Buying Lingerie Fabrics in Barcelona (a frustrating story)

I’ve wanted to do a post like this since the beginning of this blog but, finally, today is the day. And why today? Well, it could be for a whole bunch of reasons, but on top of them it’s one: today I’ve had the WORST customer experience on a fabric shop EVER. And I wanted to share my frustration with you, because that’s what blogs are for! 😉

So, let’s join me in the fabric-shopping route I did this morning…

Ribes y Casals (Image via Anna Evers)

First, we stop at the biggest fabric shop in Barcelona, Ribes y Casals. And when I say big, I mean BIG. Two floors full of all kinds of fabric. That’s why the price range is really wide: from 2.50€ per meter to 40€ or more! The staff is usually helpful, but the store is so huge that sometimes they don’t even know what they have in it. All in all, Ribes y Casals is great for dressmaking fabrics, but not so great for lingerie ones: the printed knits and lycras they’ve got are hideous! (The quality seems good, however, they just suck esthetically). Stretch laces aren’t pretty either (and the quality is a bit low…). So, I left with only some black lycra that was on sale.

Also, it’s interesting to note that they call both powernet and mesh “stretch tulle”, and cut and sew foam, “neoprene” (when they have it. About once a year).

La Casa del Retall (Image via La Casa del Retall homepage)

Next, let’s go to La Casa del Retall, where I spot a cute dotted fabric and decide to buy it. Huge mistake! This shop is smaller than Ribes y Casals, but it has lots of fabrics, slightly pricier. The difference is on the staff: the moment I walk past the door, a man asks me in a rude tone, “What do you want?”. I decide to buy a meter of the dotted fabric, so he puts my fabric in a bag, writes the price on a paper and tells me to go to the counter and pay there. The girl on the counter asks me to open the bag (also in a very rude tone) and when she looks at the paper with the price she says that the fabric is two times that price! And she accuses me of having written the price myself! I call the man, who says that maybe he made a mistake with the price (but he doesn’t apologize!). I still like the fabric, but I hadn’t brought enough cash and the girl refuses to let me pay with credit card. She gives me a buy-or-die look, but by then I was fed up, so I left. As I walked towards the exit, I still could hear the girl mumbling some nasty things about “customers like this one”. I swear I’ll never EVER return to this shop!!

Teixits i Retalls (Image via Yelp)

And now, something nicer: I decided to finish the shopping journey by going to my favourite fabric shop in Barcelona: Teixits i Retalls. It’s a tiny shop, and you can see fabric bolts piled against every wall. The owner is a super-friendly woman who does what she can to guide you through all the fabrics, that are more or less sorted by type. The prices are really cheap, because they sell remnants of other fabric shops or textile industries: that means that you can buy a fabric for less than half its original price (I’ve seen some expensive fabric at Ribes y casals, and the next month I’ve found it at Teixits i Retall at a quarter of its price!). So… yes, I was lost in my fabric heaven for the next couple of hours! 🙂

Now that we’ve finished our fabric-shopping for today, I’d like to know: where do you buy your fabrics? Have you ever had a bad experience in a fabric shop like me?


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