Thursday, May 22, 2008

Paris: Fabrics (and notions)

On Monday, Trena and I went to Montmartre to go fabric shopping. We both had Reine in mind, but when we got there, it was closed. Isabelle told us later that it was Pentecost, which although it’s not even a blip on the calendar here, it’s a real live holiday in France and the stores took the day off.

Not all the shops were closed: we did find our way to Dreyfus, which was almost as good although without the cool half-size mannequins that I love at Reine. At Dreyfus, I rapidly accumulated 2 meters of brown/tan/white spotted jersey and 3 meters of dark chocolate colored lightweight cotton embroidered with tiny peachy-orange roses. Yummy! I think it wants to be the BWOF special design from April 2008, the wonderful halter dress with attached scarf.

I had promised myself I was going to stop at two cuts of fabric, so theoretically this should have been enough. But it wasn’t. I wanted Reine. I wanted Liberty print fabric – or at least the option of refusing it. When Mario considerately suggested the next day that we go back to Montmartre to make up for my sad disappointment, how could I resist? He wanted to make me happy. It wouldn't have been right to say no. So I didn't.

So . . . Reine. I made a beeline for the Liberty table, and they had a ton of stuff that I wanted. There were a few patterns I really liked but for some reason, for me Liberty has to have either a white or ivory background for it to feel right, so the fabrics with darker or brighter backgrounds just didn’t make the cut. There has to be some way to eliminate fabrics or I'd still be there, drooling on the table. They had the paisley I just used for the BWOF dress in three different colorways – so hard to resist in the rusty-orange and pink – but I ended up with these two, one with a dark orange, mossy-green, gold and ivory Art Deco-ish print (2 meters), and a blue, rust and ivory stylized floral (1.6 meters but the very cute cutter gave it to me as 1.5 meters when he saw my sad face – don’t laugh, this stuff costs 21.95 euros per yard; every fraction of an inch helps).

I can’t believe I spent that much on less than 4 yards of cotton, but I don’t regret it. I can’t wait to cut into it, I just need to cruise the pattern inventory and find something worthy.

From there, we tried a few of the other shops. There are what they call “coupon” stores – basically remnants. These stores were interesting. I don't think I really noticed them last time because the exteriors are kind of cheap-looking with tables of not-so-attractive fabrics, but inside the stores we visited were all kinds of goodies, like this gold/white/brown stripe cotton lycra shirting which is a dead ringer for the striped shirt fabric in the “Paris: Windows” entry. 3 meters, both because that's how it was cut and because there was some damage along one end and that will give me plenty to work with.

Mario was hunting enthusiastically through the bins in these stores, and by the second store, he revealed his ulterior motive: he was looking for shirting fabric that would approximate some of the men’s shirts we’d been seeing in the stores. Eventually in the third store we struck gold for both of us: for him, two fabrics: this lovely green floral striped cotton (for which he wants a plain moss green reverse for the cuffs and color band, though I'm pushing for some leftover Liberty floral from last year, and a linen blend (why does lin mélange sound better?) in dark fuchsia with striping. I love both though I could never wear the pink one, but he's dark enough to carry off vivid colors. These were each 3 yard cuts, but they don’t count against my stash totals, they weren't on my credit card, and they will eventually be moving, if not out of my house, at least out of my workroom and onto a hanger.

For myself, I found two summer weight cottons, a border-print and a heart-pattern. At 3 meters, they were only 12 euros per piece. How could I resist? As a farewell, I grabbed a 3 meter piece of brown crinkled poly taffeta with embroidery and sequins, for 22 euros. This fabric has BWOF written all over it.

On the previous Saturday, we went to the flea market at Porte de Vanves, and I indulged my button weakness at several vendors. This is the result: 6 brass antique buttons with varied animal heads. The same vendor had other metal buttons I really wanted, but one card had 10 buttons and she wanted 10 euros apiece for them, so I went for the ones I knew I could afford. Other than that, I got a card of vintage iridescent grey/silver/lavender glass buttons and 8 moss green domed buttons that are exactly what I want to match last year’s eyelet corduroy from Reine.

Fabric: 19.6 meters, $200+. Buttons: $30+. The satisfaction I will get turning my purchases into clothing: priceless.


Claire said...

You did very well for fabric & button purchasws and I envy you the Paris trip. Do you go every year? Some day I want to make it to Paris. I'll be waiting to see tose beautiful pieces become something wonderful.

MarilynB said...

I love your Liberty art deco choice. I saw it, but passed thinking about all the other shops I wanted to survey during my trip. You scored quite a haul. At least cottons aren't as likely to make your luggage go over the weight limit. I only came back with 15 yards, but I won't tell you how much I spent.

CraftRage said...


Wow. Just. Wow.

Debbie Cook said...

Great purchases! I've spent that much without a trip to Paris. ;-)

Kitty Couture said...

Fantastic fabrics, all of them!
Oh dear, now I want to go fabric shopping. I think I'm going to splurge on something really nice when I have handed in my final chapter!

Christina said...

So many goodies! *sigh*