Madame Mireille

"What do you think of this?" asked Madame Mireille, digging into a cardboard box. She pulled out a handful of "passementerie." Pompoms of rose-colored sink spilled over her fingers with the suppleness of a stream of water.

I had saved panels of old curtains from the Chateau. Made of heavy cotton sateen, they had faded to a rich rose color -- and now I thought they would be a perfect for a bedroom. One of our sons is getting married in December. And a bride at Courtomer must have a very special chamber!

Madame Mireille shares my love of fabrics. She shook her head over the old curtains, then began straightening them out, smoothing the old pleats. She held up the trim. It was a perfect match.

"I rescued this trim from an old "mercerie." The woman who owned it was retiring, and she didn't think anyone would want this -- it's faded from the sun." Mireille and I immediately tut-tutted. The patina of the old silk was beautiful. The quality of the workmanship that had gone into knotting and tying the fringe was exquisite.

She showed me how she would repiece the panels and resew the pleats.
"Like this," she said, showing me a silk curtain she was stitching for another client.

I left my cherished curtains panels in Madame Mireille's capable hands, full of anticipation for a new bride's bedroom at Chateau de Courtomer.

Le vrai artisanat français. Madame Destremon de Courtomer conjugue couleur, étoffe, et qualité de travail...pour l'embellisement de la nouvelle chambre de mariée au château de Courtomer.

—Elisabeth

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