A sewist travellers’ guide to the fabric stores around the world + The Great Belgian Fabric Haul

Can I talk shop, and with shop I mean fabric shops?
The best part about taking a vacation is visiting fabric stores. There, I have said it. 
If we go on a trip, the first thing I google is what fabric stores are in the neighbourhood. (Unless we were to go to some really great place like London, New York, Stockholm, Berlin… Then I would read my travel guide first and after that google the fabric stores).

Now wouldn’t it be great if we would join forces and make a map with all our favourite fabric stores? It could be like this map, but not for finding people that sew near us, but for feeding our fabric addiction while vacationing? If you combine both maps, you could actually have a real nice shopping trip with a kindred spirit instead of dragging your other (better?) half or children to all the fabric stores at your destination.

Well guess what. I made that map! Thanks to Vicki for the original inspiration and the original map. True genius!

The rules for adding are simple:

  1.  Be as accurate as possible. Use the search bar on top of the screen to find the exact address of the fabric store and place your pin on top of it. Set the Zoom to Maximum to increase accuracy.
  2. Make sure you mention the name and full address. Additional/Optional info: opening hours, telephone numbers, URL’s and a (short) description of what they sell and what price range they are in…
  3. Check before you add a pin. If a store is already listed, don’t add a duplicate. If you see a pin that is placed incorrectly, send me a message and I’ll edit this. You can just leave a comment on this post.
  4. NO home-decorating and Upholstery fabric stores. If they have a mixed assortment, feel free to add a pin, but this map is meant for garment-sewers. Stores that carry only quilting cotton can be added, as those can be used for clothes as well.
  5. NO online stores, only brick-and-mortar ones. I know there are great online stores out there, but this map is meant for the travelling sewer, who wants to buy fabric as a souvenir.
  6. Sharing is caring. The more people now about this, the more stores will be added, the more shopping fun for everyone. Just reblog or link to this post!
Now here is the story behind the first few pins on the map.

For my birthday we went to Bilbao, where I now frequently visit 1 fabric store, Rafael Matias, it is my go-to store as they have the best range of fabrics in my immediate vicinity. Mind you, Bilbao is a one-hour drive, we only have 1 car that my husband uses almost every day to go to work, including Saturdays, so I can’t say, ‘Oh, today I’m going fabric shopping’. This means I have to think in advance about what I want to make and when I get a chance, I go fabric shopping with a list of things I need.
At this store, I bought the fabric for my Violet blouse, my Eclair and my husband’s cowboy and chique shirts.
When we went to La Coruña at the beginning of summer, I looked up the fabric stores there. Galicia is the home of ZARA, so I thought it must reflect on the number of fabric stores. I found a few options, but went to only three of them. And only 2 of them got some money out of my pocket. I only remembered the name of 1 of the stores…
In La Coruña I bought the fabric for my Bleuet, the fabric for my Airelle and another flowery fabric with an eyelet/embroidered edge that I was first going to use for another Airelle but I changed my mind. I just won a pattern giveaway hosted by Rosângela, more to come on that, and of course the pyramid must travel on and so I will be hosting my own giveaway soon.
But now, I have finally hit the JACKPOT.
Last week, we went to the homeland and there I found the mother of all fabric stores: Les tissus du Chien Vert, in Brussels, capital of Belgium, Flanders, Brussels and Europe. I think that would make it a ‘It’s complicated’-status…
The store is actually 2 stores, 50m apart.
Now see my pictures and drool:
I also added these pictures in a set to my Flickr account, where you can see them all in better quality and larger size

Have you ever seen a store, ANY store, like that? It was amazing! The interior is just breathtaking. Everywhere you look there are ships, boats, decks, ropes… Not to mention it was HUGE! Beyond your wildest dreams! And this was only the home deco and upholstery store.
This is the garment fabric store:

Yes, they cut fabric on pool tables here!
I managed to contain myself ever so slightly and went home with a few essentials:

Wool plaid and lining, for a coat, coming soon.

Funky print knit for a dress, pattern 95% decided.

 Gorgeous thick off-white ribbed knit for a dress, still looking for a pattern, anybody have any ideas?

Going home with these meant I passed on all the other goodies there, like a whole collection of swimwear-fabric. I may or may not have cried a little when I left, my next visit to Belgium won’t be until January and I don’t know if I will have time to go to Brussels.
Then on to Ghent, the nearest city to my home-town worth mentioning.
There my favorite fabric store is Artevelde Stoffen, in the hearth of the city. The store itself could use a bit of a make-over but overall the fabric on offer is really nice.
Here I got out with:

Gorgeous red cotton, also used by this lady for her dress, (the text is in Dutch, but she has a few beautiful pics) mine will be transformed into a skirt. I want a pencil skirt, anybody any good ideas?

Lady bug cotton, destined to become a Sassy Librarian Blouse, to go with my skirt.

Pink wool. Skirt or pants? I don’t know yet.

This store has a great collection of wool. The only thing is, it is stored on high shelves behind the counter, so you have to overcome a sort of emotional barrier to go check them out. But they are well worth the effort!

Oh and I bought pants. The label made me laugh out loud. I want those sewing conditions too!


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9 thoughts on “A sewist travellers’ guide to the fabric stores around the world + The Great Belgian Fabric Haul

  1. Great idea! I never went to Les Tissus du Chien Vert but your photos were tantalizing and I must put the shop in my ever bigger TO DO/TO SEE list. Lately I have been going to the Stoffen Spektakel in my hometown but I have to be careful not to yield to temptation because my stash is meters and meters long! 😦

  2. This is a great idea! Fabric stores where I live a few and far between, but I shall put a few pins on the map anyway, it's always fun to visit fabric stores when travelling 🙂

  3. Hey Wendy, it doesn't matter if the stores are big or small or sell dubious fabric or not… Just add them and put something in the comments about their offer!

  4. The map is a great idea, Wendy! I'll add a few!
    (yesss I'm super behind in blogreading, but I'm running in….)
    Pink wool.. I'd say skirt, but that's just because I'm terrified of making pants 😉

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