Lyon, to me, is one of the gems of France. It is deservedly famous for the local cuisine, the beauty of the preserved old city, now a UNESCO world heritage site and, even better, for being the historical and modern home of some of the most beautiful silk weaving ever to grace this earth.
Dressmakers often use a calico toile, or mock-up, as a way of checking the fit of a garment. An added bonus is it is a good way of practicing any tricky parts of the construction or identifying any problem areas because you’ve shredded your £20 a metre silk you’ve been cherishing for several years, awaiting the perfect project.
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It was always going to be a challenge to dislike to a book that starts with the sentence ‘I am assuming here, Dear Reader, that you are not naked’. It was also always going to be a challenge to dislike any book that promised an adventure through our textile past, present and future.
After the frustrating mess that was my last zipper bag, I decided the best thing to do was to confront my fears head on and just repeat the pattern again, trying out some different batiks along the way. After all, I had found my zipper foot, and completely understood all the demands of the pattern right?
I really love visiting museums. Where else can you cross a thousand years of history in a few hundred metres, or from central London to deepest Patagonia? I have a sentimental fondness for the V&A in London, and have been to some other great places, such as the breathtaking National Palace Museum in Taipei to the highly specialist Quilt Museum in Boston. Luckily for me, Seoul has a great blend of museums at both ends of the spectrum, from the expanse of the National Museum of Korea, or several, small gems of textile history.
This year I happened across the opportunity for my first visit to Seoul, South Korea. For being one of the world’s biggest megacities, cities with a population over 10 million, Seoul has a lot of charm, from a little book library park in the middle of the city, to the rivers that divide it up. The food is excellent and chimaek (chicken and beer) is a genius idea and I would be very happy to see, along with the Japanese izakaya bar traditions exported all over the world. Preferably alongside fabric markets as mindboggling as Dongdaemun.
It’s very hard not to love California with its great weather, beautiful coastline and abundance of really excellent craft shops. I certainly found a few good places when I visited last year. So what better way to guide a road trip south of San Francisco than trying to combine as much sea and fabric as possible?