I have recently returned, and recovered, from a fantastic short break in beautiful Utrecht Holland. I even sneaked in a great day with my son and his family, the Dutch Flower Fairy Grandchildren particularly enjoyed the Dick Bruna exhibition. I experienced the biggest legal high of my life at the fabric market!
I purchased the black & white polka dot and the pink embroidered linen but more of that later I need to share this mouth-watering material wonder
The Lapjesmarkt, on Breedstraat is the biggest and oldest fabric market in Holland, it covers a whole street and sells nothing but fabric & haberdashery.
I have visited Holland on lots of occasions and never visited this Utopian World of Cloth or even heard of it. We had considered going to Utrecht as the station had a slide instead of a flight of stairs. That was enough for me but when Wolf sent me link to the market via Pinterest I longed to go.
I have been trying hard to restrict my fabric buying and had, until recently, been recycling lots of fabric & using up scraps for various projects. My fantastic sisters bought me some fabulous fabric & I have just had a couple of pieces delivered, (for specific projects).
I struggled to justify buying lots of fabric and planned to only buy what I needed for specific items. Colettes Sewing Handbook (includes five patterns four of which I plan to make) had just been delivered. So I need lots of lovely stuff for those & I am making at least two Bettine Dresses for the Summer Sewing Instagram party on Sunday 9th August. The Wolf has requested aprons for the Flower Fairies as he is going to teach them to cook.
So I really did need fabric and I even wrote a list of types and yardage (as stated on the pattern not my own lazy arrogant guess) required – this is ultra organised for me! Very little clothes were taken on this trip so I would have room to bring it back. As I only take carry on luggage this restricted my potential plunder possibilities too.
The market is every Saturday 8-1.00pm, I aimed to arrive about nine before it got to busy. The Wolf planned to come with me just to see it then go for a walk looking at architecture accompanied by the Smiths on his bionic ear buds. As we approached I caught glimpses of stalls up side streets but was determined to start at one end and work down.
The Wolf was muttering some arrangements about meeting up later but I couldn’t focus I was possessed by the fabric demon. He left me eyeing up fabric on the first stall, while scoping out coloured elastic on another (rare as rocking horse poo) & went for a quick gander. When he returned he asked if I had spare knickers with me as I would need them. Off he went after making some more arrangements with a longer time span that I didn’t absorb.
My ethical fabric shopping ethos started well, I even refered to my list and ticked things off. (Like an ubher swot I had even brushed up on fabric types, but the information was in Dutch!). However my hands were getting full and I couldn’t always hold the pen, so I kept a mental tally, sort of. Everywhere I looked there was something beckoning me over, prices started at €1 a metre (very generous measures too). Usually I wear my sun glasses at every opportunity to hide my tired eyes. It was blazing sunlight but I kept them off so not to miss a thing.
By the time I had walked from one end to another my hands were quite full and I had sort of gone off piste a bit with the list. It was getting busier and more crowded now, I forgot my polite British ways and got stuck in.
I started my return trip laden with four bags and a promise only to buy ‘light thin gauzy fabric’. Hmmmm, well I would work my way through the quilting Mafia only to get distracted and buy more! I recognised several ‘Me’s’ stroking fabric whilst talking to it/themselves/an inner sewing guru. Along with the scary efficient quilting Mafia there were jolly Jersey gaggles and indie garment makers. Greying seamstresses mingled with focused Local Ladies buying up metres and metres of beautiful fabric.
I had been shopping in hot sunlight for three hours with no breakfast and toting an ever-increasing heavy weight of fabric. As I worked my way back up I was starting to flag but still managed to make the odd purchase.
I completed one more circuit and thought that I might faint, then I saw Wolf at the end of the market where we had arranged to meet (???).
I was delighted to see him, he kindly carried all my swag to the nearest cafe for refreshments.
We then went to apartment to unload the ginormous stash, I collapsed with exhaustion feebly fondling my fabric.
Twenty-one different pieces about 50 metres plus five lengths (don’t know how much my limited Dutch was also exhausted) was the tally of my ‘FabriCathalon’.
The only issue now was getting it in my case
Wolf helped and I wore my biggest clothes home, it was very hot and my case was heavy, I was still on a fabric high but I nearly forgot the much coveted elastic!
Now the mammoth task of washing and drying it, I knew that I had the one good drying day and managed four loads. The green, denim, orange corduroy and black wool are still waiting as they may run.
The pink flannel kept wrapping itself around the washing line, Wolf noted that it had always been awkward as it was difficult to fold and fit in the case. He suggested that I sew it real slow so it hurts to teach it a lesson!
I need to reorganise my sewing space to find a worthy home for my booty & get sewing quick so I can go back to beautiful Utretch and buy more – I didn’t get any light gauzy thin stuff after all!