Wednesday 29 April 2015

Toile de Jouy, Antique textiles and ticking! ... an interview with Sallie Ead

Toile is a fabric, from the French word meaning "linen cloth" or "canvas", particularly cloth or canvas for painting on. The word "toile" can refer to the fabric itself, a test garment (generally) sewn from the same material, or a type of repeated surface decoration (traditionally) printed on the same fabric. The term entered the English language around the 12th century.

When I went to the Vintage Bazaar the other weekend in Frome there were so many stalls and I named some.  Others I could not get near to when I was there to take photos without hands and heads in the way and there was one I wanted to save to tell you about on its own.  This is Antique Textiles and Costume owned by Sallie & James Ead.

They specialize in textiles from the 17th Century through to the 20th Century.  Some of their textiles are so old they are block printed and they are stunning pieces of art in their own right.  It is wonderful to be able to add a piece of fabric to my work that is that old and precious.  Contained behind non reflective glass to be preserved forever.

Whenever you find these lovely people and their stall there is so many goodies to tempt the antique fabric addict to.  The one thing I love about it is that Sallie always has information on all her fabrics.  Little pieces of fabric or toile are in little clear packs clearly marked with the date and what is, as well as the price. Larger pieces always have a tag on doing the same.  You know what you are purchasing and when you get it home and do not go to use it for a month maybe, there it is in plain site what you purchased and its century of birth!... This is my go to couple for Toile de Jouy and exquisite early block printed pieces.  I trust Sallie with her dating and you will see why! I was thrilled that she consented to talk to us about her textile knowledge.

I spoke to Sallie about her love of textiles and this is what she said:

I have always had a great passion for textiles which started at school in general sewing lessons, where I would do my friends sewing homework in return for her doing my French homework ... a good swap until the exams!

Then I studied textiles at Bath achieving an honours degree in fine art textiles, working with surface design and woven textiles especially batik which was my main study area for four years.

After my degree I went on to teach art design and textiles in secondary level, so all of my life I have worked in some way with design and fabric.

My business started about 20 years ago when I used to have a stand at Portobello every Saturday and then going to fairs on a Sunday selling mainly at that period pre 1940's clothing.  I began over the years becoming far more interested in very early textiles and costume and have a good collection of 17th and 18th Century fabrics and clothing in my personal collection.  The look of my business began to change as this fascination with early fabrics and production methods increased and I do now really specialise in this field.
 Selling tiny scraps of fabrics for design purposes and re use right up to large panels of top end textiles.  I love the idea that these pieces can be re used and a tiny scrap can find its way into another project and new life.
Serious pieces I have sold to couture designers and the important museums in this country and the States.

My husband works with me now not just carrying the bags in but also on the research side as his historic knowledge of this country is very good and that is important when looking at a textile and why it was used at a particular period in time and how it was produced.

I sell at the textile society fairs in London and Manchester, have a regular pitch at  Frock Me in Chelsea, the Salvage magazine fairs and all the IACF fairs, Bath decorative and Cotswold fairs run by Sue Ede, Frome Vintage Bazaar and one of my favourites the Shepton Flea market, so we are very busy all year long.

I have a website.  A shop on called Lucia Collectables and I use Ebay frequently.

I am happy to answer questions and my email address is

This is a truly lovely lady with remarkable knowledge.  I love buying pieces from her not only because they are beautiful and full of history but that she can tell you about the fabric and to me this is very important.

I would like to thank Sallie for sharing her story with us and I hope you all found it as fascinating as I did.  Sallie has kindly given her email so if any of you have a question for her than please email her directly and she will get back to you.  She is a busy lady and could be at a fair but within in a few days she will answer your query.

Well I am off to my stitching room now and I am playing catch up this week.  The weather has not been great again so its back on with the lights and listen to the rain on the window whilst stitching away.

Have a great day and Happy Stitching!


  1. Thank you for the lovely article and taking time to write about us. I am always happy to answer any questions about textiles
    It is always lovely to see Sarah as she is so full of enthusiasm .

    1. Thank you Sallie... and thank you once again on agreeing to this little interview. I am thrilled with the fabrics that I purchased from you at the Vintage Bazaar and hope to see you again very soon.
      Sarah x

  2. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. genuine leather computer bag