|Road Trip route|
Friday morning, bright and early, we headed to Charlotte, NC, a 4.5 hour drive south west from Richmond, VA. Our first stop was Charlie Rector’s thread store.
|Long Wood Mills|
That is Mr. Rector on the bench in front. He warned us he was a little hard of hearing and slow moving But he was definitely a charmer, with lots of stories about the southern textile industry.
My aunts and grandmother worked in textiles mills, near St. Pauls, NC, in the 50’s and 60’s. I remember going on a factory tour with my aunt and being awed by the complex and fast moving machinery weaving fabric. Those mills are long gone now.
|Aisles and Aisles of Thread|
It had an impressive amount of quilting and home dec. fabric and many beautiful bridal trims and laces, but not much of the high end silk and wool garment fabric I was hoping to find. I bought some solid colored 100% wools for slacks, which were a good value for $10/yard.
That evening, after dinner we headed to the designer department at the nearby Neiman Marcus store and happily touched and examined the garments until the lights dimmed to indicate the store was closing.
The next day started with a 2 hour drive to Asheville, NC. Rain and fog shrouded the mountains during our trip, but the sky cleared when we arrived in town. After a quick lunch in one of the village eateries, we stopped in at Bellagio A store full of art to wear garments and hand crafted jewelry. So may beautiful garments and embellishment ideas. Their web site has wonderful pictures for inspiration.
From there it was a short walk to Waechter's Fine Fabrics.
|Waechter's Fabric Store|
I often browse their web site and admired the fabrics. They are gorgeous and very pricey. Definitely above my "have to have" price point. The button selection was awesome, and they carry many of the independent pattern lines. I really enjoyed seeing the sample garments made from their fabrics. All are pictured under the inspiration tab on the web site. After seeing this sample garment of the Decades of Style Matinee Blouse, I had to buy the pattern. When I lifted up the bottom edge of the front to examine the hem, I saw a sticky note on the dress form with this written on it. "yes, you will have to wear leggings" Hee Hee
|Decades of Style - Matinee Blouse|
On the last day of our trip we went to the Charlotte Mint Musuem’s exhibit: Chanel - Designs for the Modern Woman. On view through 26 February 2012. The Chanel garments were from the 1980 to 2010 time frame and there was only 18 of them. But those few garments had a wealth of details to examine and marvel over. And they were displayed in a way that we could get very close to them, as long as we did not touch. I took lots of pictures, but I also did some line drawings to help me remember some of the seaming which was so well pressed, it was difficult to see in the photos.
Almost all the garments had princess seams of some sort, most of them originating from the shoulder. I think this is the key to the Chanel silhouette and fit. Several of the jackets had the three piece sleeves which Chanel is known for. And the matching of plaids, seam lines and lace motifs were impeccable.
|hand sewn whip stitches affix fine silk tissue ribbon to edge|
|Silk net lace over wool. Notice the matching|
|Chanel printed on every closure -all 7 of them!|
|Close up of beaded button|
The car travel time passed quickly thanks to the two music play lists that Paula's DH created for our trip. Charlotte1 for the trip down and Charlotte2 for the trip back. Each song was a surprise. They triggered memories; "I saw that group in concert when I was 17." Or "Aww, that's so sweet!" moments - a song sung at Paula and Gerry's wedding. Or "I can't remember my PIN, but I remember the name of the one hit wonder group that did this song 30 years ago!" moment.
The trip was great fun. We saw a lot and bought a little. Now I really want to do some sewing.