an American fabric-shopping in Paris!

Yeah, that happened! There’s a lot more I could say about my trip, but we all know you’re really here for the fabric chatter, right? Of course right.

Several people were kind enough to give me recommendations for places to check out, via Twitter. Specifically Sonja and Sarah–thanks, ladies! I knew I would have to limit myself on how many places I could visit, since I’d be dragging Doug with me, so I ended up picking one recommendation from each sewcialist.

Les Coupons de Saint-PierreFirst up was Les Coupons de Saint-Pierre. I’d been forewarned that this place was one you’d have to dig through piles, but I’ve been a thrift shopper since I was 13, so I have no problem with that.

To be honest, I could have spent hours in this part of town alone–there were so many tables full of fabric sitting outside multiple shops, just begging to be noticed! For a girl who only has a handful of Joann’s in her entire state to pick from, this was a dream! But for the sake of my long-suffering husband, I restrained myself. Yes, there was a lot of digging to do. All of the fabric is piled onto tables by type, in 3-meter cuts–there was a huge pile of cottons, a section for linen, a part with leather hides, a huge section on the one side of the store for “silks”, etc. (I put the silk in quotes, because upon closer examination, I deduced that the sign probably meant silky and the biggest pile was actually polyester. All of the labels were in French, of course, but I made sure to look up the words for the different fiber types before I left!) So I bought 3 pieces of fabric here. When we were walking to the metro, I spotted a fourth “coupon” on an outside table that I couldn’t pass up, so we quickly bought that as well and kept moving. I forget the name of that shop, but it also had “Coupons” in the name, and looked to be pretty similar.

French fabric!Here’s what I ended up with, from left to right:

1. A fine-wale corduroy, covered in embroidery and sequins. This was on the 5 Euro table outside the store. My first instinct says jacket, but since I already have a brown corduroy jacket, I’m pondering a fall skirt. A Beignet, maybe? French named-pattern for a French fabric!

2. The piece on the side of the road I couldn’t leave! It’s a thin jersey, and I do so love brown and teal together. I think this could be very nice as the lately-released Muse Jenna cardi, though I don’t have that pattern yet. 4,75 Euros.

3. A denim with a slight amount of stretch. I liked the cross-hatching in the weave. These will eventually become jeans, of course. I’ll have to decide whether to make them skinny, since that’s pretty much the only pants I saw anywhere in Paris, or give myself another pair of bootcuts.

4. An ITY floral jersey. This color scheme is odd for me, and almost completely outside of my palette, but something about it called to me. I don’t know what this one will be yet, but it’s not like I have a shortage of jersey patterns. I’m open to suggestions, though!

All together, the cost of these fabrics was just under 30 Euros. Which made the whole shopping trip cheaper than almost every single meal we ate. Those cafes are expensive when you’re buying for 2! Even for just sandwiches!

la drougerieThe second store I visited later in the week was La Drougerie. I didn’t end up buying any fabric here, because there was only a small selection and it looked like mostly quilt-type cottons. It was also sold by the meter instead of the 3-meter cuts, so it looked like that would add up quickly. It looked like the big draw here was the yarn–it’s the first thing you see when you walk into the door, and dominates the whole first half of the store. There’s also a room to the side where you can browse beads and buttons and trims, and again, I could have spent a lot more time here.

I decided to limit myself to just a small yarn purchase here, since the yarn is sold by weight. It’s a good thing I came armed with fiber translations, because as usual, there’s wool in almost everything! But I did find this super-soft linen/bamboo blend. It’s called Kaleido, Ravelry has it categorized as fingering weight, and I ended up with about 330 yards. So probably enough for a hat or a lacy scarf or something along that line.

Unleaving, in progress
Finally, I did do some crafting while I was gone! This was mostly done during times like airport layovers and sitting in the hotel room at night– I was originally thinking to knit on the plane some, too, but for both of the long flights, I ended up in the middle seat with not a ton of elbow room. This is the Unleaving Shawl from Knitty, which really looks a lot more like a scarf than a shawl and highly increases the chance of this actually getting worn. And it’s a really simple pattern, unless I’m so tired from flying for 8 hours straight that I screw up the pattern and can’t figure out how to backtrack and fix it. (Yeah, that happened once. Hopefully it’s not too terribly obvious. I really should not knit anything other than straight stockinette when I’m super-tired.)

One other fun sewing-related story from the trip: Doug and I had just gotten on the metro later in the day after dropping off my fabric at the hotel, to head to Notre Dame. There were two older ladies in the seats near the rail we were holding onto, and one was telling her friend (in English) about something having to do with a silk-cotton blend and the pattern she was working with. So when there was a pause in the conversation, I asked them if they sewed, they answered in the affirmative, and the three of us got to chatting about sewing clothes! I didn’t have time before our stop to ask their names or where exactly they were from, though I’m guessing America based on the accents (or lack thereof, to my ears). But they did like my Cooper bag that I was carrying, and had heard of Colette when I replied to their question of what pattern I’d used. It’s amazing that I could instantly find someone to talk to in a random subway on the other side of the world because of sewing!

If you do want to see travel photos, I have a small selection up on my Instagram. I still need to sort through the photos on my SLR, and when I uploaded those and the ones on my phone this morning, I have over 700 photos from the week! But I’m also going to make a Flickr album of my favorites, mostly to make it easier to upload and print. After all, this is exactly the sort of trip that makes me want to dig into my scrapbook paper and play!

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16 thoughts on “an American fabric-shopping in Paris!

  1. I really enjoyed seeing all your photos as you posted them on IG! It was kind of amusing how many Paris photos keep showing up in my feed between you and Rachel (HouseofPinheiro). Wish I had thought to go fabric shopping when I went to Pairs many years ago during my college years – thanks for letting me live a little vicariously through you! =)

    ~ Brooke

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  2. I love the embroideried corduroy and the brown/teal. Such great souvenirs to bring back home, I hope to get some fabric shopping done in Spain later this year, but I'm not only bringing one husband but two kids and parents-in-law as well.

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  3. Of course! And it was funny to see that Rachel ended up being there around the same time! I did actually see her post something on IG about a meetup, but I didn't want to ditch Doug since it was our vacation.

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  4. I honestly could have bought a lot more, but I didn't want to put poor Doug through spending an entire day fabric shopping! Plus fitting things in our suitcase and all.

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  5. I can see how that would make things difficult! Maybe the husband/in-laws will be willing to keep an eye on the kids for a little bit so you can enjoy some shopping?

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  6. Probably the quickest way to hear more about the trip is to look up my Instagram photos– my user name on there is sunnyb64, and they're all hashtagged as Paris. But that's a pretty quick overview of what we saw and everything.

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