Sunday, 27 March 2011


  Followers of Talent for Textile Fairs will know that we choose our venues with care - plenty of room for shopping, viewing, chatting, eating and parking.  We have two new places for your interest and pleasure and the first is in  new area for us - Glastonbury - it has a strong local interest in colour, pattern and costume, an ancient town full of history and with many medieval associations, and a really stunning building, the 14th C. Tithe Barn which we are lighting up with strings of festive festoon lighting;  we hope this will be a bit of a land mark event for all our visitors.  There are added attractions of Museum, shop, cosy cafe and the path to the famous Tor, so there will be plenty to do on a day's outing.    We are advertising heavily and looking to all our stallholders to spread the word!  May 20th and everything free except the cup of tea and homemade cakes!  I WILL REPEAT THIS WITH SMALL MAP NEARER THE DATE.This is an old Blog but I think the view of the interior is so stunning it is worth repeating and we are hoping that  next year will see a repeat of this event - plans will be published early next year on this site and my website.
  Our other big fair (we seem to be growing fast in well-established and successful sites), is the American Museum who welcome us back after a year's absence while they restored the old Georgian estate buildings into two vast pavilions, equipped with everything needed for modern exhibitions and lecture halls.   Although we hardly need to blow our own trumpets - the fame of the Marilyn 20 dress collection has thrilled everyone, so I will just say that if you want to come with your friends, all for free, you must write to me with a SAE to get the printed invitation which will admit you and your party- otherwise full charges apply.  E.Baer, Church House, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LN.  Come early to both fairs if you want to see what we have got for you!

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Baer News

   The Baers are off again - this time for some serious buying in N.France at Douai and again right down South at what is called 'le Triple' 3 big trade fairs, one after the other, down in the Southern part.  Packing empty bags into an emprty car and putting our best buying boots on, we hope to find some worthwhile delights and bring them home to show at a long series of fairs here in the South West.  If you are not on our mailing list, and would like news and invitations, email me at  with you name and full postal address and I will send all details or you can look at  my Blog, BREAKING NEWS  which describes them all, http://www.elizabethbaertextiles.blogspot,com/   The TforT. Fairs (Talent for Textiles), all with free entry, are proud that they still have all the original sellers with them at every fair - have managed to keep up a very high standard of goods despite the rarity of some articles and have continued to offer a  helpful and friendly service to everyone interested in textiles and decoration.  We continue to grow with every fair and number many hundreds amongst our customers and supporters. The brochure above shows typical scenes.

Monday, 21 March 2011


       Stroud and the valleys around have always been a centre for textiles and there are miles of old mills along the roads and rivers nearby where many kinds of cloth were woven.  There was plenty of wool around and it was a flourishing industry till cheap imports and other fibers reduced demand.  The huge old buildings have been converted into many other businesses but Stroud itself has always kept up a big connection with textiles and fabric design and this forthcoming Fair in Bisley (4 miles out of the town) will have some of the top dealers in this country selling their own stock, after giving lectures at the World Tex. Festival which is going on in April. in the town.  Just to see and handle the rather wonderful and very rare clothing from  remote tribal areas of the near and far East is a worthwhile experience if you love pattern and colour and there will be some fascinating decorations and ethnic jewellery to admire and buy.  I will be there with two T4T colleagues and we will bring the best of our French and European stuff.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


A fine example of English gloves 1660-80 (sold for £3800)  Such a pretty pair!   Both my mother, my grandmother and I wore olain long white kid gloves for our weddings which had a slit at the wrist with tiny m.o.p. buttons to allow you to squeeze into the palms -they were frequently washed, leaving the soap in them without rinsing to keep them supple and then had to be stretched on special glove stretchers which had a scissor action and were poked down each finger to get the original shape back.  They were dusted with talcum or fine chalk inside and kept in fabric covered long boxes wrapped in tissue - you can still see lots of the old boxes very similar to those for fans  in French Brocante collections and they are very collectable with dainty patterns and ribbon bows - all for my lady's boudoir!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Keep your Shirt on!

The beautifully made smock shirts that were worn by French workmen during the 19th and early 20th C. have lasted well into modern times and are still worn, but now mostly by women, but rarely by French women!
Made of linen or hemp, hand sewn, they are square-cut like most English smocks, and the shoulders, collars and cuffs are double thick to take the wear of tools and hard work. The buttons are sometimes of bone or m.o.p. and the stitching is unbelievably even and fine, almost like machine work. These shirts were worn everyday only by men, over strong serge or corduroy trousers and stood up to endless washing in the 'lavoirs' of the villages and towns. When I first started buying from the old armoires in the country, I was offered hundreds for almost nil Francs -later they found a market at seaside resorts as beachwear for the tourists who loved the blonde look; but they had one disadvantage - because the French body was smaller and narrower than Anglo Saxons' and had very short and narrow arms, they could be uncomfortable to wear and work in. Nearly all have beautiful red embroidered initials and frequently my clients have found their own. The fine stitching and gathering, and numerous little gussets are so very skillful, and one cannot imagine how they sewed such fine seams on such rough and heavy cloth, and the fine, even gatherings at neck and sleeves must have been incredibly difficult to do.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


The next T. for T. Fair will be  on Friday,. May 20th.  at Glastonbury Abbey Barn in the grounds of the Rural Museum   - this is a new venture - a much bigger Fair than usual because we have plenty of room so we have been able to invite many from our waiting list and scout around for other West Country dealers who have interesting stock - we are inviting some who deal in decorative stuff, small antiques and byegones to add variety.  The Museum is right next to this Abbey Barn and the path up to the TOR is behind the barn and will be an adventure for the energetic.  All these attractions are free entry courtesy of Somerset County Council.  Good home-made teas in the cafe to reward yourself for all efforts!  I confirm that the date is Friday May 20th.

Monday, 14 March 2011

SMOCKS FOR CHILDREN S.O.S. for ragged costumes

REQUEST FOR OLD LINEN OR HEMP CHILDRENS SMOCKS AGED 10 - 14, IN ANY SORT OF STATE (PATCHED, DARNED ETC)  CAN BE ROUGH SMOCK-WORK  FOR A FILM BEING SHOT AT THE DOWNLAND MUSEUM.   PLEASE EMAIL ME   DBAER@ONETEL.COM  OR TELEPHONE ME   01225 866 136   IF YOU CAN HELP - I HAVE FOUND THINGS FOR THIS BUYER BEFORE AND WOULD LIKE TO HELP HER AS SHE HAS A DEADLINE.  By a strange coincidence I had a buyer from the Museum  on the very same day and I was able to help her with a big pile of worn remnants for a project there - There really is a market for damaged, repaired, shabby fabrics of the right kind - don't throw your bits and pieces away!   One of the film wardrobe ladies told me that she had bought coarse old sheets (in good condition) and then had to torch them, slash them and stain them to get the right look - and she was thankful to use my distressed sheets at a much cheaper price of course and not wreck good linen.


Many of our visitors to the TALENT FOR TEXTILES fairs will have met Jen Jones and have seen her great displays of Welsh and other quilts.  She is the acknowledged expert in this field and writes books, lectures, and has now opened a quilt museum in Lampeter, Wales.  She has exhbited several times at the American Museum and will be with us at some of our summer fairs  This wonderful example of the finest needlework, and also a stunning pieced design, is to be seen in her forthcoming new exhibiton at Lampeter in the old Town Hall, and is from her own personal collection - I am always amazed that in a poor country and with little education, Welsh women had such exceptional skills and  designed such original and gorgeous patterns.  Jen has some stunning newly- worked designs coming in from Africa, which are based on her old quilts with many others that are for sale.  Telephone 01520 180610 for viewing.  Click on designs below to see the full beauty of the stitching.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


  There seems to have been a lot of bad news and scandals in the papers and on the box - how about treating yourself to an entertaining day in a pleasant old building and joining a lot of like-minded people  to look at, enjoy, and possibly treat yourself to some interesting vintage textiles, costume and accesories for yourself and your home - Spring is the time to shake off all the gloom of cold dreary days and refresh yourself - (there is such a good cafe at the first fair of the year at Ilminster).   All our Fairs are part of the Talent for Textiles informal group and we are on our 51st  event  - there seem to be a lot of new Fairs in the West and this means that we are becoming a good destination for professional trade buyers and collectors.  Almost all the dealers who were with us for the first fairs are still with us at every fair and they are all experienced ladies who search for the best and can offer many top quality goods,  Trust us!  Look at the following list planned for this year and email me at  if you would like invitations.  All our Fairs are free entry.  Click on print below for larger size.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Proper Cardi!

This was a common nickname for a  sharp Cardiganshire character intent on 'besting' you.  The article about clogs on Lois' Blog  (morgaine le fay antique textiles and more ) reminds me of a marvellous old girl  I knew as a child. She lived, alone,  on a little farm with a river running beside, near our favourite beach Traeth (beach)Penbryn .  She was a fine figure, with a head of snowy white hair usually worn with hairpins falling out, under a man's flat cap.  She was very bonny with lovely smooth pink cheeks, always wore a flannel shirt and a black wool skirt, with a red flannel petticoat underneath, often a shawl, also black wool with a fringe, round her shoulders, fastened with a big safety pin, and,over her skirt she tied with binder twine a big farm sack.  Below were thick black hand knitted wool socks and the clogs.  She had some cows and used to call them "Bwlch, Bwlch" in a tremendous voice we could hear in our holiday cottage just across a small valley.  One day she was completely toothless and she mumbled to us children that she was calling the cows on the little bridge beside her house and her false teeth had fallen out and been swept away.  My brother and I were quite hysterical with laughter - false teeth were a funny and slightly taboo subject for us anyway and I confess that it was a good story to repeat  to all our friends.  Actually there was another story about this old spinster that fascinated us.  When she was a child, Nanw was bitten by a mad rabid dog and she was taken to Paris and innoculated by the great Louis Pasteur himself at his clinic and cured of the rabies.   RIP Nanw Davies, Penbryn, Cards.