A Sewer-Sewist Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1

 A Sewer Sewist Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1

Despite the continued pressures of “buying stuff” we love the holiday season and love giving gifts (and the Sewer loves to get them—lots of childhood issues, that one). In the spirit of the season, we decided to put together a gift guide to handmade or unique gifts. Some of these are Portland-centric, but they’re certainly a great excuse to visit our fabulous city (aside from the lack of a sales tax and not pumping your own gas)—some of these may seem odd for a sewing blog, but we believe in supporting the unique and creative whenever possible. Besides, we know that (amazing as it may be) not everyone shares the sewing bug.

We’re trying to make most of our gifts, but, undoubtedly, some will come from this list once our sewing energy wears out. The following represent our favorite individuals, small companies or large companies with a unique approach to their business.

Bolt. Obviously we love Bolt here in Portland’s Alberta Arts District/awesome Concordia neighborhood. You guys have heard us sing the praises of this wonderful little fabric shop a time or two, and we’re lucky enough to have this shop right here within walking distance of our house. What better gift for your favorite Portland-based sewer or sewist (or even a quilter) than a gift certificate to this lovely shop? If you want something more personal than a gift certificate, how about a couple of yards of fabric from her selection of interesting wool blends or silk, or some funky sweater knits, or maybe even an interesting embroidery pattern for someone looking to learn a different type of stitching. Sadly for those of you outside of the Portland area, Bolt is a bricks and mortar operation. (While you’re at it, check out some of Alberta Streets other interesting, independently-owned shops—you’ll be sure to find something unique, handmade and thoughtful.)

Ebbets Field Flannels. Sometimes you just want to buy something that you could probably replicate. As you can tell the Sewer loves (loves) vintage athletic wear. Mitchell and Ness (now owned by Reebok, which is owned by Adidas) is probably the name that is most associated with the “throwback” look, but if you are looking for old baseball stuff Ebbets Field Flannels is the place to go. Located in sunny (har!) Seattle, their flannels are made in the U.S. and Canada of original fabric, construction and craftsmanship. After a brief merger with Stall and Dean, when the Sewer felt the quality was not as high, the original owners are back. The Sewer has a jacket and his eyes on a ton of flannels. Two favorites are the classic Josh Gibson (the Sewer’s namesake, by the way) Homestead Grays Flannel and this 1953 Estrellas Orientales Road Jersey. They can also custom-make a jersey of your choice. Their stuff isn’t cheap, but that’s sort of the idea—it’s not cheap, it’s made authentically, and we don’t see quality like this much anymore. By the way, the Sewer’s father has always enjoyed great customer service, especially by phone.

Arbor Longboards. When the Sewer was a kid he had skateboard and rode all around the little town in Ohio in which he grew up. Josh was also terrible at: tricks, jumps and cool stuff. Now that he is feeling old and wants to skate again, he is riding a longboard, which allows him the free feeling of skateboarding without the pressure to do anything but go forward. The Sewist is starting to pick up this habit and has been riding an Arbor Longboard (the 36” Bamboo Bug to be exact, a great size for Sarah). The Sewer has been looking on in great jealously and plans to upgrade to an Arbor soon. Why do we like Arbor? Well, their longboards and snowboards are incredibly beautiful to start. They use environmentally friendly woods like sustainable Koa and maple wood, bamboo and non-toxic glue in their boards. Did we mention that they are beautiful? To order we suggest Daddies Board Shop here in Portland (in person or by their extensive website), they have always been great to deal with, can answer any questions you might have and are strong supporters of the skate community in PDX.

Uniwatch. Do you or significant other love a specific sports team or care about one at an unhealthy level (The Sewer slowly raises his eyes to the Sewist, who is dressed in red and black for her beloved Blazers as their game against Detroit is broadcast through our radio). One of the most unique gift ideas we have seen is a membership to Uniwatch. A great website to track sports uniforms and a great access to insider information on uniform design, construction and materials (believe it or not the Sewer has figured out construction techniques while reading an entry). This lively community not only features your “ra-ra” sports fan but also includes professional and college equipment managers, designers (not just sports), sporting good manufacturers, and jersey customizers. If you love Purple or Nike this is not the place for you. If you love socks you will like it here. The website is free of course, but one of the advantages of membership is a custom member card that features your name and number on the “jersey” of your choice. You can choose the back of your favorite teams jersey from your favorite year and color, even the 1977 Blazers.

The Button Emporium. Buttons, who doesn’t love ‘em and who doesn’t need them. The place we go when we need something unique or specific is the Button Emporium and Ribbonry here in Portland. They have a metric ton of buttons (we didn’t actually measure, but it is impressive). We have found them to be incredibly helpful and have picked up tips on buttons and sewage hookups. Really this place is small town America (and all of its wonderfulness) in the middle of Portland. If you need to close something, this is the place to go. The do have online ordering, but it’s worth a visit if you’re here in Stumptown.

Well, that’s the first five. Hopefully, you’ll find this useful for the oddball in your life. We’ll post five more in a couple of days.

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2 thoughts on “A Sewer-Sewist Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1

  1. I *want* to like Bolt, I really do. Love the fabric selection and patterns. But every time I’ve gone in there and actually asked a question of any kind, the responses haven’t been very kind. I always end up feeling like an idiot or like I shouldn’t have asked the specific question…and I’ve been sewing for three decades now, so I’m not exactly a novice. Everyone seems to like that store, so I keep wondering why the service I get there is so unfriendly.

  2. Funny, isn’t it… We love Bolt and always have a great experience. On the other hand, we are not big fans of Fabric Depot—despite their amazing selection—and everyone loves that place.

    Too bad you haven’t had good luck with Bolt! We’d suggest giving it a try at a non-peak time (it sure gets crowded the middle of the day on weekends).

    ~S&J

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