It really IS a good story. Ron and I are in Britex. This store is like a fabric mecca. I make a pilgrimage once or twice a year, because they are the absolute best. I have been in a LOT of great fabric stores, but nothing compares to them. Not only do they have the most incredible fabrics, but there is an entire floor of trim and buttons. The most exquisite lace. The place is to die for.
This is Sharman, the queen of Britex. Her family has owned Britex for a few thousand years. This woman has the most incredible eye for amazing fabric.
Anyway, when I go there I plan on spending the entire day. On this particular day Ron went off to some bookstore, and came back in the middle of my button buying and surprised me with a little gift. He decided to stick around and watch the magic. I think I promised I’d be fast.
I went downstairs to the fabric floor and started digging around. I found some spectacular fabrics, and was chatting with my wonderful salesman. I asked him if there was anything really out of the ordinary they might have squirrelled away, and he zipped off to the magical basement and came back with THIS.
What the hell was this?? What could I do with it. It was amazing, outrageous and so over the top, I wasn’t sure it could be a dress. It was an extraordinary woven fabric. But I was pretty sure I was going to buy it and figure out later what to do with it. But there was 12 yards, and we need 15. I could pick up one of the colors and make a petticoat, but that still wasn’t quite enough. While it was spread across the table and I kept saying to Ron, “it’s incredible, right, is it too much??”, and the poor man has no way to answer, so he just agrees. A customer walks by and stops, “that is amazing fabric, have you ever seen a show called Outlander? That looks like a fabric they would use!” I said, “yes as a matter of fact, I’m the Costume Designer on Outlander.” She was somewhat flabbergasted, and then said, “Do you know the guys who runs it? He did my other favourite show, Battlestar Gallactica.” “You mean this guy?” I asked, pointing to Ron. It was too much, I thought she might faint (kidding).
I bought the fabric, obviously. I sat with it for a few weeks and finally decided that Claire would wear it. It felt like a 1940s chintz and fit into my overall scheme. Or it would be a riff on these fabrics from the mid 18th century.
We made the gown, piecing it together so exactly, it was painstaking work for us. When there isn’t enough fabric, you have to get very creative with pattern placement, and this fabric was even more difficult because you needed the repeat on the skirt. So the bodice gets made with leftovers. It was difficult, but we thought the result was spectacular. It was Cait’s favourite dress from S2.
While this was going on, the whole pregnancy belly discussion was happening. I wasn’t sure where we would end up on that front, so I added in the side lacings so that it could get expanded if we needed. Thought it might be something Claire might decide to do. I needed her to think that way. That’s the way things work sometimes.
we made a fabulous hat.
We dyed the silk hat lining to match the dress.
Made some butter yellow gloves and Voila, it was done!
I will do another post about the embroidery we had to add.
Oh, one little addition: