Autumnal Plans and Swiss Resources

It’s September already! For me this is an exciting month as I’ll be heading back to Switzerland for a week of happy holidays. It’s been several months since I saw the Mr and I am so looking forward to being home with him for a little bit. I can’t wait to sit by the lake, admire the mountains, eat pumpkin everything and yeah, it’s going to be great.

Obviously I thought I’d also use the opportunity to stock up on fabrics. I love my waxprints (as evidenced here and here), but variety is the spice of life and if I’m honest my comfiest (and therefore most worn) garments are all in either the drapey or stretchy family, neither of which are available in Kigali. So a couple of weeks ago I started pinning fabrics I liked the look of, trying to imagine them as various projects. Yesterday I went back to review the board as a whole and decide what to order, and I was pretty surprised:

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Wha?? Muted colours?? Simple graphic prints?? Whose board is this?? I honestly wasn’t aware I was selecting such a limited range, I was just pinning what I liked… I think it must be an innate autumnal impulse kicking in, despite the fact that autumn doesn’t happen here. We do get a season change – dry to rainy – but it’s not like there are leaves turning brown or shortening days (equatorial living means 12 hours of sunshine year round). Anyway, an autumnal palate is clearly what I’m craving so I’m just going to roll with it.

Since Geneva lacks decent bricks-and-mortar fabric shops, I decided to order everything online. Browsing around I was pleasantly surprised by how much the (virtual) Swiss fabric scene has evolved since I left earlier this year. Especially the availability of beautiful designer fabrics such as Nani Iro and Atelier Brunette. They’re not cheap, but ordering them from Swiss suppliers means I won’t get hit with a painful import tax on delivery. In particular I was impressed by these three online stores:

tissuandcocollage2Details: Established this year (2015) and based in Western Switzerland, Tissu & Co is an online-only store in English and French. Fabric lines include Atelier Brunette, Liberty of London, Lotta Jansdotta and Michael Miller. Pattern lines include Sewaholic, Thread Theory and Tilly and the Buttons. What I loved: The owner Ana’s customer service!! I had a couple of technical issues when I placed my first order but Ana was lightning quick in responding and solving them. Also if you subscribe to the newsletter you get a 5% discount, always appreciated! My fabric pick: This lovely deep grey quilted jersey, for a snugly Laurelhurst cardigan.

Details: Pom-pon is a bricks-and-mortar shop in Zurich, with an impressive online store. The site is in German only, but but don’t let put you off – Google Chrome autotranslate is your friend! Fabric lines include Cotton and Steel, April Rhodes and Melody Miller. Pattern lines include Deer and Doe, Merchant and Mills and an intriguing German brand called “Canape”. What I loved: The search/browsing functions. Fabric can be easily filtered by type, pattern, designer etc. My fabric pick: This nautical denim, covered in tiny anchors, for a Brumby skirt.

jesuisacroquercollage2Details: Another newcomer established this year (2015), Je suis à croquer is an online-only store in English, French, German and Italian. Fabric lines include Nani Iro, Liberty of London and Riley Blake. No patterns, but a nice little haberdashery section with bias bindings and pipings. What I loved: The name! Literally translated it means “I am chewable”… but it’s used to mean something is adorable or cute. My fabric pick: This Nani Iro double gauze – Mountain Views in blue. I’ve loved it since I first saw it and was so chuffed to find a Swiss stockist. This one is for another Southport dress.

So that’s some of my shopping for A/W 2015. How about you? Do your tastes in fabric change with the seasons or do you have more of a year-round signature style? What fabrics are you eyeing up at the moment?

Siobhan xx

P.s. You can find more sewing resources for Switzerland (plus France, the UK and now Kigali) in the Sewdirectory.

Geneva notes – Dressing up the neighbourhood

Paquis is my neighbourhood. Aside from a brief flirtation in Ferney, it is the only Geneva I have ever known. And it gets mixed reviews. It is the red light district, there is a bustling trade in narcotics, it’s where the drunks come to chill etc. On the other hand, it has great restaurants, it’s right by the lake and it generally feels a little more vibrant and a little more creative than some other Geneva neighbourhoods.

Today’s note is a case in point – a community project called Les Pâquis se rhabillent (Paquis gets dressed). Since October last year a group of urban knitters of all ages have been meeting, knitting and plotting to re-dress our neighbourhood.

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About two weeks ago we started to see signs of what they had been working on. Handrails, bollards, trees, benches – slowly and as if by magic, everyday objects were transformed by colour and texture into pieces of art.

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Saturday marked the official inauguration. We ran down to the square when we heard them coming. A parade of young and old, led by a band of jester-musicians, danced around the sites that had been decorated.

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It was raucous and joyous and wonderful.

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Siobhan xx

Geneva notes

I am going to put this out there (deep breath) – I like Geneva.

For anyone who doesn’t know, this is a controversial statement. By far the most common expat conversation you have/overhear in this town goes like this – omg Geneva is sooooo dull, sooooo boring, nothing eeeeever happens, it’s got nooooo soul. I am soooo flying to x this weekend, because really who’d want to be stuck here??

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I am guilty of having indulged in these conversations myself. Particularly when I first arrived. Because compared to London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome etc. yeah it feels kind of small, parochial even. We don’t get too many big names here. The MAMCO collection rotates pretty slowly. Geneva is not a popular stop for headline musicians. Gourmet burgers just arrived last year as the new big food movement and it is still hard to find a good vegan meal anywhere (apart from this place, which is awesome, and I’m not even vegan).

BUT – I think what I’ve learned in the years that I’ve lived here is that you’ve got to stop comparing Geneva to everywhere else, and just embrace the things it’s good at. Like the lake. Where in Paris can you float the afternoon away in a pristine lake and watch cloud animals chase each other over the alps? Nowhere, that’s where.

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I’m not saying it’s my favourite town on earth. I’m definitely not saying I want to live here forever. I’m just saying Geneva, I like you. And to switch things up a bit I thought I’d try some new posts, focusing on creative happenings of all shapes and sizes here in G-town (and the surrounding area). I’m calling them Geneva notes. Let’s see how we get on.

Siobhan xx