Back in October when I went to Quilt Market with Jacqueline and Chris of Soak, we were told about an awesome antique show with a textile show happening at the same time in Massachusetts. We decided right then and there that a road trip was in order to check it all out. Somehow, it all came together and last week we piled into Chris’ car and drove stateside. It’s about an eight hour drive to Sturbridge, MA where we were staying. Of course, as soon as we crossed the border we made a beeline for Target which added about two hours to our travel time.
The Sturbridge Vintage Fashion & Textile Show is a one day event that precedes the Brimfield extravaganza. Photography is discouraged during this show, so I don’t have any photos. Anyone into vintage clothing, accessories and textiles would love this show. I tended to gravitate towards the utilitarian and military items. I found a lot of inspiration in the army bags, old newspaper carrier bags and super vintage workers denim (some pairs were $3900!). I truly wish I had photos of those things, but I made some sketches for future reference. What we noticed right away was that the show was crawling with fashion and textile designers looking for inspiration for upcoming collections. These teams of designers worked their way through the show, expertly snatching up bags full of items as they went along. After all that looking I picked up a small piece of vintage navy lace for a future dress. I was saving myself for the big event the next day.
Brimfield is a week-long outdoor antique show that is fields and fields long. You have to see it to believe it. The show is so large, that you really need more than one day to go through it all properly. It opens very early in the morning. When we arrived just after 6am, some of the field parking lots were almost full! It was a really frosty morning. For the first couple hours walking around, I wore my gloves and worried about my toes. (Next year: two pairs of socks) The sheer volume of stuff was incredible. Anything you might collect, there was tons of it. Again, the place was crawling with design teams, set designers, and interior designers snapping up the good stuff in bulk. Everywhere you went, there were piles of stuff with SOLD signs on it being held for Anthropologie, Polo, Urban Outfitters, etc by 7am in the morning.
It was kind of heavenly to walk around outdoors and just look at all that amazing old stuff and the people watching was just as good. Apparently at least one of the Olsen twins was there. Brimfield is a huge production. There are outdoor ATMs installed all over the place (How convenient!), young boys walking around with dolly’s that will porter your purchases to your car, and stands that will handle the shipping of your goods home for you. Not to mention the food. Good food too! We had a Pilgrim sandwich (roast turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce) and kettle corn. Delicious. Next year I’m making a stop at the pizza fried dough vendor.
I tried to be very wise about my purchases. I opted to not buy lots of little things – wooden vintage spools, old tins, kitchenware – they were all so tempting. I focused on making a substantial purchase. Keeping in mind that we only had a car eliminated a lot of larger items. In the end I found these huge industrial cast iron table legs that come apart to transport flat. I’ve been shopping around for a large table for the backyard at the workroom, so these were absolutely perfect. I’m going to look into making a huge table top with old grey barn board for it. (hello outdoor classes!) I also picked up ten wooden parts boxes for displaying/storing things around the shop. Jacqueline and Chris picked up some really great vintage quilts, hats, and side tables. I think we all could have bought much much more.
In lieu of buying everything I wanted to, I took lots of photos and posted them all here.
We have decided this should definitely be a yearly tradition. Next year we’re doing two days at Brimfield and driving a van! CAN’T. WAIT.