I am finally unpacking fabric. Picking up each piece and putting it away certain aspects of an awakening. Each piece, be it humble or more exotic, seems so perfect. Dreams flow around me like whisps. Happiness envelops me.
I do believe I have the most beautiful fabric collection in the world. Of course this opinion is highly subjective. I am certain that ever collector feels their collection is the most beautiful, and rightly so.
These photos are not particularly representative, of colors yes, but of the entire collection not so much. Sublte gradations in color of flat weave basic fabrics don't photograph well, at least not in the still-darkish light of my studio with my photographic skills. But these are fabric pieces, the stuff of dreams.
In the past few months I have dreamt of my fabric. I have thought about how I would sort it and organize it and how it would look on the shelves. As I imagined my wall of fabric I quickly realized that in my dreams I saw the fabric sorted by color, and that in fact color is more a more important factor for me when I am looking for a fabric than fiber content, weave or weight. I did have my fabric sorted by type of fabric once, following some directive that this was the most efficient path. But any system is only as efficient as the people who use it. And I never look for a particular fabric by its weave or weight. Color always comes first in my mind. Even when I am imagining a dress, I am not imagining a wool crepe dress or a silk dress, although those features may be part of general plan, in that I may imagine a blue crepe dress or a pair of pants out of gray wool suiting. It is the color that comes first, not the fabric, with blue and gray being the critical points. I can adapt the execution of my vision to suit the requirements of fabric more easily than I can change my mind about color.
And so I am sorting by color as it is the color I remember when I am looking for a particular fabric. I have a pretty good memory for color and have, on more occasions than I can count, seen a fabric and known instantly that it was a perfect match for something I had waiting on the shelf at home. In fact my "memory-matching" ability is often more on-point than my ability to match something in the poor artificial lighting found in many fabric stores. Each shelf has its own unique range of shades but I am not sorting the fabric in any particular order on each shelf. There is not enough time in the heavens for me to fool with that. It is not like any one piece is going to be more than a few feet away from any other piece.
And of course this too is good. Because I have been known to say I want a green dress, and end up with a purple dress. These things happen whether I am shopping or sewing, and it is one of the happy little inconsistencies of life. I continue to believe that, had I not been looking for the green dress, I would not have noticed the purple one that finally caught my attention.
And now that you know that I almost always start with color, I'd love to know what prompts you to start your search for a new garment or a new sewing project. Do you imagine a silhouette? A weight or type of fabric such as silk or cotton? Or do you start off thinking about a color? If you start out thinking about one color, such as a blue dress or a red blazer, do you ever end up with something else entirely? Do share.