An Unexpected Excursion: Mill Outlet Village

My husband and I went on an unexpected excursion today.

The morning started with a doctor’s appointment for a routine checkup. Everything went well, or almost everything. My blood pressure was ridiculously high, much higher than it ever is at home. High enough that they had me sign a waiver stating that I knew it could be dangerous. They measured again before I left, and it was even higher.

When we got home, we measured it ourselves, out of curiosity and a little concern. It was still high, but the bottom number had dropped by about twenty points. This isn’t the first time this has happened, though usually not to the same degree. I think there’s a serious case of white coat hypertension going on, but we’ll definitely keep an eye on my readings over the next few months.

My husband left for the office, and I sat down to catch up on my daily blog reading and do a critique for an online writer’s group I belong to. Done and done. I washed up the dishes and started some lunch.

When my husband came home for lunch, he told me that a friend of ours needed a ride to the airport and asked if I’d like to come along. Well, sure! (The friend had a ride to the airport arranged, but his friend’s car broke down before they could pick him up, necessitating a last-minute change of plans.)

After we dropped our friend off, we continued on to a place called Mill Outlet Village, since we were already most of the way there.

Mill Outlet Village sells decorator and upholstery fabrics, as well as a variety of related goods such as leather, upholstery foam, bulk sewing notions, trim, and occasional factory seconds of sheets, towels, and washcloths. It’s always fun just to look around and see what they have, and if you’re interested in historical tailoring, like my husband is, they’re a veritable treasure trove.

Almost as soon as we walked in, my husband spotted a table with large leather remnants. I had fun sorting through them, feeling the different weights and textures while my husband described the colors to me. He ended up with a piece of buttery-soft white leather for a future project (Men’s Renaissance gloves, if you’re curious.) and we moved on.

We checked out a bin of leather scraps (too small to be useful) and a rack with whole hides (way out of our price range today).

Next up were a couple of tables of upholstery remnants. Most of the pieces were several yards–maybe not enough for a couch or set of furniture, but often plenty for a nice piece of clothing, and frequently suitable for various historic periods.

Once again, I had fun stroking the velvets and brocades while my husband described them to me. He was very taken by a green and black brocade, and we found two pieces of velvet, maroon and cream, that would have made a lovely Spanish surcoate–a sleeveless overdress with a high collar and cap sleeves worn by some ladies during the Elizabethan era. Mine has gone missing, and I’d dearly love to replace it. But we weren’t shopping for fabric today, so we left the pieces for other buyers and kept moving.

There were some hanging bolts of fabric that would have been lovely for Elizabethan finery, and some brocades that would have suited well for Victorian outfits. We discussed the possibility of making Steampunk outfits, but there’s really nowhere around here to wear such things.

A helpful clerk directed us to display samples of nice shirt-weight linen, but at $18 a yard, we declined to order any. We’ll keep on scoping out local thrift stores for tablecloths and the like.

In the end, the only thing we bought was the leather, and the final tally was just over twenty bucks. Not bad for an afternoon’s entertainment and materials for a future project!

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