One of the reasons that I love reading costume blogs is because I am always searching for new materials to work with. Yes, I know that my closets are overflowing with fabric and sequins in all shapes and sizes, but I can somehow never find the perfect material for that costume project I’m about to start. Scouring the internet for fabrics, rhinestones, sequins and other items is still one of my favorite pastimes.
I have been a bit jealous of American costumers who have this amazing chain store called ‘Jo Ann’s’. In The Netherlands, the fabric stores are far and inbetween. However, I amincredibly lucky that I live in the city that has the oldest weekly fabric market in the country. In 1600, the city counsel permitted a weekly market in the Breestraat and Begijnhof and it has been there ever since. As a bonus it is a fairly large market and I can also buy notions, curtain fabric, leather and foam. The market is called ‘De Lapjesmarkt’ and held in the historic center of Utrecht, every Saturday between 8.00-13.00. My favorite time to visit is between 9.00-10.00 as it can be quite busy. As with all stores, the assortment of fabric changes with the seasons. The city of Utrecht made a rather obscure post about the market on their website. I highly recommend reading this post about the market on Happy Offerings for more background details about the history of the market.
The market is heaven for bellydancers. I often find what I was looking for amd if I don’t, I go home with a different piece of fabric that is even better suited for what I had in mind. January and the start of February are excellent for fabric shopping, as the annual celebration before the start of Lent is in the second week of February. According to custom, people dress up in whatever costume they fancy (much like Halloween, but without the scary part and with lots of beer for the dressed up adults). Many costumes are made by people and the fabric markets brings them a steady supply of satin and glitterdot.
I usually stop at the stall with undied cotton in all kinds of weights. I use this fabric to make belt bases, straps for bra’s and reinforcing bra cups. It also comes in handy for making table cloths or basic banners for events. All prices are in euro’s and there is a fair amount of discount fabric to be found. Several stalls with designer fabrics are more expensive, always inquire before falling in love with that lovely Italian silk that will set you back 60 euro per meter.
I also like to search through the fabric with sequins. When I started out making costumes, sequinned fabric was rare, handmade and expensive. Now, the marker is filled with machine made sequined fabric. Buy one meter, cover your basic bra and belt and you’re costume is almost done. Amazing stuff.
Though I rarely buy ribbons, trims and tape, I enjoy looking at what is available and see what’s new. There is a lot of trim for sale that can be used in bellydance costumes. Some of my students made costumes by buying a couple of meters of trim and using it instead of beading. With the crystals and acrylic jewels attached to the ribon, it looks great on stage and is fairly fast to use. I really want to buy a couple of meters of rhinestone trim but haven’t thought of a good project yet. I admire them, breathe a heavy sigh and walk on.
Let out your inner wildebeast and go crazy on the animal print fabric, real leather or pleather. Fabric prints are also available at other stalls, selling knit fabric.
I am a big fan of the stall that sells felt per meter in different weights. I am currently experimenting with using it as a belt base, thus reducing the time I need to create a belt base from layers of fabric reinforced with stitching. Felt is called ‘Vilt’ in Dutch, hence the sign on the right.
And ofcourse bias tape in all prints and colors, buttons, thread, needles and other notions are available at several seperate market stalls.
I am not showing you what I bought for myself during my last visit but I will soon post updates about my current costuem project. If you ever find yourself in The Netherlands and are looking for special fabric, come down to the market and be amazed.