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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Visiting Portland and Seattle

I just got back from a trip to Portland and Seattle.We visited some of my relatives in Washington but made a side trip to Portland, Oregon. I have to say I  loved Portland! Having grown up in a place like Los Angeles, which is really just a conglomeration of suburbs with no real center, it's refreshing to be in a city that looks like one, but is small enough to ride a bicycle through. You get the feeling there are a lot of new, creative things happening there. It's also got a vibrant sewing scene. While there, I met Mary Adams, author of  "The Party Dress Book" who was teaching a class at one of Portland's many independently owned fabric shops. I could have sworn I saw Sarai from Collette Patterns walking down Hawthorne Blvd. But I  thought it might be a little odd to chase her down with my 2 year old in tow!
 If I could describe Portland in a few words they would be indie -boho vintage with a side of green. It's got some really interesting modern architecture. One of the new glass and re-bar covered office buildings is topped by windmills for power.
To be honest I would have loved a few hours alone so I could have stopped by Fabric Depot in Portland. It's supposed to be an absolutely huge and well-stocked fabric emporium. Sometimes when we are with husbands and the like, we have to scale down our obsessions with fabric buying and sewing related shopping to keep the peace now, don't we? Besides, how do I explain all the plastic bins in my back room full of fabrics I have yet to use? I had already been to the small shop mentioned above and several vintage shops. Oh well, it's an excuse to come back another day.
Speaking of fabric shopping stop by Burdastyle and check out my blog article on buying fabric in the LA garment district. It was posted today.
Wind powered office building, Portland 
Next door is an old stone brewery building from the 1800's which has been turned into restaurants and shops. Down the street is the biggest bookstore I have been to ever! Powell's Bookstore takes up a whole city block downtown with multiple floors of books, new and used. What a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Powell's Books, Portland

My husband Richard has his own style.
 Motorcycle style with a dash of lumberjack. He won't wear anything made in China and does a lot of research before he buys anything. He was excited to visit Portland because we were going to visit 
Langlitz, the premier motorcycle leather jacket maker since the 1940's. He had an old jacket he wanted to trade in.They make a jacket a day at Langlitz by hand  and there is a 7 month waiting list if you want to buy one. I won't bother with the lists of celebrities who wear them, but I can tell you it is long.
Langlitz Leathers, Portland, Oregon

The shop / workroom at Langlitz, in business since 1947

Cutting leather for a jacket on order.

The finished jacket. 
Here are a few photos of Shopping in Portland and Seattle:

Gigi found something at Red Light Vintage!

I couldn't take a trip without a little jaunt to find some vintage patterns. I actually found the patterns above at the Fremont Street Market in Seattle for only a dollar each!
Reveille on 23rd Avenue in Portland, a chic mix of old and new.
I have to tell you the seafood is incredible in the Pacific Northwest!

This was our cool bed at Hotel Alexis in Seattle. The price was great and so was the service. They sent up chocolate chip cookies for Gigi.

A trapeze artist at the Pink Door cabaret restaurant at Pike Place Market in Seattle. This was the only night time activity we did since we could bring our two year old there. The rest of the kids stayed home with my mom but no one was brave enough to watch Gigi so she came with us.

Gigi, the weary traveler! She insited on pulling her suitcase the whole time. Here she sports an upcycled sweater I made for her last year.
Well, thanks for stopping by and I hope you participate in my pencil skirt project this Friday! I am hard at work getting it together!



  1. YAY! I love Portland so much! Too bad we weren't there at the same time!!!

  2. Thank You!! The kids & I are tagging along on my husband's business trip next week to Portland, I've been once before, but it was for Thanksgiving w/ my in-laws so there wasn't any local site seeing really. I'm so excited and now I have a few more places to add to my 'to visit' list :)

  3. Did you make it to the Fabric Depot in Portland? It's huge, supposedly the size of a city block. I made my first journey there in August (I'm in WA) and I didn't make it through half the store before the men dragged us out. :)

  4. Kathleen,
    I was dying to go to Fabric Depot but I didn't think my husband would appreciate waiting more than an hour for me while I went through the fabric. I had already been scouring vintage shops and been to another fabric store so I think it would have been too much for the poor guy to take!

  5. It only took me 7 years of living in the PNW to make it to the Fabric Outlet, so you'll make it one day!! Plus, I think you'd need about 3 or more to thoroughly go through the store and it's definitely a trip to take without men (or non fabric lovers)! May through October they hold a "sidewalk" sale and that's where I found my bargains.

  6. I love your photo tour of Portland! I am originally from there and will be back to visit this weekend. Fabric Depot will definitely be a half day stop for me, maybe longer :) Hopefully, next time you can make it, but it looks like you sure had a wonderful trip with all the awesome places you did visit!

  7. I anticipate you'd charge about 3 or added to thoroughly go through the abundance and it's absolutely a cruise to yield after men. Thanks for sharing such kind of information with us.
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  8. I don't know how I landed on your blog, but glad did. Love that you loved Portland! I love reading about people's visit to Portland and Oregon - bonus when they're a sewer/quilter/crafters. I'm a transplanted Californian here, and everyone treats me like family, and a native… it's a magical place with wonderful people! You must come back and do a Fabric Depot trip, but don't skip Cool Cottons or Bolt. And you simply must schedule your trip to Portland during one of the Crafty Wonderland's Super Colossal Sale (one in spring, one in winter). Pre-welcome back!


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