Sunday, 8 November 2015

A trip to Lisbon - getting carried away by beautiful fabrics

A reason to go back to Lisbon might be the fabric store. Simply one of the best I've ever visited, and I have visited quite a few on my travels.

I had done my best to google fabric stores before I left but only found the one. Ouro Têxteis was mostly piles of cheap polyester, (like so many in Paris), but luckily, two other stores were close by (and right on one of the main shopping streets - unusual!) Casa Frazao and Londres Salão. Beautiful, (expensive) silk and wool from Italy and England. Since I was so high on good fabrics, it totally slipped my mind to take photos - both the first and the second time...

Anyway, the first time at Casa Frazao, I was assisted by a gentleman who didn't know any English. But, we managed to communicate in a weird mix of Portuguese (him), English (me), drawings (he), French (me) and smiles and gestures (both). I tried to explain what I wanted - luckily I was wearing a dress just like that, he made a drawing and did the math.
Teal green Italian wool and acetate-cupro lining |
So I got this wonderful teal green Italian wool for a fitted dress with 3/4 sleeves. I bought 1,6 metres for €47 per metre... Not cheap, but I have never seen such beautiful wool either. It's a twill weave with a wonderful lustre.
Lace samples |
I also got some samples for amazing lace to think about. I like the lower one the best, but at €80 / metre I would need a special project, and I couldn't think of one. After all, there are already some fabric for special fabrics in my stash. (Please read on and see if this wisdom continues.)

But I could buy other fabrics than lace... And since I didn't spend too much money on other things, I decided to go back. So on my final day, after my last, indulgent breakfast and some packing, I returned. This time, I got another assistant - just as much a gentleman as the previous one - but this one did speak English. Easier for both of us and probably more expensive for me. I went through book after book with samples, looked at some of them on the bolts, and then some more of the bolts, and when I left, I had plenty with me. Perhaps not the most planned fabric shopping I've done, and when I looked at the receipt just now I actually cringed.
Black Italian wool crêpe and acetate-cupro lining |
But before we come to the cringe-worthy part, I started by looking at a lot of black cottons for a nice winter dress, but in the end, the wool crêpe was so much nicer than all the other cottons and wools combined. So another 1,6 metres for €47. I asked what materials he had for lining, and he had this mix (40% -60% in one or the other way) of acetate and cupro (best blend ever!), so I bought black for the new crêpe and a light teal for the wool I bought at my first visit. At €7 per metre it was a steal! (Perhaps I should have bought a couple of metres extra in black and white and then some?)
Green triacetate |
He also showed my a triacetate fabric (also know as acetate rayon, rayon viscose or viscose...), with a wonderful lustre and drape. He had it in all the colours of the rainbow but I quickly found this emerald-sea green and bought 1 metre for €39 intended for a blouse. It would probably make a lovely dress as well.
Silk |
And then the final one, that just made me cringe. It's a lovely silk, perfect for a blouse so I only bought 1 metre. But I hadn't realised that it was €72... The pattern is some kind of orchids and almost zebra stripes and something green. I love the colours, and it feels both modern and classic, but not frumpy

That's without doubt my most expensive fabric ever, and I don't think it's the most beautiful fabric I've bought ever. Damn. Well, it really needs to become a good blouse... (As said above about the lace for €80, that I didn't buy although it was a Very Beautiful Fabric because I didn't have a project for it. I wouldn't have bought the silk either, if I had noticed the price. Well, you live and you learn. Don't get carried away in fabric stores!)


  1. Your fabrics are lovely and I'll be watching to see what you create. I was in Lisbon a couple of years ago but didn't have time for fabric shopping. I will definitely make time on my next trip. The prices seem very reasonable. I just returned from Florence and fabrics there were VERY pricey. I felt I could do much better in NY. I love your silk print and it will make a spectacular blouse.

    1. Thanks - you are so encouraging. I'll need that for the slippery silk... :)

  2. Hi! Your blog is really nice! And your fabrics are amazing! I will depart for Portugal next month on my Portugal tourist visa. I would love to explore these fabrics more. Thanks for sharing!


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