embroidery

Craft shopping in Paris

Put on your walking shoes please.  I'd like to take you on a tour of my favourite craft shops in Paris.

Paris map

It seems that craft is primarily a right bank thing. 
I didn't visit all these stores on foot.  I got between B and C by metro, and E on a velib with Will.  But here is what I found. (Click for a larger view of the map.)

A: Le Bonheur des Dames, Le Viaduc des Arts, 17 avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris
(Metro Bastille or Ledru Rollin)

Le Bonheur des Dames

This shop is worth a visit for its shop fittings alone.  The lovely big display tables are full of all things to do with embroidery and cross stitch.  This was the shop recommended to me by Shannon of Petits Details.  If you enjoy cross stitch, this is your mecca.

About 20 minutes walk from here is point B on my map:

Entrée des Fournisseurs, 8 rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris
(Metro Saint Paul)

Fournisseurs exterior

This shop is easy to miss if you're not looking for it, because it is off the street in a pretty courtyard.  It's just moments from the beautiful Place des Vosges though, so lots to see and do in the area.

Fournisseurs buttons

This pretty store is worth seeking out.  There is a lovely array of braids and buttons, as well as fabrics (including Liberty of course) and books.  The thing I love about the Parisian craft stores is that the trims are all natural fibres.  100% cotton ric rac and grosgrain and Swiss cotton entres-deux and other lovely items.

Fournisseurs threads

At this point you will probably be weighed down by a parcel of lovely craft books (stay tuned and I'll show you mine in a future post), so you might want to jump on the metro. Take the metro to Les Halles.

C: La Droguerie
11 rue du Jour, 75001 Paris
(Metro Les Halles)  

This is not one of my favourite craft shops, but if you're into knitting or crochet, I think you'd best swing by.  It's very popular judging by the number of people in the store.  I think it is somewhat of a Paris institution as it has been around for many years and is quite well known.  But as it is quite close to point D, you may as well take a look.

D: Des Fils et une Aiguille
1 rue Chabanais, 75002 Paris
(metro Pyramides or Palais Royal)

Des Fils

I do like this shop and have visited it on each trip to Paris.  It has a pretty selection of cross stitch braids and canvases, lovely ribbons and trims, and a good bookshelf of craft books (which I emptied somewhat).  There is a velib station just outside this store if your feet are getting sore.

E: Marché St Pierre
2 rue Charles Nodier, 75018 Paris
(metro Anvers - prepare to walk uphill from the metro)

This little area at the heart of Montmartre has a grouping of fabric and haberdashery stores.  Described as the "kingdom of tissues" on its website, Marché St Pierre has many floors of fabric.

Toiles at Marche St Pierre

Their table of toiles was rather enticing.  I made a few purchases on their linen floor.

In rue Charles Nodier you can wander from store to store to find more fabric, trims and all things craft.  Reine, a few doors away, has an extensive Liberty selection at about 60% the price we pay for it in Australia.  This store had half sized mannequins above all the display tables of fabric.  Each mannequin was outfitted in a dress made up of the fabrics on that table.  Someone has been very busy sewing mini clothes.  It was worth a look.

On the left bank, you can visit the top floor of the beautiful and upmarket department store, Le Bon Marche, for their haberdashery section.  It's busy and stocked with lovely things.   Further down rive gauche near Notre Dame is Le Rouvray.  This is a patchwork store owned by an American woman.  I haven't been there in about 10 years so can't say what it is like now.  It was quite American in style from memory, but did have some pretty French toiles.

So there you have it.  I hope you find this post useful.  Does anyone have any other favourite craft stores in Paris?


Here's one I prepared earlier

This little smocked top has been floating around the house for about 6 months.

Smocked

I wasn't happy with it, so it never got put away into a wardrobe with Adelaide's other clothes.  In fact, it was sitting around on the sofa in the living room most of the time - a lost item that never had a home.

Smocked1 This morning I made a small adjustment.  I ran a line of shirring elastic around the sleeve hem. 

It went from looking like a cape one might wear at the hairdresser, to a cuter gathered sleeve top. 

Adelaide is happily wearing it now with a white pair of the favourite pants.

I've got a few other smocking panels that are half finished that I might now be inspired to make into a similar style.


Too good

I think this fabric range was designed just for me.  Yesterday I dropped in to Amitie and found myself face to face with a very pretty range of fabrics in a perfect French red and naturals.

French reds

Adelaide, I think you're going to need a red coat next winter.  The top fabric I think I will make into something smocked with red thread.  The others, well I'm not sure yet.

Fat quarters I spent at least 30 minutes looking over the fabrics.  It was too hard to decide which ones I liked best - they were all so lovely.  The only thing to do in such a situation is buy a fat quarter of all the other favourites - which I did.

I wasn't planning on it, but it seems now I'm making another quilt.  So tonight when the house is quiet I think I'll pull out all my quilting books and look for a pattern.

But for now, I'd better get back to work to pay for my fabric purchases.


Winging it

When I bought my new domestic sewing machine 9 years ago, I remember finding the instruction booklet quite a revelation.  Prior to that, I had sewn on my mother's machine from the 1970s.  After reading the instruction booklet, I was amazed at how much my new machine could do.

Winged needle stitch

My machine is nothing super special.  It has a few decorative stitches, one of which I use every day for Townmouse appliques.  But with a few different needles or feet, it can do so much.  This detail uses a wing needle.

Winged needle shirt

Just the thing to add a bit of interest to a plain white shirt.

White shirt

 So if you've never paid much attention to your instruction booklet, you may be pleasantly surprised like I was.  

What clever tricks have you been able to do with your sewing machine?


Two sites I have to share

A lovely blog reader in Spain sends me emails from time to time with links to children's wear brands she thinks I might like.  Recently I received an email from Spain with a link to this blog.  Thanks Rocio.

Some kind person has seen the need to post free cross stitch alphabets and motifs from very old pattern books.  You've got to love that!

Alphabet

Along similar themes, another site that has recently captured my interest is Chez Sucre Chez.

Sucre

There is a lot of lovely embroidery here.  It's mainly initials, and some other cute stuff as well. (I'm sorry, I can't recall where I read about this blog.)

Sucre1 


Liberty top

A mere 30 cms of Liberty fabric was all that was required for this little top.  (I actually layed Adelaide on the cutting bench in the fabric store alongside the ruler to see how much I would need.)

Blue top

Adelaide has a growing number of these tops to wear now.  This one has more rows of smocking than the previous pink version and I like the way it sits across her shoulders.

Blue Liberty smocked top

I have put a new category on my blog, "Adelaide's wardrobe" as there will no doubt be many more posts about her clothes, as I continue sewing for her.

Blue top detail

These tops are perfect to make as the smocking gives me a couple of hours of hand sewing that I can do when relaxing in the evenings.


Summer sewing

I have been bunkered down in the studio for the last few days, getting on top of work.  While waiting for Adelaide to wake from a particularly long sleep I whipped up this pair of linen pants this morning.

Linen pants

The great thing about sewing for such a little model is that no fabric at all is required.  These were made from a few scraps of linen and one metre of linen tape.  I like a pair of neutral pants that will go with anything in her wardbrobe.  And natural linen is the perfect fabric for summer.

Linen pants detail

To stop ribbons from fraying, simply apply a little clear nail varnish to the ends.  It holds all the fibres in place.


A hit among misses

This smocking business is proving trickier than I thought.  Like any new endeavour, its taking me a while to get the hang of it, and to create pieces I actually like.  The green version from a few posts ago was made into a shirt that ended up in the bin.

Smiles

Part of the process, referred to as blocking, is where you predetermine the degree of gathering.  This is a step that I didn't really worry about initially.  Now I realise it makes all the difference.

Blue smocked top

I feel like I'm getting the hang of it now.  I've drafted a sweet pattern for this little bishop's neck top in a 3 to 6 month size.

Blue smocked top detail

A later pink version I like even more.  Adelaide will wear that tomorrow.