Monday, February 25, 2013

Fabric Love: Around the World

It's Monday and I have to make a confession.  I walked into my crafting room today to create since I finished my 'chores' yesterday and I realized I just l-o-v-e fabric!  Since we live in Europe, I have developed a kind of habit of searching out fabric when we travel to new cities.  Ok, ok.  So I am not being honest...or rather, I am leaving something out.  I search out fabric...and antiques...and flea markets!  I love them all and get so excited at the thought of what I might find in fantastic places like France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy.  After all, some of the best designers and haute couture come from Europe.  That being said, though I may not have the budget of those high end fashionistas, a girl can still get ideas and find more economical ways to create her own fashion style. 

Over the last three years of living in Germany, I have learned a few key things about fabric and textiles.  Shop around being number one.  Prices vary from country to country, and so do styles.  I adopted the mindset early on that I didn't want to spend money on frivolous things when we traveled so instead I would search out something that I could use to create a memory of our trip.  I have found that with fabric, I can make whatever I want.  The beauty is, it travels well and it can be set aside for a rainy day.  The best thing to me is that when our European vacation is over, when I look at the fabric in use in our home, I will remember the times we traveled, the places we went and the stories that go along with it. 

On a trip to Finland in 2011, I discovered Marimekko (, a textile design company that exudes nothing but fun and color.  Their fabrics are top quality, colors are bold and lively and what I would love to have all over my house.  The only drawback I could see was price...they are high end so expect to pay a pretty price.  At $59 for one yard of fabric, I think I might have to hold out on this designer for now.  I do check the sale section of their website often though, just to see what might pop up because their designs are so awesome and quality is great.  Their products are even sold in Crate and Barrel so I can keep an eye open for them. 
In February we hoped a flight with our backpacks and headed to Northern Italy, and visited Venice, Pordenone and Aviano.  When our friends there asked if there was anywhere we wanted to go, they giggled when I said I would love to find a fabric store.  Sure enough, they found one ( and we ventured out to find it!  When we arrived, they simply laughed at me moving through the store finding several items that I packed in my basket.  Funny enough, this time I had a project in mind so I focused on everything I need to accomplish it.  It was funny to see two men following me around the store (hubby and our friend) while I was shopping. 

On our Italian trip I learned 'scampoli' in Italian refers to remnants, which was evident by the large amount of usable remnants in this fabulous, 2-level store.  Giesse Scampoli is one of the largest fabric stores in Northern Italy and what makes them unique is they get remnants from fashion houses.  This means they have all the latest trends to include velvet, silk, and a whole lot more all sold by weight.  For about $8 I found what I needed to redo all the pillows in our bedroom since I am changing out our colors.  I also found some beautiful tapestry I am using for table runners.  I have three of these for sale so stay tuned to our Facebook page to get one!  Here is a sample of one of my favorite patterns...this is also the pattern I have for sale.
 Since living here in Europe, my best advice to you for finding fabrics if you live in Germany is to head to The Netherlands!  Sadly, Germany has a lot to offer as far as sewing and crafting goes, but all of the fabrics I have seen here are grossly expensive.  I thought maybe it was just the first store I went to in Trier, but then I searched around and kept coming up disappointed.  Many fabrics {especially cottons} are actually ordered from the U.S., so because they are imported, they are priced very high.  In contrast, I found a weekly fabric market in Maastricht, Netherlands and they offer way more variety and seasonal options for much less.  I can honestly say I have seen fabrics there for 12 euro/meter, and turned around and saw the same, exact thing here in Germany for 28 euro/meter!!!  That is a savings I will drive an hour and 15 minutes for.

I would love to hear from readers about your experiences with fabric shopping and what your tastes are!  Wherever you are in the world, what is favorite go-to store for all your sewing needs?  Give them some love here and call 'em out by name!  Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by.  Xo~Mollykid