This summer, I spent three weeks between Spain and Portugal. Since we were driving there, I had plans to take full advantage of being able to fill up a car rather than sticking to a suitcase weight limit. Every time I grumbled about the expensive prices of fabric in the UK, I got replies from friends and family defending it would be cheaper in the south, so I nurtured high expectations.
I was disappointed.
I saw plenty of beautiful fabrics, particularly in Alicante, Spain. But they weren’t affordable, to the point where in Lisbon, all I bought were remnants. Nevertheless, I’m happy with the fabrics I got from the Spain and the diversity of stuff.
First up are these remnants I bought in Lisbon, at a chain called Feira dos Tecidos, which has loads of shops up and down the country. The remnants were in pretty good condition and they are all at least a meter, I reckon. My favourite is the one at the bottom of this pile, which is a peach coloured shantung. I was kind of all over the oranges and the peaches, I don’t even know why.
At the same place, I bought this little remnant of this dark red sheer fabric with a really cool pattern on it. Next to it is a flimsy black organza (I think!) and some black suede. I got both of these from grandmother and they are short lengths too, but I thought they were cool.
Now, in Alicante I went to the most amazing shop. It’s called Julián López and it’s three floors of absolute wonderland. The bottom floor has all sorts of dressmaking fabrics. Literally, all sorts. The second floor had home furnishing and decorating fabric, and the third had all sorts of (very expensive) silks and a haberdashery. The shop in general was very expensive, but I was lucky enough to walk in during the big summer sale – they had stacks and stacks of discounted, amazing fabric at very affordable prices. I bought seven meters of this blue stripped fabric for 0.99€. It’s very soft, slightly sheer, a pale blue, and I have plans to make it into an 1871 evening gown. Pray for me. Then I found that little blue remnant in Lisbon, which has a nice pink effect in some of it. I thought it was magical so I snapped it up, though it’s just a little bit.
From the same shop in Alicante, I bought these beautiful three fabrics. The middle brocade is 1 meter, it cost 6€ a meter and its’s for the bodice. The white fabric was 4€ a meter, it’s also 1 meter long and it’s for flowy sleeves. And the beige fabric on the left is for the skirt. It was 3.99€ a meter and I got four or five meters. It’s got a really nice discreet pattern to it.
I also collected loads of lace! As I decided to do the 1871 evening gown, the design required a lot of lace, so I went into every haberdashery I saw. It was surprisingly hard to find lace – though my requirements were tough to meet. I needed wide white lace, not too floral (I’m picky), and at an affordable price. In Lisbon, I saw loads of amazing laces but I can’t afford to pay 20€ a meter. Instead, I found these beauties! The first two are ecru laces from Julián López. They were on sale and I got three meters of each. The blue lace I found for 2€ at Colombo, in Lisbon. The white lace was gorgeous and I wanted a lot of it, but they only had under two meters of it. I found it in a haberdashery in downtown Lisbon for under 2€ as well. The last lace I found in a haberdashery in my hometown in Portugal. It was super affordable, just over 2€ per meter, and it was what I wanted for the evening dress, so let’s hope it works!
I also bought beads! Beads are surprisingly expensive here in London, so when I saw these little fake pearls for 1€ a pack I bought five. The other glass beads are from Lisbon as well and they were around 1€ each as well. I think it’s always good to have some golden beads around and I liked the brass tones of these. The green ones are for a ball gown I’ve been dreaming up, but haven’t found the fabric for.
Now my grandmother had already given me some fabric scraps but she also had a huge stack of things she just wasn’t going to use. So I grabbed it! Not all of it, because even in a car I wouldn’t have had enough space. First up she gave me buttons. A lot of buttons.
But I also got a bunch of random trim! Things like this really nice purple velvet-y bias binding, pink satin bias binding, loads of different satin ribbons, lots of zippers and scroll trim.
And that is it! I’m fairly happy with that, and considering I’m already working on my Art Nouveau Megara, my robe a l’anglaise and I have fabrics for two other complete dresses, I have a lot to keep busy with.
Thanks for reading!