Utrecht Fabric Market

Has everyone been watching the Olympics? What did you think of the opening ceremony?

I watched it with a mixture of pride and trepidation. Pride because I loved the whole set up, so typically British and I thought it was well executed. The Queen as a Bond Girl? I’ll take that anyday. Trepidation because I was worried not everyone would get it. True enough, my Cameroonian friends on Facebook did not get it.

I did not watch all of it though because the following morning I was going to Utrecht Market, and I had to wake up at 5am. My guide for the day was Jhuriene from Julys Diary. Way back in 2009 when I had my wordpress blog, Jhuriene was one of the few (very few) people who used to read my blog. She was one of the first people I started following on the blogosphere, and it was so nice to finally meet her. As it turns out, she lives about 30 minutes from where I am at The Hague. Small world huh?



Jhuriene and I

Our first stop was in a vintage shop near the market. The lady said she sometimes bought her wares from London. Fancy that aye!


In a Vintage shop

 The Utrecht fabric market or  Lapjesmarkt as it is known locally, has been taking place every saturday for about 400 years. It runs from 8am to 1pm, so an early start is most advisable. Jhuriene and I met at the Hague station at 7:20am and took another train from there to Utretch. She has 2 young boys so that was really kind of her to leave them that early and take me to Utrecht. She wanted us to travel together as she has a card that would give me a 40% discount on my train ticket. How sweet is that? Thanks again Jhuriene.

I took a tram from the house at 7:05am and arrived at the station on time.  The trams here are so efficient its spooky. Coming from London, I am used to train delays but here it functions like a well oiled machine.

This market is amazing. If you ever find yourself in Holland, you should fit this market in your schedule. You have to be careful though, you might end up buying more than you wanted. The quality of the fabric on offer is really good. You do have some dodgy ones as well, but majority of the stuff is really good quality. I saw a silk fabric, which was so really nice, but at 98 Euros, I thought it was best not buying it. I asked the lady selling if I could take a picture of the stall., she refused. hmmm.

I almost cried at this market. No really! I almost did. You would too, if you found yourself surrounded by all the beauty on offer. To be honest I felt a bit overwhelmed.I had spent a couple of minutes stroking a really soft cotton jersey fabric when Jhuriene took this picture.

I have never seen so many leather off cuts in one place before and believe me, it was the real stuff.

 I found this fabric really interesting. I did not buy it though.

 Jhuriene made me try this typically Dutch waffle. It was delicious. I sense I shall be eating alot more of this before I return to the UK.

I ate this corn. It was so soft and sweet, and I had mine with butter. They also served it with different things, like sugar, chilli, mustard as well I think.

Vintage buttons from the vintage shop.

 My haul. 2metres of cotton jersey at 5euros/metre, 5 leather off cuts for 13euros, 2packets of large Burda carbon paper, and some buttons.

 I am being very careful with how much I buy, as I don’t have space in my suitcase. Travelling alone with a baby is not the most pleasant thing on earth. Jhuriene suggested I post them to my home address in the UK, which is what I will probably do. I still have to go to Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris, and I know I will buy there as well, so best be careful with my spending. My surname is not Hilton, so I am HIGHLY restricted by my bank balance.

When I got home, I regretted not buying more fabric, and then reminded myself of the mountain of fabric I have at home. I would definitely love to go back to this market one day. I highly recommend it if you find yourself round these parts.

A straight skirt for a pear.

Okay, so here I am, trying to go against all the image consultants.

I have been told, via books and blogs and TV, that as a pear shaped woman, I should steer clear of straight fitted skirts. I do that, but then again, sometimes I wear shop bought straight skirts, and sometimes it fits me ( maybe 1 in every 50  I try on). You would think that making one for myself that fit would be easy right? I thought so too, and ended up here

Why can it not look as smooth as it does on the model. True I know that my hips are all over the place, but still…..I cut a size 14 at the waist, and graded out to a size 18 at the hips.
The result of that little pattern play left me with excess fabric between the widest point of my hips and my waist.hmm.

 I don’t think it helps that my bum is quite big (thanks mom).

 and I don’t know what is going on with my stomach ( thanks Noah).

Oh well, I suppose I have to do more muslins. Tips anyone?

Millinery day 4: Sinamay flowers

Today marked the end of my four day millinery adventure. We made roses from sinamay, and used some straw to cover a headband. More rolling. My fingers will be glad its over I tell  you. I had so much fun though, and I hope I can get better at rolling. It produces such beautiful pieces if you get the rolling right.

So Today, I painted more sinamay leaves and squares for the roses.

Making roses

 Blocking the rose on a paper ball

My finished roses

Rolling some straw for the headband

Sewing the headband into the rolled straw. Due to time constraints, I did not finish this one, but Bridget showed us how to finish it, so I shall finish this when I have the time.

We decided to do a “group” picture, of all our roses.

I was playing with placements…again. Its so difficult to get the right placement. I have to work on my positioning.

 I had so much fun this week, and I can’t wait to go on another millinery course. I hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been up to this week, and I am sorry it has not been sewing related. Dressmaking should resume as soon as I can actually convince myself to make something.

One more day, and it will be Friday. Thank God.

Millinery day 3: working with sinamay

Another day another millinery adventure.

Today we worked with sinamay. I got to class 3o minutes late, so had to spend time catching up. Not good Dibs, not Good. I did not do so well today. We had to cut out sinamay shapes and dye them. Since I was late, I missed part of the instructions, and paid for that later. We were told to cut the shapes on the bias, which I did, but was not aware we had to stretch the bias strips before cutting out the shapes. When we finished rolling the sinamay shapes, mine had become so thin. The teacher said it was okay, but that I could cut bigger ones if I want, and that it all depends on what I want to make. I cut out bigger shapes afterwards, this time, stretching to sinamay to within an inch of its life. I will work on that one tomorrow.

White sinamay……

 Dyed green

Hand rolled with and without wires so that we could learn the various ways of rolling sinamay. Now this was something new. When I made the yellow headpiece with the Legend, she told me to soak the sinamay in water, and then dab it with a dry cloth before rolling the edges. My teacher today told us to apply some straw stiffener to the edges, put it in a plastic bag, and roll it when dry. She showed us two methods of rolling the edges. One with wires within the rolls, and one without wires. She will show us another method tomorrow, involving a pleat. hmm. So much to learn.

Trying to find a good way to place the leaves…no, not this one….

 Nor this one.

 This one?

Side view

 wish my neck was this graceful

 a closer look

Tomorrow we move on to straw.

I ordered some parasisal straw from a Luton based supplier, who are supposed to be one of the more established  millinery suppliers in the UK. However when I got to class today, the teacher said it was the wrong straw. I had been sent the wrong straw by that most illustrious supplier. I had to rush during my launch break to Victoria to get the right one. So I missed another 30 minutes of my class. Drat!!.

Flower Making Day 2: Seeing red

Today was the last day of the flower making class. Yesterday, we dyed fabric and carved lino blocks.
We went on to make the flowers today. The pictures should give you an idea of the steps involved in transforming the fabric to a flower.

I ironed some bondaweb unto some fabric and cut out petals and squares for each petal.

Next we embossed the petals, using the lino blocks we carved. When embossing the petals, you have to insert some paper covered wire into the grooves.

Then we rolled the edges slightly, and sculpted the petals.

The next thing we did was to form a tiny bud and started sewing the petals unto some millinery wire.

Our teacher encouraged us to use styrofoam heads to aid us in the petal placement. Just keep adding the petals as you would want them until you are satisfied with your flower.

 I think this looks okay now. One side is slightly flat so that it will lay better on the human head.

Trying it on, and trying not to look too pleased with myself.

Tomorrow we start working with Sinamay and straw.  I hope I have as much fun as I have had these last two days.