Garment Sewing


Scissors. Check. Sewing machine. Check. Pattern. Check. Excellent, skilled teacher. Check. For the last year, I've been taking sewing lessons at Judy's Sewing Center in Capitola (near Santa Cruz) where I've been studying with the owner, Judy, on Tuesday nights. Not long ago, I branched out and added Thursday night classes taught by Dresden Ericksen, a long-time master seamstress who attended fashion design school and has the chops to match her experience. At only $10 per class, Ericksen guides students in these three-hour weekly garment making classes. Note: To enroll, you need a good grasp on the basics of sewing.

With Ericksen at the helm, you'll learn how to create darts, zippers, buttons, button holes, tucks, setting in a sleeve, fitting a pattern to your body's own proportions and much more. She provides individualized instruction and the classroom provides a warm and friendly atmosphere. I've made several shirts so far in the class, and there's an extensive learning curve, but with Ericksen providing instruction, I have no doubt that with each class, my skills will continue to greatly improve. It's a steal for just $10 and some of the best sewing lessons you'll find in town.

For more information, visit

Stripe MEN

It's official. Stripe MEN in Santa Cruz opens this Friday. As a spin-off to its sister store, Stripe, owned by Dana Norrell and Suna Lock, this new incarnation of the Stripe brand is surely going to be a hit among men and the women who shop for them. Located just a few doors down from the original Stripe, this new storefront will offer a wealth of clothing and accessories that you won't find anywhere else in Santa Cruz. 

The men's shopping options in this town are limited—a skate sweatshirt, Dickie's, Converse—you get my point—for the man who likes his Americana-inspired boots, his woodsman flannel and his independent designer jeans, there's been no choice but to head up to San Francisco. That's no longer the case. 

"We had created a men's section in Stripe two years ago, and the demand to expand became clear when men were literally begging us for different products, brands, and more," says Norrell. "We really wanted to bring Stripe back to its roots and create a space designed just for men where they'd feel comfortable shopping."

Mission accomplished. The new store (which I'll be reporting about next week after the opening), is "an exaggerated celebration of masculinity," adds Norrell.  "Imagine antlers, woodsy, leather, and rusty tools.  It's a serious celebration of men's pastimes. It's a space designed for men, but completely comfortable and enticing for women as well."

The new store will carry Santa Cruz designers, as well as American brands such as Tellason Denim, Strawfoot Handmade, Thieves, Penfield, Taylor Stitch, Sub_urban Riot, Hippy Tree, Penny Stock, Alternative Apparel, Spiewak and many others. 

Put your boots on. It's time to go shopping. 

Bathtub Bliss

Not long ago, I moved to a new place and it has a bathtub. For the first time in more than 11 years, I now have unlimited access to taking baths, and this is a treat. Finding the perfect bubble bath, however, took some searching. You can pick up any generic, waxy, artificial smelling bottle of suds at a local drugstore, but to settle into the finest bubbles and an aroma that will fill your home for hours, you have to do some research. After trying out several varieties, I discovered Tokyo Milk Bubble Bath, No. 12. With the scent of “Citrus Zest, Rosewood, Mimosa, and Mandarin,” this is a bubble bath worth the $25 price tag. It's sold both online and in Santa Cruz at Saffron and Genevieve. There’s nothing better, really, than settling into a bath, calming your mind, and letting your worries wash away.

Find Tokyo Milk Bubble Bath, No. 12 at Saffron and Genevieve, 901B Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 462-4506, or at

So Fresh and So Clean

La Fresh may sell moistened wipes, but these eco-friendly, 100 percent biodegradable cloths are a far cry from the slimy baby wipes I expected them to be. I was initially drawn to the company because of their Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover Wipes, which, I’m happy to announce, are my long-awaited solution to the pervasive eco-nail polish remover dilemma. I’d found some great “green” nail polishes (like those from PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics, which I wrote about in a past post), but was hard-pressed to find a nail polish remover that wasn’t totally noxious. Thankfully, each La Fresh nail polish remover wipe easily cleans and conditions 10 nails without the nasty chemicals and their accompanying stink. In fact, believe it or not, they actually smell good.

But I stumbled upon a few other products from their eco-beauty line that I think are even handier. I keep a pack of the Healthy Hand Sanitizer Wipes at work for when my hands need a quick clean up. Not only do they kill 99 percent of germs, they do so without alcohol or other harsh components. Instead, they are packed with aloe, Vitamin E and other natural ingredients. I also stash several individual packets of the La Fresh Instant Body Soother, Waterproof Makeup Remover and Oil-Free Face Cleanser in my gym bag and car because, really, who knows when you’ll have mascara running down your cheeks or not enough time to shower after a workout? They come in handy surprisingly often, and I recommend any or all of these wipes for eco-minded jetsetters and busy gals always on the go.

I Tried It: The Sock Bun

I have always wanted to be able to wear one of those big, round buns that makes me look like I was born with a thick head of hair. I remember as a kid asking my mom to sculpt my hair into this kind of bun as I got ready for ballet class, but my fine hair just couldn't hold the style. Fast-forward 20 years and I stumbled upon a YouTube video on the Sock Bun. My inner bun dream was about to come true.

What is the sock bun? You wrap your hair around a sock (I prefer to make a tube, slip my hair into the tube, then roll it into a bun shape), and then secure it with bobby pins. Admittedly, I am not the most coordinated person, so this did take some practice. The end result: a big bun that brought out the Victoria's Secret supermodel in me (I'm just six inches too short). What's even better is that if you put your hair up when it's damp, it turns into gorgeous curls when you take it out.

If you like the look of messy buns like I do, even an uncoordinated person can try this and make it work. For those who lived their teens regularly trying new hairstyles, this will be a cinch.