Recently I went to the Malvern Flea Fair (my nearest flea market), and came home with two pieces of charming vintage tartan and cotton fabric of – I don’t know what age – but I liked it. I frequent the fair, usually looking for finds for the house, but this time my attention wandered to fabric and vintage clothes stalls.

My wandering attention at the Flea Fair mirrored where my attention is wandering at home – to fabric, clothes and dressmaking. I have a long list of knitting, crochet and spinning ideas that I’d like to adventure my way through, but they’re going to have to take a back seat as a) I’m aware that my wardrobe needs some attention, and sewing makes for quick results b) I have a specific dressmaking project that I’ve committed myself to.

I have spent three years, dressed for much of my spare time in DIY clothes (paint splattered, wood finishing oil stained etc) whilst renovating the house, and lately crafting activities have centered around items for the home. Not surprisingly, my interest in clothes waned, but mostly because of a lack of time and wherewithal. Now, it’s back, and I riffle through the clothes hangers and sigh. I have started a wardrobe cull (therapeutic) to get me back to the essentials that I like. Knowing that I have a fabric stash to rival my yarn stash, I have decided that from now on new clothes will materialise from this squirrelled away store. BUT, it must now come into the daylight. I RESIST the High Street shops, I turn the other way!

So why buy more fabric? Good question. I guess, my only excuse is that this was nearly a month ago, and the extent of my unused fabric had not quite sunk in. Otherwise, I’m like the naughty child that disobeys orders…. and I can’t resist some quality pure wool.

vintage tartan

I just couldn’t leave it behind. I’ve said before that pure wool is hard to find on the High Street, and it’s becoming a recurring thought. I’m guessing that the mustard coloured tartan skirt length on the left (above) is 1950s to 60s. It was made by Chas H Whillans of Hawick, Scotland who still exist, and still specialise in woollens. I picture a plaid skirt, but not a traditional kilt for this fabric.

Flea Fair fabric

The red tartan and the cottons, I bought to make a spare set of co-ordinated cushion covers. Not being clothes, that project is on the back burner.

I return to reason b) for getting back to dressmaking. Later in the year Mr L and I are getting married, and after some deliberation, I have decided to make my own bridal outfit. Friends and family are agog that I should decide to do such a thing. I think they picture the lace-overlaid, chiffon-ruched bridal gowns to be seen in bridal outfitters. But I have a different idea. I would like something I could wear again, either as originally made or in an altered form. A number of principles have sprung to mind for this outfit which I’m unlikely to achieve from most bridal outfitters. My design-mind is turned on, my antennae buzzing, searching for fabric, and some yarn too (it will feature wool).