Jul 24, 2010
So. Down to business. What IS this floral print?
Yesterday I swung by my two favorite fabric dives -- I'm not even going to name them because why should I, you think they ever give me a discount? -- but, well, OK, H&M Fabrics at 248 West 35th St. and its larger sibling at 257 West 39th St. No relation to Hennes & Mauritz.
I must say I LOVE these stores despite the fact that 1) there's NO air conditioning; 2) the sales people know nothing about fabric, which can sometimes work in your favor; 3) I nearly always witness heavy-handed flirting -- oh, not with me, but between the owner and anything with two X chromosomes and legs. It's sort of fascinating really but jeez, give it up already.
I love the amount of stuff selling for $2 a yard and you never know what you'll find there. With few exceptions, I've bought all my fabric in these stores. You really have to like to bottom feed, as it were, to dig for the gold among the dross. But there's a lot of gold.
I try to hit these stores weekly as you just never know what might turn up. I went yesterday with the intention of finding something to use for this Vintage Vogue reissue that reader James so generously sent me.
I usually try to avoid direct competition with Trena, who made this dress two years ago, but Miss Slapdash is so prolific it becomes futile after a while.
So I was looking for lightweight crepe, as recommended on the pattern envelope: poly, because no way was I going to pay for wool for that ingrate cousin of mine. I needed a few other things too, including more of that white cotton fabric I made my banded collar shirt with -- I have to make one for Michael now.
First I hit the uptown H&M, where things are slightly better arranged, but...nothing. There was a lot of poly chiffon (belch) but I didn't see any crepe that really called out to me. So I swung down to the 35th Street store (closer to home too) and found this.
Now I knew it wasn't crepe exactly, but I thought it was unusual and the print looked kind of vintage-y. I always have my antennae cocked for something that can work with a Thirties or Forties pattern; not so easy to find. This was, of course, in the $2/yd area and I knew immediately I wanted it.
So I asked for three yards, right? Well, there were five yards remaining on the bolt. Would I take it all, the salesperson asked.
Readers, help me here. If I want three yards, but agree to buy five yards, who exactly is doing whom the favor? When I asked if I could just take three, this young lovely gave me the most confused, lost-puppy dog face, like she didn't speak English and I'd just bought a pack of gum with a twenty-dollar bill, and she didn't understand why I was asking for change. OK, so she gave me five yards for $8; but I only wanted three yards for $6. Whatever, right?
OK, so I got the fabric home, five heavy yards-worth, and inspected it more closely.
A strange, slightly rough texture, a bit of a sheen. Nice drape though. This was not your standard polyester.
I did a burn test.
It lit and it stayed lit. I blew it out; the smell was sweet. The little bit of ash was sort of gray.
Certainly nothing hard or bead-like. I referred to this chart.
Maybe a silk, rayon blend?
I ironed it and it took a crease extremely well. I gathered it....
It gathered, but the gathers didn't drape softly like rayon would. I held it up to the light...
Maybe ramie or linen in it? Cotton, jute? I have no idea.
Since the gathers aren't terribly soft, I don't think it's ideal for the Vogue vintage pattern up top. I thought I might use this instead:
It's a vintage Hollywood pattern from 1942 that I bought back in the winter. It has gathers, but it's not all about the gathers. I really want to stick to a Thirties or Forties dress with this print; it just looks right to me.
Since I have five yards, I guess Cathy might have a matching turban too. And maybe a bedspread.
So wise readers, I need your opinions. What is this fabric? Also, am I right not to use this for the Vogue pattern?
Today on the blog I encourage dissent and conflict among commenters; it's healthy. Consider prefacing your differences of opinion (and I'm counting on some) with "WTF," "Are you kidding?" "WHAT are you talking about?" or the ever-popular "Excuse me" -- meaning anything but.
Thanks, guys -- you're the best!