tips

Fabric shopping in Paris

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My husband and I lived in Paris for three months when we were newlyweds and we had the opportunity to go back (without kids!) for a wedding just a few weeks ago. Paris… is magic. Understatement of the year, I know, but going back after 9 years away and having more funds than a couple of recent college graduates just really made this trip extra special. Something that I knew I wanted to do this time around was do some fabric shopping, much to my husband’s delight 😉 but really, he was such a good sport about it. If I were to do anything different for a repeat trip, I would have given some more thought into what *exactly* I wanted out of a fabric store trip. While we were in Paris I consulted the Seamworker’s Guide to Paris written by Christine Haynes in 2015, which was the basis for all of my recommendations (it is SO thorough!) and I created a Google Map with all of the shops that looked interesting to me. The Seamwork post is organized by arrondissements, which is useful, but I’m just going to give you the highlights of the places that I visited and why I would or would not go back.

B E S T  O N E  S T O P  S H O P P I N G :

The easiest one-stop shop for fabrics is in the 18th arrondissement, which is the fabric district of Paris. If you don’t have a ton of time in Paris and you really want to pick up some cool fabric finds that you might not find anywhere else (wax fabric, etc.) then you should visit Marché Saint-Pierre and the surrounding stores, which are just below Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur. Since there’s not much (ahem, reputable) stuff to do in Montmartre aside from people-watch at Sacré-Coeur and then meander down the cute cobblestone streets behind the church, this is a good spot to stop by on the way to or from the metro. I didn’t really understand how many fabric stores were on this street before I came but it was quite overwhelming!

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Marché Saint-Pierre Dreyfus is a multi-story building with all kinds of fabrics inside. I bought a couple yards of wax fabric here but side note, there are definitely better places to buy wax fabric. I hadn’t done a deep dive on wax fabric research before we went and once I came home with some and did research on how to treat it and sew with it I realized that I could have purchased more meterage of a print that I liked better at a store with better selection. But, whatever. The store has a lot of pretty and unique cottons on the first floor which were fun to browse through.

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Across the street from Marché Saint-Pierre are Les Coupons de Saint Pierre and Tissus Reine. I didn’t spend a ton of time in Tissus Reine because it was kind of overwhelming and the bulk of the selection on the main floor was stuff I could get elsewhere, like Liberty prints. I should have gone upstairs but I was pretty tired of fabric shopping at this point (yeah, I know). Next door at Les Coupons was a madhouse! A coupon is French for a remnant, but “remnant” is a generous term because a coupon at this store was 3 meters. They were having a 50% off sale on remnants that were less than 3 meters so the bins outside were swamped with people. I was interested until I saw that most of the remnants were cotton-poly blends and kind of whatever prints. Inside they had a great selection of linens, cottons and wax fabrics for good prices. I bought a couple of cotton prints (3 meters for 10 euros), which I’ll be using for summer dresses and tops for my daughter as well as gifting some to my mom, who is excited about anything French.

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Oh-la-la.

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Frou-Frou is next door to Marché Saint-Pierre Dreyfus. It’s a very cute mercerie with a unique selection of patterns and pretty fabrics from their own line. I knew the name sounded familiar when I walked by it and it’s because we had visited another fabric shop in the 2nd arrondissement earlier that day where I bought some bias tape and buttons with the Frou-Frou label on it. The woman at the shop told me that it was Liberty fabric, which might have just been me misinterpreting her saying that it was like a Liberty print…

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Right? I’m not a Liberty fangirl enough to really know all of their prints but I can tell that this is different. Anyway, the shop that I bought the bias tape and buttons sold everything marked up from Frou-Frou’s shop, but the woman offered me a discount (actually, she told me to just give her a number) so I think it ended up being cheaper in the end…

 

B E S T  B O U T I Q U E S :

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The 11th arrondissement also has a couple of great fabric shops. Anna Ka Bazaar was recommended in a couple of different blog posts that I read. It’s a small shop but has a great selection of fabrics and patterns, including their own brand Atelier Brunette (I love their Stardust fabric so much). They also have a cute and random selection of party supplies.

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Maison Cousu was my favorite shop overall, I think. It was very cute and well-curated. They had a lot of unique fabrics in addition to the usuals (Liberty, Atelier Brunette) and I bought a chambray coupon and a meter of pretty striped linen. Their pattern selection was really great as well and I bought a pattern book from the designer of the Citronille patterns.

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I will realize my dream of dressing my kids in beautiful French outfits, mark my words.

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Lil Weasel is tucked away in a covered passage in the 2nd arrondissement. They have a good selection of French fabrics and patterns along with the usual Liberty prints. I got a meter of French terry to make a sweatshirt/shorts set for my son and I can’t wait for him to get his summer leisurewear going. If you don’t feel like going out to the 11th for the other two shops, this is a good place to visit since it’s a little more central. Also of note in this area are HEMA and Flying Tiger, if you want to get your funky discount store shopping on.

 

B E S T  V I N T A G E :

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Ultramod was actually the first place we stopped because it was near our hotel on the day we arrived and our room wasn’t ready for check-in yet. The Seamwork article did warn that this was a true mercerie that mainly had trims and buttons, but there was actually a big selection of vintage and antique fabrics in the back of the store. It was such a pretty little spot and I wished that I could think of projects that I needed trims for because there was such a great selection. The women working there were SO nice and chatty (in French… my husband is fluent and he wasn’t yet burned out on fabric shopping so he was really chatting them up) and gave us recommendations for other stores we could visit. We also learned that the store dates back to at least the mid-1800s thanks to a receipt that a customer found in a bolt of fabric. I really love that it’s a common occurrence for a French store or restaurant to change owners dozens of times but the store retains its original spirit (and often original decor as well). Definitely visit Ultramod if you want to get a real Parisian shop vibe. (They have a haberdashery across the street that is fun to peek into as well.)

 

B E S T  S O U V E N I R S :

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Maison Sajou is adorable and perfectly curated. It isn’t great for fabric shopping (there’s a small selection) but if you are into needlework and beautiful (but pricey) souvenirs like cross stitch kits and vintage sewing boxes, this is a great place to visit. Sajou is another example of a store and brand that has an old history that has been preserved by new owners (you can read more about the history of Fil au Chinois here) and the care and attention to detail is very apparent in the shop.

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That tile!! Everything was so cute. They also had a tiny model of the store with miniature versions of everything in it for purchase. Just in case you want to build up your dollhouse collection of thread.

 

C U T E ,  B U T . . .

I wanted to mention a couple of places that I saw recommended but wish that I hadn’t gone out of my way to visit. Léonie Pique-Pique is a tiny shop that specializes in organic fabrics and children’s patterns. It was in a cute little building but there wasn’t much there that I couldn’t find elsewhere, and it’s not next to anything. Visiting this particular shop was actually what finally got my husband complaining that we were going all over the place just to see fabric stores, haha. Sorry!! La Mercerie Parisienne is in a beautiful courtyard in Le Marais and has a small selection of patterns and fabrics (again, mostly Liberty prints…) but is mostly focused on fiber arts. Worth a peek in if you’re in the area, which is likely since Le Marais has great restaurants and shopping, but nothing of note in the shop for me. La Droguerie was also highly recommended across a few different blogs. Not much fabric but they had beautiful displays of beads and buttons along with huge inspiration books for jewelry makers. This would probably be a shop that I’d visit all the time if I lived in Paris but it’s a big overwhelming for a quick visit if you don’t have a project in mind.

Phew! Time to go back for another visit.

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