Monday 22 June 2015

Fabulous finds

Did you ever buy sewing hardware on an impulse and start dreaming about how to use it afterwards? When I laid eyes on these cord ends for drawstrings, embellished with tiny Swarovski crystals, I just knew I had to have them.
At the counter I was informed these were custom made for fashion designers Viktor& Rolf. O well, I'd better come up with something special then to do them justice! Not sure yet what I'll make but these little gems look beautiful on a deep purple or midnight blue background. Their subtle shine is hard to catch in a picture! There's a tiny screw inside to fixate the cord end, underneath the screw there's room for a knot.

I found these beauties in one of my favourite fabric stores, Trickle Down Fabrics in Arnhem. It's a little shop selling left-over fabrics and notions from designer collections. The shop owner, a Arnhem Academy of Art and Design graduate, started out in order to give Fashion Design students the opportunity to work with high quality materials for their collections, at an affordable price.

Trickle Down Fabrics
It used to be a students only shop but it's now open to everyone. The fabric collection is quite small but certainly worth checking out.
Next time I'm there I'll take a look at the woolshop next door too, look at that furniture!

Zin in breien
Two streets away from these shops you can find the Arnhem fabric market, Fridays only. I had never before visited the market and quality wise it's at the other end of the spectrum. Lots of cheap fabrics and nothing really caught my eye, except at the last stall. They had fine quality pre-cut fabrics for sale, with little, or not so little misprints. I found some nice chiffon with a white stripe running through at 2/3 of the width.

At 1 euro for 1,5 meter I splurged and bought 3 meter, thinking it would make a nice summer blouse. Plenty of fabric to work around that stripe.

This week I hope to finish another blouse I'm working on. Some in progress pics featuring rose print satin can be found on Instagram (@foxglovesandthimbles), more about that project in the next post.

Happy new week!

Thursday 18 June 2015

A special outfit for a perfect day

Until a few years ago this was an outfit I frequently wore. As a wedding officer* I married 551 couples before taking a sabbatical. I never looked back and pursued another career, but I am still available for the job by request. When my daughter's best friend visited me in November and asked me to be involved in his wedding of course I felt very honoured. I've known him, and his lovely wife to be, for a lot of years and they've become good friends of the family. Fast forward seven months and here we are, waiting for the bride.....

The wedding venue was a scenic old water mill in the Belgium Ardennes, surrounded by woodlands. Friends and family gathered in the sunny orchard and the only sounds that were heard when the bride walked down the aisle came from birds, bees and the murmur of running water from a nearby brook.

Some pictures of the ceremony, and of course the beautiful dress!

The bride's dress had a beautifully draped chiffon bodice, a small train and a lovely embroidered lace detail at the back.

After the ceremony I was reunited with my chauffeur and personal assistant for the day, mr Foxgloves.

That man is always willing to bend some rules, so here it's time to kiss the bride the wedding officer.

We had a wonderful afternoon, met a bunch of very nice people and had lots of cake.

It was also fun to catch up with miss Canal Couture, who was a witness for the groom, and mr Canal Couture, who did an outstanding job as photographer.

Cheers to the newlyweds, and may they live happily ever after!

During all my years as a wedding officer I completely forgot to take detailed pictures of my toga so now was a good time to do so. (When I worked more frequently the gown was kept in a wardrobe in the Town Hall and brought out only on the days when I performed at weddings in said Town Hall or nearby castles and manors).

The bespoke ceremonial gown, sewn by a tailor, is made of lightweight wool suiting with velvet inserts. It is unlined, except for a back stay to balance the heavy velvet collar. I've always loved the pleated sleeves. Speaking of pleats, that jabot is a bit of a nightmare when it comes to ironing! Over the years I learned by trial and error how much starch was needed to prevent a sad and droopy look. Too much starch though and it's standing out at weird angles.....

Of course style wise the toga isn't doing me any favours but when in Belgium, land of brilliant beers and excellent food, one can do without waist definition!

We stayed in the Ardennes for a few days and, needless to say, had a wonderful time!

* Finally a burning question. Native English speakers all over the world, what would you call a person hired by the mayor and sworn in by a judge to perform legal and ceremonial acts at weddings? Is it a wedding officer / registrar / officiant / marriage officer / other?