Friday, 10 September 2010

London #3

Dr. Nefarious

Claudine is correct. I would not really call Elizabeth nefarious. Dr. E. bears no resemblance to Dr. Nefarious (although that Dr bit is the same.....). The last post was very silly and I will not do it again. Apologies.

The next day, we had planned to visit Goldhawk Rd for a little fabric shopping, then in the afternoon go to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

If you want to know what is in particular shops on Goldhawk Rd, you should read Melissa's post, which is very detailed and helpful. We went in to all the shops and they are sort of blurred in my mind into a beautiful vision of wall to wall fabric. What was amazing to me, was that a lot of the fabric seemed to be natural fibres or blends (hardly any poly) and of very good quality. This was quite different to the Paris fabric district, where I felt that there were mountains of polyester to wade through (remember I only had a few hours fabric shopping there, so it is only an impression). What I found similar to Paris, was the 3 metre pre cut lengths in several shops, and the Muslim shoppers in traditional dress. Multicultralism seems to be good for fabric shopping. After seeing Goldhawk Rd, I was very glad that I had only spent 35 euros on fabric in France.

I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom resulting from my 9 month fabric diet, and my plan to ship a large box home at the end of the day. However, I did not spend all my fabric money. The fabric was very reasonably priced.
The best buys for me were cotton shirting fabric (really for my husband) at 3 pounds a metre, Liberty silk (charmeuse?) at 9 pounds and 12 pounds per metre, cotton lawn prints at 5 pounds a metre, and some wool-cashmere lightweight suiting at 9 pounds per metre, all seem of excellent quality. This was incredibly inexpensive compared to what I can buy in Australia. For example, the men's shirting fabric of this quality that I can get is all between $AUS25 and $30 per metre ( about 11-14 pounds), and the suiting would be more like $60 per metre.

The plain silks were not much less costly than Surrey Hills, and the plain linen was about the same. I was underwhelmed by most of the warm weather knits - mainly due to colour, but did find a heavier purple cotton knit that I liked. I was not tempted by the sweater weight knits,although they were fabulous, as I prefer hand knitting for the very few garments of this weight that I need.
I also bought some cotton lace at 4 pounds per metre, but this may not be of marvellous quality.

It was wonderful to shop with Hen, Ruthie and Elizabeth. Ruthie has a marvellous eye for colour. She not only can pick her own perfect colours, but is really good at spotting some treasure on the other side of the shop that will look fabulous on someone else (ie, Me!) I took full advantage of this skill. Elizabeth was our excellent guide and mentor as to which shops we should attend for the particular fabrics we were seeking. She also likes similar prints and designs as I, so I just picked over all her rejects for the colours I fancied (saved me climbing mountains of fabric to get a particular roll). Hen can spot the most beautiful fabric in a shop the minute she walks in, so there was plenty of lovely vicarious shopping for me in the silk section. (Hen was after fabric for an evening dress. We were not all looking for the same sort of fabrics, but I think I enjoyed other people's purchases almost as much as my own.


Do you notice our discrete tote bags? I forgot mine, but I used it the next day. It is very handy.

We were extremely thorough with our fabric shop visiting, and had only brief intervals for sustenance (kind Ruthie shouted us coffee). Fortunately there is also a bike shop on Goldhawk Rd, as when my husband met us for lunch, we had not quite finished shopping. In fact, we did not have time to visit the museum.
We took our purchases back to Elizabeth's for mutual admiration.

(This is Ruthie's photo)

There is one pile each, but mine is missing the fabric I bought for my husband, as that does not count (I have a strict fabric accounting system, with loopholes).

Then we went out for an excellent pub dinner. We tried hard not to talk about sewing, as there were husbands present. I think we did a reasonable job. Sewing friends are terrific.


Sharon said...

I agree sewing friends are the best. I envy your shopping with the girls and I can relate as some of my sewing buddies are very good at picking out fabrics for me.

Handmade said...

That photo with all of your loot is priceless! .... mutual admiration of your purchases ..... and your fabric accounting system ..... too funny!!

Hen said...

Thank you for the memories!
My current fabric diet is: sew three, buy one. In my fabric accounting system, things I made for others count in the sewn category, but not in the bought category! And I also don't count my London fabrics.

RuthieK said...

I have no idea which shops were which, but I am going to have to come back to Goldhawk Road another time fairly soonosh - like next year.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Its so wonderful to meet sewing friends and fabric shop with them! So glad you had a wonderful time and bought some amazing fabrics. I'm sure each time you use one, you will remember the wonderful time you had in London.