Thursday, July 07, 2005

Today's Ramblings

Today I took Amy and Emily to Portland and we picked out fabric for school uniforms. Unlike some schools, we choose new outfits every year. The moms take turns doing the choosing.

Some entrepreneur ought to open a big, nice fabric store in Eugene. I mean, the Eugene/Springfield area has something like 175,000 people. The fabric stores consist of:

--three Jo-Ann’s, where once you set aside the fleece, flannel, Christmas fabric, bridal, home dec, and SpongeBob SquarePants, there’s not much left for dresses. The calicoes on the wall don’t hold up well enough for school dresses. And to my huge annoyance they never have more fabric in the back and can’t order any more either. What’s on the shelf is all they have. Other years we’ve called around to almost every Jo-Anns on the west coast to collect half a bolt here and two-thirds of one there. After the year when $35 worth of fabric got lost in the mail, I said ‘no more.’
--Wal-mart, where you can sometimes stumble on just what you want but the only stuff you can get 40 yards of is western prints and huge florals that are not currently cool in the school-age crowd.
--Factory Fabrics, where everything is odds and ends and seconds
--a few random quilt stores where the fabric costs a fortune

I think that’s not nearly enough fabric stores for the population.

So, we went to Fabric Depot in Portland, where they have thousands of bolts of fabric and with a minimum of fuss they’ll order more.

We need a Fabric Depot in Eugene. Or better yet in Harrisburg.

Finding and choosing the fabric was a relatively painless procedure unlike two years ago when in a burst of foolish generosity I took all the older girls along so we could find something they’d all like. Well. They refused to say what they liked for fear their friends would think it was ugly. So this time I just took my two, who are not offended if they like something and their sister doesn’t. (Amy got to add her two bits even though she's already graduated.)

Then we went to two of Portland’s famous second-hand stores and my Find Of the Day was a Gap khaki skirt for me that still had the $49.50 price tag attached, for $3.50. And no slits to sew up. And it’s a size 8. I love it when clothing companies are so generous with their sizing. Normally I wear a size 12 skirt so an 8 makes me want to leave the tag sticking out on purpose like Erma Bombeck used to.

Then we went to Clackamas Town Center and met my sis-in-law Geneva for a 3:30 "lunch." She works at Meier and Frank so to me seems very urban-savvy and worldly-wise. While we were eating, this young black male walked by with pants that seemed like they were made for someone with 2-foot-long legs and a 4-foot torso. I commented on this sight.

"They’re skateboarder clothes," Geneva said. "I’ll bet Security keeps a close eye on him."
"How sad," I said, "that because of people like him, Security will probably keep a close eye on Steven when he’s 17, even if he’s a fine and honest young man."
"No, probably not," Geneva said. "Not if he dresses like Ben and Matt. It’s all in the clothes."

Heed, o ye young people that only want to express your individuality: your clothes send a message whether you intend them to or not.

I tried on some clothes at Meier and Frank, and then wanted to leave, but where were the girls? That store has two levels and is absolutely enormous and how was I ever going to find them? Amy soon showed up, and then by God’s mercy Geneva "happened" to go back by the clearance rack and there was Emily sitting on the floor by the back wall, fast asleep. It was time to go home, so we did.

Quote of the Day:
"If I get scared, I just pray to God. And if I feel this is something God doesn’t need to know, I just tell you."


  1. So when do we get to see the scool fabric? Am very anxious to see it!!Tell Emily that I think she should come stay w/ me for a week or two and have Stephs 8 or 8:30 bedtime and up at 7 or so and see if she still falls asleep on her feet or in strange places!!! What a girl!! Love Jennys comment!Just sounds like a childs logic!! Did Emily see any material for baptism dresses? Steph wants to go look!

  2. By the way--awesome find on the skirt!!I'd wear it w/ the tag out too!!!!LOL

  3. I, too, vote for at least a cousin of Fabric Depot in Eugene.

  4. We went to Fabric Depot when we were in Portland two summers ago and that is quite the fabric store! Too bad we don't have that store or Jo-Ann's here. One of the fabric stores in Lethbridge recently went out of business so now we're pretty much left with just Fabricland and Wal-Mart. I know what you mean about material selection; we end up wearing denim most of the time. :) Daisy Kingdom in Portland has a good discount center upstairs ($2-$3 yd) but there are limited quantities and usually most of it seems to be suitable for younger ages.
    Would you be able to give the names of the two of Portland’s famous second-hand stores? I love finding deals and we're planning on going to Oregon the beginning of August.

  5. Sharon--since we were ordering fabric I had to leave the original bolt there and forgot to get a sample to take with me. If we have to go pick it up in a few weeks maybe we can all go baptism-dress shopping??
    Lindsey--bad news for all us seamstresses--Daisy Kingdom closed their store and they have no plans of opening another one. They're still making all the fabric etc. but no more of those great deals.

    Most of Portland's good secondhand stores are on 82nd Avenue. Fabric Depot is on Stark St. so we went west from there til we hit 82nd and then headed south. There's a Value Village, a Goodwill, and a Deseret Industries along that stretch, all on the left (east) side. The Deseret Industries is the best but it's easy to miss. Look for it right after the Krispy Kreme store. (Yes, Krispy Kreme has come to Oregon--woohoo!!)

    There are also some good stores on 99E just north of Oregon City. Take the Or. City exit off 205. A Red, White, and Blue on the left; a Goodwill on the right.

  6. "Heed, o ye young people that only want to express your individuality: your clothes send a message whether you intend them to or not."

    Amen, Dorcas. Thanks.

  7. Sounds like someone is from Alberta on here...near Lethbridge?!! I am a ex-Alberta-ian!!LOL!

  8. When did Daisy Kingdom shut down? I hadn't heard that one!!:(

  9. Oh, that's so disappointing to hear about Daisy Kingdom shutting down. I was really looking forward to stopping by there again. At least it was good to find out beforehand.
    Thank you for giving those locations! Hopefully we'll have time for "extra" shopping. :D I'm going to have to write that info down on a piece of paper.
    Arlene-yes, I live in Alberta with my family. We live north of Lethbridge but do most of our shopping there. Where were you from?

  10. Daisy Kingdom closed in December. I discovered this in March when my sis-in-law Lois and I took the train to Portland and walked to Powell's Books and on our way back to the Amtrak station we allowed an hour for Daisy Kingdom and it was closed and empty. I looked up their website and it said they closed in December and don't plan to re-open. Weep and howl with a great lament.

  11. Thank you Dorcas for doing the uniforms. It can be a very hard and frustrating job! I remember times when I have done it and "vowing" never to do it again!


  12. Lyndsey, I grew up around Duchess Alberta, but have been living in the states for the last 20 years.

  13. I live a ten minute drive from all those thrift stores and never go! Maybe I'll start going again when the kids are older. They just seem so dirty to take little kids into. I Lysol the cart with my handy dandy little purse can but I still cant keep them from touching everything. In another couple of years my younget will be in first grade and maybe then I'll rediscover the womders of the local, thrift store.

  14. Okay I really and truly need to get rid of these acrylic nails. I never take time to proofread and these nails just plunk out any key they happen to hit. Soooo. sorry for the typos. Blame the acrylics.

  15. You should see the fabric store near Goshen IN. I'll try to get the name.. I think it is in Shipshewana...

    I could have taken my lunch there and stayed awhile. Not that I would have had the money to buy everything that I wanted... but talk about selection for us Mennonite ladies...


  16. Ilva, you wrote:

    "but talk about selection for us Mennonite ladies..."

    Having a wife, three daughters, and one granddaughter, I'd be glad to know more about the selection required for Mennonite ladies.


  17. Mark, are you serious or is this some sort of pun I don't get? "Selection...?"

    IMO, Mennonite ladies like woven prints, maybe a few knits, in pretty colors and styles. We like flowers, while the rest of the world doesn't seem to. Some solids. A few stripes.

    We do not wear hyper-stretchy black fabric with royal blue sequins, black and gold African prints, or fabric with red hats all over it, or fake leather.

  18. Here's a rather late comment, Dorcas... When I read that your school (name?) gets new school outfits every year, my mouth dropped open and I began exclaiming, "Oh my word! I can't iMAGine!" So tell me, is that not a lot of work for moms to sew up a storm every fall for each child? And a lot of money for fabric? Do the kids go on wearing these outfits after the year, or do they get sick of them and swear them off every spring? (I imagine it's not cool to go on wearing school outfits when one doesn't HAVE to?! : ) What do the guys wear? At Shekinah here in Plain City, where I attended, they wore solid navy with solid light blue for about the first 20 years or so.! Then they broadened it to include the options of white and khaki to mix and match (I think). This consistency was great for passing clothes down from one sibling to another, and for getting clothes second-hand from other families.

    However, maybe those are the very reasons that the kids out there wouldn't want to do such a thing! And I'm sure that if the outfits have been changing for years now, it would be pretty hard to break that tradition. Would it be possible to rotate a few outfits, consisting of solids so the fabric can be found? Of course, you didn't ask for any advice, did you?!..... : )

  19. P.S. I loved your comment on what Mennonite women do and don't like in fabric!! Some of that stuff seems fit only for dress-up clothes!