There are a concentration of fabric shops at the foot of Sacré Coeur in Monmatre. I went there today.
Coming from a town with only two fabric shops, neither of which have a great selection, this was an experience! There are several 4 and 5 floor fabric shops (Tissues Reine, Marché St Pierre most notably) as well as smaller shops scattered around on the side streets. I actually ended up buying all my fabric at one place, Les Coupons de Saint-Pierre. Coupons is French for remnant and this shop stocked exclusively 3 metre pre-cut pieces of fabric. And the selection! For remnant store there was an amazing selection! It was all organized by fabric type but within that there was no organization. Blends kind of got tucked haphazardly around. I got:
-Printed silk, 30€ (14$ CAD/metre)
-Cotton/silk blend, 15€ (7$/metre)
-Cotton organdy, 10€ (4.5$/metre)
-Black and White checked cotton voile, 10€ (4.5$/metre)
All pieces were 3m and very good quality. Compared to the prices in the larger stores, the coupons were around 1-2€ less per metre. Next time I’ll definitely be sure to go in the morning. By the time I got there at 1pm, there were piles of fabrics that had been pulled from the neatly folded bins to dig through. Not exactly efficient!
It’s interesting how each country has their own systems for fabric stores. In Canada, you pick out a bolt and bring it to a cutting table and they write down the amount on a little slip which you then (eventually) take to the cash. In Glasgow you do that same except that the attendant then carries the fabric to the register and you have to pay right then. Personally I find this arrangement really irritating as you have to then collect all your bolts at one time and bring them all at one to cutting table. In Paris there are no cutting tables. Instead there are attendants walking around with metre sticks who measure out the fabric right on top of the racks. Now, since I bought only remnants this trip I can’t review the efficiency of this particular arrangement however I do feel that this could lead to less accurate cuttings. As well, you have to pay for your fabrics before heading to the next floor. Understandably necessary but irritating.
Eighteenth century and Regency period enthusiasts would really enjoy the fabrics available. Eighteenth century prints and brocades abound as well as many varieties of print provençal cottons and sprigged muslins. I expect I will go back and pick up some variously printed things during my time here. Probably at least one provençal cotton like this one, and eighteenth century style floral print, a sprigged muslin, and some nice cotton voile.
I must admit that I was disappointed with the silk selection in the larger stores. Now, there was plenty available however most were printed inappropriately, prohibitably expensive, or blended with synthetics. Silks besides dupioni were very much available however I had hoped to see some nice examples of painted warp silk (chaine a la branche) and was disappointed there. Still I have not seen all there is! I spent a good three hours exploring the possibilities. I’m sure I’ll be returning soon.