Haberdashery shopping in the USA

(You can sing this post title to the tune of the Bruce Springsteen song, if you try really hard)

I only visited one fabric shop on my recent holiday, which I think is fairly restrained. It was G-Street Fabrics, which is just outside Washington Dulles airport in a little retail park which also contains a frozen yogurt shop (where I dropped off my boyfriend).

G-Street is a nice shop, but in the end I decided they didn’t carry any fabrics I couldn’t find in London, apart from these bizarre 3D cottons:

3D Fabrics

Yes, you do have to look at them through special 3D glasses. My favourite is the mournful looking 3D dogs. The mind boggles. I guess they are intended for quilters? Do you get the glasses free with the yardage, or do you buy them separately? So many questions.

Anyway, sadly I didn’t buy any 3D flame fabric (although now I am strongly wishing I had done). What I did get is some haberdashery bits and pieces I can never find in the shops here, including fold-over elastic in both pale blue and turquoise seersucker. I’ve always wanted to try this stuff. I also got a selection of tape-like products – Seams Great, Stay Tape, and Wonder Tape. I don’t know what the Wonder Tape is for, exactly, but the name made it seem so impressive. Anyone used these before?

haberdashery from G-Street

I also went to a Wal-mart and rifled through the fabric section there. Not having much use for High School Musical themed fabric, I didn’t buy any, but I did get two super-cheap patterns from the new lines by Simplicity and New Look.

Simplicity Sew Simple 2004

Simplicity 2004 is a very simple yoked dress pattern, but it has pockets and was only 97 cents so obviously I had to buy it. I’m slightly worried that it’s been described as a ‘muu-muu’ on pattern review, but I think it could work with elastic or ribbon round the waist to cinch it in. Hopefully.

New Look 6070
New Look 6070 was only 2 dollars, and I like the way they’ve included a line-drawing on the front of the envelope. It’s also the only commercial pattern I’ve ever seen which recommends using an invisible zip. I can see this with a peter pan collar and a fake button placket added, to give it a faux shirtdress feel. I’m thinking about using this John Kaldor fabric I got in Edinburgh ages ago, it’s a lovely rayon crepe which reminds me of the famous Marimekko gingko print.

That’s it for my pattern buying until I get a new job! I’ve bought about 10 new and vintage patterns in the last few months and I really need to get sewing some of them. I blame Colette Patterns for having too many nice designs.

Miu Miu and the 1940s

I bought the September issue of Vogue this week, just so I’d have something to read on the train.  I buy less and less fashion mags these days. Feel a bit reluctant to fork over a fiver for a publication that is 90 per cent ads, especially when most of the ads are dull as dishwater. The only one that really stood out to me was this one, Hailee Steinfeld looking like Lauren Bacall in Miu Miu.

I know there’s been some controversy over whether she’s too young to model for the label (she’s only 14), and it does seem absurd considering how much the clothes cost, but I just love this photo. The look on her face is perfect, and the blouse, hair-do, and eyebrows make her the spitting image of a mini-Lauren.

Hailee Steinfeld in Miu Miu

It also totally reminds me of the passage in By Myself  (best celebrity autobiography OF ALL TIME) where Bacall describes her wedding in a little house out in the country – she makes an entrance down a flight of stairs and is shaking so much when she sees Bogart she can hardly speak. She was only 20 when she got married, just 6 years older than Hailee.

Lauren Bacall wearing blouses

Here’s the outfit Hailee’s wearing, as seen on the catwalk. The Miu Miu AW 2011 collection is amazing, it’s totally 1940s. I love this blouse with huge sleeves, a high neck and a yoke.

Lots of similar patterns on Etsy:

40s Butterick 4659 Blouse with Jabot or Collar, Yoke and Pleat, Size 16 Bust 34I love version C, using stripes in both directions

40s Butterick 3976 Blouse with Smart Yoke High Neckline Puff Sleeves Size 16 Bust 34Perfect Bacall-esque waves on this pattern illustration.

Vintage 40s Blouse Pattern Vogue 5418 Size 16 Bust 34This one’s a bit more Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday

I can’t see the huge sleeves on these coming back into high-street stores – they require a lot of fabric so are more expensive to produce than short sleeved versions. They do look great tucked into the pencil skirts which everyone’s supposed to be wearing this winter (again according to Vogue).

I have a length of original 40s/50s crepe I bought on a stall in Spitalfields market which I want to use to make a shirt dress a bit like these blouses. Then I just need to work out how to roll my hair like the Miu Miu models…