Warning: Photo heavy
Wow, it has been more than a year ago that we visited Basel, Switzerland, and also did some fabric hunting there. I just want to share my experience here (and relive the excitement). I think/hope all the shops are still there, but we know how bad Google is with details of shops when you search for them – they don’t always update closures or changes in location.
We spent a couple of days in Basel for a work conference at the Basel Congress Centre, and we stayed in a hotel just a few tram stops away, but it is also entirely walkable by foot. The fabric and department stores are all within walking distance from the city centre, where the buzz of tourist and local activities are.
I only chose the fabric stores where I could go on foot from the city centre. All the below shops can be visited in about 2 afternoons on foot (but perhaps depends on how much you buy/can carry, and where your hotel is). There are a few dedicated fabric shops, but you can also find sewing tools, notions, patches and some pre-cut fabrics in some of the department stores. I’ll go through each of them below, interspersed with some of the sightseeing pics we have taken of the beautiful city of Basel.
Fabric Shopping in Basel in general:
- Currency used – Swiss Franc (CF)
- Languages spoken – German (especially Swiss German), French, English
- Credit cards – OK
- Visitors to Basel can get a free 7-day tram pass
- I bought a sim card for 10CF and paid about 1.99CF/day for unlimited data use. Very handy when searching up Google Maps for directions.
- Typically, the composition and price are well marked on the bolt.
- All the shop attendants have been very helpful and nice.
- The fabrics I’ve seen typically ranged from 20-120CF/m. Tax is included in the marked price.
The stores I’ve visited are:
- Alja Nouveau – fabrics
- Modesa Stoffe – fabrics
- Stofftraum – fabrics
- Esempio – fabrics
- Robert Caraco AG – trims
- COOP City – department store
- Manor – department store
- Others – passed on the street, after hours
1. ALJA NOUVEAU
- Address: Clara Shopping, Greifengasse 36, 4058 Basel, Switzerland
Alja Nouveau is located in the Clara Shopping Centre. H&M is also in this small shopping mall. Take the escalator to go up 2 levels, to the 2nd floor. Alja Nouveau is not very big, but has a nice selection of cottons, jersey, viscose, fur and some upholstery fabrics.
2. MODESA STOFFE
- Address: Gerbergasse 14, 4001 Basel, Switzerland
Modesa Stoffe is located on the 1st floor on this building that is along the tram line. Most fabrics are cottons, jersey, and all sorts of other things. The lady there speaks German and English (and possibly other languages). They stock Lillestoff fabrics and patterns (from Hanover, Germany), and they can also order in Named patterns. It is the largest shop out of the fabric stores I have visited in Basel.
- Address: Pfluggässlein 5 1.Stock, 4001 Basel, Switzerland
Stofftraum is located on the first floor. It sells mainly designer and Italian fabrics, in silks and jerseys, cottons, silks, wool and polyesters. They also have a selection of trims. The goods are generally more expensive, about 25-100CF/m.
- Address: Spalenberg 8, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Esempio stocks high end fabrics. Lots of designer cottons, tweeds, silks and brocades. I saw Marrimeko and D&G fabrics (bought some of the latter), and many other names. In July and August, they close on Mondays (they are also closed every Sunday). For cottons, you may be looking at 50CF; For silks, 90-120CF/m. It is a fairly small shop.
5. ROBERT CARACO AG
- Address: Gerbergasse 77, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Robert Caraco AG is a trim store, with a handmade/trinket/souvenir shop joined at the back. It has mostly crocheted trims, some woven and embroidered trims, some ribbons, and many antique-looking beauties in every colour imaginable. They closed for lunch and I had to go back an hour later. The shop attendants were very helpful.
6. COOP CITY
- Address: Gerbergasse 4, 4001 Basel, Switzerland
The city branch of the COOP department store is close to the City Hall. Level 2 has haberdashery, yarn, notions, knitting tools and papercraft. The only cut-to-measure fabric available is tablecloth (oilcloth) material.
I didn’t buy anything at COOP CITY, as I was only looking for dressmaking fabrics.
- Address: Greifengasse 22, 4005 Basel, Switzerland
Manor is another department store in Basel. The city branch is located near Starbucks and a small church. On the 4th floor you can find sewing machines, embroidery threads, yarn, home furnishing products, pre-cut fabrics (they seem to be expensive), quilting cottons and patches. The only cut-to-measure fabrics are curtain and upholstery fabrics.
I didn’t buy anything from Manor either.
There are 2 fabric/sewing shops that we have walked pass but it was after hours and they were not open. They stock handmade items, clothes, household items, accessories, and has a small collection of fabrics, it seems. This is just by peeking through the shop window!
I wish they were open! It’s always interesting to see independent handmade/sewing shops.
That’s my fabric shopping experience in Basel. The most crazy thing we have done in this city, was hubby participating in Rhine Swim – an annual event where people can float/swim down the Rhine River that runs through the heart of the city. Adults, children and older people alike participate, some swim, some paddle, some with flotation devices (the official item being the “Fish Bag” where you can put your belongings in there, they will stay dry, and the bag will help you float too), all moved downstream between two pre-determined points. It was a sight watching it! Hubby did it with some friends and said it was a lot of fun, had to be careful not to let the current make you crash into other people or obstacles, and it was…COLD! For us who live in warm temperatures most of the year, anyway.
Hubby and friends
If you make it to here, THANK YOU for reading this mammoth post! I think this is why it took me so long to write up this post about Basel, because there were lots of photos to format and info to be included. I’m glad to cross it off my to-do list!