Monday, June 01, 2009

MEMORIES...

I always get a little sentimental in Liberty's fabric department; actually it's possible that I get a little weepy and nostalgic and find myself holding onto shelves stroking fabric while trying to control a whoosh of emotion.

When I was a wee young thing my sweet Granny B would take me to Liberty to choose printed cotton for a dress or a skirt that she would then make me. (I'm having deja vu - I think I may have mentioned this before, must be the toxic fumes from the wet asphalt on the roof outside.) These weren't fancy clothes, they were everyday clothes; there was yarn buying for the cardigans she knitted too - always a solid colour with three same coloured buttons. It was all very specific.

Then we would go and have open faced prawn or smoked salmon sandwiches for high tea at Dickens & Jones (which used to be opposite Liberty).

There's a particular Liberty print that makes my pulse race and my heart jump. It is the strongest sense memory I have, more so than any scent or flavour. I know I had a dress made out of it when I was about five but what I did in that dress that causes me to have this reaction, I couldn't tell you. I can never be sure I've found the exact print in the exact colour either - maybe they don't make that colourway any more, pinks and purples, but if I see something similar I get the reaction.

The other day I went to Liberty to get some Tana Lawn fabric and I was creaking around on the wooden floorboards thinking of all this, how it affected me, how maybe those early visits were what made me love clothes. I was thinking, you did a good thing there Granny, you really did. Then I picked up a Liberty handkerchief and the name of the print was Mary Jane Hart. Mary, my Granny's name, Jane, my mum's name. H(e)art. I stared at it amazed, as if Granny B herself had cosmically guided me to pick up that particular one.



Then the guy cutting my fabric (which I just saw is called Claire something!) was super grumpy and kind of snapped me right out of my nostalgic reverie. Anyway, I love it when Liberty prints are everywhere as they are this summer, makes me feel five again!

Liberty Polyvore


edit: Ha! I just looked through some old photos and from birth to about age 6 I have a different Liberty print in every one. I'll try and scan some if I can get the scanner working...

{left: Mary Jane Hart, right: a bit of the Claire-Aude fabric I bought
collage: my first ever Polyvore set - baby steps}

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

ooooooh lovely story!!!
you are such a wonderul raconteur (or should i say: raconteuses!!!!)
and i am always so happy to hear about one's "madeleines"...
nancy

Anonymous said...

Liberty's fabric department is such a Proustian place for you (thank you Nancy), now I understand why you are always so happy to take me there when I visit!
xxx
Mia

Gisele said...

I love your stories, your granny seems to have been such a wonderful person, got me thinking of my granny, she used to make dresses of old curtains for me , very sound of music :), and I loved them!!

pompomrouge said...

One day I will shop there...one day...

Lola Is Beauty said...

It's true - the fabric is my madeleine!

Bombay Beauty said...

Lovely post... Yes, there are these triggers of memory, although reading your post made me realize I don't have an obvious one I could point to... xoxo BB

Bianca and Isabella said...

florals!

Sneakymagpie said...

Oh, lovely dress - the patchwork one.