Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A Little Bit of London

Dear Friends
London is full of tourists. Thousands of tourists come and go. I see them on the streets of this area where I have been staying because it has many hotels. This is my third time in this part of London in as many months; I know how to duck and weave my way through these streets so well that tourists ask me for directions!
I am no longer just a visitor and I'll have a base once I've finished my extended holiday. In the meantime I've bought all the usual souvenirs to mail back home - postcards, t-shirts, scarves, fridge magnets. But what's a sewist to do but notice that one of the hole-in-the-wall stores along my street sells (gasp!) Burdastyle? And upon noticing that the said Burdastyle - May issue had the perfect shirtdress and a few other good basics - how could I resist buying it?

Burdastyle 117  May 2011

You know what's coming next don't you? I paid a vist to a fairly well known London material store called Shaukat Fabric that has rooms full of shelves and walls of fabric. Not much in the way of buttons or pattern books. Just fabric and jewellery and arabic style ornaments to add interest and lots of Liberty. Their prices are not bad but their best prices are for fabric sold online.  Shaukat Fabrics
I had a great time looking at their big selection of precut (3 metre) pieces and this one looked perfect for the shirtdress.


The effect I'm hoping for is similar to the Horrockses dresses of the forties. I saw some today in the Victoria and Albert Museum. I didn't know that this textile museum existed! It's on my list for next time!

Then while exploring Oxford Street I came across another fabric store down a side street, Mac Culloch & Wallis, a wonderful store of three rooms on three levels up and down stairs full of notions and patterns and ribbons and rolls of fabric stacked to the ceiling. It's the sort of place that's easier to tackle if you know what you've got in mind because you might have to ask for it - like interfacing. I left there with all the bits and pieces to make up my three garments - my mini stash.  MacCulloch & Wallis

Goodbye from London!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Trying to keep it Light

Dear people,
I'm still a sewing (travel?) blogger of no fixed address. I can't have the luxury of a stash. I'm on the move, seeing things I've always wanted to see, shedding more than accumulating, living for today (once I have somewhere to sleep organized that is!)
I've been to London

The Scottish Highlands. I have a feeling it would take a brave man to wear this rather non traditional kilt. 

French Chateaus

Back to Paris. I can't begin to tell you how much there is to see and do in Paris. I have a feeling I don't need to. One of my favourite places is the lovely Sacre Coeur high on a hill in Montmarte.

Just down from Sacre Coeur is the garment fabric district. How could I not drop by there as well?

The fabulous Tissus Reine (pictured below) and the March Saint Pierre are on opposite corners to each other. I enjoyed the chance to feel fabric, look at fabric, browse catalogues and peruse buttons.

There are also many smaller fabric shops all the way around the corner. It was late afternoon and there were tables of bargains outside each shop.

I went back to Tissus Reine and came out with this lovely piece of Liberty for a summer tunic/smock.

It hardly weighs anything and I need the injection of colour amongst all my practical basics. I didn't buy any of a perfect soft dress-weight denim and that my sewing friends, is quite a feat.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Hold on to your Kilt!

Dear Reader,
If you have visited this blog in recent times you know that my sewing blog has become a travel-and-sewing  blog while I roam the Continent as a vagabond of no fixed address. I will have a base next month when I start work, but plenty of time to talk about that later.
Last week after the Royal Wedding, I packed up my two suitcases of worldly goods and jumped on a fast train to Edinburgh. Half way up the east coast of Britain a large Scot occupied the seat next to me and we drifted into conversation, as you do. He was a wonderful character, large of build, tattooed, sporting an auburn ponytail. He was a good teller of sea-faring stories and clan wars - his own history. As the train sped by increasingly beautiful countryside and we passed the town of Durham with its sandstone buildings  and castle glowing in the afternoon light, I asked "Are we in Scotland yet?". I heard some women break into chuckles in front of me. Then the Scot said "No, if we were my kilt would jump out of my bag and start dancing". I said "You do not have your kilt in your bag, you are just teasing me". As got closer to Edinburgh he pulled his bag down from the overhead rack and pulled out a kilt. It was the genuine article, clan tartan with all the bits that go with it - belt, sporran, dagger in a leather sheath. The material of the kilt was smooth and tightly woven and the garment surprisingly heavy. Did you know that kilts were lined dear reader? If not all the way down at least partly. I thanked him for sharing  and he rushed off to get his connecting train deeper into Scotland.
Meanwhile, apart from meeting great characters I've been sightseeing in Edinburgh and up to Loch Ness.

Edinburgh Castle

Looking down The Royal Mile, the road that leads from the Castle to Holyrood House, one of the Queen's Scottish residences. Along the Royal Mile there are all the usual tourist type shops, pubs, cafes and this place where you could see tartan being woven on looms, and buy any tartan related item you could imagine.

No I didn't buy any yardage but I know where they are.....

Where have I seen this fellow before?

Goodbye from Edinburgh.
Happy sewing.