Clothes

One yard is not enough!

One yard is not enough to make a long sleeved top that comfortably tucks into low rise trousers. But I was not going to give her the satisfaction of saying “I told you so!”.

It was early Autumn of 2001 and I was on holiday in San Francisco. And as you do on holidays, I stumbled upon this shop where I bought a breathtaking steely indigo jersey trouser suit, with an equally breathtaking price tag. And it was already 50% off! (In my defence, I did wear it for the next six years or so, always turning heads, until it eventually “shrunk in the wash” beyond acceptable.)

In that shop they also had simple jersey tops in exactly the same colour, and when I tried one on with the suit, I wanted one immediately. However, my holiday budget wouldn’t stretch that far, even if I were to forgo all the ice creams and cappuccinos for the rest of the trip. That top was not on sale! 😦

Ok, off I went walking the streets of San Francisco until suddenly I stood in front of a fabric store. They had a pretty big shop window, and it generally looked like an average sized shop with flats over it. I entered.

It was H-U-G-E! The floor space was already much bigger than what the window let on, but there were no flats over it – the whole four storey building was the fabric store!​ (It was Britex Fabrics in Union Square, to be exact.)

It was completely crammed with fabric and people, with only narrow passages between the shelves. I spotted a counter in the distance and headed for it. “Do you have a fabric that matches this suit in colour exactly?” – “Follow me.”

The little lady with curly red hair navigated her way between the shelves (under the shelves?), then up the stairs, to the second floor. The fabrics were arranged by colour, and we passed the reds, the greens and the black and whites, to land by the wall of teal and indigo.

The lady took my suit and started colour matching. “There!” – it matched the colour exactly. It was a double knit jersey, very fine quality, with some small wool content. Actually better than the fabric of that top in the clothes shop. Price? Ah. Of a matching quality. But of course, not nearly as high as of that top, and so fitting into the budget, albeit at a squeeze.

​

“One yard is not enough!” – I only asked for one yard, but she figured out immediately what I was wanting it for (long sleeves), sized me up (long arms, wide shoulders, longish body, low rise trousers in that suit) and correctly concluded that one yard would not be enough.

“No, thanks, I’ll manage.” – “You will be working with bits! You can’t get whole panels for the sleeves and the bodice out of this width.”

Of course, she was right, but I was stubborn (still am, apparently). “I’ll manage.”, and I got one yard.

Well, that top never happened. Not because there wasn’t enough material, I just never got to work on it – just one of those projects that only exist in your head and in your fabric stash. I’m sure you haven’t got any of those yourself, but perhaps you heard of someone who does. πŸ˜‰

Some ten years later I bought an absolutely lovely offcut of Italian bouclee tweed thing, really nice, but too much for a skirt and not enough for a dress, and I so hate left-overs. πŸ™‚ But it went beautifully with the American jersey, they were destined to be combined! But I couldn’t quite come up with an idea how.

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And then, having sat on my shelf for six years or so, inspiration finally struck: a skirt and a top, and by golly that one yard will have to be enough!

And here it is, skillfully modelled by Shauna, the wireframe girl:

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And here are the left-overs with a tape measure for scale:

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Do you think I had to resort to working with bits? πŸ˜‰

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5 thoughts on “One yard is not enough!

  1. Lovely! And WOW! Now I wish I could go to Britex in San Francisco! We have NOTHING like that where I live in Canada, and fabric shopping in my city is totally the pits. I’m always incredibly envious reading about fabric stores in the UK and the U.S. Fabric here tends to be really expensive, and finding anything nice that isn’t either meant for quilting or home dec can be really hard. The San Francisco Britex is now another place to add to my mental list of fabric shops outside of my country/city that I will travel to if I ever win the lottery. πŸ˜‰

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    1. I know, that store is totally amazing! But where I live in the UK, we have nothing by way of fabric shops either (not counting one large store filled with total rubbish). So I buy my fabric online. You could shop at Britex online you know, I expect the shipping to Canada should not be too bad. Also have a look on eBay – many shops sell their stuff there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re seamstress skills are amazing! And your writing fun to read! If you lived closer (even in the same country, or continent) I’d ask if you sew for others. I’ve given away many wonderful fabrics from my β€œstash” as sewing gets harder for me, not that I ever came close to your mastery. Finding someone to sew for me is impossible, and decent clothes so hard to buy. You obviously love the challenges!

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    1. Thank you! I trained as a couture tailor. πŸ™‚ I like to do things properly, and yes I have sewn for others, even without ever meeting them in person. But it was very hard to make a living that way, so I went back to computing for money, leaving me only limited time for sewing. Alas! But a fixed income is also very nice. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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