So many fabrics, such little time. Here’s the scenario: Four floors of fine fabrics just off Union Square on Maiden Lane in San Francisco. On the first, floor to ceiling wools, mohairs, and silks. The sales staff climb library ladders for access. On the second floor are cottons. linens, and rayons. Three offers walls of buttons and trims. The top level has remnants and specialty fabrics.
This year I started on two. In years past, especially when I was a young mother, I started on the remnant floor seeking bargains in wools and silks. But the top of this year’s list was washable rayon and cotton blouse and shirt fabrics – some for me, some for Patrick. (I’m now into blouses and shirts because I am so tired of wearing the ubiquitous t-shirts.) As I started pulling out bolts and rolls, Sharman asked if she could help. Turns out she’s Britex’s fabric buyer. She knows fabrics. She’s more of a fabric snob than I am. And that’s saying lots.
On the remnant floor I found a green, black, and gold plaid shirt fabric for Pat and gorgeous raincoat fabric for me in a subtle black and purple paisley. On the first floor I found inspiration. Sharman’s advice and expertise made my shopping trip easier and gave me more certainty about my choices. She ran up and down the ladders a lot. We found perfect fabrics and figured yardage, coordinated outfits, and fulfilled my next year’s sewing and wardrobe needs. (I write this as if I really NEED new clothes.)
As we figured yardage, I heeded my husband’s “no more tears” advice – always buy more than you think you need. An extra half yard may seem pricey at point-of-sale, but it hurts more later at the cutting table if you don’t buy enough. Among my selections were fabrics for a wool aubergine jacket and slacks, a plush highly napped color-block mohair coat in teal, aqua, and adobe orange, and a gold wool jacket with black dash detail. Blouse/shirt fabrics in gold-brown, brown, blush, soft fuchsia, and mid-tone gray. A couple silk blouse prints, and one for a dress in a brown/black/cream print. After four hours, I was getting to the “TILT” point. The point after which I couldn’t think straight and would need food and time to recover.
As we reviewed my list, all that was left were lining fabrics and buttons. Sharman and I called it a day and set a time to meet in two days as the next day was her day off. On Friday, we found linings and the buttons. Ah, the buttons can make all the difference in a garment. Plain run-of-the-mill buttons can make a great jacket or blouse look run-down. Great buttons add uplift, style, and grace. Choosing buttons with the in-house button expert took over an hour. To riff on my husband’s “no-more-tears” philosophy, buy an extra button if it’s a one-of-a-kind.
Britex’s button selection is as unique and classy as their fabrics.. Hand-chosen. Beautiful.
UPS delivered within a couple days. I’m pondering what to sew first. Most likely the mohair coat as the leaves are now falling and the nights are near freezing. Next up is finding the perfect coat pattern and beginning the pleasurable journey of transforming the fabric into a coat – one with gorgeous buttons.
P.S. Britex sells fabric online at www.Britexfabrics.com.