Sunday, 2 February 2014

More Shopping on Location (But Still No Sewing)

Fabric Shop Barcelona
Ribes y Casals and they were having a sale!
Ok, another week has gone by with no sewing but I did fulfil a task that I have been meaning to for ages - I bought some lace trim! OK, well that might not sound extraordinary to you but I have been looking for just the right colour/style/width combo for months and, up till now, had drawn a blank. 

This week I was lucky enough to have meetings in Barcelona and had a few hours spare on the second day. Never one to turn down some fabric shopping in pastures new, I took advantage of a couple of spare hours to hit the shops. In the first place that I visited I struck paydirt.

Ribes y Casals is just a 10 minute walk from Placa Catalunya  and has an amazing amount of fabrics set out in rolls on tables and racks and stands. Most of it was poly-something but there were some very beautiful bridal fabrics, suiting and beaded laces. I really wanted to take a picture inside but one of the older gentlemen who was serving was glaring quite pointedly at someone doing the same so I thought that I had better not chance my luck. There were another three fabric shops in the same part of the street (Carrer de Roger de Lluria since you asked), one selling poly jersey knits very cheaply and the others a nice selection of fabric with some nice suiting.  I bought nothing bar the lace.
The lace is a sort of deep jade cotton and is to go with a corset that I made last year for Newcastle Fashion Week. I drafted the pattern for this one by scaling up a pattern from "Corsets & Crinolines" by Norah Waugh. It started life as the top colour, a beautiful crisp buttermilk yellow silk dupion, very heavy weight already but stabilized with interfacing which I then flatlined to cotton herringbone coutil.

To dye the silk I used Procion MX dyes in turquoise for the first layer and midnight blue mixed with black. The corset was dyed after it had been sewn together but before I put in the bones or the top binding. The lining is just a thin cotton so not to add any more bulk while still providing a nice inner layer.

Looking a bit awful but the crinkles went. Phew!
Doing the dying was very stressful. I didn't have enough of this fabric left to repeat if I wasn't happy with the results as I had already made another plain one with the remainder of the fabric. Anyway, I put the dye in a big bucket to cut down on the mess, donned my Marigolds and sort of bounced the pre-wetted corset up and down in the dye until I it looked nice and even all round. Cue rinse and repeat. After a paltry 2 1/2  hours it was done *pah, tell my arms that*. I gave it a rinse in loads of cool water then hung it on the line to drip dry.

The pic above was taken when I brought it in. Looks very crinkly but it was still a bit damp so I could give it a good press and a bit of surreptitious shaping with a lot of steam. I was very lucky and the silk retained its subtle sheen too. Even though it looks great as is, I have always felt that something this over the top needs a bit more lily-gilding so the lace will be perfect. I am thinking lots of sequins, beads and Swarovski's to pick out the other colours too.

If you get the chance to go to Barcelona then I highly recommend the place. It is full of great bars, shops, friendly people and beautiful architecture. I'll leave you with a bit of Gaudi. x

Got a bit of a Gaudi thing going on. I was in my element.

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