See It: Fabric Finds Whilst Shopping in Spain
Fabric finds on our Honeymoon in Spain
In 2016 my husband and I visited Spain whilst on our honeymoon and whist strolling through the streets of Seville we came across a fabric shop called Galerias Madrid ( http://www.galeriasmadrid.es/ ). Obviously, I couldn’t resist going in… The thing that surprised me most was the sheer amount of fabric and the wide variety of types available. As a result, plenty of deliberation was required before I settled on a blue lace and a satin which I used in a cocktail dress (which was based on a €300 dress I had seen in a shop down the road, this was my first See, Design and Make attempt) and a brocade which I used in a skirt.
Going Back to Sunny Spain
When we decided to go back to Spain this year I had to have a quick Google to see if any fabric shops were near where we were staying. So during our first week in Valencia in between visiting the zoo and eating Paella at Ernest Hemingway’s favourite restaurant, I thought I would pop into the haberdashery by our hotel called Julian Lopez ( http://www.julianlopez.es/ ). I was completely overwhelmed by what I found. There were 4 floors of fabric!!! Every shelf was crammed with roll upon roll of patterns, plains, silks, cottons, jerseys, lace and fabrics that I could not identify. There were fabrics for Flamenco, traditional dress, suits, furnishing etc. There was so much choice and the quality was fantastic.
I did have my eye on at least 2 different fabrics in Valencia one for a skirt and one for a dress. However, after a week we were heading to Granada where I knew that there was a Galerias Madrid (the store I visited last year when I was in Seville). As a result, I thought I would be patient, save my money and wait and see what was available in Granada. Unfortunately, I was a little let down when we got there, the fabrics were all too heavily focused towards Flamenco and there wasn’t the variety that I had found in Valencia. I tried two different fabric stores and felt completely disappointed and let down. However I can’t be too harsh with the stores in Granada as it was Corpus Christi when we visited, so there will have been a local demand for traditional fabrics.
Fortunately, I had one last chance to pick up a supply of fabric and that was in Madrid (our final stop). Here they had another branch of Julian Lopez (the store I visited in Valencia). Luckily I was not disappointed this time! The store was massive and the variety was huge. There were hundreds of rolls piled on top of each other in racks in the middle of the room and there were crammed shelves around the edges.
I managed to find three fabrics that I fell in love with, although due to the language barrier I am not exactly sure what type they are. What’s more, there was a sale on, so I spent just £45 on 6m of good quality fabric.
I see myself making the fabric on the left into a shirt dress and the one in the middle into a fitted mini skirt. Furthermore, I plan on making a jacket out of the fabric on the right which will match the satin and lace dress I made using fabric from last year’s trip to Spain.
Why I love fabric shopping in Spain
Clearly sewing and dress making is far more popular in Spain than it is in the UK. Shops aren’t in the middle of remote industrial estates like they are in the UK, they are located on the main shopping streets. The one in Madrid was situated on Gran Via not too far along from Primark, H&M and McDonalds (a very grand McDonalds at that). The variety is huge so you aren’t just stuck with patch work cottons plus a few basic dress making types. If I lived in Spain I don’t think I would have to spend so much time searching for fabrics online and ordering swatches. Additionally, I wouldn’t struggle as much as I do to find the fabric I need to fit my purpose.
The most interesting thing I found is that in Spain they actually seem to rotate the stock and keep an eye on the seasonal trends. This is in comparison to the UK where I find that I can go into my local fabric store once every 6 months and in all that time the stock is largely unchanged. We need to bring the Spanish culture of dressmaking into the UK because it is much more exciting and inspiring. Shops need to sell fabrics based on the up and coming trends. Even Liberty of London don’t do this, they stock so many pretty patterns but they are not following fashion.
Due to my love of the Spanish haberdasheries I have threatened my husband with visiting Valencia once a year with an empty suitcase just so that I can stock up! Although as long as he gets sunshine and beer I doubt he will complain too much…