Our senses are fascinating to me. One touch of fabric, the sound of your skirt rustling as you walk or the smell of raw silk, can instantly take you back to a moment in your past.
A roll of fabric to me, is the promise of an exciting experience to come. Whether the material is for a jacket, sundress or wedding dress, it is the beginning of an event or events in your life. In modern South Africa most of us rarely have an item of clothing specially designed and made, unless it is for a specific event, and you cannot find what you are looking for in the shops. This is because the cost has increased considerably and the amount of fabric shops has dwindled.
However, there is something to be said for having a one of a kind, in modern terms, Bespoke, outfit or piece of clothing. No matter where you go, you will never run into someone in the same outfit.
It takes me back to my childhood when clothing stores for children were limited and very expensive. My mother and I would make bi-annual visits to the Parade in Cape Town, patterns and pictures in arm, and we would buy the most amazing quality material for very little. She would then spend most of her holidays and afternoons after work, creating summer or winter wardrobes for us both, and I always had bespoke outfits.
Before I get too reminiscent, there are still great fabric shops around with affordable quality fabrics, like Fabric City, in Cape Town. The problem comes in when you have lost the patience, expertise or sewing machine to create the outfits yourself. So, finding an affordable seamstress is another interesting adventure and can be a bit of a gamble if you have found a very special piece of material.
Finding a seamstress for an evening dress or wedding dress is not as difficult (I have some numbers in the Paarl area) and you are welcome to contact me if you need advice. However, finding someone to make a few basic day dresses or tops is more challenging. (Please send those numbers my way!!) I am sure I am yet to find the right people.
So what about the fabrics of the new season? Winter fabrics make me do a little dance in my cupboard… Why you might ask? Because there are SO many more options and combinations than in summer. Layering different textures and weights of fabrics, from chiffon and tweed to chambray and faux fur. And this season velvet has arrived… It is so luxurious, regal and a bit cheeky all in one. The colours and options how to wear it are endless, just maybe stick to one or two items or a dress. Top to toe velvet is a bit difficult to pull off if you are not 1.8m tall.
This Winter the types of fabrics are endless and you can really find something that you are comfortable in and suits your lifestyle. But please, please, please, let us try to be more adventurous this season. Take a little time now and again and try on different texture combinations, you will be surprised what you can create from very few pieces. When you do go shopping, make a list and rather buy fewer statement pieces from quality fabric that you love, than many items that are only okay.
Make sure when you buy winter items that there are some natural fibres used, especially for knitwear and coats. Cotton and wool will limit the amount of pills that form on you jerseys and coats and even though their price might be slightly more, if you buy classic items in quality fabrics they will last for years.
Scarves are also a great way to bring in different textures of fabric into your wardrobe and the varieties are endless. From cotton to silk to wool and faux fur collars (I love faux fur!!). The ways to tie scarves are just as endless depending on the type of fabric and shape of the scarf. Experiment with all those great u-tube videos out there.
May you feel inspired to take on the grey rainy days, that we are praying will come soon, with the amazing colour and texture of fabric.