Friday, June 10, 2016

French Needle Paris 2016 - Day 1

On May 23, we woke up to more rain. And cold >.< I had packed my trench coat for Toronto because it was supposed to be cold. Well thank God I had it because we were not expecting this weather.

We started our tour that day at La Maison Bosc. This shop has been in business for a long time. They have dressed judges, Chief Justices and lawyers since 1845. The current owner (seen below) bought into the business 8 years ago. They do a good steady business and even sell robes intrernationnaly.

They had some old lace on display that we got the chance to look at.

The main even for the day was our visit of the shop Sajou. We'd all been waiting with eagerness to visit this store. I love browsing their website. The brand itself is very old. It was established in 1828 but disappeared by 1954. The current owner of the brand is Frédérique Crestin-Billet. She used to work in the publishing industry but always had a passion for haberdashery, collecting old pattern albums and thread books. In 2004, she realized that the brand patent had expired and she decided to relaunch it with products exclusively made in France. There is an interview here with Frédérique where she speaks more about the story of Sajou, but it is in French.

She spent a lot of time on defining the brand. Keeping the original logo, but designing all the labels, boxes, ribbons to go with it. They even have this miniature of the shop. All the little pieces and cabinets are available to buy so you can build your own shop.

One wall was covered with all the threads that they sell.

The pamphlets that the original Sajou sold, have been brought back and are available again.

Some buttons.

But I think the thing Sajou is most known for are their scissors.

I've always had my eye on the red set, but it's always out of my budget. One day...

 Frédérique brought in some of the items that she has collected over the years.

Here is Frédérique holding up a pattern that she had designed to celebrate it's 10 year anniversary. You can read more about each element of the pattern here and here (in English ^_^).

She also has a pattern that was designed to represent the Oberkamf Manufactory which creates the Toile de jouy that stitchers enjoy. You can get a closer look at the pattern here.

After a talk with Frédérique (where we found out some very interesting/disturbing news about DMC: seems that DMC stranded cotton and pearl cotton are no longer made in France, but in Tunisia and Indonesia) and some shopping, we broke for lunch at Le Champollion.

And then came back for a class at Sajou. The class was taught by Carole Magne who in addition to teaching whitework, she also teaches ribbon embroidery, gold work, Beauvais and Luneville.

For this class we were stitching this lovely little rose bud.

Carole spoke only French so Frédérique was there to translate for us. The class was okay. I think it was too simple for the group as most of us were experienced, I think we would have preffered a class that was more representative of Sajou.

Also we had some difficulty with the thread that was given to us. We were stitching with Laine St-Pierre, which is a great thread but not suited for this type of embroidery at all. I later spoke with the teacher and asked her about it and she had explained that normally this type of whitework would be stitched with DMC broder special. However since we were at Sajou, she had to teach it with Sajou thread. Which is fair, but we had all vowed that as soon as we went home we would rip out what we'd stitched and restart :P

At the end we took this group picture. I think this is the only group picture we took the entire trip. From left to right: Susan, Debi, Carolyn, Joyce Anne, Darcy, Kristeen, Donna and Karine (hiding behind Frédérique), myself, Kathleen, Lydia with Lisa hiding behind her.

Dinner was at a tapas restaurant, nothing to write about really. So I'll just end it here for today.