A Grand Day Out

Partner & I went to Skipton last weekend, visiting his parents. I didn’t bring the camera – a terrible oversight, as the weather was lovely and the woods were eminently photo-able – but I did bring a capacious bag, as my ulterior motive for this trip was to get to The Fent Shop.

I am trying to keep my purchases of new fabric to a minimum, but damn, I love fabric shops. I knew about the Fent Shop specifically thanks to archive-binging over at Did You Make That? and paying particular attention to her posts about fabric-shopping in Yorkshire (Skipton, Keighley). What I did not know was about all the other interesting places dotted along the high street, and we didn’t even get to all of them. (We found a shop selling knitting wool and books, at knock-down prices. Just wool and books.)

This is what I came back with:


In no particular order, we have:

  • a 2m x 150cm piece of grey/blue suiting material which I’m hoping will be juuust enough for a pair of trousers. If not, it’s probably destined to become waistcoat number four. (Version one, version two, version three is on the cutting table.)
  • a 1m x 150cm piece of lightweight blouse fabric with silver pinstripes. Earmarked for version five of V8772. It’ll be a squeeze, but it’ll go brilliantly/clash gloriously (delete as appropriate) with my white jacket with gold pinstripes.
  • a card of three silver/black plastic shank buttons with shields on (possibly for a waistcoat)
  • a card of three silver/black metallic shank buttons with a sort of pinwheel pattern (possibly also for a waistcoat)
  • a packet of six gold metallic shank buttons with anchors on, which have pretty much got to go on a Simplicity 4923A (I have a test run/semi-wearable toile cut but have procrastinated in altering the pattern.)
  • a packet of brass-effect flat buttons, four large and two small (or possibly two large, two medium and two small, I’m not sure) which have no particular destination right now
  • a card of three battered brown-plastic buttons with a raised design taken from a Roman coin. These are beaten-up and have paint splats – either that or the brown surface is only a coating over a brighter core – but I couldn’t pass them up. No idea what these are for.

I also picked up four books from the Oxfam bookshop – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; The Atrocity Archives; and The Jennifer Morgue (the latter two from the Laundry series by Charles Stross; check ’em out.) 

The fabric came from the Fent Shop, naturally enough. Quite surprised I managed to walk out with only the two bits – they have a glorious range, including a whole (small) wall of Liberty lawn. Sadly the one that I really wanted was out of stock except for a couple of stray fat quarters, and I’m not really one for florals, which made up most of the rest.

The flat buttons came from the Oxfam everything-except-books shop.

All the other buttons came from a little treasure-house of a shop called Birdcage, which describes its range as “preloved vintage clothing, accessories and homeware”. They do indeed have all these things, but I gravitated straight for the sewing supplies. Boxes of buttons. A huge rack of remnants. Baskets of secondhand sewing widgets, some of which I couldn’t even identify. (Regretting not buying the sewing gauge though.)

And, right at the bag, tucked into little old-fashioned travel cases, a whole stack of patterns. Sadly I didn’t hit on anything that I both a) wanted and b) was in my size – most of them were from the era of one envelope, one size – but someone with smaller hips and more inclination to wear dresses could go to town on them. There were some men’s and kids’ patterns mixed in; it looked like most of the crop was from the 70s and 80s (complete with amazing Seventies moustaches on the blokes) and there was what looked to my untrained eye like a promisingly fat stack of vintage Vogues, if you’re into that sort of thing. Basically, go there. And on top of all this, it’s a charitable setup, with proceeds going to Behind Closed Doors, a domestic violence prevention charity.

All in all we had a very nice afternoon out, dipping into Sarsaparilla’s (an old-fashioned sweet shop), me having a proper medievalist geek-out in the church (Clifford tombs! Heraldry!) and finally wandering up into the woods behind the castle to catch some peace and quiet. It’s a lovely town, all yellow Yorkshire stone, and well worth a visit.


About Craft (Alchemy)

I make things and make things up.
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