Monday, September 28, 2009

Stoffmarkt Holland in Frankfurt: a Fabric Market in Germany

Well, we went! Even though my budget was pitifully small and after 10 minutes my husband was bored, we made it. He found a cafe to sit and read in while I spent 3 hours perusing the 140+ booths at the Holland-Stoff Markt. I was really on sensory overload - so much to take in!!

I chatted to a couple of friendly German ladies while we waited in line at one booth and learned a few things: 1) the fabric markt comes 2-3x a year (Feb/March, May, and Sept/October) to Frankfurt. Sometimes the third time will be nixed in favor of a stop in Wiesbaden or Koblenz. This was important to learn because of fact #2.

(cute printed jersey fabric)

2) There really aren't any good shops in Germany to buy fabric. You can find some things in Karstadt department stores "if you're lucky", but it's not likely. Plan on buying your fabric online unless you come to the fabric markt. (see their resource list at the bottom of this post)

(wool and jersey prints)

3) Since fabric is really scarce here, you buy as much as you can afford when you see it. Then you go home and figure out what to do with it. This didn't work for me as I only had 40 Euro to spend and already had a list of projects requiring specific amounts/types of fabric. They couldn't believe how organized I was, but I said it was thanks to the tiny budget, ha ha!

(Cotton prints and polka dot jersey)

Cotton print pricing:
40 Euros doesn't sound like a tiny budget until you see the prices of fabric here. 5 Euro/meter was a good deal at this market.

(cotton prints on the 5 Euro table)

This was almost exclusively cotton prints with some bolts of jersey and fine-wale corduroy mixed in. The patterns I really liked averaged between 7.50 - 14 Euros/meter. There was gorgeous fabric from the designer Tilda at 18.50/meter, which was just ridiculous! I didn't see any American designers or styles.

(Tilda fabrics for 18.50/meter. I should've moved the book!)

What other types of fabric were available?
I would say about 50% of the booths were selling heavy woolens, tweeds, herringbone patterns, etc. If you wanted to make your own coats, winter dress skirts/trousers, etc. this is a great place to visit. Many 'inspiration projects' were hanging from the booths. There were so many bolts of boiled wools!

I didn't watch their prices too much, I think they were mainly about 25-40 Euro/meter. There was one set of beautifully patterned boiled wool that was 69 Euros/meter! (see below)

I only saw this small display of oilcloth (waschtuch auf Deutsch). I thought it would be fun for some everyday placemats, but at 19.50/meter I wasn't prepared to take the leap!

There were many booths offering slippery printed rayon/polyesters which might be fun if you wanted to make your own tops. I'm not 'there' yet sewing-skill wise, and didn't really care for any of the designs. They were about the same prices as the cotton prints and were also the main fodder in the 2 Euro bins that could be occasionally spotted.

(bolts of blue boiled wools)

Trimming was offered at maybe 4-6 booths. Lots of selection, but they were always just jammed with people! Prices varied, but my pom-pom trim was 1.75/meter. It was so claustrophobic I couldn't stay long!

There were also a 3-4 booths with thread, scissors, cutting guides, sewing machines, and patterns. They were also jammed. I just can't imagine starting up this hobby had my mom not sent over a lot of basic start up things recently! Who would have thought sewing/fabric was such a niche market in Germany?!

Anybody and everybody was at this market. It wasn't just a bunch of grandmothers! I overhead people talking who said they sold online on DaWanda, were sewing for their daughter, wanted a new punk statement piece, needed new throw pillows, making a wedding dress, you name it! It was very intersting and very exhausting!

I purchased a few things for some Christmas presents I'm making - so sadly no pictures because the people who are getting them are also readers of this blog! But here are a few things I picked up for myself. I want to use the two fabrics in our kitchen to do something on the table - napkins, placemats, runner, etc. I have a few ideas for the pom-pom trim, but haven't made a decision yet. I'm looking forward to finally getting started on some projects now!

Resources for fabric in Germany:
Tipp Tapp Stoffe was present and selling the Tilda fabrics. Micha's Stoffecke and Kostenlose Schnittmuster were recommended by both German women. I wasn't impressed with any of the websites, especially the last 2. They're hard to navigate and look so primitive I tend not to trust them aside from their recommendations. They also said DaWanda and sometimes Etsy, would be great to find German sellers with cute fabric. The Holland-Stoffmarkt will continue again in the Frühjahr 2010, so early 2010. Keep checking their website for new schedules. I think now that I've seen a lot of this in person I'll feel confident to compare prices to German online sellers and make more online purchases. I'll defnitely come back to the Stoffmarkt-Holland when it comes again to Frankfurt.

Any other German fabric websites I should add?


Diana Strinati Baur said...

I don't have a website. But there is a once a year event in Hamburg at an Einrichtungshaus called Bornhold. To be honest, the sale has gotten so large that they now hold it at their Lager near Eidelstedt instead of in their store.

This is the deal: for one week, usually the third week in January, they sell thousands of bolts of fabric which they have accumulated, for 70-90% off price. I am talking washed silk taffeta, velvets, gorgeous upholstery fabrics, cotton prints -- everything -- at extremely low prices.It is PACKED so it is important to get there at the beginning of the week and get there early.

Contact Bornhold an Neuer Wall in Hamburg for details. This sale is huge and it is a Hamburg tradition. I got forty meters of silks there for the curtains for my B&B -- Italian silks -- and brought them back to Italy -- they were that cheap.


MS said...

You did it!! Thank you Stefan from all us ladies who wish we could have gone too. Way to have a budget too. I would have left my rent money there and justified it somehow (it's for the children...or something like that). Thanks so much for sharing. I go to Paris on Wednesday and this time I'll take pics and post. Fun!

machen und tun said...

hi there, i enjoyed your text on the Stoffmarkt - it is quite exhausting to be there, isn´t it??
well, there are some really, really great fabric stores online in/from Germany!! Please try my favorites:
All three are owned by very nice, friendly ladies and have a great, yet different range of cool, colorful fabrics.

Katie @ said...

Yeah to Stefan for lasting as long as he did! I really like reading your descriptions. Now you're going to have to share the suitcase of fabric you pick up in the US. I had no idea sewing was such a niche here, either. How weird! Have you ever looked at the IKEA fabrics? I've seen them online but never stopped in the stores.
Thanks for the links, Claudia.


jja said...

If you want to buy some fabric in Frankfurt I can give you the names of some 4-5 really good shops, you can find a fabric store here (and a good one) you only have to know where to look, tricky I know...and good fabric is expensive here ...some special thing for bedroom costs no less then 100 euro per meter.

Juliette said...

duh - Allison has great fabric on DaWanda at Still Water Designs:

Katie: yes, we've used some of the Ikea fabrics in our last apt. I haven't been there since I got the sewing machine, but would like to b/c some of the stuff I was really pleased with and wasn't 'too Ikea' looking. (beautiful solid, deep red, heavy linen for drapes in the last apt)

and thanks M&T for the links!

jja - 100/meter is way out of my price range, but if you know of more affordable options, let me know! =)

Michelle said...

Great blog!

Does anyone know where I can find this in Germany and what it's called?

In english, its called "Cotton Filler Cord" or piping for pillows and should be around 9 mm thick.

Epp said...

Nice to read about your impressions! Eavesdropping can truly be a useful thing. :-)

I'm hoping to go and browse it the next time, in spring. But yeah, it's always wiser to go there alone or with friends with the same interests. Even when Björn offers to take me in such places, I usually refuse, because I know he'd be suffering there. And in the end, neither one of us would have a good time.

Juliette said...

Thanks Michelle - no, I have no idea what/where that cord could be found here, sorry!

Epp - totally! Just yesterday I was thinking how I really need to update my blog list myself!

Laura said...

Thanks everyone for the tips and links. I'm going to check some of them out, I'm actually looking for nice and unique ribbons and am really missing a 'joann's' or 'michaels' craft store from the States.... If I am unsucessful here, I may have to stock up during my christmas trip to california. hmmmm

C N Heidelberg said...

This post is awesome. I'm jealous but also glad because I could have lost a lot of money on things I don't have concrete plans for ;)
Have you been to Stoffe Lott in HD? I'm heading there soon I hope, looking for dressmaker's carbon to help with embroidery and for Aida fabric for a Christmas project...

Juliette said...

looks like Stoffe Lott will be on my list of must-see things next time we head down that way...looks like a place I need to visit! =)

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