Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Guest: Le Pip from De Meet Me at Mike's


I started reading Pip's blog over at Meet Me at Mike's a long time ago - perhaps two to three years? When I was younger, anyway - and when Meet Me at Mike's was in Richmond. I've met the wonderful lady, she's hosted some of our vintage fabrics in her wonderful Brunswick St store and, more than anything else, she's become an icon in Australia's crafty world. I love her blog, her work ethic, her dedication to her family, her great support for the 'crafty' (as opposed to the shifty!) and her wonderful compassionate support for those who need our help most. Thanks for sending us your wonderful piece, Le Pip - you truly are ace :)


My Love Affair With Vintage Fabric

When I was a wee gal, my mum and dad were always sewing stuff. Dad made the sheets and pillowcases and quilt covers for our bunks. Mum made the curtains for our room. Dad made the drapes in the lounge room. Mum upholstered the living room furniture. It was all about making and fabric. A crafty lot we were! Bold graphic prints, Scandinavian motifs and huge florals in the rumpus room, tastefully naked ladies in the bathroom and Little House on the Prairie florals for the room I shared with my sister. It was the Seventies. We were sitting in jumbo cord beanbags, playing with Sindy and Skipper, 'Lady Bump' was playing on the record player! We were probably wearing jumbo cords too. What could be better? Bliss!

My childhood home was littered (in an unmessy way) with print and pattern. Not just on textiles, but on tea pots and tea cups and tiles and tins. As an adult, it's something that I just can't shake. My house now is full of these sorts of prints. I really do find comfort in them - and I love the happy jolt that colour and pattern gives me. Double that with a bit of fabricky goodness I am in my own little crafty heaven!


I don't really buy a lot of new fabric - when I do it's simple cotton spots and stripes and ginghams. I much prefer the charm and depth of vintage prints. For me, you can't really beat the uniqueness and quality of vintage. The history and texture are something to covet, the designs are consistently beautiful and fresh, despite their age! And, as much as I do love (and sometimes buy) those cute Japanese novelty prints and a bit of Ms Butler or Mr Jacobs, I hate feeling like everyone else has the same fabric as me. I think it's nice to have a different point of view, so I'd much rather have a faded piece of vintage sheeting, or some old paisley pillowcases, or a stray curtain dotted with little tigers and monkeys. Those are the sorts of fabric that make my heart sing. They make me smile. I want to have them around me.


I think that vintage fabric triggers the sorts of comforting memories that make us feel happy and safe. I love that feeling of comfort and familiarity. It's not just another fabric. It's lived a life. It was made to be useful and beautiful... not just made for the heck of it. It's from another, less commercial time. Heck, it was probably woven in some place that has long since abandoned manufacturing such things. It's like a little time capsule, I guess. How great that 30 or 40 or 50 years later we can unfold it from it's cocoon like state and transform it into something new, unique, fresh and contemporary. And how great that it's as relevant now as it was when it was made. Perhaps even more so. Don't you think?!


Images and words courtesy of le Pip

Thank you, Pip! If you want to visit Pip's wonderul store and delve into the world of Meet Me at Mike's don't forget to pop into 63 Brunswick st, Fitzroy. And there is some of her wonderful wares available from here. And she's started a great forum here.

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