I’ll begin with a definition: a sewist is one who sews. This term is much preferred on the sewing sites of the blogosphere, presumably because one who sews would rather not be called the same name as the conduit which carries off waste water and other refuse.
A local sewist and friend first told me about these travelling fabric markets which make stops in cities and towns in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and France from approximately January to June each year. (There are three companies that sponsor these – the websites can be found here, here and here.) I printed the schedules from all three companies, used google maps to determine which cities were reasonably close to me, consulted the calendar, and then made it my goal to go to one market from each this season. (After all, it’s now or never.)
The first market I went to was honestly a bit disappointing. It was in Sittard, NL and I didn’t even take any photos or buy any fabric. Sittard has a fabric market every Thursday, and the travelling market wasn’t any better than the weekly one.
The second market was the Stoffen Spektakel company, and it was spectacular! It was held in the town of Kerkrade, NL, and when I had to search for a parking spot I suspected this was going to be a great event. For starters, how amazing to go shopping in the shadow of a building like that! (I think it is the town hall.)
Apparently there are lots of sewists in the area – there was quite a crowd! I’m sure the fact that it was a German holiday that day (May 1) brought extra shoppers.
It was a bit of a challenge to get a good look at fabric but there were so many vendors that when I saw a big crowd I just moved on.
One thing all the shoppers had in common: Everyone was touching the fabric. I was doing it too! If I saw something I liked I’d reach out to feel it – mostly to assess the quality but also because fabric is just a tactile thing.
Most of the fabric was for clothing or decor (like upholstery or drapery fabric.) There was some quilting weight fabric and some specialty fabric, like laminates.
There were plenty of notions for sale also. The selection of buttons at this vendor alone was pretty amazing!
Ribbons, trims, zippers, thread…isn’t it beautiful? (I suppose only a sewist would think so.)
In the end I only bought three things: One yard of the gray knit fabric in the photo above; another yard of knit fabric; and a spool of thread. Though it was quite tempting to buy more – and I did have some non-buyer’s remorse, as usual – I realized that with an impending move I had to set some limits.
That thread has been used up, but the fabric is still waiting to be made into something great. I’m sure I’ll get to it someday soon…