Dr. Jeff is clearly a Renaissance man; he is a senior lecturer in anatomy and pathology at Australia’s The University of Adelaide, music graduate, opera aficionado, and designs and sews astonishing men’s formal dress jackets from unusual textiles. He bought an assortment of fabrics from Britex Fabrics during a visit to San Francisco, and tailored these jackets. He says, “The excitement of the opening night and the Baroque opera Divos, the castrati, inspires this collection of flamboyant and extravagant textile art and music installation. My art takes an ‘iconic’ item of male clothing (a suit jacket) and entertains the stereotype of masculine image, constructing jackets with opulent fabrics which are often entirely unsuitable for traditional tailoring techniques. I have to ‘audition’ my fabrics for the ‘roles’ they will play, before I can begin to cut and sew. The ‘roles’ are inspired by the personae and art of the extraordinary baroque opera divos, the castrati. Some jackets are extremely painful and difficult to make. Some fabrics are demanding and behave like impudent superstars. Some projects end in disaster with the fabric and concept unable to meet in the performance of the finished item! Whether an opening night or stage production, what we wear and how and why we choose our clothes is a dramatic statement on life’s stage. Our clothing is a personal, anthropological and political statement about how we wish to be known. Personal identity is constructed as we look, and are looked at, by each other. This is highly gendered in our society, and the rules and morals which underpin this glancing are not always clear cut.” You can see more of his work at Opera Night Couture.
Category Archive: Made by You
I was called onto the first floor a few weeks ago to see this amazing evening gown made of Britex Fabrics’ silk crepe de chine that Wesley designed and sewed. Both creative and intellectual, he is a mathematician, fashion designer, and sewist. We were much taken with the glittering bandolier of silk sewing pins. He said, “One night, while pinning the fabric pieces together, I dropped a box of 500 silk pins on the floor. That gave me the idea to incorporate the pins onto the dress, so I bought a couple more boxes of silk pins and attached over a thousand of them in parallel fashion onto the shoulder strap. This move created a sense of dangerous beauty– just what I needed. Nicknamed “midnight,” this mysterious dress is the final piece in my “Phases of the Day” couture collection. I designed it in the Greek style using my original pattern and created it from Gucci silk crepe de chine. The entire process took over 90 hours. This dress was custom made for a model”, however Wesley also does custom work. Online Solid and Sheer Silk fabric categories are on sale through Monday, September 30th -
We love how great ideas grow! First came Max the pug, then came an adorable Andy Warhol influenced portrait of Max, and last came a chair upholstered in home decorating fabrics from Britex Fabrics. Kim sent us this photo Max with sitting on his namesake chair. Kim says, “Notice the picture on the wall behind the chair…I had that made from a photograph of our dog Max a few years ago. When I saw the fabric in your store I (understandably) had to have it. I recovered the chair and here is the completed project with the fabric’s namesake. I love your shop and will be back whenever I am in the city. Thanks again.” This bow-licious home decorating fabrics is available on Britex Fabrics’ 2nd floor, via email at email@example.com, or by phone at 415-392-2910. Each pug square is 4 1/5″, so the minimum order is 1/8 yard. Content 75% cotton and 25% polyester. $49.99 per yard/55″ wide
Every August, Britex Fabrics is deluged with Burners buying fabrics to make spectacular garments and decorations for Burning Man, and every year we wait on them wistfully, knowing that Britex will be once again left behind. Not this year! Pink brought a stack of Britex Fabrics’ postcards with her to Burning Man for art projects! ‘Tis clear that Pink has heard the 3rd floor adage that everything goes better with fringe. All manner of swingin’ fringe is available on Britex Fabrics’ 2nd floor, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 415-392-2910.
The creative and marvelous Emily works at Britex, and made this delightful, delicious, and de-loverly frock from Liberty of London cotton lawn. Liberty collaborated with Hello Kitty to make the Apple Tree Hello Kitty design. Apple Tree was a design produced in 1934 featuring one of Kitty’s favorite foods! Emily sells this at her Etsy shop, DevonRose. She says that this is “A beautiful “back to school” dress. Available in sizes 12m all the way up to 6Y” It is obvious from this photo that Devon is clearly ready for reading, writing, and arithmetic! This Liberty of London Apple Tree Hello Kitty fabric is available on Britex Fabrics’ 2nd floor, or by phone at 415-392-2910.
When we blearily arrived at Britex this morning, we found Precious Cargo, Empress 35 of Sacramento worriedly waiting outside for us to open. She needed tulle for the 11am funeral celebration for José Sarria at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, so naturally we let her in early, cut a length of tulle for Ms. Cargo, and sent her and her companion on their way. Mr. José Sarria, also known as Empress José I, left exceedingly specific fashion requests for his funeral service; female titleholders from his Imperial Court were requested to wear “black/dark full length (understated) mourning attire, crowns, shoulder length veils covering both crowns and one’s face” along with “black gloves (opera length if wearing short sleeves).” We’re tickled pink to hear that Empress José I will be buried in a plot next to San Francisco’s self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States, Joshua Norton, who died in 1880. Sarria was the first openly gay man to run for office when he ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961, founded the Tavern Guild (the first gay business association in the United States), and the Imperial Court System, one of the oldest and largest gay organizations in the world, which is still in function today. The City of San Francisco renamed a section of 16th Street in Sarria’s honor. We love San Francisco; we are pleased that we were able to assist Ms. Cargo and play the tiniest part in honoring José Sarria!
Ellen sent us this picture of her and her husband at the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery’s Historical Ball at the McDonald Mansion in Santa Rosa (the mansion was used for filming exterior scenes in Pollyanna – starring Hayley Mills. It is a stately Victorian and absolutely spectacular!) She told us, “I’d bought an antique lace ball gown at the Sonoma County Museum’s de-acquisitioning sale a few years ago, and brought it into Britex to figure out how to re-fashion it to fit me (the original owner of the gown was at least a foot short than I, and half my weight!) The original gown was of unusual cotton lace over silk – and the silk was in shreds. I took apart the lace and brought it into Britex. Douglas helped me choose just the right satin for the foundation of the gown. Many months later, the photo is the finished product! I rate visiting Britex up there with visiting Disneyland – and I am a major DL fan! I especially value the excellent customer service from staff who really know what they are selling. Thank you!!!” We are amazed at the magnificent job she did with this gown – and are thoroughly taken with the joy and charm that Ellen and her husband radiate.
Melody sent us the photos of her new quilt, the Fashionista Crazy Quilt. She says, “This Fashionista Crazy Quilt was a two year project completed by Melody Chan Doss in 2013. Members of the San Francisco Quilt Guild (SFQG) pieced 19 friendship blocks for this quilt from original theme material provided by Melody. They returned the pieced blocks after a year and Melody spent the next year embellishing each block individually before piecing them together with border, binding, and back. It is a unique quilt, never to be duplicated exactly. The center six blocks are decidedly more red than the balance of the White, Black, Red, and Gray color motif. Hope this provides some ideas for your own creative projects. Charlie Wambeke’s beautiful photography made this quilt come alive through his images presented here. This Crazy Quilt is a tribute to fashion; to my mother who is a former factory seamstress, and to Mrs. Lucy Spector who is the founder of Britex Fabrics where I have worked for 34 years, and who opened my eyes to fashion.” And of course, much of the trims and buttons are available on the 3rd floor of Britex Fabrics!
Armin sent us this photo of a model wearing an exquisite one shouldered evening gown made of cable knit lace fabric from Britex Fabrics. Made by The Factory by The Evans Group, this couture gown is just one of six different styles in The Factory’s Custom Design collection. We love the combination of tailored cable knit, sensuous cling, and understated warm creamy color – perfect for warm summer nights and into the cooler evenings of fall.
Paula emailed us photos of this elegant full-length evening frock that she made from silk bought at Britex Fabrics. She says, “I was very much influenced by the watching of Downton Abbey as I designed this dress, with large sleeves, scarf neck, right skirt, high waist, semi-fitted. The print has a touch of Japanese flavor, which was also common in that period. I found the dress to be perfect to wear during formal evenings in a recent cruise; the turquoise matched perfectly with the sea, and the pinkish color matched the sunset!” This dress is perfect for a romantic moonlit dance…try dancing the sliding and poetical Castle Walk to The Castle House Rag!