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By Nicola Ogilvie, Just Sew

For my first blog I am going to answer the question I am asked most frequently: “Where do you buy your fabric?”

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!

TISSUS MONDIAL
16 Rue de Montréal
La Combette
74100 Ville La Grand
France
www.mondialtissus.com

LA MAISON D’URSULE
Zone Industrielle Val Thoiry
Pré de Fontaine
01710 Thoiry
France
www.maison-ursule.fr

TEXTILES ACACIAS
Route des Acacias 45B
1227 Carouge
022 342 21 89

AU FIL DE LA PASSION
Rue Roi-Victor Amé 6
1227 Carouge
022 342 61 62
www.tissus.info/

ALJA
www.alja.ch/fr/

Rue de la Gare 45
1260 Nyon
022 361 47 77

Rue Louis de Savoie 19
1110 Morges
021 803 42 94

Rue St Laurent 19
1003 Lausanne
021 323 76 20

GRAS
Rue de Coutance 5
1201 Geneva
022 732 64 64
www.maisongras.ch

IKEA
0848 801 100
www.ikea.com/ch/fr/

Route de Vernier 156
1214 Vernier

Pré-Neuf
1170 Aubonne

COTTON & COLOR
www.cotton-color.com

TISSU & CO
www.tissuandco.ch

Author's bio

nicola220Nicola Ogilvie has been sewing as long as she can remember, and loves new challenges. From a very early age, she has attempted most things you can make on a sewing machine, from creating her own wedding dress and recovering a chair to quilting and embroidery. In her early career, she was employed by Courtaulds, working in a factory making underwear for Marks & Spencer!

Through her sewing business, Just Sew, Nicola now shares her passion with a new generation. She runs workshops, mostly for children, and teaches in the after-school program of a local international school. She loves the fact that even the youngest get a great sense of satisfaction from their completed projects. After a number of requests, she will soon be offering courses aimed at adults.

Although sewing is clearly Nicola’s thing, she admires all craftsmen and women, and loves to see how people use their creativity.

www.justsewgeneva.weebly.com