It’s been more than six months since my last one, so I think it’s time for another fabric haul! I usually go into the Garment District twice a year, once around my birthday, and once before Christmas. So this trip was a little bit out of the ordinary for me, but it came at a perfect time since i’ve been feeling quite uninspired recently. But I think having the opportunity to plan a few new projects and purchase fabrics for them was just what I needed, I’m feeling very excited about everything I got and the things I plan on making with them!
I was mostly shopping for materials for three projects and I ended up being really successful. Here are my swatch cards for those projects.
I had a list with me, and at the top of the list were materials for a Burgundian dress. I actually bought the trims for this dress first, so I had to find a material that matches those. I was expecting this to be a challenge, because my fur trim for the dress is a greyish brown, and the beaded trim I bought is a bright gold. Finding a fabric that goes well with gold and a cool toned brown isn’t something i’d classify as being easy.
But I got really lucky! The first fabric store I went into had just what I needed: A beautiful blue jacquard with a gold scroll print.
I’d sort of expected this project to be red in color, because that is a color I really gravitate towards. But the cool tones in the blue went really nicely with the fur, and the gold perfectly matched the beaded trim. This fabric is part of the 120″ wide home decor collection that i’ve used before, and since it’s so wide I only had to buy five yards.
Here it is in the store, Zahra fabrics. It’s sitting alongside a gold brocade, which I ended up buying for the same project.
Burgundian dresses are usually worn over kirtles. In medieval times these were slim fitting, long sleeved dresses which get wider towards the hem. The neckline of this kirtle will be visible when the Burgundian dress is worn, so I wanted a fabric that went nicely with the jacquard, but also had enough contrast to be interesting.
I found this gold and silver brocade which has a geometric print to it and knew right away that it was perfect. Not only is the shade of gold spot on, the silver threads tie in the cool toned theme and go beautifully with the blue.
At another shop, which I can’t remember the name of, I got this beautiful beaded trim which will be used on the neckline of the kirtle. Usually trims embellished with seed beads are way out of my price range since they are more expensive than sequined trims. But this one was reasonably priced, and I thought the design was too lovely to resist.
Unfortunately I didn’t buy the amount I was supposed to – I had 2.5 yards written down on my list, but only purchased a yard and a half. So I won’t be able to use it around the waistline of the Burgundian dress, which sort of sucks. But I should have enough to use it on the kirtle, and if enough is leftover I’ll put some on the headpiece which will match this ensemble.
The next project I was shopping for is a Cotehardie. This is another medieval garment and I actually plan to make two of them – one inspired by the female version of the garment, and another inspired by the mens version. The women’s version is quite similar to the kirtle, but it’s made from heavier material and is usually more embellished. Which means they are more of a standalone garment than a layering piece.
The mens version looks like a fitted jacket, though it’s less hardy. They extend past the rear, almost like a dress, and were frequently worn over slim fit pants.
For the women’s version I found a beautiful blue velvet which I thought would be the perfect base fabric.
Then I found another brocade, which is a bit more subtle than the gold one. I love how much texture this has, I think that will read well on camera. It also has gold in it, which will work well with the gold trim I bought earlier in the day with this project in mind. It is also in that light blueish grey shade, which is quite similar to the fabric I picked for the Burgundian dress. That wasn’t intentional at all, but I don’t mind too much, I think it’s a pretty color!
The trims for this dress were actually bought before the fabrics. These are trims that have been made with an embroidery machine, so the stitching of them actually looks quite similar to the embroidery on garments hundreds of years ago. Which is why I thought they were the perfect choice for a medieval costume!
I got four yards of the bottom one, and a yard of the top one. The top trim will be used to trim the sleeves, and the bottom one will decorate a sash at the waist of the dress.
Here are the fabrics for this costume all together!
For the mens version I decided against velvet, since I thought it would look out of place. Instead I bought a navy wool suiting, which is quite similar in color but lighter in weight. I got three yards of this, which is probably more than I needed. But at least if I mess up i’ll have extra!
Mens cotehardies are often worn with capelets. Which meant I was on the hunt for a sturdy wool coating. I ended up lucking out and finding one in the same greyish blue color as the brocade I bought for the women’s version. These pieces don’t have to match, but I kind of love that they have the same color scheme.
I only god a yard and a half, but I think that will be enough. This wool is very heavy and has a lovely texture, I bought it for $15 a yard which I think was a good deal!
I didn’t find a fabric I liked for the bottom half of the mens cotehardie ensemble, but I was okay with that. I have this four way stretch knit in a champagne color with gold threads running through it, which I think will work really nicely for a pair of leggings to wear underneath it.
Cotehardies are also known for having a crap ton of buttons. They extend down the front of the garments and up the sleeves until past the elbow. In those times buttons were more decorative than they were functional, which is why there were so many of them.
NYC isn’t the cheapest place to buy buttons, so I didn’t get any there. I ended up ordering from this shop on etsy that was selling 20 half inch buttons for five dollars. I bought a hundred, which should be enough for the two costumes!
With fabrics for the costumes I had planned found, I was mostly in browsing mode. But I had a few things left on my list. The first was a sheer light brown fabric with silver threads running through it – this may look familiar if you’ve seen my birthday haul, since I purchased two yards of it on that trip. I recently decided to make that fabric into a long shift, to wear under a future project. But two yards wasn’t enough for that, so I picked up two more yards.
The other thing I planned to buy were small montees from Beads World. These are for my 1630s taffeta dress, which I will hopefully be starting on soon. I had planned on buying clear ones, but these taupe-y/champagne colored ones caught my eye so I bought those instead. I think the shape and tone of these is a bit more interesting than clear square ones!
And pretty much everything else are impulse purchases. I managed to only buy one fabric that wasn’t on my list, and that’s this neat iridescent blue material that has a gold shift to it. I used this type of fabric for my Silvery Blue Dress earlier this year, but had no idea what it was called. The store owner called it Cotton Fallie, so let’s assume that’s the name for it. I picked up three yards and i’m sure i’ll find something to make with it eventually!
I saw this greyish blue sequined trim and fell in love. It was thirteen dollars a yard, which is more than I like to pay for a yard of anything, much less trim, but I couldn’t resist! Something about the pattern and color really stood out to me. I think around the waist or collar of a dress this would look lovely.
Speaking of greyish blue trim…
I also picked up four yards of this lace. Do you see a pattern in my purchases? It was totally not intentional, but it seemed all the things I really liked were in this color! This was in the case at the front of Zahra fabrics when I went to pay. They only had four yards, and I believe it was $35 for all of it. I think that’s a pretty good deal, plus with the design of this lace it can be fussy cut out so you have two borders, which gives you eight yards of trim.
I think i’ll use this to edge the hem and hood of a cape. I think my Silvery Blue Dress would look lovely with a big cloak overtop, and this trim matches that dress really nicely. The sequins on it look almost like snow when the light hits it, it’s really beautiful. When it gets a bit colder and we start to get snow i’ll add that to my project list!
Lastly I have a pile of things from trim and bead shops. The first thing is from Pacific Trimming, where I got this gold clasp. I might use this on the wool cloak and pair it with the mens Cotehardie ensemble, or maybe i’ll save it for something else. I just really liked it!
At Hai Trimming I went a little crazy. I got twelve of these brass stampings which I plan on soldering together to create a crown. I also got some brass cameo frames, because they were two for a dollar, which is a lot cheaper than i’ve seen them online.
Then I saw these beads and I couldn’t leave without them! I think they look like the eyes of a dragon, with the bright orange and red veining. Not sure what they will get used for, but they really stood out to me. I got twelve of the smaller ones and three big ones.
I also picked up some in a purple color. I have heaps of purple velvet and some purple satin which are collecting dust in a bin on my top shelf. These match those fabrics quite nicely, so maybe I can come up with a design that incorporates all those materials.
I saw these in Beads World and really liked them. They are circular metal beads which almost look like buttons. They are quite heavy, so I’m surprised a pack was only $2.50. Not sure why I liked these so much, and I don’t know what i’ll use them for, but I think they would look quite nice on the front of a jacket or up the cuffs of a dress!
Then I got sequins! The two packs on the left were the first things I bought that day. I was kind of looking for lace that could be turned into a 1920s evening dress. I was imagining that project would have a light pink or green color scheme, so when I saw these sequins that had both of those colors I decided to buy them. The burgundy ones were bought with my medieval projects in mind, because I was so certain that one of them would be dark red.
Jokes on me, I couldn’t find lace I liked and the other project ended up being blue, not red. But i’m sure these will come in handy someday!
The feather shaped gold sequins were bought because I loved them. No idea what these will be used on, but I’ve gone through half the circular gold sequins I bought last time I was in. So I think gold feathered shape ones actually have a decent chance of being used.
The last thing I bought isn’t from the Garment District, it’s from ebay. And it’s a real leather hide! This isn’t something I ever expected to be buying, and i’ve never worked with leather before, but I really want to try making a pair of 19th century slippers. Specifically velvet covered slippers that are embellished with sequins, which will match a court gown made from the same materials.
I think leather is the right material for that, and the flexibility of real leather will make a difference over the pleather alternatives. So when I found this on ebay for $20 I decided to get it – i’m kind of nervous but excited to attempt this project. It might go really wrong, but if it goes well I can say i’ve made a pair of shoes, and that would be quite neat!
And that’s it! This post is absolutely massive so i’ll end it here. Thank you for reading!
7 thoughts on “Garment District Haul, Fabric & Trim”
So jealous! Lovely fabrics….loving the buttons:)
Angela, I’m so excited just seeing the colors, beads especially which I use myself I found so daring. The trimming reminds me of romantic vintage lace right away. Please know that I feel as if I’m there at ur side excited to see your dream prevail. I’m so excited stay posted. And r u going to fashion school? I believe in u n ur God given talent is a welcome to so many artist, reconstructive museum collections n theater. Go rock the world!!!
Can’t wait to see how you use this haul😃😃😃😃😃😃
Wow ! What a haul..I’m all excited as well..I love all the fabrics that you bought.Trims and buttons will look gorgeous when the garments are made.Its like Christmas isn’t it when buying new fabrics….I always feel like this when I go shopping for fabric when making my quilts…i love colour and texture.I love the American Civil War era…I hand quilt once the quilts are near finished..They are heirlooms.Each one has a part of me in them..What do you intend to do with all these wonderful garments you are making..??I think you should have an exhibition…Angela you are a very clever young lady ..I love reading your site…Thankyou so much for sharing..Jane Jefferies ,Nottingham England….
A few tips for working with leather – if you’re having to piece together seams don’t pin them, use a binder clip or pieces of masking tape instead to hold the seams together. Any holes you put in the leather will stay there or be hard to smooth over.
Use a special sewing machine needle for leather (which is very sharp) or punch the holes you’ll be sewing through with an awl or similar sharp point if you sew the seams by hand. Waxed thread is useful for sewing by hand – or buy good strong thread and wax it yourself with beeswax.
There are lots of helpful leather working tutorials online and it is a beautiful material to work with, if a bit tempremental at times. You might be able to “wet mould” the leather to give a snug fit to your feet for shoes or put some interesting moulding into the surface for decoration, but I don’t know how well that works for dyed leather as I’ve only seen it done on the undyed stuff prior to staining.
Hope your upcoming projects are enjoyable.
Thank you so much for the tips! I think i’ll definitely be using the tape tip (I’d heard of binder clips but that seems so clunky). I’m hoping to avoid needing any specialty needles or equipment but i’ll keep that in mind for future reference.
The leather is pretty soft and I have lots of upholstery thread so i’m hoping to do most of the sewing by hand without too much trouble.
http://gorgeousfabrics.com/product-category/specialty-fabrics/………………..Thought you may be interested in this site for fabrics..Your friend Jane Jefferies