Harley helps.

Harley helps.
Harley, my hard-working sewing assistant.

Monday, September 12, 2016

I don't get it

Two things are kind of ticking me off this week:

1. Gwyneth Paltrow's extremely expensive GOOP "basics." Made in Italy, and she says they're "luxurious ready-to-wear at a direct-to-consumer price." The tagline is Buy Now, Wear Now, Keep Forever. Hahahahahaha. Let's take a quick look at the fabric content of that affordable $695 blazer:



37% wool, 29% acrylic, 22% polyester, 6% nylon, 5% silk, 1% elastane. I'm guessing that acrylic/poly/nylon isn't all in the lining. Which means it's going to pill like crazy, no?

(FWIW, I have a similar blazer from the Gap. It's ~10 years old (wait, no, it's around 20! holy shit, I am old), 100% wool, and still holding up great. It was also less than $695, I'm pretty sure.

2. This story's been making the rounds over the past few days, and the comments are driving me up the wall. I'm really tired of (presumably) well-off women instructing each other to buy less, by which they mean saving up and buying high-end designer clothes, because they last longer.

Hmm.

And steam comes out of my ears every time these same clueless people declare that those on a limited budget should "just save up and buy better clothes." I just don't even know what to say about that. (Wait, I do, but I'm not posting it here).

I'd sure love to know how many of those $695 blazers are going to be around in 5 years. (Answer: All of them, in a bale somewhere, because polyester takes decades to decompose!)


Thursday, September 1, 2016

fabric shopping in Amsterdam

The Seamworker's Guide to Amsterdam is up!

I found out that Amsterdam — like Antwerp — is a really great source for knits. Especially sweatshirt fabric. (I'm really regretting not buying some as I get ready for fall sewing!)

I loved Noordermarkt — it was like an open-air Mood, just stalls and stalls of every fabric you can imagine, lots of them organized by type: gingham, lace, etc.








Albert Cuypstraat was like a New York street fair, with off-brand socks and makeup, food trucks, and — unlike most New York street fairs — fabric stalls (and permanent fabric shops behind them).






Also, I stumbled onto a hippie restaurant with no set prices — at the end, the cashier told me to "pay what you feel or pay what you think."

I laughed, but the food was very good. And they had cucumber-lemon-orange infused water.






On the way back, I stumbled across an amazing shop called Sprmrkt. The entrance was filled with trees, so it felt like you were walking through a forest.

They carried men's and women's Vetements, Damir Doma, Rick Owens...OF COURSE I stumbled across this place at the end of our trip, when I was out of spending money. OF COURSE.

Still fun to browse, though.





But I think Tinctoria was my favorite place. The owner's been naturally dyeing fabrics for 25 years. I was completely gobmacked by the colors — they were rich and deep and changed with the light. It kind of spoiled me for all other fabric shopping, and made me want to use naturally dyed, sustainably produced fabrics from now on, whenever possible.







She knew so much about dyeing — especially chemistry and working with hard-to-use dyes — and I was kicking myself after I left because I really should have asked more questions. At one point, she said, "So of course I pretreated it with soy milk..." and I nodded and went "uh huh" as if I totally knew what she was talking about, and of course I totally didn't. I have so much to learn.

She also recommended Dominique Cardon's books and mentioned a conference that takes place every few years in France (I think). So there's my rabbit hole.

SO. Here's my final haul:



Top to bottom:

  • Ikat remnant from Capscium Natuurstoffen — destined for a skirt or maybe a fancy bag
  • Polka-dot oilcloth from Maastricht (oilcloth is all over the Netherlands too!)
  • My favorite piece: Madder-dyed orangey-red hemp from Tinctoria (or, as Leentje politely called it, "your brick.") Haven't quite decided what to do with it yet. Was thinking about a jacket; wish I knew how to make sneakers.
Additional bits and bobs from the remnant bin:





Two pieces of velvet (the one on the right was dyed with weld, I think), two pieces of hand-printed linen. She'd written her dyeing recipe on the blue one.

I could post more pictures (so, so many more pictures, you guys), but I'll stop here for now. :)

Thanks for reading!
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