Fabric shopping

Oscar de la Renta

On the odd occasion, my husband has been known to surprise me with a piece of clothing. Now I must stress the word ‘odd’ here because it really doesn’t happen very often. I can count the items on one hand over the ten plus years we have been together. My husband has impeccable, if not more conservative taste than me. He is a stickler for quality. He chooses classic styles that I wouldn’t necessarily choose for myself, but that nevertheless fill a gap in my wardrobe and always look great. So I actually have a great deal of confidence in his ability to not only buy clothes for me unseen, but fabric as well.

Now hubby was in New York recently for a very important business event. I couldn’t make it with him so he was out looking for a birthday gift for me in his time off. I was fending off texts querying my size and colour preferences. He was clearly in dress shops. Now I didn’t doubt for a second that he wouldn’t bring home something nice. But the last thing I wanted was a new RTW dress, no matter how special it was going to be. I didn’t want to have to wear it. I want to wear the clothes that I make myself!

How do you send the message to others that you really don’t want them to buy you new clothes (if that’s the thing they’re used to doing), but could they buy you fabric instead? Well, after a few mentions of the fabric district (and perhaps some specific directions to MOOD) hubby got the idea. It’s not the first time I’ve hinted at fabric for a gift, but this is the first time he’s actually taken it on board. I see it as a turning point in the way he sees my commitment to sewing, and possibly also my improving skills.

Based on text evidence, he must have spent a couple of hours choosing fabric. He said later that everyone was very nice to him at MOOD, so I have to send out a big thank-you for making hubby’s fabric shopping experience a good one.

I tried to give him as limited information as possible as I wanted his choice to be a surprise and to be his own. I did give him a few keywords, basically the first designer names that came to my mind. I may have also mentioned the word ‘silk’. I also told him to choose himself some silk for a tie, and Italian shirting for a business shirt.

I’ve already made up one of his business shirts. That should be on the blog soon. But of most importance, do you want to see what he bought home for yours truly?

A beautiful embroidered and printed silk organza. I’ve got 3.5 yards to do something amazing with this. I’m thinking a fitted (lined of course!) dress. What would you do with this one?


And this red one fascinates me the most. It is a pure silk by Oscar de la Renta. But it has such a stiff hand, nearly as stiff as a light canvas (but obviously a very different texture to canvas!). Any idea what it would be? Taffeta? I’ve got three panels of it, which amounts to about 4 yards. I think it would look great as a floor length, slightly A-line skirt with a strapless bodice (if I have enough…). What would you do with this one?

I’d love to hear your ideas! The reality is that these beauties are going to be hitting my stash for the foreseable future, or until somebody I know decides to get married or invites me to the Oscars!

11 thoughts on “Fabric shopping

  1. lisa g.

    those are both absolutely beautiful! the organza speaks mod shift dress to me, it's so flirty and fun! the red… gosh i don't know. maybe a jacket or trench? i would google to see what the designer made with it!


  2. Debbie Iles

    Great idea – I'd not thought of a shift dress! That would be amazing! And I will definitely do some Googling now! I'd thought of a jacket. I think it would look great in a dress jacket, but I'm just not sure I could see myself in it…but that could change by the time I actually get around to sewing it!


  3. Bella

    I could see the organza in something with simple lines. Do something where the texture and print can really shine, I think. As for the red silk, my mind immediately went to a 50s style midi skirt with big pleats to take advantage of the stiff quality of the fabric. It could sit at the waist with a simple straight waist band. How amazing would that look with a crisp white shirt tucked in and black heels???


  4. Kirsty

    Very good shopping!! He did well!!! That organza is unbelievable. Anything will be amazing although I'd sneak in a simple scout tee just so I could wear it all the time 🙂 and save the rest for something more formal.


  5. poppykettle

    OH gosh, such lovelies!!! I would probably drape them on the dress form for admiration until inspiration struck… and I've got a few 'special' fabrics that I just couldn't pass up but don't yet know what to do with them. I love how you create asymmetrical hem lines and unusual lines and volume in your skirts, so I would think that organza could be so well used for something like that! That red silk? So striking! I'm sure you'll create something unique and utterly wearable. And many happy returns for your birth day!


  6. Sara

    Both fabrics are so beautiful! I don't see my husband buying fabric for me. He thinks I have too much already. Doesn't understand the concept of stash. The red silk especially is so striking and it brings back memories of an exhibit on Japanese kimonos I once saw and there were some beautiful modern versions. The print, the color, would make me want to explore a japanese theme.



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