Haberdashery(ing) in Paris

It has been a month since Bob and I returned from France. We are hurtling through time, getting ready for our winter living onboard, and I am attempting to do something textile-y with every day I have left on land! So, in some ways it feels like our trip to France happened about 6 months ago! In other ways I feel like I’ve just returned.

A friend of mine alerted me to the fact that Paris has wonderful shops for notions and fabrics. I had experienced a bit of that two years ago, when I found a fabric shop in Fort de France, Martinique. I couldn’t wait to see what a shop full of buttons, ribbons, and trims might offer–in Paris!

My friend had mentioned Ulta Mod, which has two shops on opposite sides of the street on Rue de Choiseul. It might be the oldest haberdashery in Paris since it opened in 1832.

Rebecca Devaney has some wonderful descriptions of the history of Ulta Mod as well as its current offerings in the newer store–and great photos! You really should take a look at all the great interior shots of the store on Devaney’s website. I think it vies with French boulangeries as a compelling reason to visit Paris! While I was there, a woman had her tweed coat spread out on a counter and was choosing new buttons. I thought the buttons that were already on the coat were quite nice! I don’t think I would have considered changing them, but then I am not French, let alone Parisienne. This woman, and the saleswoman waiting on her, clearly understood that the coat could be so much better with new buttons! How they got through the wall of buttons to make a choice was mind boggling.

I got lost in the section of trims. I was thinking of braiding as I looked through bins and bins of offerings. There had to be about a 100 color choices of just one type of cording that caught my eye. As often happens to me when there is too much choice, I couldn’t pick anything! My loss….

I had done a bit of internet searching ahead of time and wanted to visit Maison Sajou. Oh my! This is an embroidery shop where every project, every spool of thread, package of needles, and every fabric on display made my heart race. I don’t even do embroidery anymore, but I wanted everything in this shop! Actually, I wanted to live here.

Now I plan to give embroidery another whirl. It’s certainly an easy thing to take onboard for the winter. After much deliberation, and after putting various spools of linen embroidery thread and some cute packages of embroidery needles in my cart, I added this project kit. Tres adorable!

I bought the book online before I ever even got to France! The cross stitch in the background was done by one of Bob’s great aunts as a gift to us back in the 70s.

I think I missed a great opportunity to see some fabric shops in Paris. We were leaving the Cathedrale Montmartre, walking down a street of fabric shops, all closing for the day. I have no idea if this is the hotbed of French fabric shops since I didn’t get to check them. On another day, I went searching for a fabric shop I’d found online in the area where we were staying, the 11th arrondissement. I found a Japanese fabric shop called Jhin.

Of course I envisioned returning home with French fabric, perhaps outdoing the beautiful linen print I found in Martinique. But fate took me to Jhin and I came home with two beautiful Japanese prints for me, and another two for a friend. Serendipity can be so much fun!

Japanese fabric from my trip to France.

I’ve begun embroidering the cute little tote from Sajou. It’s a restful way to spend time–perfect for days in tropical harbors in the Caribbean. I’ll be there soon.

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1 Response to Haberdashery(ing) in Paris

  1. Melody Serra says:

    Oh my GOOOOOSH, the Japanese print is SO pretty!

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