Guilty Pleasurelicious

It's true, it's true, sometimes I have been known to watch Bravo's Project Runway. But imagine my surprise this week to find the challenge so near and dear! This past episode, seven if you're counting, seems to have been sponsored heavily by Saturn, makers of a new hybrid that boasts its components are 85% recyclable. With this in mind, P.R.'s creators dared designers to use only these materials from the cars to create "a look of their choice."

The only thing I had to conclude was that Heidi Klum surely must read this blog.

Now, for the purposes of their show, I'm almost certain that the "recycled parts" had not yet even been cycled, that is they were ripped from assembly lines or brand new cars as none of the parts bore any signs of use, wear, rust, or grime--an issue you've surely heard me whine about at some point. The seatbelts were sparkling new, golden even.

This difference may not strike the average weekly audience to their show, but I shot up and nearly yelped at the screen, "That's CHEATING!" calling to mind the hours FH ladies have waded through soggy, filthy belts as I did so.

In addition to our familiar seatbelts, they also used upholstery, vents, headlights, glass and dashboards in their designs. Some were pretty standard applications, but others (Leanne's) were incredibly inspired, interesting uses of materials in ways that required a pronounced vision for the final product and almost a knowledge of architecture to pull it off.

Winning dress

As you may guess, I loved the episode. I'm impressed this season with the number of challenges that push a green agenda: first with green fabrics and now with outright recycling. So if you have the patience for reality tv (I know sometimes it can be nearly intolerable) I might suggest you watch this one. The season is rife with the usual dramatics, but there are several contestants I'm interested to watch.

In case you were wondering, FH is not sponsored by Saturn or any other car manufacturer. Not now anyway, though we'll certainly keep you posted.



My trusty front loading, shallow dip, Ward steel basket, which hangs proudly in the front of my cruiser (the Queen Mary, to those who know it) has sadly broken! I'm not sure if it was all those mountain roads or what between me and Philadelphia, but the basket stays have broken the frame of the basket at precisely the spot where everything comes together. It stays on the bike sure, but any sort of load is too much to bear. I tested it out with a light load of laundry the other day only to be answered in a high pitched crying squeak.

Today, via thegirlinthegreendress, I saw a very unusual basket, plastic (boo) but incredibly beautiful (hooray!), scandinavian (of course) and Quite expensive. The design is by Marie-Louise Gustafsson, a Swedish designer also responsible for such wonders as a mobile bathtub. Behold:

Lacey, right? And it's called Carrie--no pun intended, I'm sure. Truthfully, I'm afraid I'd look like a fairy f***ing princess! I'd have to wear wings and a green gown for the rest of my cruising days. I'm not sure I could actually handle that, but maybe could you?

It also comes in a strictly shopping basket version in case one is not inclined to pedal. For all you big spenders, they are available here.


Howdy Doody Heavy Duty

You may have guessed that FH has some pretty industrial strength tools in the "shed" to help us make all of your stuff as indestructible as humanly possible. Truly, we put things through all kinds of torture to make sure your belt or bag does exactly as we intended, preventing against any loss or damage to your personal belongings that might result in tears. And because we're, you know, big dawgs.

In addition to our dear, dear Consew walking foot machine, we also use this crazy hot knife (no not that kind) to cut and finish all the seatbelts.

And for all the snaps and hooks and grommets and whatnots, we have a heavy iron threaded press that uses changeable dies that first puncture the fabric and then permanently implant metal fittings into place. The press is bolted to our work table, the only thing interrupting the huge flat surface, like the buddha of tools. To use this machine makes you feel unstoppable and snapping, I've found, to be very very addictive.

Extending this penchant for heavy duty tools into other realms of my life, I bought an iron griddle for the top of my new stove and this morning we christened it with banana pancakes. This is no light business, the thing weighs ten pounds.

It is so heavy and shiny and hot, it is perfect. I was inspired to get one by all the old Wedgewood ranges out here in California--these awesome, functioning old gas stoves with a built in warming chamber and a...griddle. Heavy duty, indeed.


The other 83%

Though I had already several reasons, I've just found another for why I really should've stopped in Pittsburgh on my way out to California. That reason is RecordRama. Or rather, Paul Mawhinney's collection of vinyl records which claims to be the largest in the world, an unofficial national treasure. His basement is in fact, an archive housing an estimated 6 million unique recordings, valued at almost $50 million. The following documentary style video clip by videographer Sean Dunne tells the tale:

The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

I'm sure we all have our very own versions of Paul Mawhinney. Fabric Horse's is Jamie Dillon. Knowing that crackling sound of vinyl is enough to bring the story home. And as any ebay shopper can attest, a single part is always more valuable than the sum. Obviously, Mawhinney could fetch his price if he'd dismantle the collection. But who, with a sound mind, could blame him for being choosey? There comes a moment when an assembly of separate things becomes so much larger than its individual components that its value comes to express much more than dollars and cents. To find such volume of recordings is rare to be sure, and to find a single curator so dedicated to the maintenance of his art is equally so. If you don't already have a decided preference for the tangibility of vinyl, I certainly hope this little bit will awaken you.


In Good Company

The PW has been running a slew of locals in their Style Profile column lately, latest of which is our own Carrie Collins. It's short and sweet and the stunning photo of C-Dazzle is shot in front of the trestle that neighbors our studio.

I'm a fan of the column's format, which consists of one high quality flattering photo and then a quoted paragraph from the week's style maven, usually an insight into their creative process, self-concept or general philosophy. Pretty straight forward and therefore, classy. Other recent profiling showcased our old faves, Philadelphia Sewing Collective and Lara Long of Plaid Pony Vintage, as well as our new fave MadebyHank. And speaking of which, thanks to MadebyHank for the recent shoutout on her blog!


Cha Cha Cha Changes

Tuesday evening Mary and John celebrated their last night in Philadelphia. John got into a Masters/PhD program at UC Berkeley, thus they are moving their lives to Oakland. We here at Fabric Horse wish them all the best in their new lives, but damn, we will miss them.

Ps: Don't worry, she will still be gracing all of us online.