When I visited Paris a few weeks ago, I booked a textile tour with the lovely Rebecca Devaney. She is an haute-couture embroideress from Ireland who studied at Ecole Lesage and worked for some of the famous haute-couture ateliers in Paris. In addition, Rebecca has a keen interest in the history of haute-couture and the psychological science behind embroidery and crafts in general. This makes her extremely suited as a tour guide and interesting discussion partner. I highly recommend booking a tour with Rebecca when you are visiting Paris! I for my part discovered some new to me embroidery suppliers. High time; as Brexit is upon us in only a few days time. Trading with Britain and travelling to London will get more complicated and more expensive. Thank goodness for the direct high-speed train connection from Munich to Paris :).
The tour kicked off at Ultramod on the Rue de Choiseul. These are actually two shops: a milliner and a haberdashery on the other side of the road. The milliner was established in 1832 and the haberdashery opened in 1920. The current owners bought both premisses in the 1990s and had the foresight to buy all the vintage stock as well. And what marvellous stock that is! Beautiful velvet ribbons, Duchesse satin from Lyon and buttons galore. The colours are so rich and unparalleled in modern equivalents. In addition: most things on display are no longer being produced.
Ultramod is a truly magical place from a gone by era. No fast fashion here. Instead, highly trained shop staff and craftspeople who developed long-lasting and intimate relationships with their clientele.
Next station of our tour was La Droguerie. This shop occupies the premises of an old butcher's shop. The walls show the typical white tiles and iron meat hooks and the old scales are still in place too. When you enter the shop, you are immediately captivated by all the beautiful colours of yarn on display. But this is not just a yarn shop. Nope. You can get beads by the spoon full. They have a very impressive collection. I bought some tiny real stone beads made of agate, rose quartz and tiger's eye. They also sell buttons of a wide variety of materials. This is a true Ali Baba's cave!
Next up was Mokuba, the famous ribbon and lace makers from Japan. I have never seen so many ribbons in one place in my life. And they are so beautifully displayed. Very orderly and they radiate a great sense of calm. Quenticencially Japanese. All Mokuba products are made in Japan by master-craftspeople. This is certainly a place I will do business with in the future. I was, of course, drawn to the most expensive ribbons in the house. The ones with the real gilt and silver threads :).
And now we come to Stitchers' Paradise: the saleroom of Au ver a Soie. They only open to the public one day a month. But with Rebecca, you are treated to a private visit to this wonderful place. All their silk threads, fine embroidery wools, silk ribbons, metallic threads and embroidery kits are on display. The colours are overwhelming! I left with a good supply of their wonderful metallic threads. They are of the woven or braided type and they are a dream to stitch with as they don't fray easily. I also fell for a couple of spools of silk perle.
And last but not least, we visited Maison Sajou. The shop displays are really lovely. All products are made in France and ouze vintage charm. Maison Sajou is almost exclusively geared towards cross-stitch embroidery. However, I bought some glazed linen threads to use in underside couching.
I and my husband really enjoyed coming on this tour of the textile district of Paris. Le Sentier is a lovely area of Paris and we can't wait to be back to explore some more. Since we were visiting Paris during the strikes, we were forced to walk long distances between the city centre and our hotel. This meant that we discovered even more of Paris! If you are visiting in the next six months or so, do explore les grands voisins. This former hospital is the home of many creative people before the site gets redeveloped in about six months time. It also houses a fantastic bakery, a chocolatier and a cosy cafe. Well worth a visit! Good food can be had on Rue Montorgueil near all the textile shops. Personally, we went for a bite in a VERY small Lebanese eatery next to Mokuba. The food was amazing :). Can't wait for my next trip to Paris!
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