Wearologie

Fabric shopping in Geneva

SewingCoralie Grillet

This post was inspired by Alex from Sewrendipity who is looking into making a directory of fabric shops for her blog: the Fabric Shopping on Tour - Local sewing guides for travelling sewists.

Wearologie HQ being in Geneva, Switzerland, we thought it was a good idea too to gather informations on shops selling sewing supplies and fabric. Whether you plan on visiting Geneva or you live in the area, hopefully you’ll find everything you need in the list below.

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Geneva is a wonderful city to live in!

Located at the tip of lake Geneva (in french we call it Lac Léman), we are extremely lucky to be surrounded by nature and beautiful mountains. The city is the second biggest of the country and allows you to have access to all city life pleasures while still easily enjoy a walk in nature or a hike in the mountains when the need for nature strikes.

Home to some of the world well known organisations like the United Nations or the Cern, Geneva also has a rich history that can be retraced by a walk in the old town and a visit to the majestic cathedral. From there, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of the city, mountains and lake in all its glory. The Fountain is also a popular touristic attraction and can be seen from all around the lake. In summer, it’s fun to walk underneath it, then have a delicious ice cream in one of the nearby stands and finish by a swim in the lake.

In winter, you can enjoy a lovely cheese fondue in most restaurants around town and even get your winter gear out for a day skiing in the close-by mountains. A cup of hot chocolate is also never a bad idea...

Now, the purpose of this post isn’t only about Geneva’s touristic sites but also about what we all love to do: sewing and making our own handmade wardrobe!

So, if you like to sew and are in the area looking for great shops that sell fabrics or notions, here are a few places where you could get your hands on some. Sadly, the shop selection isn’t huge and even though most shops are independent and not part of a chain, you’ll mostly find the same brands and notions everywhere. And they will tend to be more on the pricey side. 

However, there’re still some gems to be found and usually everything bought around here, especially fabrics, will be excellent quality.

Mercerie de la Madeleine

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This tiny haserdashery at the beginning of the old town is full of treasures and is worth the trouble to get there. The perfect stop just before going to visit the cathedral, it’s one of the best places to get hard to find couture supplies or to stock up on buttons. Being located between streets that are pedestrian only, it’s not a good idea to go by car and parking is a pain in this area.

Instead, why not visit the beautiful old town, stroll the most historic streets of the city and visit this shop before going on the main shopping street?

Very few fabrics are sold here, except a few solid colour linings. However, the vendors are always helpful and happy to advise you on how best to finish your garments or use this obscure boning you've just purchased.

Mercerie de la Madeleine

Rue de la Madeleine 11
1204 Genève
Phone number: +41 22 310 45 94
Website

Opening hours
Monday: 13h30-18h30
Tuesday-Friday: 9h30-18h30
Saturday: 9h30-17h00

 

Textile Acacias

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Located in the Acacias, a neighbourhood mostly made of industrial buildings and offices, this shop has one of the biggest selection of fabrics in Geneva. You can easily get there with either the tram or your car. A parking is conveniently situated in front of the store.

Inside you’ll find a rather big selection of quality fabrics, from beautiful silks to warm and lustrous wool, it’s a real feast for the eyes. There’s also very specialised notions and some home decor fabrics too.

No wonder most of the design schools advise to shop there for supplies! However, all this beauties come with a price and you’ll most likely break the piggy bank to get yourself some fabric.

Textiles Acacias

Route des Acacias 45 B
1227 Carouge
Phone number: +41 22 342 21 89
Website

Opening hours
Monday-Friday: 8h30–18h30
Saturday: 8h30–17h00

 

Alja Nouveau AG

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This recently relocated store is now a mere 10 minutes by foot from the train station. With a very respectable selection of fabrics and conveniently located near the two art schools of Geneva. It’s the place you’ll find the best fabric selection for the cheapest price. They carry a wide range of cotton and stretch fabrics plus a few sewing machines. You can also find lovely printed knits, perfect for comfortable and stylish garments.

Alja Nouveau AG

Arcade rue De-Grenus 2
1201 Genève II
Phone number: +41 22 732 02 56
Website

Opening hours
Monday: 10h00–12h00 / 13h00–18h30
Tuesday-Friday: 10h00–12h00 / 13h00–18h30
Saturday: 10h00-16h00

 

Elna Balexert

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Located in the biggest department store of the area, Balexert, this shop sells sewing machines from the Swiss brand Elna. Getting there is easy either by car or with the tram. It’s about 20 minutes from the train station and the town center.
They carry a few fabrics, basics notions and knitting wool and needles. Even though at first it doesn’t seem much, their huge advantage is found in the selection of sewing machines accessories. From specialise sewing foots to embroidery accessories for your machine, they have it all. And the best part is that they will show you exactly how to use them on their displayed sewing machines so you can have a professional result at home.

Elna Balexert

Avenue Louis-Casaï 27
1211 Genève
Phone number: +41 22 796 00 51
Website

Opening hours
Monday-Wednesday: 8h30-19h00
Thursday: 8h30-21h00
Friday: 8h30-19h30
Saturday: 8h00-18h00

 

Bernina La Praille

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Rather hidden in a huge department store in the industrial part of Geneva, this small shop is a Bernina retailer. They carry all the Swiss brand’s machines and some sewing notions too. Just next door to the football stadium, you can easily access La Praille by car without worrying about a space to park.

Even though this place is best if you need a service on your Bernina or if you want to purchase one, they still have a nice selection of notions, threads, and some quilting cottons. Vendors are also really nice and helpful.

Bernina La Praille

Route des Jeunes 10
1227 Lancy GE
Phone number: +41 22 781 88 81
Website

Opening hours
Monday-Wednesday: 9h00-19h00
Thursday: 9h00-21h00
Friday: 9h00-19h30
Saturday: 8h30-18h00

 

Mercerie Catherine B.

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Situated near the busy Bel-air and at the beginning of the old town, this small shop can only be accessed by foot.

You won’t find any fabrics here and only a small selection of sewing notions. But you’ll be spoiled with choice for the best selections of embroidery notions. The owner used to work at Lesage in Paris and is specialised in embroidery. From cross stitch, to ribbon embroidery to Lunéville using beads and sequins, they have it all. You can even sign up for classes and learn the very fine art of couture embroidery. A must-visit for couture fans!

Mercerie Catherine B.

Rue de la Cité 17
1204 Genève
Phone number: +41 22 310 77 79
Website

Opening hours
Monday: 14h00-18h00
Tuesday-Friday: 10h00-18h00
Saturday: 10h00-17h00

 

Manor

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Manor is one of the biggest and oldest department store in Geneva. Just a few minutes walk from the train station, you’ll find an entire section devoted to crafts and creative hobbies in general. The fabrics sold there a mostly home decor or quilting fabrics and they also have some overlocker and sewing machines. Definitely not the best place for garment sewing but a good address to pick up craft supplies and thread.

Manor

Rue de Cornavin 6
1211 Genève
Phone number: +41 22 909 46 99
Website

Opening hours
Monday-Wednesday: 9h00-19h00
Thursday: 9h00-21h00
Friday: 9h00-19h30
Saturday: 8h30-18h00

 

A. Gras, Maison-Tissus

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Probably the most luxurious fabric store in Geneva, this place is mostly specialised in home decor fabrics. However, if you go have a look downstairs, there’s a pretty big selection of fabrics. Here you’ll find amazing silks and some lace. If you’re planning on sewing some evening wear and want quality material, this is the place to go. All this quality comes with a price though and shopping there can quickly get expensive.

A. Gras, Maison-Tissus

Rue de Coutance 5
1201 Genève
Phone number: 022 732 64 64
Website

Opening hours
Tuesday-Friday: 9h30-18h30
Saturday: 9h30-17h30

 

Outside of Geneva

Tissu & Co

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If you’re prepared to go a little further than Geneva, there’s a new small shop in Rolle owned by the lovely Ana. About 30 minutes by car from the city, this place is conveniently located directly in front of the train station. Be aware though that the opening hours are restricted and it’s best to contact the owner before showing up.

There you’ll find beautiful fabrics from brands like Atelier Brunette, Cotton+Steel and Cloud9 fabrics just to name a few. This selection of independent brands is extremely rare around here, so it’s definitely worth a visit if you can. She also carries lots of indie sewing patterns and some lovely craft notions.

Tissu & Co

Avenue de la Gare 18
1180 Rolle
contact@tissuandco.ch
Website

Opening hours
Thursday: 10h00-13h00
Friday: 10h00-13h00
Saturday: 10h00 -12h30

 

Mondial Tissu

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Not technically in Switzerland and about a 30 minutes car ride from the city, this french chain store has a huge selection of fabrics. From home decor to crafts, from knitting supplies to garment fabrics, this place has it all. Plus the prices are amazing being in Euro.

Be aware though that the quality of the fabrics are quite poor and usually you’ll end up with a pilling fabric after a few washes.

Mondial Tissu

16 rue de Montreal La Combette
74100 Ville-la-Grand, France
Phone number: +33 8 25 12 20 35
Website

Opening hours
Monday-Saturday: 9h30-19h00

 

This list is certainly not exhaustive and it’ll get updated as needed.
If you know a place that’s not featured here, we’ll be happy to add it to the list. Just leave a comment below or contact us to share your best tips for the area.