fabric stores travel

Fabric Stores Paris

I want to start this one off a little differently, because while my French is no where near fluent, between the years I spent studying and the few trips I’ve taken to France, I’ve been able to pick up some fabric related vocabulary that (I hope!) will help someone else navigate through the mounds and mounds of fabric available in Paris. While a lot of it is kind of a no-brainer (Coton for Cotton), some of it will help you decipher between a blend or synthetics or natural fibers. I remember fabric shopping during my first trip to Paris and having to figure out fabric content and vocabulary as I went along; it was definitely a little challenging, especially because a lot of the shop attendants do not speak English and these are words you don’t find in normal guide books.

Tissus: Fabric
Couture: Sewing
Patrons de Couture/Patron: Sewing and clothing patterns
Coupon: a pre-cut length of fabric, usually priced as marked
Soie: Silk
Soie touché: Imitation silks (i.e., what in English we would call “silky”)
Lin: Linen
Coton: Cotton
Laine: wool
Laine touché: Imitation wool
Lainage: wool/synthetic blend
Ménage: blends (for example, Lin Ménage is a Linen blend)

It may also be worth mentioning that what different people look for in fabric stores varies greatly; I generally look for a good and affordable selection of quality natural fibers, whether that’s a luxe silk, dreamy wool, or a basic cotton tartan. In Paris, it’s definitely possible to get good deals on fine fabrics, so I tend to skip over the piles of synthetics (which can be even more incredibly cheap, like less than 2€/m) for luxurious fabric that speaks to me. I hope this doesn’t come off as snobbery or as a value judgment; it’s neither and only a preference of what I like to work with and wear.

 


 

Malhia Kent

19 Avenue Daumesnil,
75012 Paris, France

This. place. is. heaven.
And unfortunately they did not allow interior photos, so all I have to share are creeper shots through the window.

My understanding of Malhia Kent is that it’s both a design house for fabric, made locally in France, and for clothing made for a line by the same name. The enthusiastically helpful and English speaking store attendant explained that even Chanel utilizes their fabrics from time to time, though the weaves made for Chanel are exclusive and not available on the shelves for us plebeians.

Most of the fabric here is on the medium to heavy weight scale (think tweed): perfect for coats, jackets, skirts or shift dresses. They are mostly made with a kind of mixed-media of the textile world, some mystery ribbon or yarn woven in here and there, and all are quite a loose weave (most raw edges were taped shut), so it’s quite difficult to know exactly what kind of fiber has gone into the fabric— something that my natural-fibers-only rule had to be broken for.

The color palette is not my usual jam either—neons, pastels, bubble gum pink, hot pink, actually all kinds of pink, a lot of tinsel and sparkles—but I was still able to walk with 8+ meters of fabric that spoke to me. Not to be crass, but this shop is like the fabric store embodiment of Stockholm Syndrome; the longer I spent in the store, the more I normalized things like tinsel-infused woven leopard jacquard.

The most amazing thing about this place, though, is that all pre-cut flat-folds of fabric are 10€ a meter (off the bolt is 30€/m). And while some lengths are cut wonky with big squares taken out of the corner, the attendant only measured the length from the shorter side, essentially giving a remnant of fabric for free. Unfortunately, they’re in limited quantities, and it may or may not be possible to have them cut specific lengths (I didn’t ask). But I found varying lengths from half a meter to nearly 3 meters. They also sold various other scraps at a euro or two a piece that would work beautifully for detail-work or welt pockets. In any case, this place is definitely worth a visit.

 

Mercerie de Charrone

69 Rue de Charonne,
75011 Paris, France

A tiny notions shop we ran across on our way to Malhia Kent. It’s quite small but busy, and with a decent selection of basic notions and pattern books. This place is by no means a destination shop, rather if you’re in the neighborhood and have notions needs, they can probably be met here.

 

La Droguerie

9-11 Rue du Jour,
75001 Paris, France

I haven’t visited this location of La Droguerie, but I have visited the location in Strasbourg. If it’s anything similar, it’s quite the haven for interesting notions like faux-patinated copper buckles, with beautiful decor reminiscent of an old school apothecary. The shop is filled with unique buttons, fasteners, bias tape, trims, and French patterns.

 

Entree de Fournisseur

8 rue des Francs-Bourgeois,
75003 Paris, France

I haven’t been to this notions shop either, but it comes highly recommended by John’s mother. She says it’s similar to La Droguerie in that it’s filled with buttons, trims, and bits and bobs, however less bohemian. They carry high quality and unusual items, such as feathered and furred trims and coin buttons, as well as dressmaking fabric and incredible lightweight and soft classic French linen for baby things.

From my understanding, this shop is tucked inside a courtyard and off the beaten path, so keep your eyes open while searching for it.

 

Montmartre neighborhood

This neighborhood is very special in terms of fabric shopping; you can hit several fabric stores in just a single block, and it’s only a few hundred meters from the Anvers Metro station (when you get above ground, just walk Northeast towards Sacré-Cœur). Because it would take a special kind of fortitude to visit ALL of these (and because, in my humble opinion they are not all worth stepping into), I’m just going to describe a few favorites. But, quite honestly, there’s no real reason to list all of them here; rather than looking up the addresses of all of these, you are better off just showing up, walking around, and poking into the shops that pique your fancy.

 

Les Coupon De Saint Pierre

1 place Saint-Pierre,
75018 Paris, France

They were having a 50% off sale when we visited, and you can see the mayhem outside in these pictures! I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, and sometimes seeing disheveled piles of fabric makes me sad in the same way that finding a single, abandoned glove on the ground does, so I didn’t stay long enough to have a real look around. As the name implies, this shop is solely coupons (pre-cuts), making it a little easier as a non-French speaker to purchase fabric. The shop itself is quite small, and they carry a variety of wool blends, some silks, some brightly colored cotton tartans, and plenty of poly of every fabric type.

 

Les Merveilles de Saint-Pierre

16 Rue Seveste,
75018 Paris, France

Of the two Saint-Pierre Coupon shops, this is the one I prefer. While it has many of the same or similar types of offerings, it tends to have more natural fibers in this shop at lower prices, whether that’s silks or wools. Like most places that run on pre-cut flat-folds, you have to take what you can get at any given moment. One notable mention during this visit was a variety of solid colored linen at 25€/3m. In the past, I’ve picked up admittedly kind of ugly silk charmeuse for 18€/3m, which has been great for borderline wearable muslins, but it doesn’t seem like this pricing is consistent.

 

Sacres Coupon Au Gentleman des Tissus

4bis Rue d’Orsel,
75018 Paris, France

While this shop wasn’t memorable from my first trip several years ago, it has suddenly shot up to a top spot. The majority of this store is luxe natural fiber precuts: cashmere, various wools and blends, silks, and linens. Every precut is labeled with fabric content in percentages, meterage, and price. And the fabrics are mostly quite fashionable, not in the trendy sense, but in the sense that these colorways and designs are so classic that they’ll stay current for years or decades to come.

Here are some example price points:

  • 1.8 m of a dusty pink 100% boiled wool at 27€
  • 3m of a 55% cotton/45% wool blend plaid at 38€
  • 3m of a 82% viscose/18% silk blend velvet for 28€. Compare this to a 100% viscose velvet at Les Coupon de Saint Pierre for 45€/3m.
  • 2m of 100% cashmere at 115€. It’s still expensive, but considerably cheaper than you would find in most places.

Don’t forget to pop in next door to their sister shop that carries cottons, knits, and leathers.

 

Marche Saint-Pierre

2 Rue Charles Nodier,
75018 Paris, France

This one was my favorite store when I visited in 2014 because it was one of the only shops I visited without overflowing tables of pre-cut fabric. I loved seeing the rolls and rolls of fabric on three stories, perhaps because it’s how I romanticized fabric stores when I was a child (admission: I made my tiny forest animal doll house into a fabric store with leftover scraps of fabric from my mom and cardboard). There’s a lot to choose from, but I’ll be honest here; I’m kind of a bargain hunter, and I’m not too interested in paying bookoo money for a gorgeous fabric, no matter how in love I am. This is one of the main reasons I can have a beautiful stash with virtually no synthetics. I wasn’t able to find much here in terms of unique natural fibers + bargains, especially considering the deals and sales going on all in the other shops, so I ended up not picking anything up.

The only thing really worth mentioning was the super cheap African Wax print; I can’t speak to the authenticity of it’s origin (i.e., was it really wax printed in Africa? or Holland? or? Wait, where is African Wax print really from? But that’s a history lesson for another long post, friends…), but it was 100% cotton and only 3.50€/meter.

The other thing worth mentioning is that there are no cutting tables; rather, they have meter sticks strewn about and an attendant will walk to the bolt you’d like to buy and cut it on the spot.

 

Reine

3-5 Place Saint-Pierre,
75018 Paris, France

The first time I went to Reine they were having a sale with coupons filling the first floor (I was able to find some wools at ~10 euro/m), but this time it was laid out in what seemed to be normal bolts at normal price points. This shop is five stories tall, but as I’ve only visited the first two, I can’t speak to the types of fabric they have upstairs. However, the first floor is entirely apparel fabrics, with the most notable thing being that they have giant barbies wearing sample clothes made out of the fabrics they offer. The second floor is mostly upholstery, some wools, duck canvas, and notions, which is why I haven’t traveled further than those two floors. Their selection is quite nice, with fairly average prices, so this shop is definitely worth popping into, even if their prices aren’t as low as some of the other shops in the neighborhood.

 


 

I had a few fellow Sewcialists ask for fabric store recommendations in Paris for this winter, so hopefully some of you will will find this post helpful for your upcoming trips! I have a busy couple of weeks ahead, so I’m going to take the rest of December off of blogging. Happy Holidays, everyone, and I’ll see you next year!

6 Comment

  1. Soooo useful! Thanks for putting this together! I’m off to Paris for a long weekend in Feb so am now obscenely excited to visit all these shops 😍 especially Mahlia Kent with ALL THE PINK 💕💕💕💕

  2. “Not to be crass, but this shop is like the fabric store embodiment of Stockholm Syndrome; the longer I spent in the store, the more I normalized things like tinsel-infused woven leopard jacquard.” this is the best thing I’ve read in days. brb, finding you on insta.

  3. Just arrived in Paris yesterday. My daughter is taking me today to find a few if the spots you listed. So glad I came upon your blog! Only a true fabric enthusiast coils understand, Merci becoup!

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