relatively restrained fabric shopping

I only came back from London with two lengths of fabric and a zip, which is exactly what I’d intended. One of the lengths isn’t what I set out to buy but I’m still calling this a remarkable display of restraint!

Mum and I started off with MacCulloch and Wallis which is just off Oxford Street. It’s not the cheapest but it has a huge range of fabric on the ground floor and notions on the first floor. The ground floor is organised with small samples of each fabric on coat hangers and the bolts round the edge. This is great from the point of view of being able to see and touch everything, but I invariably manage to select fabrics whose bolts have hidden themselves.

Mum and I turned out to be looking for fabric for the same Burda jersey dress from the May issue (style 105) which is a very simple jersey dress. I got some viscose jersey with a very bold floral pattern on it

When I say bold, the flowers are about 50cm across. It’s really a border print, although there’s as much border as non-border area. I got 2m so I have some choice as to where the place the flowers. My paln is to put them on the top half and keep the skirt simple.

We then headed to the Victoria and Albert museum to see the Quilts: 1700-2010 exhibition. There were some amazing quilts there, although I was struck by how sad a lot of the stories behind them were. Many of them were made by people having a bad time in their lives. There were some cheerful ones – mostly those for new babies. I was also surprised at how basic the underlying geometric patterns are in British quilts; there were none of the very elaborate and symmetrical designs you see in Canadian and American ones. The attraction comes from the use of colour rather than the geometry.

After that we looked for more fabric, this time on Berwick Street. Cloth House is one of my favourites here. It has two shops. Number 47 has wovens, with a huge range of cotton prints, and number 98 has a mixture including all the knits and some more unusual fabric. They had latex and neoprene in a wide variety of colours this weekend. Mum got a really nice cream jersey with a pattern of small red and green flowers. The texture was unusual – stretchy but very soft – and the staff couldn’t tell us exactly what the fibre content was.

I succumbed to a heavy white cotton drill with gold paint splashes

It didn’t photograph very well. I’m intending to make this into a very simple sheath dress so as not to distract from the pattern. This is obviously not a fabric I went looking for, but having seen it I couldn’t let it go!

There are several other fabric shops on Berwick Street which are all worth a look. I went into Textile King for the first time. I resisted buying anything this time but will certainly be going back in the autumn to get some of their range of unusual suiting fabric.

What I failed to buy was any orange silk to make the top layer of my balloon dress. After failing to find anything that I liked I eventually realised that I didn’t want it to be shiny, so looking for silk was probably a bad idea. Back to the drawing board for that one. Maybe silk chiffon would work if I can find some that’s affordable.

In the meantime I ought to be cutting the underlining for the current project, but I have a streaming cold so I reckon I’m excused.

2 thoughts on “relatively restrained fabric shopping

  1. Oooh, I have been eyeing fabric from McCulloch & Wallis online for ages. Yours looks delicious! Sometimes I really really wish I lived in London, instead of the country, as there are NO fabric shops near to where I live, and it’s very frustrating indeed. Your pleated dress looks good, too, by the way. I hope your cold is better soon, so you can finish it.

  2. Relatively restrained is no good at all. As Madonna once said. Don’t settle for second best baby… Express yourself. Mind you I am terrible. I wanted to use material on my cards and I went for some but when I saw the price I decided to print on a cheaper piece. Looks just as good. Just need the time to experiment.

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