August 2017

Crazy about cretonne…..

I’ve been having a bit of a love affair. It’s been going on for years. I’ve tried to stop but the pull is just too strong……put a bolt of bold, beautiful Egyptian cretonne in front of me and I’m lost.

This heavyweight cotton fabric translates so well into finished products; it’s perfect for bags, purses and pillows and over the years we’ve made dresses, slippers, coats, picnic rugs and dressing gowns - even a chair or two.

Traditionally a ‘baladi’ fabric used for upholstering the large mattresses and pillows favoured in the Egyptian countryside, cretonne is made by public sector factories who continue to use designs which originated in the mid 20th century, lending the fabric a vintage feel. The prints are bold and the colours usually vibrant - it’s a bit like English chintz on speed.

On buying trips to Egypt I invariably go on a cretonne hunt. Great excitement when a ‘new’ design pops up or an old favourite is rediscovered, but in Cairo’s changing landscape the large government emporiums like Sednaoui, Salon Vert and Omar Effendi which were rich grounds are gradually closing. This makes the hunt more exciting but gives my heart palpitations…..

Some examples of why I’m in love…