Saturday, 8 March 2014

Paris - and fabric shopping!

So my lovely husband (vom alert!) arranged a surprise trip for my birthday last month. Except he accidentally told me beforehand. But that was actually great, as we were going to PARIS!

So of course, the first thing I did was look up where the fabric shops are. Oh yeah. Melissa and Isabelle have great guides, so my own plan was based on these. We were only there for two nights, and given we had lots of friends to see (plus, even though it was my birthday, I didn't want to drag the husband around fabric shops tooooo long) I only visited a few of the shops around Montmartre.

Initially I had a bit of the same freak-out I had in New York (I've become a yokel since moving to Switzerland), so forgot to buy things I needed in the mercerie (ack, haberdasher's - I keep forgetting English words), like an extra pair of thread snips and a new tape measure. I also got a bit overwhelmed in the regular fabric shops. I was mainly looking for wools to make a coat, and couldn't find any of suitable weight, so passed over a couple of fabrics that I'm now regretting. There was a beautiful tweedy fuchsia-purple wool that was just gorgeous, but I passed on it as it was dress weight rather than coat weight. Totally regretting that as it would have been perfect for my first vintage pattern challenge dress (which is actually finished, I just need to photograph it!).

Of course, I can always steel myself to the challenge of fabric buying, and I got in the swing of things when I discovered Coupons de Saint-Pierre. Oh my god I love this place! It sells "coupons" - fabric pre-cut to 3m lengths, and sold off at bargain prices. Truly BARGAIN prices. All my purchases came from here...

Two pieces of yarn-dyed coating weight wool - one side is smooth, the other is brushed. Yes, I was totally inspired by Lauren's coat when choosing these! I've got a feeling this may not be made up until next winter though, as it's a bit late to be starting on a winter coat now (from hovering just above freezing until a few days ago, it's now due to be 19˚C on Monday!). I also found a piece of very soft and fairly thick knit, marked as poly-wool mix. This will probably be a big snuggly cardie-jacket, along the lines of BurdaStyle 11/2013/107.

These two pieces were from the super bargain tables outside where everything is €15 per piece. They're polyester, but have a nice drapey challis-like hand. I really like that the print is on the diagonal. These are destined to become springy-summery dresses (or possibly also a tunic-style top), underlined to keep the poly-sweatiness at bay.

This piece is a heavy-weight cotton print, almost light upholstery weight, but a better hand (and I'm thinking it will also get a bit softer after washing), and a textured weave. It is destined to become a structured spring or summer dress, probably with an early 60s vibe. I've noticed since buying it that the print is rather off-grain, so it will require some careful cutting.

And now my prize pieces: pure silks! The mustardy one is chiffon, and is destined to become a floaty blouse. The brighter one is twill, but it's really hard to capture the colour - it's really really bright, daffodil-coloured, almost acid yellow. It's awesome. This was the only piece that I didn't have something concrete in mind for, but when you come across some bargainously-priced and brightly coloured silk twill, it would be rude not to buy it, right?

I was so seduced by the variety and prices, it didn't even occur to me to consider how wide any of these were until I was taking pictures of them! Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised: the silks are a reasonable 140 wide, the polys are 144cm and the cotton and the wools are a huge 155cm! Brilliant.

I've been to Paris a few times, but realised that the last time I was there was nearly ten years ago, when we got engaged! We stayed near Place de République and the Canal Saint-Martin, it's a really nice area, lots of cool bars and interesting shops - a bit like Shoreditch, but with fewer silly haircuts. We have several friends who live in Paris, so it's somewhere we intend to visit more frequently - especially as it's only around three hours on the TGV from here. In fact, if I book early for the cheap tickets, it might be a regular occurrence just for the fabric and haberdashery......


  1. Montmar†e is possibly my favourite fabric shopping precinct in the whole world. Lucky you!

  2. Oh how lovely! The fabrics and the "surprise" trip!

  3. What a great birthday gift!. Thanks for sharing your purchases. I always enjoy reading fabric shopping adventures.

  4. I love the black and white check. Fabric shopping is Paris is such fun!

  5. Ah, I love the coupons! It´s so much fun walking around, digging to see if you can find some hidden treasures!