Share: Vintage Fabric Fair, Manchester 2016


More success! From the start of works, I’ve been pretty determined that our relatively large home renovation won’t leave as large a carbon foot print on the world as it potentially could. That’s not to say it’s a Passivhaus, or every decision has been made with the environment in mind, or it’s going to be almost empty because we’re anti-buying-stuff. Nope. Rather, when I’ve made buying or designing decisions, I’ve made them hoping to impose a bit less damage on outside world. Less waste, more re-use and just all round a little more thinking.

For example, we saved all the slates from the original part of the house and re-used them for the extension, buying more slates sourced from a nearby reclamation yard and knowing that they came from a roof just up the road. I cleaned every brick which fell as we demolished, then supplemented these with local reclaimed bricks, using every single one, even the bulging and over-sized beauties which the brickies kept trying to sneak in the skip. Likewise with the amazing setts (blog post soon!) snaking around the side garden and up to the front door, and the French tomettes for Tweetin’ Corner. None newly made but all newly designed with a contemporary twist.

So how could I resist a Sunday visit to a Vintage Fabric Fair literally on my doorstep? The Textile Society organise regular fabric and textile fairs – see the list here – but this one is a one-off for Manchester held every two years (I think!). I last went in 2010 and remain distraught that I didn’t buy an astonishingly beautiful 1930’s silk and glass fabric, the likes of which I’ll never see again. That’s the thing about vintage or salvage shows, if you see it and love it, bloody buy it, because a pound to a penny when you go back 15 minutes later it’ll be gone, or if you leave it, it’ll haunt your dreams forever.

I am mega-chuffed with my haul, which included some gorgeously soft tweed for chair upholstery, several deliciously wicked ostrich feathers, a saucy fan and 2m of a monochrome botanical style cotton for the top dormer. It’s also essential when renovating to have an original Womble in your armoury of design tools. Orinoco can be seen peeking out of a bag in the top picture 🙂

To complement our new bedroom chandeliers, I even found a stunning 100% cotton antique French bed throw with small circular bobbles just like the beads of my lighting – perfect!

img_7695img_7757img_7749-1For me, there’s something rather wonderful about finding items which have been loved through the years, classic and well made products which cry out for a new lease of life.

The phrases pre-loved and re-loved have become a little tired, hammered by a daily news hungry social media, but they do really mean what they say. It’s very easy and convenient to web-trawl and buy new, simply pick up something shipped in or rolled off a mass production line but my advice is to physically get off your bum, get out there and find something truly unique and truly you. Something, quite literally, that no-one else has got.

It’ll be worth the effort and bring endless joy, I promise x

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