Original Drawing by Sue West
I love fabrics. I have always loved fabrics. If there were a heaven, it would be a large space filled with fabrics, something like The Cotton House in Berwick Street in London, or Boroviks, stuffed with beautiful things and where the fashion students and costume designers go. Or Liberty’s in its hey day, when fabrics occupied a whole floor, exotic silks and satins and tiny Tana lawn prints. Or Hudsons in downtown Detroit in the 1950’s, where my mother used to take me and I once got separated from her among the tall fabric bales, taller than I was. In this heaven, I could browse forever, breathing in the smell of fabrics, touching them, imagining what I could make with them.
Like my mother’s closets, my house is overflowing with fabrics. A few years ago, a friend turned an old pine wardrobe into a fabric cupboard for me by adding shelves. My daughter and I covered them with Cath Kidson wallpaper, then stacked my fabrics according to colour and type. I bought pretty tins for buttons, zips, trims and threads. It looks lovely. Of course it is not big enough to contain all my fabrics. They lurk in the loft, in black bin bags, blue Ikea bags, re-usable supermarket bags. Current sewing projects are in plastic boxes under the bed in the spare room. They ooze and creep into other places, on chairs, beds, tables.
If there were a fire, I would not try to save my fabrics. I would save my family. But I would mourn the loss of my fabrics. It would take some time to get over it. Eventually, I would try to put a positive spin on it. I would see it as an opportunity to buy more fabrics, but I would mourn the old ones because I know where I acquired each one of them. They all have memories and associations.
A few weeks ago, I visited Berwick Street in London and to my delight I noticed that many new fabric shops have opened. People are beginning to see the advantages of the old home crafts during this time of ‘economic gloom’. It’s something to make the heart glad. Newspapers and fashion magazines make reference to ‘make do and mend’ and ‘make your own individual dress, headscarf, belt, bag…” New sewing and crafting magazines are being published too.
All of these things have inspired me to create this blog, to exchange ideas with others who also love making things. Most of my ideas are not original. I take them from magazines, shops, friends and galleries. Still, I would like to share some of them with you.