We are back with another contribution to our fabric shopping series from cities around the world. Today Miren is giving us a fabric shopping tour of the Barcelona, Spain. Glad to have you here Miren!
When you try to shop for fabric in a country that isn’t your own, you’ll find that sewing terms aren’t easily translated. To help you out, we created the Sewing Translator, which many of you have contributed to and use. We hope it will be useful to you as well in your travels. Sewing Translator is now available in 14 different languages, and if you have an iPhone or iPad you can download it to use the native iOS app off-line as well. We hope you’ll make good use of it! You can find Sewing Translator in the Apple app store, and it’s free.
Hi there! My name is Miren and I am so pleased to take you on a small fabric shopping tour through Barcelona, one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in Europe.
Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia, a region whose history in the textile industry goes back to the 18th century. It was also a great time for haberdashery, design, and business related to the textile industry. Barcelona became the capital of fashion design. Nowadays, the number of factories has come down as, like in most European countries, factories have gradually been relocated in Asian Countries. When traveling through the region you can still find reminders of how important textile was for Catalonia: old mills, industrial buildings being reused for new purposes. But the industrial infrastructure is still there, and also the design schools and the taste for fashion.
So it is not difficult to come across a little fabric shop or haberdashery in every neighborhood in the city of Barcelona. I would invite you to wander around and discover on your own. But since Barcelona is just a fantastic city for sightseeing, with so many places worth a visit, and you might not have much time to get lost, I will provide you with some directions for fabric shops along your sightseeing trails.
Not far away from La Pedrera, and Casa Batlló, both at Passeig de Gracia, there are four of the main fabric shops in Barcelona. Gratacós is the most exclusive one, and then three others within meters of each other at Roger de Llúria: Ribes y Casals, La Casa del Retall and Teixits Donna.
Gratacós was established in 1940 and ever since has been designing and producing their own fabric collections that have been then used by haute couture houses, such as Chanel. These fabrics, of course, are of a very high quality, but accordingly pricey. If looking for something for a special occasion, this is the place.
Ribes y Casals is the biggest fabric shop in Barcelona. It has more than 1000 square meters, is a two level shop, where they stock almost every kind of fabric: apparel, swimwear, patchwork and home dec. On the lower level you can find an outlet and discount section, as well as a curated haberdashery. Prices are usually very affordable, and I am sure you will find something to your liking. They also have a wide range of interfacing, fusible lining and alike, so you can get everything you need there. They also offer an online shop.
Next door to Ribes y Casals, you can find a shop specializing in knits: La Casa del Retall. This is my favorite place to go for knits. They stock cotton jersey, viscose, poly blends, tricot, sweatshirt, lycra. And they do sell very quickly, so if you like something, you better grab it before it is gone! They have a small selection of sewing thread and zippers, but you cannot find any interlining or lining there at all. Just knits galore!
On the other side of the street, and sharing an owner with La Casa del Retall, there is Teixits Donna. What I do like about this shop is that besides the novelty and fashion prints, you can find so many good basics in different kinds of fabrics. It is true that they might not be at sight. The tables are full of colorful and fashion fabrics, but the shelves behind are the ones to look for when you want to buy basics. This shop is my choice when looking for solid crepe, viscose, wool. And I also buy my fusible interlining there, German brand, my favorite. I have the impression that they work with a few local designers, and I understand why. They work with coordinating prints and solids, so it should be easy to work on a collection with their fabrics. And at the back of the shop they have a great selection of patchwork fabrics–so many prints it is difficult to pick just one, and very good prices too.
And not far from these three shops, but out of the tourist track, there is a shop you cannot miss at all: Nunoya. This is a beautiful shop carrying Japanese fabrics, as well as other well Instagram-known brands, such as Attelier Brunette. The decoration of the place, the prints, the high quality of their fabrics–you will want to buy them all. Quality is always a bit pricy, so save some of your travel budget for this shop. It is absolutely worth the visit. Especially if you are a Kawaii lover!
Now we are moving onto another area of the city you will be visiting for sure: El Born, the old city. This is a neighborhood where wandering around is strongly recommended. You will find beautiful architecture, restaurants, and local shops. I am sure you will also encounter small and curated fabric shops, but my sewing related suggestions for this area are La Antigua Pasamaneria Soler, Casa Felix haberdashery, and Ganivetería Roca. The three of them are part of Barcelona history, and they would be interesting for your non-sewing travel companions too.
La Antigua Pasamanería Soler was founded in 1898, and they have mostly worked on uniforms. The furniture in the shop is also worth admiring, and the street it is at is also so picturesque. They speak English, so I encourage to have a chat with them and find more about their history.
Casa Félixis is a Haberdashery founded in 1939. They are a family owned shop and they know their business. I go there every time I need advice on what interlining to use. The guy who helps me is so nice and knows so much about this product that I do not trust anybody else. They carry any notion you can think of and prices are not very expensive.
Ganiveteria Roca is a knife shop founded in 1911, specializing in knifes and scissors. If you happen to bring your sewing sears to Barcelona, this is the place to get them real sharp. And If you didn’t, why not buy a pair here as a souvenir from Barcelona?
Midway from the fabric shops I introduced earlier, and the old town, is Plaza Catalunya, also one of the sites to visit when in Barcelona. Not far from here there is a haberdashery that is an institution in Barcelona, It has every trim you can think of: Mercería Santa Ana. They recently changed location and moved to a new shop, leaving the old wooden counters behind, which is a pity. So you might have to insist a bit if your travel mates are not sympathetic with your need to look at threads and trims.
And finally, every city in Europe has an open air market, right? Los Encantesis is the one in Barcelona. It is very close to the Catalonia National Theatre, the Design Museum or the Torre Agbar. And you can get there by tram. The building itself is very interesting to see. One of many samples of modern architecture in Barcelona. Check their website (they have an English version) for the timetables, as it is not open everyday. On the lower level there are a few haberdashery stalls, with much lower prices than in brick and mortar shops. This is the place where you get absolutely crazy and buy all the buttons and thread spools. I warn you. You can also buy all kind of stuff which is typical from this area: clothing, tools, toys, things you don’t even know what they are. Fabrics are mainly on the upper level. They are cheap, very cheap. Sometimes the quality is not that good, but prices are so tempting. Sometimes you are lucky and come across a high street brand leftover. You never know what you will find. This is a favorite of every sewing friend that has visited Barcelona, so take good note.
And that is my small tour for Barcelona fabric shopping. As I said, there are many other shops in the city and the towns around Barcelona, I am just telling you about the few in the center, hope you find it useful. So if you come to Barcelona, there are lots of places to enjoy fabric shopping!