I have a lot more fabric than I thought I did. I wasn’t sure if I would need to use the plum to line the polonaise. If such was the case, then I would need to be rather stingy with the design and would have less froth.
Yesterday I broke down and went to the local Joann’s. I found lilac silk for the polonaise lining. Mind you, the quality is AWFUL! For $16 a yard you get silk that is probably half the weight of what you can pick up on e-bay or on-line for between $9 and $14 a yard. Of course, there is the added benefit that you get to see the silk in person, but the lights in Joann’s can be just as misleading as any internet picture.
There was a time when Rochester had a number of fabric source choices. I remember the paradise that was Fabrics & Findings as a girl. Four, expansive floors filled with fabric in a down and dirty Victorian warehouse setting. The wooden floor boards creaked. Light streamed through the factory windows. It was all dusty and disorderly, with stacks of bolts piled on top of one another. Looking for fabric was like digging for treasure, and you had to throw your back into it. It was fantastic! Even though they cut back on inventory by the time I moved to Rochester a few years ago, the fabrics they still had were rare and wonderful. One would buy them out of appreciation, not just because one needed them.
I moved to an apartment within blocks of Fabrics & Findings. Perhaps I associated the neighborhood with expression and inspirational tactility. When the store closed, I felt surprisingly guilty. I should have given them more business, engaged in more projects for the sake of those projects. I had forgotten what joy the process gave.
Now, all us in Rochester must live with Joann’s. It’s the atmosphere that’s so uninspiring. It’s sterile. The fabric is organized and laid out for you like as if you are an idiot and have no idea what you came there to buy. Everything is clean and bureaucratic. The cutting of the fabric is too perfect, and the prices to rigid. It does not satisfy the hunter-gatherer instinct, give any of the triumph of selection, or the glory of individual intention.
One is capable of ignoring these details. But one can not ignore the music. I tried to make some sense out of the selection to determine what market were they appealing to. While I was feeling fabrics and analyzing their contents, I tried to organize the music selection by era. Didn’t work. I tried to organize by stylistic genre. That didn’t work either. I was in the upholstery section trying to figure out the best deal on aubergine beaded tassels when, from all the stupor and vagueness, the common denominator of the music selection started to emerge from the mist: all the music would appeal to relationship-distracted women without any artistic fervor, the type who would stupidly pay $10 for the cheesiest polyester I have ever felt because they can’t afford the flimsy, crappy lilac $16 a yard silk! Talk about a racket!
How did I come to this conclusion? Now, I know nothing about pop, mainstream music. For me, the more classical and/or avant garde the better, so long as it is psychologically healthy stuff. But, it didn’t take a genius to put it all together. I could hear the lyrics:
1st song: Sung by a man. He is very sorry. He wants her back. He says he is flawed, but wants her back
2nd song: Sung by a woman to her friend. She tells her friend that she gives him everything, and he gives nothing back. He manipulates her.
3rd song: Sung by a woman. Saying she deserves better.
And so on.
Oh, God, it was awful! I felt slimed!
I was overcome with sympathy for the other customers. Poor women, I thought. Not only do they overpay for crappy polyester, but they probably have unfufilling relationships, which is why they overpay for crappy polyester. Or is it the other way around? I don’t know.
I became overly kind, complimented them on their lousy fabric choices, called their kids cute, and so forth. It paid off. The cashier magnanimously snuck me in a discount on my overly priced silk because, she said “that is just too much to pay.”
The reality is that there is no Fabrics & Findings anymore in Rochester, and this is a sad thing. We all have to go to Joann’s now, unless we want to drive long distances or shop on line. The risk I took in going to Joann’s – braving that gothic evil – paid off. I have lots and lots of fabric, and my polonaise will have lots and lots of layers, panels and froth. I’m cutting the pieces now, and it’s quite satisfying.
See. Costuming is very adventurous.