Thursday, 25 July 2013

Shop till you drop: Leuven

What a wonderful day I had last Saturday! Not in Leuven - we'll get there in a minute - but in Brussels, for the first (probably?) Belgian sewing bloggers meet! Prepare for some text...

The day began at 10.30 and led us on a pretty thorough tour of central Brussels' best fabric stops and shops. We started with Berger, went on to Atchoum and the flea market at place Jeu de Balle, stopped for some epic lunching and swapping at Houstiplou, then, via craft shop De Banier, finally ended up at the city's most well-known fabric emporium: the Chien Vert. By going home time at 5.30pm, we were down to a weary but happy hardcore!

The group was surprisingly large - I'd had no idea so many people would come! : Anneke, Beata (who drove 3 hours from Holland, what dedication), Ilse and her gorgeous little daughter Lola, Joost, Kamila, Lelie, Louize, blogless Margot, Sigrid and Stéphanie. What really struck me all day was how laid back and lovely everyone was. Nothing got hectic, we just did just plenty of chatting about sewing under the pleasantly warm sun. I came away with some fabric bought, some swapped, and a great big smile on my face. Thank you so much, dear ladies and Joost!

My only regret of the whole day is that I failed to take a single photo. Which is a sign of a good time, but a shame nonetheless. Anneke, Louize and Sigrid have also blogged about the meet and have a few pictures on their blogs. Go check them out!

So while I was thinking about this little write up, I realised that although I have no photos of a sewists' day out in Brussels, I did have some sitting in the camera of a recent trip to the nearby town of Leuven. So, you know, I'll just show you around there instead.

Well, what I mean is - I'll show you the fabric shops :-) .This is Pauli, which, having walked past on several occasions, I'd been meaning to visit for ages.

I've learned to manage expectations by now: you never know if a fabric shop will be full of ugly duds or woven wonders. To my amazement, Pauli is chock full of knits.

It's an absolute treasure. It can be so hard to find decent knits either in store or online (where there's the added disadvantage of not being able to see or feel it properly), that I was rendered almost speechless by the stock here. All different colours and weights of jersey, sweatshirting, ribbing, sweater knit and stretch wovens - and the shelves in this window below are all stacked with knit prints:

I was incredibly disciplined and only came out with the two small pieces of skirt lining I had on my shopping list. Insert smug self-satisfaction here.  But I now know where I will be heading for all my stretch-related fabric needs from now on!

And then I went to Hexagoon.

It's a very little shop, piled high with every imaginable kind of trim, craft supplies, and - of course - fabric. A well-picked selection of the lovely stuff, mainly Liberty and Petit Pan.

I got some Petit Pan fat quarters and a button in here, hoping to turn them into a birthday dress for L (we'll see if I can eke the whole thing out of such little bits of fabric).

And then, I got on the train and went home. G had kindly let me have the day 'off' while he took the kids to see his grandmother and then to the swimming pool - it was the end of a full-on few weeks at work during which he'd been out a lot in the evenings, and I really needed it. That evening, we got the babysitter over and went out in Brussels.

A day with my favourite pastime and an evening in my favourite city. The cure for just about everything :-)

Clockwise from top left: café Flamingo, café Walvis, view over festival Couleur Café, the canal.


  1. ooooohhhhhh - looks like I so need to go to Leuven and Pauli... once I have moved and have time to sew again!

  2. Silvia - Sewing PrincessJuly 26, 2013 11:00 am

    Oh, I didn't know about Pauli! I've been to Leuven several times in my non-sewing addict days so I must absolutely go back at some point. Looks like you had a great day!

  3. Hi there, I've sent you x2 emails about my sewing meet-up in Goldhawk Road, London happening this Saturday (perhaps they're trapped in your Spam folder?). I urgently need to finalize numbers attending so that I can find a large enough place to cater for everyone for lunch (were looking at 40-50 "Yes's"). So, if you can please reply to me by 12.00pm on WED 31st July 2013 at the latest I'd be most grateful. My email address is: sew[dot]incidentally[at]yahoo[dot]com . Regards, Claire :)

  4. I was thinking of you as I wrote this up! Definitely worth the trip!

  5. indeed, 'twas lovely :-) Leuven is a very nice place, and Pauli is a very good reason to find an excuse for visiting

  6. ooh yes will do - thanks!

  7. The salesman at pauli is always really nice, euhm always, the 2 times I've been there :)

  8. Hello! I am looking for a quality fabric store in Belgium or within a few hours drive of Brussels. I'm an avid quilter and have recently finished the stash of projects and fabric that moved here with me. Ideas? Thank you!


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