A Very French Affair

Not that sort of affair – as if I’d tell – but one where I have made a dress from a French indie designer and will be wearing it – weather permitting – to the biggest flea market in the whole of France this weekend and eating copious amounts of moules frites.

Deer and Doe Reglisse Dress (2)

 Lille was only known to me before as a train station where one would change trains if travelling to Disneyland Paris from the U.K. on the Eurostar but it is also host, on the first weekend of September every year, to a huge, ginormous flea market which usually sees between 2 and 3 million visitors thronging the streets in search of interesting antiques,  retro home decor, vintage clothing and everything in between.  The streets are closed to traffic and there are all sorts of vendors there from people clearing out their houses to big antique dealers.  It is the largest in France and there will be around 10,000 stalls – should keep us busy.

Braderie Lille

I’ve fancied going there since I heard about it a few years ago and now I have a willing accomplice who is coming with me.  We are actually flying up as we are in the south of France and have already started panicking about the luggage allowance –  2kg in the hold and a 55x40x20cm cabin bag allowance – how will we manage when we just know we are going to want to bring back much more?  The alternative would have been to drive up but that would take around 10 hours and add another day on to either side of our trip so we abandoned that idea.  The hotels fill up really quickly but we found an apartment to stay in  which is right in the centre of the activity – – the owner is fleeing the place for the duration!

Mussel Mountain Lille

Apparently moules frites must be eaten and the restaurants have a competition to see who can build the biggest mussel shell mountain outside of their establishment.

We will arrive on the Friday and settle in ready for the onslaught on Saturday.  Apparently, making use of the streets being closed to traffic, a half marathon is run through the city on the Saturday morning – we won’t be participating in this needless to say as I haven’t got any room in my case for unnecessary things like running shoes and lycra shorts.  Shame, but there you are.    The market goes through the night and all through Sunday and I expect to be thoroughly exhausted by the time we arrive back on Monday afternoon not least because my friend who is coming with me is French and takes no prisoners with the speed of her speech so I will be suffering from French Language Overload a condition none the less real just because I’ve made it up.

Thinking ahead about treading the streets of a city shoulder to shoulder with a couple of million other people, I have chosen my armoury.

Comfy shoes – 3 pairs

I have heard much about these Swedish cloggy things and understand that they are very comfortable and made for people who are on their feet all day.  We will see.  I hope it is true as I’ve bought two  pairs – the other pair has higher heels and a completely wooden sole.  They are not my ‘go to’ style of choice if I’m honest but, on the day, comfort will be paramount.  I will also put my beat up pair of Birkenstocks in as they are very light and I can carry them around in case I need to change halfway through the day.

Lotta of Stockholm Soft Sole Clogs

Bag on Wheels 

Oh look it matches the shoes.  I hope this isn’t too far down the road towards an old lady bag in tartan with a rigid handle but it’s a cabin bag that I can also use as a flea market shopping bag.  It was designed specially to fit Ryanair’s cabin bag size restrictions and, although I’m not flying with them, it suits the other economy carriers too.  I like the way the manufacturers have printed the dimensions on the front of the bag as if to say  ‘so there!’ to the check-in staff.   The plan is to carry it around the market over my shoulder until I can bear the weight no longer and then wheel it.


which brings me to

Portable Weighing Scales

To weigh any prospective purchase if it looks like it  might take up too much of my allowance, and to ensure my suitcase, which will be stuffed to the gills, doesn’t go over 20 kilos.

Bum Bag (or Fanny Bag *snigger, snigger* for those of you across the pond)

To keep the thieving buggers, who are bound to be there preying on the crowds, out of my cash.  This, after my mother had her shoulder bag split open from behind and her purse stolen whilst alone in a Spanish market – she’s 82, have they no shame?  (Just a mini rant there, sorry).

To save space in my case on the way out (it will be packed with bubble wrap), I will wear jeans and just take a couple of tops.  However, if we venture out for our banquet of Moules Frites in the evening, and it is warm, I will wear my new dress that I finished yesterday.

Deer and Doe Reglisse Dress 1

This is the Deer and Doe Reglisse dress.  Deer and Doe are a French indie design company so it was good to be able to buy ‘local’ and get free postage -a rare thing in France unless you first spend gazillions of euros.

As you know, I will do anything to avoid buttons, zips and other fiddling about but, in order to do so, I generally have to cut on the bias and buy multi metres of fabric – this dress takes around 3 metres – but I love the resulting swishy skirt.   I made the dress according to the pattern without any alterations.   I’d already made a blouse from the pattern using a hack from another blogger so I knew what size to make.  However, the pattern calls for cotton chambray or similar and I thought it would look good in a drapier fabric so, instead of putting bias binding round the hem I did a rolled hem on the overlocker to avoid it looking too ‘weighted down’.  Apart from that, no changes.

Deer and Doe Reglisse Dress 3

I think this is a dress I will get a lot of wear out of.  It’s comfortable and can be dressed up or down (usually down in my case!) and I think it will be ideal for taking this weekend as my one and only ‘frock’ as, if the sun doesn’t shine, it will look fine with a thin jacket or cardi over the top.

A bientôt .

, , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by PendleStitches on September 4, 2014 - 11:05

    Your dress is stunning….perfect for an evening of moules frites! I’m beyond green with envy at your plans. I adore Lille at the best of times, but I’ve longed to visit this flea for quite a few years now. Maybe when the kids are a little bit older and we can bribe grandparents to babysit for a weekend….
    Have a fabulous time. Lots of pics, pretty please.

    PS…I do hope your Mum is ok. What is wrong with people?

    • #2 by tialys on September 4, 2014 - 12:44

      Thank you! Deer and Doe’s stuff is lovely if geared towards the young 😦 but it’s nothing a bit of hem lengthening and de-frilling won’t fix. As for Lille, I’ll let you know any survival tactics I learn in case you can persuade the grandparents. I am cutting my luggage down to a bare minimum in order to have more space to bring things back so I won’t be taking my camera but I will have my phone so, if I see anything worth snapping, I’ll use that.
      Mum is fine – luckily she had left her passport and the bulk of her money in the hotel room safe so they didn’t get much – it was just the shock. Thank you for asking.

  2. #3 by katechiconi on September 4, 2014 - 11:30

    You could take one of those dreadful woven plastic enormous bags that you see people lugging laundry around in. Fill it up with loveliness and then mail or courier it to yourself at home instead of trying to squeeze it into your carry on luggage. Finally, and this may be very Australian of me, don’t forget a hat and sunglasses. Nothing worse than a stonking headache after spending all day in the hot sunshine. Looking forward to seeing what you come back with.

    • #4 by tialys on September 4, 2014 - 12:49

      Well, the problem is that we are flying back on Monday and need to leave the town around 9ish so we won’t have time to pack things up and sort out a courrier. I am sort of using this visit as an experiment to see whether it would be worth taking up a van and a porter (aka Mr. Tialys) next year. This time I think we’ll just do lots of ooohing and aaahing and soaking up the ambience and the mussels in their marinière sauce. I have sunglasses at the ready and also a foldaway mac as I like to be prepared for all eventualities. I expect to be shattered by the end of it!

  3. #5 by rosealys on September 4, 2014 - 13:02

    Ooh I’m so jealous, although The Boy does suffer enough from me dragging him into small flea markets in little Swiss towns as it is. I think I’d need to find an accomplice as well. I do tend to get into a semi-panic when I have limited luggage space and am surrounded by old pretty things…
    Love the dress, a friend just gave me a couple of Deer and Doe patterns for my birthday, intermediate, and I’m only really a beginner, but I’ll muscle ahead with them anyway, just as soon as I’ve finished this urgent jumper…

    • #6 by tialys on September 4, 2014 - 13:22

      I have been over to your blog and seen your makes and I’m sure you would be very capable of coping with these patterns. They are also very geared to your sort of age. How’s your French? Deer & Doe do a sewalong on their blog which might help through some of the trickier bits.
      I love that you are making an ‘urgent jumper’.

      • #7 by rosealys on September 4, 2014 - 18:28

        My French is reasonable, at least with the help of Google translate. It’s somewhere in my subconscious, the German pushed it back there. But unfortunately I don’t think there are sewalongs for the Airelle and Belladone, which are the two I have. I have trawled the internet for them and not been successful. I’ll try and make it up in some cheap fabric first, make a hash of it, and then do it again in nicer fabric, doing something called “learning from my mistakes,” which I’ve heard of, but never been very good at…
        It is urgent, it’s a birthday present for my father! 🙂

  4. #8 by lovelucie1 on September 4, 2014 - 13:50

    I LOVE your dress and I love your planning! Moules frites are my absolute fav and how lovely to have an accomplice. I have no plans that match yours this weekend but I console myself with the thought of finally confirming our honeymoon.;)

    • #9 by tialys on September 4, 2014 - 17:38

      Well, that’s definitely something to look forward to Lucie. Will it be this year?

  5. #10 by Jan Marriott on September 5, 2014 - 00:08

    I believe Haley from Thehopetree ( expat leader) goes too, and she lives in Strasbourg.
    Love the dress, just up my line and looks very comfy.
    Don’t buy too much!!!

    • #11 by tialys on September 11, 2014 - 07:21

      Drat! I should have thought about that and arranged to meet up for a coffee or something.

  6. #12 by Lynn on September 10, 2014 - 19:07

    That sounds like a very exciting trip where you will be spoiled for choice. You are wise to treat is as a reccy for next year, and I do hope Mr Tialys will be obliging in playing his part. My own porter would not be ! I am so envious of your commenters and you because you can whiz up all these fantastic clothes and even adapt the patterns. I cannot even do the simplest thing on my machine like sew a straight line on a cushion cover without snapping needles or wodges of cotton appearing on the underside etc. All those afternoons in Needlework were wasted as I took my projects home for mum to whiz through on her ancient Singer treadle machine. Somehow the teacher never caught on that I wasted two hours in her class unpicking what I’d done and appearing at grading time with something perfect.

    • #13 by tialys on September 11, 2014 - 07:20

      If it’s any consolation Lynn, I had absolutely no interest in needlework at school and my mum wasn’t much good at it either. In fact, my needlework teacher called me ‘gormless’ and I had to go home and look it up in the dictionary.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: