I had a lovely trip to Spain! I was there for two weeks, the first week in Barcelona and the second week in Madrid (very briefly), Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera, and Sevilla. It is a beautiful country and the people are friendly. I got a lot of opportunity to speak Spanish. I kept meaning to study more before I went but things kept getting in the way so I was *very* rusty (I was never fluent by any stretch, but I had a high level of competence...in high school 17 years ago) but some Spanish definitely helps when you're there.
I especially wished I spoke better Spanish when I met up with Paco! I hadn't realized he lived in Barcelona until I asked for fabric shopping advice for the first part of my trip and everyone recommended getting in touch with him. He is super nice, even rescheduling our meeting after I realized I was completely mixed up on days (I thought I landed Sunday morning but it was actually Monday).
We met up on Wednesday and he took me on a tour of the fabric shops of Barcelona. Paco is just as nice as you might hope, and he was very patient with my poor Spanish skills. We each can read the other's language fairly well, but speaking it is a whole other ballgame. It was so great to get an intensive practice like that!
The stores are all beautiful, even the more moderately priced ones. The fabric is on rolls, not bolts. The rolls are laid out on tables, generally just one roll high (not stacked so you have a hard time pulling out the one you want). The shops are relatively small (mostly) and the storefronts have nice big windows so there's a lot of natural light.
Paco is well known to all the shop owners and employees! So we got good service. Mindful of my groaning shelves of stash at home, I purchased only two fabrics:
The gray print is a rayon jersey that will make a great maxi dress. As Cidell has "gently" hinted many times, Paco was a little concerned about my taste level when it comes to bright colors, but I love them! The louder the better! The white/green print is a polyester, which you know I don't normally buy, but I loved the print and decided I'd give the fabric a shot. These were not unduly expensive, around 7 Euro per yard (of course, the dollar is so weak that it translates to quite a bit). The prices overall didn't seem high for what you got.
Later in the trip, in Sevilla, we passed a bunch of fabric stores but my travel companion forbade me to go in. Heh. So I didn't get any more.
There is another photo of me and Paco and a sneak peek of three new dresses I got done for the trip here on my sewing flickr.
You can see all of my travel photos (a lot!) here.
Despite my stash concerns, I did add just a few more pieces on Saturday. At this point, I actually hadn't been to the local fabric store in months and I needed to get some Halloween fabric. My youngest brother and his wife are planning to visit over Halloween weekend and they know I love Halloween so they are all excited. Unfortunately, I have NO idea where to take them. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a little bit outgrowing Halloween. Well, maybe that's not true. DC just does not have a great Halloween the way Austin does. In Austin, they shut down 6th Street to traffic and it is a big giant informal parade of amazing costumes. You don't even have to go into a bar (most years I didn't), you just hang out on the street and people watch and strut your stuff. In DC, I haven't found anyplace that is a giant (but not overly drunken) crowd of people who just want to enjoy the costumes. It's all parties in bars and you have to wait outside for hours (often in freezing cold) to get in and then it's hot and crowded once you finally do get in and you can't see anything.
Anyway, I do think my costume will be cute but it has come to this: I am annoyed that I have to take time out of my real sewing to make it. However, I do have a closet *full* of costumes, so I could draw from the archive and that I'm not says something. Maybe I will make one last costume and then deem the collection complete.
The blue and green on the right are for the costume (to be revealed later, but it's the same thing I had planned for last year before I ended up going out of the country). The middle two are jersey prints--one for Fall/Winter, one for Spring/Summer. On the left are a bronze silk to line a wool dress and a wool skirt length to make a black pencil skirt. I need to find a pattern for the black and purple jersey--I don't think I have enough for a wrap dress, which is my go to shape for cool weather dresses, nor can it have a full skirt. I'm sure I've got something in the stash!
I pulled all the new pieces out of my closet and I am only 10 reviews behind. Not bad. I thought it was more. I had my travel companion take fashion photos of the new dresses while in Spain, but when I got home I realized I had somehow set my camera to take teeny pictures, and they can't be cropped because they get pixilated. Argh!!!!!! I am really upset about this. So I can't use those photos and have to start over. We'll see when I get in the mood to do a fashion shoot.