Big Barcelona Fabric Binge

It’s always sunny in Barcelona…
Two weeks ago, we went to Barcelona. My favourite city on the Iberian Peninsula and definitely in my TOP-5 of all-time travel destinations, even with non-stop rain pouring down…
I love the vibrant atmosphere in the city, the different barrios, the great food, the contemporary ambiance and above all, Modernism, the pinnacle of human architecture and art. 
I even like the Catalan language, even though I don’t understand a word they’re saying. Written it is like French and Spanish combined with a twist, spoken it has a very Italian vibe… Sounds like the best combo ever to me…
Since our gettaway, I can absolutely positively add to this list; the fabric shopping! It is the best! My husband is very over-indulgent when it comes to fabric stores, but he confessed last week that he actually likes it too!  


Let me give you a list of all the fabric stores we went to and afterwards we will roll on the floor wrapped in our bounty!
First off:
GRATACOS – the prettiest store.
Passeig de Gràcia 110
Every fabric hangs on a rail, so behind every roll you see, there are at least 5 rolls more!
Also the most expensive store, so I went out empty handed.
C/Roger de Llúria 6
Great selection of fabric and an awesome remnants bin! I paid 60 € here for 7 pieces of fabric, including a niece piece of wool, my favourite fabric.
The woman on the right kept steering my attention to other fabrics in the bin, I think she was after my wool…
Ha, nice try Lady!
After that came RIBES Y CASALS, right across the street from Teixits Donna.
C/Roger de Llúria 7
I have to admit, I was very reluctant to go in here. I have been to their store in Madrid last year, and I was so disappointed (in fabric stores in Madrid in general) but the store in Barcelona is quite another story.
A remnants table as big as the fabric store here in Santander, with a great selection. And the store itself was great too, amongst other things I found fabric with multi-coloured feathers (think Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro) and gorgeous laser-cut leather lace. And the biggest selection of polka dots I have ever seen, but after all, the gorgeous Spanish Flamenco dresses have to get their fabric from somewhere…
All those fabric stores caused some serious silliness!
I went home with 3 metres of coating perfect for my upcoming Albion for just 10€. I also picked up a few fabrics off the rolls.
After all this, came NUNOYA.
Carrer de la Palla 6
They are the official distributor of a lot of Japanese fabrics for Spain. Everything here is cotton, and all of it is pretty expensive, 15€ per meter and up, no remnants table here because they make the remnants into handbags or zipper pouches or whatever. I went away with only 1 fabric here, but it is absolutely gorgeous.
Carrer de Rauric 8
Just a 2 minute walk of La Rambla.
I saw a lot of pretty things in here, but the colourful prints couldn’t really convince my man, and my wallet was beginning a peaceful protest action as well, so I bought only one piece of fabric here too.
They make those hilarious African shirts here too, you can get them made to measure…
We politely declined…
I added all these stores to my map of fabric stores, so feel free to use it to your hearts content and add to it!
A whole while ago Gillian made me a personal color palette using her very scientific method… And I am glad to say that my new fabric really is in accordance to the colours on my palette. I didn’t bring the palette with me, but just knowing I have one is an unconscious guideline when I go fabric shopping. So I know that the clothes I make with these fabrics will actually work on me…
I should tweak it a little bit for autumn and winter, but I am lazy…
I can assure you that my little trolley was almost bursting at the seams when I started packing to go home…

Let’s take a closer look shall we?

Now let’s take an even closer look and disclose a few of the plans for these babies…

This is the fabric for my Albion. It’s obviously brown, but the stripes you see are flocked and have a little bit of golden glitter in them. The cow fabric is really cute, it’s hairy and has the texture of a real cow skin. This will become a sleeve for a tablet. I hope there will be enough left for a pillow too.

 A diamond-patterned knit that will most likely become a second Lola. On top of the knit is an assortment of suiting that will become a dress as soon as I get the pattern in the mail.

On the right, the African fabric and on the right, the Japanese fabric. One of these will leave its cocoon as an Anna Dress… The other pattern is not yet decided… Maybe another Bleuet.

 The black fabric is the lining for the polka-dots because it’s pretty sheer. This will be a dress for dancing. I haven’t decided on a pattern yet, I want something that looks good twirling…

Mustard coloured wool and pink herringbone and a supersoft cream coloured knit. I’m not sure what these are going to become. I would love for the knit to become a sort of cardigan, but I have no idea what pattern to use, I have been looking the interwebs a while now, but still  haven’t found what I was hoping to find…
All tips or suggestions are very welcome!
Now I promise you, this is not all we did… Oh no! The main reason for our trip were ARCTIC MONKEYS. The best band in the world right now, not only their records but above all their live sets! We have seen these gentlemen 4 times now and they just get better and better. The first time we saw them in Belgium they were still very shy. The second time was in Amsterdam and I guess they were going through a fase then, because their music was great but they didn’t really seem to care. The third time was in Luxemburg, headlining a summer festival and it was fantastic. All day we had been soaking up the sun, baking in our own skins, then when the sun was setting, Arcade Fire was playing, and after that came a hot steaming Arctic Monkeys set… And this was the fourth time and it was amazing. We had seats in the stands, but we were seated on the sixth row or something, about at the same level as the front row in front of the stage so we were still really close. And once they started, nobody around us sat down, but was singing from the top of their lungs, dancing, jumping and fist-punching the air like a bunch of crazy people. Which they were because they were Spaniards (and a lot of British) at a rock concert…

They have a tour lined up in North-America and another in Australia and New-Zealand, both for 2014. And after that it’s the summer festival season…

Yes, we were this close!

My favourite song of the new album, how they played it in Barcelona. The entire CD is a declaration of love, if you listen closely to the lyrics, that are absolutely genious, my kind of poetry! I wouldn’t mind being serenaded like that…
FYI, my favourite song by Arctic Monkeys is Crying Lightning, although I can not name one song of them that I don’t like… I encourage you all to check out their entire repertoire! Long live Spotify…

On Sunday we went to CosmoCaixa, a scientific museum that’s really worth the trip to the beautiful Tibidabo area. And with only 4€ entrance fee, quite on the cheap end as well.
So after this fantastic citytrip we decided we would do this more often (more often being once or twice a year…). Take a plane to Barcelona and spend the weekend there. The two-way airfare was a little over 50€ each, we found a great hotel in the city centre that has a great family suite for under 100 € per night, the price of good food is very reasonable and public transportation is very affordable in Barcelona (unlike London, my other favourite destination). Add to this all the great concerts, museums and other activities, and you need not look any further to know where your next trip should take you!

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!