nähen and stoff

Here are some of my Instagram photos from last week’s trip to San Francisco, where Todd and I were filming with CreativeBug. (Todd on film? Yes, really! Coming soon! And no, he’s not teaching sewing.)




Now that we’re back, we’re packing and getting ready for a trip to Berlin, and we’re really excited about it! The three of us will be staying for about three weeks, working and exploring the city and its surroundings. We’re also planning a trip to Prague, which I’ve always wanted to see.

Of course there are already some sewing-related stops on my list of places to visit. (I’m told Frau Tulpe needs to be at the top!) Care to make any other travel suggestions for us? Places we simply must see while we’re in either Berlin or Prague? I know you’re the people to ask. And I’ll be sure to report back frequently. I’d love to hear your suggestions!


Berlin, Germany

Berlin, photo source


prague photo

Prague, photo source


And by the way, according to Google translate, nähen is the German word for sewing or stitch. Stoff is fabric. So those are the most important words I need to know before we leave, right? Actually, S already has a cheat sheet of vocabulary words hidden in the crown of her hat. She’s promised to make me one, too. I’m guessing her crucial word list will include things like ice cream and playground and dog. But those should be the most important words for all of us, right?

I’ll pop in to say auf wiedersehen before we go, of course. And if you want to follow our adventures on Instagram, please do! It will be almost like you’ve come along with us, right?



  1. sewperstitious

    I am from Berlin – so when I need to find something sewing related I usually go to “idee” at Passauer Str. 1 – 3 (right next to the KaDeWe). It’s a huge shop that sells fabrics, patterns and craft supplies.
    Apart from Frau Tulpe, this is a very nice shop, too: http://naehkontor.de/
    Don’t hesitate to send me an email if you need more help.

  2. Rebecca

    Liesl & Family, I am exceedingly jealous of your Germany and Prague trip! My family visited Deutschland about a year ago and had such a wonderful time. We took our 5 year old daughter with us and it was the most wonderful country for children, especially the playgrounds. The large basket swings that seemed to be at almost every playground were a huge hit. As well were the ice cream shops which were on every corner. I would love to go back in a heartbeat and visit places we missed, such as Berlin. I’ve always heard that Prague is such an amazing city as well with the gorgeous history and architecture. Have a Leberkase sandwich, with good mustard of course, for me! 🙂

  3. Darci

    Ooh, so jealous of your upcoming trip. Have fun. Has S been abroad before?

  4. Thanks, Darci. Yes, S has been abroad many times. She got her first passport when she was 6 months old and took her first trip to Spain when she was seven months. Since then she’s been to France (2 or 3) and Iceland (7) and I think there have been a few other trips as well. She’s a good traveler!

  5. Sewperstitious, thanks so much! We’ll check that out and I appreciate your kind offer! I’m looking forward to exploring your city!

  6. Are you taking children? If so the Labyrinth Kindermuseum is lots of fun http://www.labyrinth-kindermuseum.de/

    The zoo was beautiful, more like gardens. We also went to the Holocaust Memorial, it’s very impactful.

    Look for all the painted bears too! Berlin is one of my favorite cities. There’s lots to do close outside the city as well. Public transit is easy to use.

  7. Hildy

    I really like http://volksfaden.de/de/content/7-berlin-laden I’ve ordered from shop before, great shop!
    Oh, and be careful: the word ‘Stoff’ also is slang for drugs just thought I should tell you:-)
    Have a great time!

  8. Have fun on your upcoming trip!! Will be looking forward to your pictures 🙂

  9. Teresa

    We just came back from Berlin for a two weeks vacation. We love it there. I love this little toy/children clothes/fabric store in Berlin. It’s located at Gärtnerstr. 10 10245 Berlin. The name of the store is Frieda Hain. Enjoy!

  10. Hi Liesl, ooh have a great trip! I love those two cities. I don’t have any sewing-related tips, but some recommendations for less obvious things to do which we really enjoyed, and I think would be interesting for slightly older children like S.

    Berlin’s recent history is so fascinating, hard to imagine life with the Berlin Wall dividing the city. We really enjoyed a Stasi walking tour. I think it was this one: http://www.newberlintours.com/daily-tours/red-berlin-secrets-of-the-communist-capital.html
    It is well worth watching ‘The Lives of Others’ and reading Stasiland by Anna Funder before you go (those aren’t for kids though really).

    Also in Berlin, for design fans the Bauhaus Archiv is worth a visit for the building and shop alone! And it’s by the massive Tiergarten park which is a great place if you need some space and greeness.

    A nice easy day trip from Prague is Karlstejn Castle. It’s a proper fairy tale place. And in the village is a sweet little museum of nativity scenes which I loved. They have one made of gingerbread! http://beyondprague.wordpress.com/museums/museum-of-nativity-scenes-in-karlstejn-the-spirit-of-the-season-year-round/

  11. These are all such great tips! Thanks so much. Olivia, S will be coming with us, so the playgrounds sound great! And Hildy, I forgot about Volksfaden! Thanks for the reminder. I’ll look out for the Frieda Hain store, Teresa. Thanks so much!

  12. Tamara

    Two extraordinary places to visit! I have never been to either but they would be fascinating. Do you speak the language or will you be armed with a translation book?

  13. EH

    My husband and two girls (1 and 4 at the time) and I went to live & work in Potsdam for 3 winter months during my sabbatical last year. Most weekends were spent taking train trips into Berlin – amazing city. We really enjoyed the walk around the dome of the Reichstag (need to sign up online before you go). We also fell in love with Babelsberg and Potsdam and I’d highly recommend a weekend or a few day trips there for the grounds of Babelsberg Palace, Schlossgarten Glienicke, taking a stop to read the history of Glienicker Brücke, and of course there is the very extensive area of Sanssouci (just to name a few spots!)

  14. Heidi

    Unten den Linden, the road up to the Brandenburg Gate and the brass strip inlaid into the road in some places where the Berlin Wall stood. There were plans to do it for the whole wall but I’m not sure if they did but standing on it and realising the impact the Wall made.

  15. Gina

    I got to spend just a few days in Berlin and Prague earlier this year and both cities were amazing. Prague is like a fairy tale and the people in Berlin were great! We were there at Easter and there was a great Easter market set up at Alexanderplatz which was great for that time of year (and almost made up for how unseasonably cold and snowy it was). We enjoyed Sansoucci palace at Potsdam too. I can’t wait to see updates on how your trip goes and what you discover!

  16. What a wonderful sounding trip! They’re both wonderful cities but I love Berlin for the arts culture. The only German I remember is how to ask to borrow a can opener. I practised it every time before I knocked on a door of the apartment block I was staying in. Never did get one, so maybe I got it wrong after all!
    Have a wonderful trip.

  17. Maria Sasse

    I live in Berlin! This city is wonderful, you´ll love hmmm … everything. There are wonderful exhibitions, rent a bike, there is nothing better than to see Berlin by bike in the summer. I have two tips for “Biergarten”. http://www.schleusenkrug.de really good food quality.. its near the zoo (west)… the other that I love… but food is not so great, but the place is fantastic is: … darn.. I forgot the name.. I´ll get back to you on that. Hmmm boat tour is also nice.

    If you want to go to the Parlament, be sure to book it now. They have special tours for children also… I´m not sure if they do the children tour in englisch too.. must check.. but for adults they do have it in english.

    The Berlinische Galerie (museum of modern art) has a wonderful program for children once a week… it´s an open atelier… I want to take my kids to that one sometime, but they are still too young.. the program is for children ab 6 years of age http://www.berlinischegalerie.de/en/education/atelier-bunter-jakob/ Better call ahead, I´m not sure if they have the program during school vacations. Judischesmuseum it´s a must…. and if you want to learn more about German history, there is nothing better than the DHM (Deutschehistorischesmuseum)… well.. I would be a lot in museum .. but it depends what you like and how much time you want to spend indoors. Martin Gropius Bau is a wonderful exhibitions center… here is their website, maybe you find something interesting http://www.berlinerfestspiele.de/de/aktuell/festivals/gropiusbau/ueber_uns_mgb/aktuell_mgb/start.php Museums island… there you´ll find the beautiful Nefertiti and in Pergamonmuseum of course the Pergamonaltar.

    If you need more info write me a note, I can find out things for you if it is easier doing it from here or if you have specific things about the city that you would like to see.. the daily life of a berlin specimen perhaps 🙂 Have a wonderful time.

  18. Maria Sasse

    … got it!! its Café am neuen see http://www.cafeamneuensee.de/biergarten/ I love it at night… they have torches and its really nice.

  19. Oh my goodness, thank you ALL for your wonderful suggestions, help, and enthusiasm! This is going to be a fantastic trip, I can tell, mostly because you’re making me so excited about all the things we get to do and see! Many, many thanks.

  20. Maria Sasse

    Hallo Liesl, I forgot to tell you. There i a tiny shop in Shöneberg that only sells vintage
    fabrics, only natural fibers of high quality. The owner looks a bit strange, but hey… he´s a berliner. I am not sure if he opens without an appointment. The name of the store is Fichu. Here is the address: Akazienstrasse 21, Berlin


  21. Marjolijn

    Yay! You’re coming near us! Does that mean there are Oliver+s things in our future?
    There is a great fabric market called the Neukoellner Stoffmarkt at the Maybachufer (on the Maybach river bank). It’s sometimes called the Turkish Market. They sell all kinds of fabrics starting as cheap as 2 Euros/m in different qualities and it’s great to stroll around. The largest variety is on Saturday but on Tuesdays and Fridays they sell fresh fruit and vegetables too. There is even a Dutch liquorice stand (Yum!). After shopping you can have a snack and coffee in one of the surrounding cafes on the river bank. Have fun!

  22. Hi Liesl, excellent choice of destinations! We were in Berlin 2 years ago. The kids loved it, it is a very childfriendly city. I blogged about the trip here: http://spiegelstiksels.blogspot.be/2011/08/berlijn.html and here: http://spiegelstiksels.blogspot.be/2011/08/britzer-garten.html.
    Have fun!

  23. Great suggestions so far for Berlin (which I’m going to save for myself, too!). Re Prague, I found the differently sized everyday buttons a great purchase. They are like English “Dorset buttons” and are made from white cotton thread wound decoratively over and around a metal or plastic circle. I found them in ordinary stores alongside sewing cotton and sewing needles, most often used and seen on household things such as bedlinen but way too decorative for that ;-). They dye and paint wonderfully and are so small they fit into all corners of luggage!

  24. Mimi

    Hi Liesl,

    I don’t have any specific recommendations about fabric shops in Berlin. Rather, a general observation about the ‘ German children’s sewing world’. On the whole there tends to be a lot of colour and pattern. There’s also an emphasis on comfort, which is reflected in jersey, terry cloth (Frottee) and velour (Nicky) being popular fabric choices for children’s garments. So it might be worth looking out for those. There is also a great selection of woven ribbons (Webbänder), which are frequently used as embellishments. I can’ wait to see what you make of it all!

  25. I went to Prqgue for New Years about 15 years ago. Even at that time, it was already pretty Americanized. Still it’s a beautiful city and pretty easy to get around. If you speak German, it will serve you well since there are many many Germans there. There was a tiny little alley near the castle with shops of handicrafts. The etched eggs are amazing and a great souvenir.

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