Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fabric shopping in Paris

Rue D'Orsel -- the main street through the fabric district of Marche St. Pierre

Let's be blunt. Fabric shopping in Paris sucks.

Count your lucky stars if you live in Portland. There you can get quality fabric at good prices at so many stores: Fabric Depot, Mill End, Josephine’s, Rose City Textiles.

By the end of our stay in Paris, we were begging for a JoAnn’s. I kid you not. Thanks to previous stays, I have a list of fabric stores. Here’s a rundown.

Red alert! Don't touch this fabric! You'll be sorry!

Marche St. Pierre is the main drag for fabric. This is in Montmartre district right below Sacre Couer. Its looks match that of the fabric district in Los Angeles: Sidewalks lined with polyester so rough that it sands off your fingerprints if you touch it.

Two high points:

-- Tissus Reine, a full line of products and quality, though overpriced, products. (Solde=Sale)

-- Tissus Paris, a good variety of silks, also overpriced. For example, a meter of silk habotai (called “pongee” here) sells for 16 euros or $26 versus $10 a yard in the U.S.

Two lesser points:

-- Over-promoted Dreyfus. Five floors of so-so fabric.

-- Maison Blanc where they sell remnants (“coupons” here), 3 meters for 10 euros.

There are smaller stores in the Sentier near the Bourse, Paris’ equivalent of Wall Street. These are supposed to be wholesale, but don’t have wholesale prices. Here we found hat supplies at Ultramod, knitting and embroidering supplies at Le Droguerie and a great variety of interesting ribbons at Mokuba.

To get the best fabrics, we had to go to TissusEdre in Passy. We also went to Janssens & Janssens near rue Faubourg St. Honore.

Let’s not forget Les Perles d’Anton, a small treasure in the Marche Malassis section of Clingancourt. Flora, the owner, sells lovely buttons, appliques and authentic Chanel trims. Her husband and father-in-law worked for Chanel.

Some of these fabric are milled in Italy. But, sadly, most are made in China, as are most fabrics across the world these days.

No comments: