So What Did I Buy?

Just because I can doesn’t mean I should.

First up the cotton with chintz factor ten. My hope is to make this dress for my friend’s wedding at the start of July. My logic is that a summer wedding in Oxford means I can get away with roses-a-go-go, a big bow and a skirt that needs a petticoat. My confidence wobbled when I pulled this fabric out of the bag and my boyfriend exploded, “F*****g hell!”

I went to bed that evening thinking, Hmmm. Maybe a plain fabric would be better.

I got up the next morning, looked at the cotton afresh and thought, Hot diggity, those roses do make me feel happy.

What do you think? A rose too far for a 41-year-old woman? Will I look as though I’m wearing someone’s curtains? I have time to decide as I’m still working on my toile. Don’t spare my feelings – I can take the truth. This fabric was only £4 a metre and I will be able to use it for other things, so I truly don’t mind if the consensus is a resounding ‘Step away from the roses, Karen’!

Next up:

Orange lining fabric

I want to make a second version of the Beignet skirt in black. I don’t want any colour details – black buttons and no secret surprise fabric choices for the pockets – as I’d like this skirt to be a blank canvas, able to go with everything. But I thought it would be a nice joke to myself if something screamingly outrageous lined the skirt, like this flaming orange.

Those were my two pre-planned sensible fabric purchases on the Goldhawk Road trip. I was buying material for intended makes. But I knew I wouldn’t go home happy if there wasn’t a touch of spontaneous splurging. I’m so glad I indulged this instinct as this may be my favourite purchase of the day:

It’s a silk/cotton mix, selling at £5 a metre. It’s lovely to the touch and several Sewists bought this on the day. I know you all think I’m going to make a Pendrell out of this, but I might surprise you with other plans…


Three metres of pistachio linen for a pair of trousers. So Zo and I have both shamelessly copied Handmade Jane in wanting to use this pattern ever since she blogged about her make here. You can’t beat a good pair of wide-leg trousers and I am woefully down on trousers at the moment, over-relying on one pair of jeans and one pair of cords. I think these will be a great wear for the summer.

So, the spends. What were they?

6 metres of rose print cotton £24

1.5 metres of lining fabric £2.50

2 metres of silk/cotton mix £10

3 metres of linen £14

TOTAL £50.50 and 12.5 metres of fabric

Finally, after our high jinx on Goldhawk Road I should mention that there are plans to demolish this row of shops. Yes, really. Melissa at Fehr Trade first brought this to our attention and asked me to enquire when visiting. Classic Textiles confirmed that this plan is still going ahead. You can follow the protestors at Twitter here or on Facebook here.

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54 Responses to So What Did I Buy?

  1. Portia says:

    Ooooh, I kept caressing that silk/cotton mix too but was at that “gah! Spent my limit already!!” stage. Thought it would look fab in the dress that Tilly made recently. They had some lovely silks at great prices in that particular shop.
    Go for the roses. It seems to me that pattern was made for fabric like that. If it really feels too much once it’s made up, you can break the print up with accessories and a cute summer cardi or bolero. But I think it will look just beautiful.
    I think your BF will be eating his words come July. (At least you can’t say it failed to get a reaction at all which is usually the case with my other half!)
    Thanks again for such a great day!

  2. Lisa says:

    I love your Rose fabric I think it will go with the Vintage style of the pattern . I have seen lots of RTW dresses of similar fabrics in the shops recently so you will be very “current” :-)) The black fabric for your Beignet , what is it ? . I won this pattern from “Hand made Jane ” recently and I have some fabrics , Wool crepe and linens but I’m humming and ahhing over it . I have ordered some Navy Drill which will be a definate but I could so use a black one .

    • I’m using a cotton sateen. I think it’s actually upholstery or curtain fabric, but I don’t care! It’s working really well so far. I can understand your attraction to linen for this make. My only concern would be how much the skirt creased with wearing. Scruffy Badger made the Beignet in linen – you could ask her. Wool crepe – I’m not sure. There might be slightly too much drape in a crepe, you may need something a wee bit stiffer. Good luck, whatever you choose!

      • Lisa says:

        Thanks for the info . I have sent for some samples of cotton Sateen ( it seems to be like Gold dust round these parts lol ) I have also ordered some Navy Twill from an Ebay seller I have used before so hopefully that will be ok too . Thanks for the info 🙂

  3. Debi says:

    What??? They are going to destroy the shops??? how awful!

    You must use the roses dress…it’s perfect for a 1950’s dress….in fact, I might copy your idea sometime this summer…I noticed Croft Mill also has this fabric. Oh and the Simplicity trousers pattern is AMAZING. I wear mine almost weekly. I’m planning on making a few more pairs!

  4. adelaide b says:

    The roses will be wonderful and are perfect for this dress! (I am 43 and have questionable taste, but I would go for it!)

  5. jenibrown says:

    Definitely go for the roses – it will be beautiful and it will make you happy wearing it. What more could you ask for from a handmade garment? The cotton/silk blend looks lovely as well. Look forward to seeing what you make.

  6. Ashley says:

    I too have been eyeing up this fabric on the Croft mill website. I love it, and think you should go for it!
    Ashley x
    ps. you don’t look 41!!

  7. Tilly says:

    The rose print fabric is exactly what I would have chosen for that dress and perfect for a summer wedding in my opinion. Any wedding actually! I’ve got a dress a bit like that, complete with huge petticoat, and I’ve worn it for a summer wedding as it is, a winter wedding too with a cream mohair cardigan, and a spring wedding with a green lace bolero. Are you going to make a matching fabric belt?

    Sorry to hear about the community of shops being knocked down.

  8. Uta says:

    I would absolutely make and wear those roses, at 40, so I say go for it!! When in doubt, I try to imagine whether I can imagine a chic and pretty (never mind whether that’s me) older woman wearing it. If she were the feminine type, I can imagine any age wearing these roses. I think when we ask whether something is age-appropriate we sometimes make the mistake of associating age with looks leaving, dumpiness arriving. That isn’t necessarily so, and certainly not in your case.

  9. Esz says:

    The roses are PERFECT. I couldn’t think of a better fabric for that pattern – its gorgeous 😀

  10. rachel says:

    Go the roses! That is gorgeous fabric, and you’ll look a treat in that frock. Perfect for a wedding.

  11. Dibs says:

    I think you should go for the roses. of course I would say that because I like big flowered prints.
    But seriously I think it suits the Occasion. I ended up not buying fabric for my beignet. might have to pop back there next weekend. its a shame about the proposed closure of gh.road. a few of the shop keepers mentioned it, and asked us to sign on Facebook.

  12. Melizza says:

    Great minds think alike! I bought the same Butterick pattern months ago to have as a goal for once I feel confident in my sewing skills. As a newbie I’m not there yet. Can’t wait to see how yours comes out! Go with that rose fabric. It’s AH-mazing.

    I, too, bought that cotton/silk blend fabric. Such a great feel and color. Not sure what I will make out of it but more than likely a top of some sort.

  13. Debbie says:

    Definitely the roses! Remember Tasia’s picnic dress with the blue rose print? I’m sure yours will be just as gorgeous. Perfect for a wedding too.

    I’ll be interested in your trews. I find it a bugger trying to get trousers to fit me properly, if they fit on the waist its all MC Hammer at the hips, maybe a custom made pair is the way to go!

    How sad about the fabric shops. Do you know why they’re being demolished?

  14. Kirsty says:

    I am in love with that rose fabric, it will be perfect with the pattern! I also bought dark fabric & bright lining for a Beignet this weekend.

  15. Another Rose-vote from me for the dress (go with your 1st instincts I say!). I think a green or red fabric belt and a matching coloured cardi/bolero on top would look fab on you 🙂

    P.S. May I sneekily ask you which shop was the £5/m dark-blue silk/cotton mix floral fabric from please? (So can I buy some before they knock down the store :()

  16. superheidi says:

    What else to do with those pretty roses other than making a 1950s full skirted summer dress? It probably will look like a dream! And is most suitable for the occasion.

    But I do understand your hesitation. As I wonder often about dressing appropriate considering age, work and style. Though it might be more about confidence, rather than age.

    Though I’m a fan of the simplicity trouser pattern, I am ever so curious about your findings.

  17. Lizzie says:

    Ah I have that cotton silk mix I got from Goldhawk road a few months ago. And I’ve actually made a pendrell style top out of it from a vintage pattern, it feels georgous. Can’t wait to see what you do with it x

  18. Roobeedoo says:

    Roses are GO! You know you’ll regret it if you don’t!
    And I love that silk / cotton voile – mmmm!
    Good luck with your “plain basics” plan – I have this sort of plan too, but keep getting distracted by prints. I will regret it come Me-Made-June! ; )

  19. Summerflies says:

    This fabric was made for that pattern… as the others have said … go ahead… it will be amazing and you and everyone else will love it. Can’t wait to see it! Oh you don’t look 41!

  20. Erika says:

    The fabric is very flowery, but with the rather straight forward design of the dress it will look great! Personally, I would combine it with shoes, handbag etc in one solid colour that matched one of the colours in the print. It won’t look all over the place, but it will be gorgeous and note-worthy =)

    The silkblend looks like a dream, so wish I could have joined you shopping! However, low prices on fabric doesn’t really justify a plane ticket to London… ; )

  21. Adrienne says:

    Go for the roses! 100%!

  22. Tamsin says:

    Go for the roses! As already said, perfect for that style of dress. I really like the look of your linen…. which shop was that from? I could only find black, chocolate brown or a sludge-y colour linen. I have been dreaming about what I should make with my purchases all weekend. Thanks again for organising such a fun afternoon!

  23. Jane says:

    I only got to see half of your booty on Saturday so I can sleep easy now I’ve seen the rest! Ah the rose fabric, seriously how could you make your dress in any fabric other than giant roses?! Your boyfriend knows nothing. Can’t wait to see it. I may have to shamelessly copy you and Zoe in turn and make a pair of those big trousers in linen. And I LOVE the idea of a plain black Beignet with mad orange lining underneath!
    It was so lovely to see you on Saturday, hope to see you again soon. x

  24. lydia says:

    i think the rose fabric is really great and so good for a wedding!
    i’d suggest if you are doubting it though, you could try holding it up to your face or where the neckline will be on the dress and see if you like it (as that’s really what counts when you decide whether a colour suits you or not..)
    if not, maybe you could just make it the skirt part and use a plain/er fabric for the top? with an awesome belt?

  25. Lucy says:

    I. Love. That. Silk-Cotton Mix.

    Argh, I dream of visiting Goldhawk Rd, and will be so upset if they knock everything down before I’m able to get there. I did send an email to the council when Melissa published the news on her blog a few weeks back. Are the businesses talking of being able to relocate, do you know?

  26. shivani says:

    lovely selection, Karen. Looks like the fandango was a real success – I’m disappointed to miss out this time, but I think I really need to get down there (self-imposed fabric ban or no!).

    Also, I had a similar conversation with my husband – I showed him some lovely (slightly mad) rose printed cotton, and his response was “fine, if you want to look like a sofa”. Harumph. It must just be a man thing.

  27. Bold Sewist says:

    Gorgeous fabrics – I especially love the silk/cotton – like everyone else! And the roses are lovely – I think a vintage style floral dress will be great for an Oxford wedding – is this the one you’re doing the bunting for? If so, especially perfect!
    I can’t wait for my own quick trip to Goldhawk Road tomorrow – I just hope you all left me something looking at the pictures, I’m not so sure!

  28. Lady J says:

    The cotton and silk mix is lovely, can’t see wait to see what you make with it. Wanted to add my thanks for arranging the trip! It was inspiring to meet so many creative (and lovely) sewers.

  29. Jennifer Stratford says:

    Love the roses fabric and pattern – go for it!! I look forward to seeing it made up, to me, it’s perfect for a summer wedding. Last wedding I went to (my sisters’) nearly all the ladies wore black! I’m looking forward to the summer weather and bright happy colours , winter has arrived a little earlier this year for us.

  30. Karen in VA says:

    I turn 50 in a few weeks and I would so wear those roses!!! That fabric and pattern are a perfect match… Go for it!!!!
    Loved reading about the shopping trip; now I want to visit London just to go fabric shopping!!

  31. Ash says:

    Personally I love your rose fabric – I think it would make a truly gorgeous dress for a wedding. So if I were in your shoes I’d definitely jump straight in. Just be confident as it will show when you wear it – confidence makes or breaks an outfit!

  32. Thank you all so much! Buoyed up by your overwhelming ‘yes’ vote I will definitely go for it with the roses. And interesting thoughts on age appropriate dressing, very interesting.

  33. oonaballoona says:

    i hopped over via the fabulous debi… please make that dress in roses. you look amazing in bold prints and boyfriend just needs to see it in completed form!

    • Lucy says:

      Yes! My OH always looks really doubtful about a piece of fabric until he sees it in completed form, at which point he likes it (or says he does anyway, to keep me happy?!). Seeing past the fabric into the garment is definitely an acquired skill.

  34. Eugenia says:

    Well I was standing right next to you when you bought that gorgeous rose chintz, it’s lovely, and I definitely think it will make an amazing looking dress. It is PERFECT for the pattern you have chosen. I also love the cotton-silk mix, that’s going to make a very nice garment – beautiful to look at and lovely to wear.

  35. Ayse says:

    I agree with the rest! Rose chintz fabric is really nice and I think it will suit your skin tone. I remember seeing a vintage dress at a shop in Covent Garden a couple of months ago. The red was definitely the same hue. Your dress will be a true retro I guess.

  36. Sarah says:

    Oh, well done! What a marvellous bunch of goodies you bought! I say YES to the roses dress!! It’s fantastic and I think every lady needs a pretty rose dress in her wardrobe.

    I love the Simplicity trousers pattern – I’ve got that one in my queue, too. Definitely make another Pendrell – love, love them!

  37. Carly says:

    YES to the roses, they’re gorgeous! Gutted I didn’t make the fabric fandango – I wasn’t online for the days prior and FORGOT. Shameful.


  38. melissa says:

    I’m not usually a fan of florals, but I think the roses are perfect for an English summer wedding. Though the bow might be going a tad too far?

    Thank you so much for asking about the demolition plans, though I wish the answer was a happier one!!

  39. zoe says:

    OMG!!!! They can’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank god you all bought that fabric when you did! I love all your choices, that spontaneous one looks like a total win. Can’t wait to see what it becomes. Did you borrow that pattern from Jane too?! Yours are going to be gorge! You could rock them during June, nudge, wink!

    Oh, and not too many roses for a 41 year old or any year old. Just the right amount of roses in my book. Speaking as someone who spends most of their working week making skirts and dresses from ACTUAL floral curtains at the moment, it’s amazing what curtainy prints you can get away with in garment form, and that print is firmly in the safe zone!

    So nice to see you at the weekend, hope to see you again before the summer is out. Thinking of organising another Brighton based one actually, hope you’ll be able to come and play!

  40. Definately not a rose too far!! Make the dress!! It will be gorgeous, and then post lots of photos so we can oohh and aahh. 🙂

    And I love the orange lining for the skirt, brilliant idea.

  41. Fay V says:

    Hi Karen,
    I’m a complete lurker but I would say yay, go for the roses – I do think they are perfect for the 1950s dress. I made a dress last year with cherries all over it and I’m in my late 30s. I love, love, love my dress – people stop me in the street when I wear it. I was keen to break up the pattern a bit so I added a solid red band to the bottom of the skirt which I think makes it look much better. You could do this with a ribbon (using the lazy days skirt Oliver and S technique on burda style) – it would look really pretty.
    I’ve also made the Simplicity trousers and I also wear mine weekly. I made them without a toile and when I first sewed them up I couldn’t sit down : ) Much unpicking later, I can now sit in them and they are really comfy.
    I love your blog, your sense of humour cracks me up : )

  42. lizajane says:

    The disapproving comment from my husband is usually “… but I’ve just never seen anything like it before…”

    I’ve decided from now on, I’m taking it as a compliment. 😉

    Can’t wait to see your pistachio linen trousers.

  43. LindaNan says:

    Too much is made over chronological age when it is overall appearance that really matters. I recently bought a rose pattern in linen that is somewhat similar to your fabric pattern size. I will be making a strapless sundress. I don’t have the pattern handy, but EricaB made it. Now I’m not in as good a shape as Erica, but then I have 30 years on her. In deference to my age, 71, I will make it knee length. My thighs aren’t what they once were to manage a mini.

  44. LindaNan says:

    OOPS, I meant in deference to my thighs, not my age!

  45. Marie says:

    You just have to use the fabric…it was practically made with your pattern in mind! Just remember that men don’t always have the ability to visualise pretty clothes like we do ;o)

    It’s such sad news about the closure of the fabric shops…how can they do that and why?!? Will definitely have to take advantage of them before the inevitable!

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