Sunday, 14 November 2010

I feel like I've joined a secret club

We went to an estate sale this weekend that was described as "car, house and entire house contents including piano, furniture, antiques, tools and fabric, etc."  When we arrived, I discovered that the woman had been a dressmaker and had a dedicated sewing room full to the brim!  From the looks of her supplies, she must have been working from about the 1960s-1990s, and there are still a few unfinished projects hanging on the walls.

Looking through her closet was like an archeological dig through strata of fabric: on top were the cheaper synthetics and cottons from the '80s-'90s; further down were the linens and blends; deeper still were the formal fabrics (satins, silk linings, matching zippers) and finally at the very bottom were the silks and wool suiting.

While sorting into "buy" and "leave" piles, I chatted with several women who came to take a look.  They lamented the fact that few people make things anymore and how hard it was to find a good dressmaker (and this in Montreal!)  We examined all the lovely textiles and compared guesses as to the content of some blends.  We talked about what could be made from some of the yardage we found.  One woman even tentatively asked me if I was a dressmaker, since she was looking for someone to make some items for her.  I had to disappoint them by telling them how novice I am! 

When I was packing up to leave, the woman in charge of the estate sale approached me with a note.  She had written her name and phone number for me.  Holding up her arthritic hands, she told me that she used to be a tailor, but could no longer sew, and would I be interested in all her supplies?  "Give me a call sometime, and you are welcome to everything you like, for free of course."  And she gave my bags of fabric a cursory look and asked for $40 for the lot (around 100 metres in total). 

Synthetics.  I am so loving the print on the far left, dated 1972.

Linen and cotton.  That op art lilac number has my name all over it. 
Silks.  The chinese style in red was from Hong Kong (it was wrapped), the floral is crisp and lovely and the silvery-grey is much nicer than you can see in the photo.

That cream coloured wool is already earmarked for a sheath dress with matching jacket.

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