My Fabric Shopping Tour of Portugal Part 1: Porto & Coimbra
I have just returned from this year’s summer holiday to a not so sunny Portugal. Overall, it was a very busy trip that involved a lot of sightseeing and walking up hills! We started our adventure in Porto, after which we travelled to Coimbra and flew home from Lisbon. Whilst in each of these locations we travelled to other nearby towns – Braga, Guimaraes, Aviero, Sintra and Evora.
As any keen sewer knows it was impossible to go away without researching where the nearest fabric shops were. Fortunately for me, dressmaking seemed to be popular in Portugal so there were plenty around. They were often located in the main shopping areas which meant they were easy to find. The key word to look out for is “Tecidos” which is Portuguese for fabric.
Feria Dos Tecidos
Whilst in Porto we took a day trip to Braga to visit the Bon Jesus monastery. When exploring the city centre we stumbled across the first fabric shop of the holiday! This was a store called “Feria dos Tecidos”. Obviously I had to go inside and have a browse!!! The day we visited there was a big sale with tables full of 1m off cuts. There were also reductions on the cost of the rolls. There were 2 particular fabrics I liked a blue fabric with an orange floral print and a black fabric with a ditsy floral print. Unfortunately in both cases there was only 1 remnant of each left so I was reluctant to buy them. This was because I wouldn’t have any spare fabric if I ended up making a monumental sewing mistake, which has been prone to happen…
Address: Avenida Da Liberdade, 733, 4710-251, Braga
In between taking a tour round the port wineries and eating the famous francheshina sandwich I made sure we found time to hunt down some of the local fabric stores.
Feria dos Tecidos
This is another branch of the store that I found in Braga. As before, there were lots of promotions with tables and bins filled with off cuts of different fabric types and prints. If you visit you should be prepared for a good rummage through disordered piles of fabrics, but some can be bought off the roll if the chaos is not for you. The prices were very reasonable with remnants averaging €6.95. However, even without the offers the fabric appeared to be very affordable. Although, I have a feeling that this may be a shop with a permanent sale.
What I really liked about this shop was that you could get each print in multiple fabric types e.g. satin, jersey and crepe. So once you find a print you love you can choose the type and weight of material to suit your project. Additionally, they have a really good range of different fabric types with pretty laces, cottons, sheers, jerseys, suiting, broderie anglais etc. They also sell furnishing fabrics.
In this branch I was very relieved to find multiple remnants of the blue floral fabric I spotted in Braga. So I purchased 2 m and will use it to make a dress. The second I bought was a pale blue light-medium weight crepe with a floral and butterfly pattern. I will use this for a drapey blouse.
I definitely could have bought a lot more from here there were so many pretty prints. There was also a very good variety to suit a variety of tastes. I would definitely recommend a visit. I wish there was one in the UK!
Address: Rua de Cedofeita 310, 4050-109 Porto
This shop sells luxurious couture fabrics such as 100% silks and intricate laces. Some that they stock have also been used by well-known fashion designers as part of their collections. Unfortunately, the high fashion fabrics come with an associated cost and were therefore well out of my price range. For example a tweed was for sale for €88 p/m and a lace was available for over €300 p/m. The cheapest roll I saw was for €65 p/m. Therefore, I did feel a bit awkward browsing carrying my Feria dos Tecidos carrier bag.
If you were looking to make a garment for a special occasion, e.g. a wedding, then this would be the place to come. Also, it is a good place to visit just to see what the difference is between couture and standard home sewing fabrics. They were stunning but not what I was looking for.
Address: R. de Passos Manuel 30, 4000-381 Porto, Portugal
Avenida 7 is another shop that supplies couture fabrics. According to the website this is a place to come to get fabrics from leading international designers. They also offer a dressmaking service where you can pick your fabric and style and they will tailor make you a garment. When I was there they were selling solid silks for €35 p/m, and printed silks for €68 and upwards. The laces were very expensive costing over €100 p/m although it was understandable given the detail.
I didn’t spend too much time here as I was looking to buy fabrics for every day clothing. I felt these were more suitable for special occasions.
Address: Praça de Carlos Alberto 7, 4050-157 Porto, Portugal
Mundo dos Tecidos
This store sold a range of affordable fabrics, where the prices of lace started from €20 p/m.They sell a range of printed 100% cottons for €7.90 p/m On the ground floor they sold a good range of dressmaking fabrics including velvets, jerseys, dance fabrics, and suiting. You could also buy denim by the Kg. In the basement they sold furnishing fabrics.
I personally preferred Feria dos Tecidos to this shop. I think the patterns available were more to my taste and there was a bit more variety.
Address: Rua de Fernandes Tomás 851, 4000-117 Porto, Portugal
Armazem dos Linhos
This store really didn’t know what it was supposed to be selling. There was a small range of baby clothing at the front of the store and shelving units that sold bolts of fabrics along the walls. The selection available included patchwork, home/furnishing and dressmaking fabrics. However, it only seemed to stock a small selection of each type, so there was not much variety. However, whilst writing this post I had a look at their website which says they offer traditional prints and Portuguese made products.
The prices were fairly reasonable and there didn’t appear to be anything over €20 a meter.
Address: R. de Passos Manuel 15, 4000-295 Porto, Portugal
Tecidos de Coimbra
As I arrived into Coimbra train station I got super excited as out of the window I could see the word “Tecidos” printed onto a shop sign. Therefore, before we walked up the steep hill to the famous university area I had to peep inside the “Tecidos de Coimbra” to see what they stocked. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed as it only seemed to have haberdashery items, there were no fabrics. In fact, most of the store sold underwear!!! This left me very confused as when I consulted Google there were photos of rolls upon rolls of fabrics.
Then the night before we were set to depart for Lisbon we were strolling around some of the back streets. This is when we stumbled across a second shop called “Tecidos de Coimbra”, which was just a few doors away down a side street from the other shop. Fortunately, we were due to catch the train at 11 and the shop opened at 9 so that gave me enough time to go and check it out.
When I got there I was a little overwhelmed there was so much fabric!!! There were rolls upon rolls piled up on tables, leaning against the walls and stacked on shelves. There was shirting, suiting, tweeds, laces, solids, prints, brocades, jerseys, furnishing fabrics etc. The choices were endless! Additionally the prices were very reasonable the only things I noticed were over €20 p/m were the laces.
Due to the lack of time I chose one fabric that I thought was quite unique and had never seen before. It was a multi coloured woven striped fabric with an Aztec style print. I got 1.5m which would be plenty to make a skirt.
Address: Av. Fernão de Magalhães 32 – 34 6º, 3000-171 Coimbra and R. das Padeiras 63 Coimbra, Portugal
Coimbra also had another branch of Avenida 7, however, in this store there was a sale of remnants which piqued my interest. Unlike “Feria dos Tecidos” the fabrics were neatly folded and hung on coat hangers rather than thrown across a table. The remnants included light silkies, lace and heavy weight fabrics e.g. brocades. The prices for the remnants started at €30 but most were around €50. If there was one that I really liked I probably would have invested e.g. a stunning brocade for a skirt, but nothing took my fancy. The only thing I really liked was the fabric used for the skirt that was on the mannequin in the window, although I couldn’t find it in the store
Address: R. Visc. da Luz 29, 3000-121 Coimbra, Portugal