Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Vintage passementerie  from France
       I am downsizing my stock of old French braids and trims which I have used to decorate curtains, pelmets and cushions for many years - once I was able to buy them in quantity from an extraordinary French dealer who kept me supplied with everything I loved.   She was most astute and bought up lots of little merceries, often small family-run businesses in French provincial towns where you could buy fabrics and sewing necessities including all the trimmings for dresses and house furnishings that you could want.  Many of the shops had been closed for years and the stock often went back to Victorian times.  I saw boa feathers, for hats and capes, pearl and linen buttons by the drawer-ful, strange notions like whalebone for dress hem stiffening, soutache a fine silky rouleau for braiding dresses and jackets, dozens of different coloured tapes for corsets, petticoat satin straps, modesty vests and a hundred other obsolete details all still in their original boxes with spidery writing on the labels.   I had  to climb up a step ladder to view it all and gingerly lift the lids to track the contents of mini skyscrapers of tottering cardboard boxes and each one was a surprise, so after my first visit which took several hours, my husband was offered a chair and he brought a book to while away the time.   This lady also scoured the waste fabric dealers (raccomodeurs) of cities nearby and found the most wonderful old silk curtains which she rescued and sold to one particular customer - so I could only admire and sigh when I caught a glimpse of them under their wraps!    I am still dealing with her and she has a genius for finding things that are my peculiarities and I can find nowhere else..

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful that very first exploratory visit to the French dealer's treasure trove must have been! It's grand to know that even now some of these precious trims can still be found. I do wonder if there would ever be time when such improving little extras would again be produced?

    Best wishes and happy exploring to you.