too low/high depending on how the sewing goes. I kind of gave them my ideal price and then how much I would pay up to. The top I got back today (simple, batwing long sleeve) will be $5, I think. The leggings I am having done next will probably be $8 each. I should start getting more stuff back in the next couple of weeks if anyone wants to come over and check them out.
Oh! They also told me that it takes them more time to finish an order of jersey garments with cover stitch because they only have one cover stitch machine. Woven garments that can be sew on the standard industrial machines will be finished much quicker because more people can be working on them.

Other things…
I have written a couple of the t-shirt printers that use soy inks or other earth/human friendly inks and have gotten no response. We’ll see if they want to share their secret.

I found an online fabric store that has tons of different organic fabrics- wools, hemp, cotton, bends with silk, linen, yak, etc. They have knits and wovens as well as yarns and notions (lace, elastic, thread). The cool thing about them is you can buy swatches from them for $0.40 a swatch. I got a bunch, I will being them to the next meeting for anyone to check out. The website is:

I also found out that American Apparel is wholesaling their organic garments. They are pretty well priced.
I will try and post some pictures of the samples that I get back form MCIF (if I can figure out how to do that).


I found this tee printing place that makes their own environmentally friendly inks. I don't know if they would sell them directly or not. have a look ~

Monday, July 24, 2006

minutes of 7/23/06 meeting

hooray we are actually using the blog to post and share information!
we had a great meeting yesterday hosted by the lovely alice and moriah of Feral Childe at their studio near the gowanus canal. they gave us a tour of their spacious digs and we discussed ideas for storage of fabric rolls and bolts. in attendance, besides a & m, were hanna, jen, caitlin and me (cal).

hanna had to leave early so she shared her windmill energy update, a 'green' printer she found, and an eco friendly t-shirt resource. she also told us about her wool project to benefit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and we are going to have a fleece processing/drop spindling workshop at her house sometime in august.

we also discussed last thursday's field trip to the Clarke-Ford Center in Bushwick, which is a sewing center that trains immigrant women in English, sewing and business skills, among others. they offer sewing contracting services for designers whose quantities are too small for regular factories. i found out about them thanks to jenny of saltlick who also works with them. caitlin left 2 samples for the ladies to sew, and we will see how their quality and pricing look next week. they said that their prices are based on a wage of $10 per hour. if things work out as we hope, we'd love to make a cute hangtag with info about the Center so the consumer will know and feel good about where the item was made.

alice and moriah shared a hot tip that a fabric store on broadway near franklin is going out of business and selling off lots of fabric for $2-3 per yard. there will likely be a field trip in the next two weeks so that bigger quantities can be bought, which will lower the price even more. if you want to go, contact caitlin.

the need/desire for some early fall sales was also discussed, and two ideas debated: one is the Atlantic Antic on september 17, which is a street fair that features local craftspeople. jen is already doing it, and has had a good experience in the past. the other idea is to organize a group sample sale, possibly at caitlin's studio, or Feral Childe's loading dock (in conjunction with their local Open Studios weekend) or a manhattan location. we tentatively said this could be scheduled for mid to late october, in case some people want to try both. anyone who is interested in either option please let me know.

jen shared her goals of taking Raeburn Ink into the home furnishings market, which would enable her to focus more on the prints which are her main interest.

finally, we talked about ideas for future meetings, such as:
-assigning a theme in advance, so that we all can prepare and bring info and ideas pertaining to theme (such as PR, sustainability, goals etc)
-bringing unwanted materials/supplies that someone else would likely want to exchange
-working on a project together, such as an 'exquisite corpse' round-robin thing where we each bring a t-shirt, bag or other item and everyone does something (embroider/paint/bead etc) for 10 min then we pass to the next person, or someone teaching a workshop
-bringing items to show what we've been working on, and if desired get feedback/advice
-philanthropic projects, like cat toys for the shelter hanna volunteers at, or the wool project

i think that's about it; if i remember anything else (or anyone else does) i will add it. the meeting concluded with a dip in the nearby pool for alice, jen and caitlin!

i'm interested in 100% natural screen printing inks too. do they exist? i have this book: screen printing: the complete water-based system -- and it discusses the health and environmental concerns of screen printing. i can bring it to the next meeting...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hanna's finds

Here are the links to the things I was talking about today at our meeting. I'm also very interested in non-toxic silkscreening ink so if jen or anyone else finds a good source please let us know ASAP! - the eco-friendly printer - has hemp/cotton blend tshirts tote bags etc. i got the whoelsale price list and they run around $7 a shirt. i will get samples to check on style/fit etc this week. will let you know if i think it's any good. - the book i am reading about socially responsible business practices by the guy who started the Seventh Generation company. (who makes toilet paper, laundry detergent etc)

also if you gals can post about what you talked about after i left it would be great.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

welcome dear saplings!

the society for the advancement of people who love independently nurtured goods.

Coming soon..