Friday, 5 March 2010

Where Have All The Haberdashers Gone?

There was a time, certainly in my lifetime, when just about every shopping centre had a haberdashers. Even the village that I used to live in, which had only about a dozen shops, had one. These shops were often like Aladdin's cave, full of wool, and threads, and lots of other items that one would use to make, and repair, clothing. They also stocked many other things like table runners, pretty little tray cloths and doilies, and often various items of underwear.

In many of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories, the elderly sleuth visits the haberdasher's shop in order to gather information while she bought wool for someone's vest, or some tray cloths, or some other such item.

Haberdashery departments were to be found in department stores too. So I felt reasonably sure that I would find the items that I wanted in John Lewis in Oxford Street. I was wrong. I managed to get the lurex yarn that I wanted, but there was no sign of a fluffy yarn or the silk flower embellishments. I did manage to find some wonderful little beads (purple iridescent round beads and bright green bugle beads) which when placed on sequins will enable me to make flower shapes and leaves, unfortunately they didn't have the sequins. So I decided to make my way to Croydon.

So a journey by bus and train found me pounding the streets of Croydon. It has a department store, with a haberdashery, not as good as that in John Lewis, but pretty good all the same. Or it did the last time that I went there. Unfortunately, the store has fallen on difficult times and many of its departments no longer seem to be there, and one of those missing was the haberdashery. So Croydon turned out to be a total failure.

There was one last chance. I knew that I had seen some sequins in the shop where I had bought the polyester stuffing that I had bought earlier in the week so it was another bus journey to that shopping centre. And there they were, some lovely iridescent sequins which will go beautifully with the purple iridescent and green beads.

It has been a long day, there have been four journeys by bus and one by train, and there has been lots of walking, but I think that I now have all that I need to decorate the doll's clothes. It is going to take nearly as long to do the embellishing as it will to make the doll and her clothes so I had better get back to work as I have a self-imposed deadline to meet to get the doll finished. It has to be in the mail in just under three weeks so I am going to have my work cut out, so if I don't post you will know it is because I am hard at work making Victoria (the doll's name in the book that I am working from) as beautiful as possible for someone who I am sure will love her when she receives her.


Anonymous said...

We tend to have one in a craft shop, and one in the main market in this town but you are right they have all slowly disappeared gradually! I think mainly because people shop online or because it’s a generation of people who are dying out and not using these shops – I know how awful that sounds, because as someone young I would learn to take up things like knit or learn other craft things... I remember my mum trying to teach me to knit as a child but I couldn’t grasp it, she tried so many times and in the end she gave up and said it was because I was left handed! The same when my Grandma tried to teach me how to crochet!

I do wonder if I buy a dummies book (I am guessing there will be one for knitting since they do them for everything!) I’ll learn how to knit!

Lily said...

If you need any more sequins I've had an accident with a multicoloured sequin dress which has half unravelled... so I now have hundreds of them and nothing I can do with them!