Saturday, 4 December 2010

My island of hidden treasures

I'm currently struggling to adapt to the freezing British weather, after returning from a week-long visit to my family and homeland; the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Much to my delight and apart from its many other attributes, I discovered that my beloved island (well hometown at least) is a rich source of cheap vintage fabrics!

This is something I was too young to be interested in whilst I lived in Cyprus, but as my mum and I strolled down one of our favourite parts of town, I suddenly spotted lots of fabric shops. I can't believe that I usually blanked them in the past! Anyway, the shops that caught my attention were not the new ones, but the dusty, smelly, old storerooms. These, I discovered, have existed since the 1950s/60s and still have plenty of their original fabrics in store. I was even more excited when I found out that the vintage cottons were priced between 3-5 Euros per meter...what a bargain! I also picked up some heavier fabrics that would make gorgeous evening gowns or jackets for a slightly pricier 10 Euros a meter. Next time, I'm taking an empty suitcase! Anyway, what do you think? The below fabrics are a selection from the 1950s-60s:








Oh, I also picked up some non-vintage fabric too:




This was definitely a revelationary trip. When my grandma heard of my new-found passion she took me aside and shared a lovely piece of family history. Her mother (my great grandmother) used to nurture silk worms and then hand-weave fabric from their silk. This was all done in her precious free time when she wasn't working in the fields, so that she could give her three daughters a worthy  dowry for when they married. Sadly, I had no more room left in my suitcase to bring some of this beautiful fabric back, but I will definitely be bringing some back with me next time. I did however manage to bring back some lovely crocheted trimming, which was also handmade by my great grandmother:


Then, when I got back to the UK, I had some lovely treats waiting for me...what a lucky girl! Firstly, a copy of Dress Cutting: Instructions and Illustrations for Sewing 26 Vintage 1930s Fashions had arrived in the post. I won this in another one of Andrea's generous giveways, over at Invisible Flower. Thank you Andrea! I can't wait to use it! At a first glance it looks really comprehensive and user-friendly:


I also received the two blouse patterns I 'won' on eBay...I'm such a sucker for feminine blouses:



Now I must stop daydreaming about all my new possessions and get sewing some Christmas presents. Realistically, I'm not going to achieve my desired amount of handmade gifts, so I've had to re-assess the situation. I've settled on making three of my presents and making them well. These will be one frilly collar and two half aprons...

5 comments:

  1. You lucky lucky thing Marie! I'm so jealous, that perfume bottle fabric is to die for and I love the grey rose print too. Really envious of your patterns too, I'm also a sucker for feminine blouses and those two are lovely. Sounds like you had a fruitful trip! x

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  2. I"m glad the book made it there safely, and the fabric you picked up are just gorgeous! The rose print that's second from the top is breath-taking, and I love the fruit print just below it too. Your blouse patterns look fab too.

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  3. Love the third fabric, so feminine! Nice finds! I can only dream of travelling to Cyprus! It'll be a long, cold Canadian winter for this girl :) (though I think you are getting a worse winter than we are!)

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  4. Thank you all! Sarah Elaine, the UK is definitely giving you guys a run for your money in the freezing cold stakes ;o)

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