Voulez vous faire du shopping avec moi?
From Mablethorpe to Paris. Difficult to believe, I know, but all in the week of a Sewist’s life. Above is a snap of the fabric shopping district in the Montmartre area of Paris. There is absolutely no reason why I need write a detailed guide, because Fehr Trade has already provided all the information you need so concisely here. Just take it from me – the shopping is good. It’s soooo good.
Many of the shops sell pre-cut three metre lengths of fabric with price labels such as these:
I particularly appreciated all the wool and tweed fabric on offer. For some reason, this type of fabric seems thin on the ground in London unless extremely expense. Oh. Talking of extremely expensive, have any of you seen this before:
This is what I assume is some self-lined wool fabric. It was gorgeous, with a soft silk wrong side. I could only assume that this was so that a Sewist could make a nice wool item without having to line it. Do you think the same? It was 50 euros a metre. Pheweee. You’d have to really not want to bother with lining!
Here’s one of the shops. It had loads of these miniature mannequins so that Sewists could see how a particular fabric would work in an outfit:
Eccentric? For sure.
So, you’re probably wondering what I bought. Well, I’ll be honest with you. It wasn’t easy. There was too much choice. I spent ages wandering around with my boyfriend’s stepmum and she snapped up some bargains. I was still empty-handed. This just wasn’t me.
Fear not. (The story has to have a happy ending, after all.) After lunch, I pottered off on my own and wandered into this happy establishment:
Even more eccentric? You betcha!
Yes, I bought fabric off the dancing man. Remember my plans to make the Vogue V1183? After a suggestion by Dolly Clackett, I’d been thinking of making it in a Ponte double knit. Then I saw the red cashmere wool. Three metres, 40 euros. Not cheap – but not bad either, in my opinion. I could squeeze a dress and a skirt out of that. Maybe. Anyway, I ended up buying it. I carried it around Paris all day, terrified that I would leave the bag behind in a cafe or restaurant. I finally got the fabric back to our hotel where I lay, exhausted, on the bed and stroked the wool until I fell asleep. (I’m not joking.) Then I dreamt about the fabric. Then I woke up and photographed it:
Je t’aime, cherie cashmere.
Want another photo?
Address details, should you ever need them.
It’s odd, because this wasn’t one of the largest or most impressive of the shops. You could easily have wandered past and not paid much notice. But there it was. The fabric of dreams, just waiting to be eased out of the pile and stroked.
The good news is I safely carried the fabric back home to London. It’s by my bed as I type. ‘Did you stroke the cashmere today?’ my boyfriend asked when he arrived home from work this evening.
Needless to say, if I mess up this fabric I will not be happy. So it’s a good job I am working on a muslin of the Vogue V1183 with some cheap-as-chips navy wool mix from Walthamstow market for £3 a metre. So far, so good and details to come!
A final couple of photos. We stayed in the student area of Paris and I couldn’t help notice the number of independent cinemas. Tilly and the Buttons, this is for you:
And here are some lovely ladies I spotted in a photoshoot on a bridge. I managed to catch them, just as they were rushing to pull their warm coats back round their shoulders:
Fabulous dresses, non?