Monday, 12 February 2018

Fabric Shopping in Paris (and giveaway winner!)

I've recently returned from a short break in Paris during which I mentioned on Instagram that I had spent some time exploring fabric and sewing shops around the city. This prompted quite a few questions so I thought I'd do a little round up here on the blog for anyone who is planning a visit in the near future to refer back to. Paris is a great place for fabric shopping and has a wide variety of fabrics and price points. I did two little spouts of shopping; a morning in the Marais/Bastille part of town and a few hours up in Montmartre. Both were very different experiences and offered up a different kind of treat.

Le Marais & Bastille


On the Friday morning I hit the streets of Paris with a map in hand on which I had plotted a number of independent sewing shops. I'd collated this information by combing through whatever blog posts I could find about fabric shopping in the French capital. I found these posts from Katie, Tilly and Christine for Seamwork Magazine particularly useful. The shops are fairly spread out but walking between each one down the higgledy piggledy backstreets was such a lovely way to see and explore a different side to Paris. I found many other shops and eateries along the way to pop in to as well as just soaking up the beautiful architecture. The shops themselves make for such a pleasant shopping experience; well laid out and organised and with helpful staff who all spoke reasonably good English.  Almost every shop sold all kinds of crafting equipment and supplies and many stocked a healthy selection of yarn and knitting paraphernalia as well as fabric, trims, notions and patterns. One of the things I was really struck by was how many of these stores had a wide range of indie patterns and not just the French companies. These shops reminded me of places like Sew Over It, Ray Stitch and the Village Haberdashery in London.




Maison Cousu - 25 Boulevard Voltaire 75011

First stop of the day was the beautiful Maison Cousu. This spacious shop stocked a nicely curated selection of crafting supplies including some kits. The left hand side of the shop focused on knitting whilst the right housed a good amount of top quality fabrics including cottons, knits, home furnishing and some more unusual bolts. As well as the fabric they had a great choice of buttons and other notions. Everything you need to get started with a project. In the image above you can see their selection of indie patterns, all from French companies and including some children's designs. Downstairs is their Atelier Couture where they run regular sewing classes.




Entrée en Fournisseurs - 8 Rue des Francs Bourgeois 75003

Next I wandered down to Entrée en Fournissuers which I had a little trouble finding as it is tucked away in a gorgeous courtyard off of Rue de Francs Bourgeois. This is a real gem of a shop kitted out with old fashioned haberdashery cabinets and racks. The majority of the shop is filled with trimmings and buttons (and what a stunning selection of them!) but there is a small selection of fabrics at the back (mainly Liberty print cottons) and a countertop of indie sewing patterns. While you're nearby make sure to take a wander through the Place de Voges, Paris' oldest square.




Anna Ka Bazaar - 16 Rue Keller 75011

You may well have heard of the third stop on the list from other sewists visiting Paris. Anna Ka Bazaar is the most well known stockist of the popular Atelier Brunette fabric line and whilst I saw a few bolts in most of the other shops this day there was definitely the widest choice here. This was a lovely little space with a surprisingly large selection of fabrics and there was a sale on which I somehow managed to resist! I was particularly taken with the wool coatings. Along one wall was a large unit housing sewing notions and an impressive selection of french indie patterns including a couple of companies new to me. There were also a number of crafty supplies, books and kits on the left as you came in the door.


Mercerie de Charonne - 69 Rue de Charonne 75011

I hadn't put Mercerie de Charonne on my list of places to get to as I wasn't particularly looking for haberdashery and from previous reports it sounded quite small. I came across it quite by accident on the way to the next stop though and am really pleased I stopped by as it is one of those real treasure troves of a trimmings shop; packed to the rafters with everything you might need. There was also a wide ranging collection of sewing and craft books towards the back of this dinky little space.


Brin de Cousette - 2 Rue Richard Lenoir 75011

Continuing along Rue de Charonne you'll soon come across Brin de Cousette which is a lovely welcoming space with a carefully curated selection of fabrics, yarn and patterns. In fact out of all the places I visited this was the best stockist of patterns; stocking designs from the majority of the french companies and many international brands like Sewaholic, Papercut, Colette, Named and more. Around half the shop is a teaching space and there was a knitting class going on during my visit.


Malhia Kent - 19 Avenue Daumesnil 75012

After a quick bite to eat near Bastille I headed along Avenue Daumesnil, otherwise known as the Viaduc des Arts. The viaduct running along the length of this road used to carry a railway in the 19th century and now is home to the Promendade Plantée; an elevated park which is well worth a wander if you have the time. The arches of the viaduct are now home to many craft shops and workshops including Malhia Kent which is entirely unlike any of the other fabric shops I visited on my trip. They are weavers of high end fabrics for RTW, couture and furnishing and in this store sell off the roll at €30/m or coupons of varying lengths at €10/m. The weaving is incredibly creative and colourful. Fabrics to really treasure. The sizeable scraps in baskets by the counter are sold off at €1 a piece.



La Droguerie - 9-11 Rue du Jour 75001

From here I spent a bit of time wandering around the Jardin des Plantes before heading back up towards the Pompidou where I was staying. Before calling it a day I wanted to check out two more places. First up, tucked away behind Église Saint Eustache is La Droguerie. I was blown away by how beautiful this shop was with all its old fashioned wooden fittings and notions and beads lined up in jars. It is surprisingly large and mainly stocked with top quality yarn, beads and buttons but there was a nice selection of natural fibres fabrics at the back of the store.


Mokuba - 18 Rue Montmartre 75001

I accidentally stumbled across Mokuba on the way to my final stop of the day. Mokuba are manufacturers of ribbon who I have used frequently for work so I was delighted to happen upon their real life shop. The kind of ribbon they make gives a whole new meaning to the word ribbon which pleated, embroidered, braided and lace designs in all the colours of the rainbow. Through the back of the shop there was another small shop across the courtyard stocking more ribbon and other decorative bits and pieces like beads.



Lil Weasel - 1-4 Passage du Grand Cerf 75002


Lastly I just about made it in time to Lil Weasel who have a gorgeous location in one of Paris' many covered arcades. They have two shops across from one another; the smaller of the two stocking yarn and knitting patterns and the larger focusing on sewing and fabric. There was a much wider variety of fabric here than I expected and I had a hard time walking away from a mustard brocade, a beautifully soft denim and a quilted sweat-shirting. They had a large range of Liberty prints and the second biggest selection of Atelier Brunette I saw.

Montmartre


This area is more purely fabric based although there are a couple of lovely haberdasheries in amongst the fabric shops. The majority of the shops are along the Rue D'Orsel, Rue Livingstone and around the corner as it turns into Place Saint-Pierre at the base of the Sacré-Coeur. It felt like the Goldhawk Road of Paris to me but with some much bigger shops! They were much more chaotic than the shops I'd been in the previous day and often packed with rolls of fabric and coupons. Many of the shops in this area sell fabric in coupons which are 3 metre lengths at often discounted prices. This can make fabric shopping in another language a little easier as they are often labelled up and ready to buy so you don't have to ask for a specific quantity to be cut.


Marche Saint-Pierre (Dreyfuss) - 2 Rue Charles Nodier 75018

My first stop was of course the famous Marche Saint Pierre which is basically a department store of fabric. Spread across five huge floors they stock practically every fabric type known to man! From what I'd heard I was expecting to be loaded with delights when I left but didn't actually find anything I couldn't resist. Perhaps I was a little overwhlemed! I was surprised by the amount of furnishing fabrics and found the 2nd floor the best for dressmaking. The first floor had some bargains but a lot of it seemed quite low in quality with a lot of polyester. I felt similarly about the small coupon branch directly across the street; there were bargains to be had but I struggled to find anything I wanted. I did like how the tables were labelled clearly with the price and fabric content.




Tissus Reine - 3-5 Place Saint Pierre 75018

Next door is the similarly sized Tissus Reine. I much preferred this store as it felt a little more spacious and welcoming organised and the fabric seemed of better quality. I found some lovely viscose and jersey prints in particular. This was also the only place in Paris that I came across to buy big four patterns from their pattern department upstairs!


Sacrés Coupons - 3 Rue Pierre Ricard 75018

My favourite shop in this district was a tip off from Marie-Emmeline at I Am Patterns (who I am still so disappointed that I didn't get to meet up with after a technology mix up!). Sacrés Coupons is a little further down the road and has two stores next to each other; the first and smaller shop has leather and knit fabrics and the second everything else! The fabrics in here are all end of roll and you can score some designer gems! Almost everything is sold in a coupon of around three metres with the exception of some rolls at the back of the store. I really liked that each coupon was clearly labelled with length, width, price and fabric content. Some also have an additional sale label! There were some truly beautiful silks, wools and laces.


There are many, many other smaller stores along this street and a couple of the adjoining ones and I by no means ventured in to them all but here's a quick run down of those I did pop my head into. I found Frou Frou (pictured above) to be better for quilting, stocking its own range of fat quarters and sewing notions and laid out more like the independent shops from further into the centre of the city. Moline had a nice selection of fabrics mainly on the roll but a large percentage of the shop was devoted to furnishing fabric. If you're after African Wax Prints I've heard very good things about Toto, although I didn't pay a visit myself. To buy haberdashery in the area the Mercerie Saint Pierre (beind the Marche) looked good. A shop selling mainly coupons that I particularly enjoyed is one of the first you encounter on the way from the metro; Paris Tissus. Although slightly chaotic feeling the stock is well organised and labelled and there was a good variety of garment appropriate fabric.


As the shops are so busy in this area (I was there on a Saturday afternoon so probably saw it at its busiest) the staff are less available to assist than in the smaller shops elsewhere in the city. Most shops I ventured into had fabric clearly labelled with price as well as fabric content but it may help you to know some fabric names in French! Here's a brief run down of some of the most common terms:

fabric - tissu
mercerie - haberdashery
cotton - coton
wool - laine
silk - soie
polyester - polyester
viscose - viscose
linen - lin
denim - denim/jean
leather - cuir
suede - daim
acrylic - acrylique
sale - soldes (very important!)


If you're looking to buy a lot of fabric and are on the hunt for bargains I would hit the streets up by the Sacré-Coeur. If you're after a more peaceful experience and are happy to browse and perhaps treat yourself to a couple of irresistible items I would highly recommend taking your time to explore the smaller shops in other areas in the city. Either way there's no chance you'll be leaving empty handed!

So what DID I leave with you may ask...well I was fairly restrained as I wasn't in need of much and don't like to have a large stash of fabric waiting to be used. I bought a DP Studio pattern from Maison Cousu that I was excited to find in person in paper format. I treated myself to a length of gorgeous lace trim from Entrée des Fournisseurs which I am hoping to use on the cuffs and hem of a simple black top. Up in Montmartre I found just the fabric I was looking for to make a Berlin Skirt in Sacre Coupons. It is a lovely crisp cotton in Khaki green with a soft almost brushed finish on the right side. And my final purchase on the way back to the metro was a beautiful coupon of chambray in Paris Tissus. I'm not sure if it is viscose or tencel but it has the most beautiful drape and three metres is be plenty for a summer dress or jumpsuit.


Whenever I may return to Paris I'll certainly be making a second visit to most of these stores and will come prepared with a shopping list and some money saved up so I can really make the most of it next time. Do any of you have any other Parisian favourites that I missed? I'd love to discover some more next time!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for tickets to the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show. I enjoyed reading about what you were looking forward to and there were some great comments; I particularly loved that some of you liked seeing so many people in one place wearing handmade outfits! The competition closed last night and I selected the 5 winners by random number generator this morning...congratulations Rachel, Kate, Meagan, Julia and Lisa. I'll be sending you an email today to get your details for the tickets. Don't forget if you weren't successful this time you can get your tickets for £11.50 using the code DIARY18 at the checkout!

21 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Glad to hear it Meagan! Have a great time!

      Delete
  2. Thank you for this very clear review of fabric shopping in Paris. I'm planning a trip in September and can't wait to visit at least a few of these stores.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O you will have an amazing time I'm sure! They are not spread out too far so hopefully you all get a chance to visit a few

      Delete
  3. Great post! Makes me think about my visit to Pari in 2012

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Its a wonderful city isn't it?!

      Delete
  4. I didn't realise how many fabric shops were at Montmarte until I stumbled upon them on a trip a couple of years ago. My family were waiting for me so I just bought one piece from frou frou (I haven't sewn it up yet), I knew we were heading on to Lille where I could have more time to explore, but fewer shops right in the town centre ;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O is Lille good for fabric shopping too?! Maybe I will have to take a trip there next!

      Delete
  5. thank you so much for this! will use it the next time I am able to travel to Paris & will share with friends.
    Lauren

    ReplyDelete
  6. thank you so much for this! I will use it next time I visit Paris and will share with friends!

    ReplyDelete
  7. So many shops, so little time! Quite impressive. The shops, the number you were able to visit, and your willpower! What is your secret for visiting so many shops? I get lost (read stuck) in Mood for hours just overwhelmed at the choices, then purchase something lovely that I'm reluctant to use. What's your secret?
    Congratulations to the winners of the tickets to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show... Have fun ladies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Yes I did manage to get through quite a few! The ones I visited on the first day are all fairly small so easy to do quite a lot in a day. A couple of the ones up in Montmartre are a bit overwhelming like Mood but I try to be very focused either on a list of things I am looking for or just on browsing without much intention to buy. I fabric shop for a living so have got pretty good at scoping out a shop quite quickly!

      Delete
  8. What fun you had! You were Very Restrained!
    My husband keeps saying that he'd love to go to Montmartre. I'm always agreeing that it would be lovely.
    I haven't let him into the fabric shop secret.
    I just need to find someone mad enough to have my kids for a couple of days, and get my passport up to date!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thats hilarious Evie! Don't tell him before you go or he'll never agree!
      I hope you find a way to take a trip soon, its a great experience

      Delete
  9. The timing of your post is perfect - I'm heading to Paris in a month for work and I have a free day to do some hunting around the city for fabric! Thanks for your recommendations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brilliant Lucinda! A day is the perfect amount of time to explore the fabric shops. I hope you have a wonderful time

      Delete
  10. Exhausted just reading about the number of shops you visited. I think it can easily get overwhelming with too much choice. Your purchases look really classy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was quite an exhausting trip Mags, I don't even dare think about the number of miles I walked in five days!
      Totally worth it though

      Delete
  11. Reading this post reminded me how long it's been since I visited Paris - at least 7 years! I am so excited after seeing these fabulous shops that I guess it's time to plan another visit. Thanks for making it easy for me to find everything I need when I get the chance to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O yes get another visit booked it! There is so much to see and do! I hope you enjoy checking out these shops when you do

      Delete

I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!