love of fabric


A piece of fabric is a beautiful thing.

I was in my favourite Auckland fabric shop the other day, in search of lovely pieces that would lend themselves to some simple summer tops.

On the counter there was a guide to self-knowledge: 10 indicators of whether or not you’re an addict.

One of them was: you buy fabrics and don’t care what you’ll use them for.

My purpose was clear this time, but my garage tells another story. It’s lined with containers full of lovely materials that I can’t part with, just in case I ever have that little beach shack that will need the retro pillow, or the old farmhouse with walls that will hold the many quilts I’ll make one day when I get around to it.

Here are some of the pieces I bought which are going to turn, fairly soon, I promise, into summer tops.

a lovely crepe de chine

a second colourway of the piece above. I love the way this looks like a blurred floral, as if some one hurried by on a bicycle and you tried to capture a photo.


These days I’m not the ambitious seamstress I used to be. At 15 I spent my entire winter vacation making a fully lined, tailored jacket from a length of fabric donated by my clothier uncle who appreciated my need for thrift and my passion for making things. As I recall, it puckered in places but I didn’t care. I was really proud of it and wore it everywhere. Perhaps it’s just as well there’s no photographic record of my achievements.

Now I tend to keep my sewing projects easily achievable because, sadly, I’m more of a perfectionist.

It just so happens that I’ve recently acquired two books that appeal to me for their simplicity and style.

The first is dedicated to projects made from One Piece of Fabric, so it’s perfect for all of us hoarders.


I’ll use it to make my new summer blouses, and perhaps a bag or two with the contents of my bins. There are 15 projects in all,  a few that caught my eye as perfect teen or mother-daughter projects, like a dress, a pair of culottes and a camisole top, all shown in mouth-watering photographs.



The second book is Jane Brocket’s The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making


This is a beautiful book containing patterns for 15 quilts inspired by the author’s surroundings. They are all made of simple shapes put together in ingenious ways. Brocket has an eye for colour, so those who lack confidence can follow her guidance. Many of the quilts are a riot of beauty, such as “Russian shawl”

and “floral frocks”

I particularly like “sample book” which would lend itself very nicely to my bits and pieces of vintage fabrics. Now I’m dreaming again, of that cute old farmhouse, whereas in reality I’m living in a modern house with my fair share of modern furniture. But the romance of a lovely quilt always pulls at my heartstrings.

3 Responses to “love of fabric”

  1. Marian Says:

    What lovely fabrics. I feel inspired to dust off my sewing machine and delve into my store of fabric – or shall I go to the fabric shop?

  2. kate Says:

    Beautiful – I am making pillow cases today with crocheted trim and so to see your post makes me feel like not just stopping there – surely I need a new skirt as well. I can’t wait to go to Global Fabrics next time I am in Auckland – all that merino…. Love Kate xxooxx.

  3. Polly Says:

    Thank you for these inspiring book recommendations.. I have collected so many bits of beautiful fabric in the hope that one day I will finally make something out of them! These books look like a great way to get the ball rolling!! Thanks Mel x

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