My first answer is usually “England”, as the prices are considerably higher here in Switzerland! Having said that, the immediate urge to make something today has led me to scour the area for fabric shops. I live near Nyon so have not explored the other side of the lake fully. For this post I have limited it to traditional fabric shops - there are a host of quilting shops with beautiful and interesting cottons that I will cover another time.
In my opinion the shop with the biggest selection and most reasonable prices is TISSUS MONDIAL, near Annemasse in France (see addresses for all shops listed at the end of this blog). This has a large range of fabrics and haberdashery. It also sells some curtain fabric, mostly Swiss style, but what is wonderful about their curtain fabric is that it is extra wide. This means, if you are making curtains, the need to join the fabric will be minimised, not only saving money, as you will not have to worry so much about pattern repeats, but also time.
Another shop in France is at Val Thoiry: one of the superstores behind McDonald’s, called LA MAISON D'URSULE. It has a small selection of fabric, but lots of haberdashery. It also sells curtains, table coverings and linen.
In Switzerland, one of my favourite shops, with a wide selection of fabrics and a great traditional feel to it, is TEXTILES ACACIAS. It is difficult to find as it’s at the bottom of an office building, on a little road next to Media Markt in Carouge. Also in Carouge is an independent shop, called AU FIL DE LA PASSION, which has a lovely feel to it and some special fabrics.
Another fabric shop worth taking a look at in Switzerland is ALJA. Actually a chain of shops, it has a branch in Nyon, in what looks like an apartment building on the 2nd floor of Rue de la Gare 45. You can recognize it by two billboards with patterns on it, outside the entrance. There is also a branch in Morges, at the end of the high street, and another branch, a lovely big shop, in the center of Lausanne.
For an excellent selection, particularly of special fabric, silks and brocades, as well as many others, there is GRAS, near Manor in Geneva. This shop looks like a hardware store when you enter, but go downstairs and you enter a magic cave of fabric, with quite a few designer types prowling the shelves!
Finally don’t forget IKEA, which is inexpensive and great for cottons and drills. A lot of the designs shout “IKEA” to me, so choose carefully, but the “plains, stripes and checks” can’t be beaten!
I do also buy over the internet, though this challenges my patience and I do like to feel what I am buying. It is often possible to get samples when you buy online - even more patience is required for this, although you will find the effort is worthwhile for a big or special project. If you do buy online, you need to become familiar with the names of the fabrics and remember to check the weight, of the fabric that is, not the parcel! I once made a huge mistake buying some cotton with a gorgeous design, but when it arrived it was so fine it was see-through and totally unsuitable for the skirt I was planning.
There are two online stores in Switzerland that I am aware of: www.cotton-color.com has a big selection with some lovely designs, I have not used them myself but I know someone who has bought from them before and has found their service to be excellent. Their products include cottons and felts, but they do not seem to sell any jerseys, drills, silks, etc.
Secondly, www.tissuandco.ch is a relatively new shop. Again, I have not bought anything from it but the website shows a good range of fabric and more lovely designs.
If anyone knows of any more material outlets, not including quilting shops which I will cover another time, especially on the other side of Geneva, please let me know!
I will be visiting the UNIcréa Exhibition at Château de La Sarraz near Lausanne from Thursday 30 October to Sunday 02 November 2014. Check back in November to see what I find!
16 Rue de Montréal
74100 Ville La Grand
LA MAISON D’URSULE
Zone Industrielle Val Thoiry
Pré de Fontaine
Route des Acacias 45B
022 342 21 89
AU FIL DE LA PASSION
Rue Roi-Victor Amé 6
022 342 61 62
Rue de la Gare 45
022 361 47 77
Rue Louis de Savoie 19
021 803 42 94
Rue St Laurent 19
021 323 76 20
Rue de Coutance 5
022 732 64 64
0848 801 100
Route de Vernier 156
COTTON & COLOR
TISSU & CO