A True Fabric Shopping Experience

The resulting purchases from my little adventure.

The purchases from my little adventure.

This post was meant to go up last week when it was current and relative to the trends mentioned below. My site was hacked though and it took me a few days to fix. 

This month is #slowfashionoctober and the theme for this week is LOVE. I was sitting at work, thinking about which of my homemade outfits I LOVED and realised I was wearing it: my blue Vogue V8723 dress and my creamy-flecked Gigi cardigan. I love this outfit. It’s not particularly flattering, the waist of the dress is a little tight when I sit down, but damn, I feel good putting it on and have done so for three years.

Why not make it again? I thought, and took myself off to the Kim Anh Fabric at lunch.

Kim Anh Fabric is in Oakleigh, Melbourne and it is hilarious. A postage stamp of a store, you have to be ready to rummage, take your time, and let the staff help you.

When I went in today, I was wandering about, happy to have a rummage myself, when one of the little Vietnamese* ladies came up to help. Her English was fairly limited, but I was wearing the dress I wanted to make, so communication wasn’t really a problem. She immediately decided I wanted linen and was off like a shot to that stand of fabrics.

“This, this, you want this.”

‘This’ was a linen with russet and blue plaid a creamy background. It was lovely, but I had sworn to myself I would get a plain fabric that would go with everything.

“Navy?” I asked and the wee woman dived between two stands and dragged a bolt of beautifully drapey navy linen –and at $9 a metre, decided I could get the plaid too. The tiny lady picked up both rolls of fabric (almost tallest than herself) and tottered off to the counter at the back of the shop. A quick conversation in Vietnamese took place, where I think she explained the giant white girl was making another dress like the one she had on.

The lady behind the counter had much better English.

“You’ll need twice length of the top and three times the skirt.”

Before I could say anything, the original little lady was folding back the front of my cardigan so she could measure from my shoulder to waist and then pulling up my skirt to measure that too. They decided how much fabric I needed and started cutting – my input wasn’t really needed, apparently.

I did manage to squeak that I would need zips. Which sort? Well, the one I’ve got in the back…I think it’s an invisible? The first lady lifted up my cardigan to check and dove into a bag of zips, coming up with a cream one that looked a bit short. When I asked if it was long enough, it was immediately laid along the current zip – and felt all the way along its length to my bum. Fortunately the previous five minutes had removed any qualms I might had had about my personal space.

It was agreed a longer zip was needed, found, measured and placed on the table. I wasn’t consulted about the colour – they knew what I needed.

The service was brusque, effective and hilarious – and I’d highly recommend it to anyone in Melbourne. Well, I will after I’ve made the dresses and know I have enough material!

*I’m fairly sure they’re Vietnamese. I might be terribly wrong and am happy to be corrected.

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