This past Thursday was Bastille Day and I had a pretty awesome day! I really didn’t do anything all that exciting but a day spent shopping is always enjoyable! Especially if that shopping involves fabric!!
I had totally forgotten that today was a holiday until my supervisor reminded me yesterday. Bonus day to sleep in! I slept quite late and I was going to go check out the military parade but I was feeling lazy and it looked kinda rainy out so instead I made myself a big breakfast. I puttered around doing dishes and dealing with laundry and then I made a very detailed list of things to scour the fabric stores and merceries for this afternoon. I had gotten a friend of mine to call one of the big fabric stores, as I am essentially unable to communicate in French on the phone, to see if they were open on the holiday and I assumed that since one store was open all would be. Yeah not so much. Yet I still managed to spend a good couple of hours just browsing through the few stores that were open.
Eventually I found my way down a side street to one store in particular that really didn’t seem all that much different from the others, that is until I realized they were selling real silk! Once inside I found a roll of this fabulous red silk. It has an ocassional very minor slub and is medium weight. Not as light as china silk but not a heavy or crisp as some taffetas. It is, however, the most absolutely perfect shade and weight to recreate a quilted 1780’s ensemble I got the chance to examine during my stage here. So yes I bought it all! And I bargained the guy down 20 euros!
After that spot of successful fabric hunting I headed back to the 3rd to find a cafe. I ended up back at this one that my aunt and I had patronized previously. And then I started making a list. First of the way cool fabrics I had seen and not bought, and then of the projects that I should look to get fabric for while I’m here. You see I could probably order fabric from the internet for many of these projects back home but the ability to browse through many stores allows for a certain precision of choice that I just can’t achieve back home. Here there is the possibility of getting the most perfect fabric ever while back home I can probably get one that’s good enough. So I made a list of all the major things floating around in my mind right now that I would like to get fabric for. Guess what – they’re mostly 18th century!
First up is the peach Française that the Comtesse de Provance wears in the dressing scene of Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.
This particular dress has always stuck out for me. I like the simplicity of the colours and the deliberate amount of fussiness in the trim and accessories (her hair is fun too!). Although this costume is clearly made of a slubbed fabric like dupioni, I’ll be looking for a smooth taffeta in that lovely shade of pink.
The second one that comes to mind is this stripes ensemble from the Kyoto Costume Institute.
The challenge with this one is finding a fabric not just with the right colours but also the right balance of colours. Puresilks has several taffetas with these colours but none are quite right in the proportions. I’d also like to pair the dress with that same shade of green accessories.
In a bit of a departure from the previous two, I’d like to copy this mourning ensemble from the 1790’s (Natalie‘s excellent detailed blogging of 1790’s styles has definitely influenced me!).
The key to this particular fabric hunt is finding the perfect shade of charcoal grey. Of course I’d like to attempt that embroidery and spangles too!
I participated in a trip to the Bath Costume Museum with Your Wardrobe Unlock’d and got some delicious up close pictures of objects in the collection but my favourite by far was a dress on display.
Again finding an appropriate fabric has its challenges. The brocade contains many colours including blue, yellow, gold, green, and peach. I don’t expect to find the exact fabric of course but I do how to find one with the same scale of pattern and approximately the same proportion of colours.
Another dress that has been only list for a very long time is the Mme Seriziat portrait gown.
For this gown I’m looking for a very fine, high thread count voile. Ordinary voile would probably do but I’d really like to find some high quality stuff. I love that you can really see the difference in drape between the fabric of her gown and her fichu!
And finally I’m looking to get a few meters of silk satin for some 1940’s style slips and underthings.
*whew* that was a long list. Hopefully I’ll find everything I want. Wish me luck!