Actual sewing has been done, but I thought I’d save the traumas of fitting / drafting for the next post and first talk about loveliness!
My gorgeous friend Sue (bride) came to visit this week and we had a frantic but fun day trying to take in as many London purveyors of fine fabrics as possible in the hunt for bridal / bridesmaidly supplies.
First stop Berwick Street, where the lovely assistants in Broadwick Silks draped Sue in various combinations – it really started to feel like we were (well, I am!) actually making a wedding dress. After seeing how the various silks looked and hung together, we decided that we were after satin-backed silk crepe with a gorgeous Italian organza overlay. What we didn’t really want, however was to spend £69 a metre if it could be helped! So after trawling the length of Berwick Street, and as Sue said feeling like we’d smelled too many perfumes, it was on to Pongees in Old Street, which had been recommended by my sewing teacher Gillian.
Altogether a different shopping experience – the shop itself is more of a showroom, with small swatches of the different fabrics hanging together on rails. They have loads of different colours and types of silk, although there were only one or two which were suitable for a (traditional) wedding dress.
Anyway onwards and upwards, racing across to the other side of London at the end of the day to my favourite fabric haunt, Goldhawk Road. I love this place, but be warned, it is dangerous on the wallet. SUCH variety, and amazing prices, I find it difficult to restrain myself! (BTW – if anyone has been thinking of going here and hasn’t made it yet, be warned that one of the shopkeepers told us that they would all be having to raise their prices imminently due to rising raw materials cost, VAT etc etc. I think he mentioned a 35% increase so get over there quickly!)
Although we thought we were there for the bridesmaids’ dresses, amazingly we found a beautiful, flowing satin in A1 Fabrics which was just perfect. And £25 a metre. Wow! Plus some gorgeous silk twill for the lining at UK Textiles (£12). Now I just need to go back to Soho to get the organza.
It’s difficult to photograph this stuff, and as you can see the sun was in fact making its first appearance in about 10 days or so at the time, but here it is:
I think you can get an idea of the beautiful texture and sheen of this silk from the picture, although it is a bit brighter in real life. I must admit I am rather scared of actually removing the satin from its protective plastic unless every surface it touches is pristine. Including my fingers – after being warned by someone I met recently about the hazards of sewing with this colour, I’m seriously considering getting some sort of white gloves to wear while I work on the dress. Does anyone have any suggestions or experience of this?
The other fabric in the picture is the silk and lining for the bridesmaids’ dresses:
I think this gives you quite a good idea of the colour – it’s a sort of rich French navy. I’m going to start preparing my toile of this today to take to my sewing class on Tuesday for some fitting assistance.
I also discovered last week that it possible to procrastinate (on the actual toile v2) AND do something constructive. Until now, I have been sewing in the dining room, which was the only large table in the house, while the so-called craft room upstairs has never been sorted out. The dining room was full of scraps and mess, and the craft room a complete tip of laundry, fabric etc. The wedding dress really needs its own home, and I was fed up of living with the mess, so some judicious ebay shopping, vacuuming and sorting later, and I now have an actual sewing space:
I can’t begin to tell you what a feeling of calm and joy this gives me! The table was an amazing bargain – £4 – not the most beautiful thing in the world, but perfect because I can fold it down as here, or put up one or both of the sides for sewing. One day I may get round to restaining it. And the little vintage cabinet for sewing paraphernalia was £20 – I just love it! All my patterns are now organised into the baskets my husband gave me.
And lastly, to celebrate all our shopping success we had a chilled out afternoon the next day in beautiful Bury St. Edmunds:
Next: Toiling turmoil!