On a recent trip to Bilbao we saw three or four small shops where you can learn to sew. In one there was even a class going on. So the trend that is already evident in London, and elsewhere no doubt, of young entrepreneurs setting up fabric, machine and teaching shops can be seen in Spain too. However I didn’t need help on how to put in a zip – I was more interested in seeing what fabrics might be available. I came across one shop that I would recommend if you are in the area. It was relatively expensive, but it did have a nice range of everyday and designer fabrics and some discounted cut pieces.
I went to Ezkar, a shop that has been trading for over 30 years, but it seemed very old fashioned – in a nice way. Here is the lady who helped me. We couldn’t speak the same language but we managed with notes, pointing and guesswork. The light blue and green wool went into the distinctive carrier bag and came home with me. I hope to use them for my sweet pea collection.
If you like fabric with feathers, lace, fur and all sorts of excessive trimming you may like the selection here. Having said that there was a heavy emphasis on polyester and I found the colour palette somewhat depressing. On the other hand I liked how they showed photos from Hello! (or Hola!) and similar magazines featuring the very fabric on sale. I got the feeling that very dressy, almost stagewear fabrics were popular amongst this clientele.
The tables heaved with small pieces – buy one get the second one half price (a passing customer translated as my sales assistant didn’t speak English). Few of these colours did anything for me – but then I don’t have Spanish colouring. One thing I liked was that each piece included the yardage and composition. When I bought a couple of pieces the assistant (aware I was going to have to pack my purchases for travel) carefully pulled out the staples, removed the cardboard strip, cut off the composition labels and packed everything carefully away for me. At the moment the pound is strong against the Euro, luckily.
I looked at the children’s selection – astonishingly traditional I would say, compared to choices at home. But still rather lovely for a beautiful dress or romper suit. Pink or Blue? Again there seems to be a tradition of making fussy, but gorgeous outfits for the dear little ones who still stay up very late in summer, joining the family for meals and outings. The very casual approach we tend to have to clothes hasn’t caught on to the same extent in Europe.
One corner had some nice bright fabrics perhaps for quilting or summer dresses.
In conclusion – a nice experience if you are in the area, just to get a feel for a slightly different culture.