Fabric shopping in Lisbon

Posted on: July 24, 2008

P7103222-500, originally uploaded by mooimadeit.


Walking the streets of gorgeous Alfama, the oldest area of Lisbon, is like colour therapy en plein air. The colourful tiles that adorn every building in Alfama left me especially hungry for fabric that replicated these patterns.

I wasn’t sure where to start though. I hadn’t been able to find much information about fabric shopping in Lisbon online prior to leaving. And it’s not really the type of thing you expect to find in something like Lonely Planet’s Best Of Lisbon Guide!

My search was further complicated by the fact that ‘fabrico’ seemed to appear in the names of many shops… that were clearly not selling fabric. I believe it means they ‘make’ whatever it is they are selling there on premises. In fact I just looked it up now and the Portuguese word for ‘fabric’ is ‘tela’ ‘tecida’.

I thought my best bet might be to ask someone at the Museum Of Decorative Arts (Museu Escola de Arts Decorativas Portuguesas) if they knew where I might find some traditional fabrics but the lady at the store didn’t understand and just told me no – I think she thought I was asking if they sell it there.

Eventually I was pointed in the right direction by a fantastic vintage clothing store/ cafe in the Baixa-Chiado district called A Outra Face De Lua, and turns out we were just a couple of streets away from three fabric stores! I was told the larger one in particular was BIG and had some fabrics at ‘very nice’ prices.

You need to locate the street RUA DE AUREA, in the BAIXA-CHIADO district (closest Metro is ROSSIO) which just comes off the Praca Dom Pedro IV (Rossio Metro). There is a big H&M store about halfway down this street on a corner, as well as the Discoteca Amalia music store (with a little shrine to the fado music queen Amalia Rodrigues in the window). Nestled amongst these are several fabric stores including the one above, and these two as well:

P7103223-500, originally uploaded by mooimadeit.

P7103218-500, originally uploaded by mooimadeit.

FEIRA DOS TECIDOS was the largest of the stores with about 3 mezzanine levels of fabrics – from dress cottons to woollen suiting material to towel and remnants boxes which were on sale and you could purchase PER KILO!

Seeing by this stage we were VERY aware that every item we bought on holiday, we would then have to pack and cart around with us for the rest of the trip, I had given myself a rule for fabric shopping – I wasn’t there to stock up on CHEAP fabric I could just get at home. I wanted fabrics that were different and special. I.e. – I behaved myself.

This fabric caught my eye, displayed in the front window of Feira Dos Tecidos, as it had some of those wonderful patterns that remind me of the Portuguese tiles.I love this fabric so much I got 3 metres of it. I’m thinking some kind of summer maxi dress to show off the full pattern.

P7203654-500, originally uploaded by mooimadeit.

P7203655-500, originally uploaded by mooimadeit.

P7203656-500, originally uploaded by mooimadeit.

This fabric below I picked up at one of the other stores, in the lower level where they had a whole table full of remnants folded up with details of how many metres there were (all about 1.5m or 2m max) and their prices. This is so different from what I might usually buy but I liked how there were two shimmery tones – a kind of light fawn, and this greenish silver. I have absolutely NO idea what I am going to make with it though so any suggestions are welcome!

P7203657-500, originally uploaded by mooimadeit.

P7203659, originally uploaded by mooimadeit.


12 Responses to "Fabric shopping in Lisbon"

i just did a cate maxi dress with a bordered pattern– before i read its destiny, i saw the fabric and thought PERFECT maxi.

this is really cool to see international fabric goodness… i wanna eat those parisien bolts.

yes i am thinking maxi too! how was the pattern? was it very difficult? I need to master working with lining. I am REALLY terrible at it. and lazy! which is not good. wonky lining = BAD!!!

well, yes… the pattern was difficult. but that’s only because the instructions are a mess. there are some simple corrections that make it MUCH easier. and my cate isn’t lined, although i did figure out how to line the top (ran out of fabric…).

i’d love to see your cate. if you want, email me at oonaballoona[at]gmail[dot]com and i’ll tell you how i did it!

Love your blog! (discovered it on It’s a nice mix of sewing, cooking, and traveling. I’m learning to sew and seeing all the things you’ve made so far is inspiring – I’m hoping I’ll be able to sew just as well in a few months.

Wow that is so incredibly nice! Thank you so much, that has made my day!

A friend of mine in Sydney said my blog has inspired her to learn how to sew to and she’s gone out and bought the first Sew U book and is starting – I highly recommend that book if you want to teach yourself! It really instills that you CAN teach yourself and do things your way and helps you learn from her past mistakes (which are often hilarious!)

Oh, so close and yet so far. I just came back from Portugal, literally 4 days ago. I also love the “azulejos” in Portugal, I just can’t get enough. While admiring the architecture, I noticed the shapes of the homes were very much like the house patterns from a quilting book I have from Fig Tree Quilts and although the colors in the book are a lovely cream, peach, taupes and pumpkin colors, I thought what if I made a quilt of Lisbon homes with the blue/white tiles pattern. The challenge, of course, would be finding the fabric! I thought what were the chances of finding azulejos fabric… and thanks to the good ‘ol internet, I came across your posting and you shared your wonderful discovery in Lisbon! And I spent my last 2 days IN Lisbon, IN Rossio area but I was pre-occupied with other sightings, as it didn’t occur to me to go fabric shopping. I will definitely keep your posting in my files for my next trip to Portugal. Thank you so much for sharing. At least I bought a cataplana casserole in Lisbon .. and it works great! Thanks again, adeus!

Thanks to your post I took a day trip to Lisbon from the Algarve yesterday with the sole purpose of buying fabric for making handbags.

FEIRA DOS TECIDOS was superb! The only problem was that i had no idea how much 30m of fabric was going to weigh!! I was delighted to come across a shop selling wheelie suitcases or I would never have made it back home!

Thanks for the tip :o)

Thank you so much for this post! I am planning a trip to Lisbon this summer to attend my friend’s wedding. I lived in Paris, France for awhile and am thinking about going after the wedding to pick up some fabric before I fly home from London. But now I am even more excited to hear of these wonderful stores in Lisbon…now that I know where to buy such lovely fabrics in Lisbon I may be returning home with pieces of fabric from Portugal as well 🙂 Thanks again for the detailed post!

Thank you so much for posting! I always purchase fabric on the road and needed some direction for an upcoming trip to Portugal.

Thank you so much for this post. I am decorating an apartment in Cascais and this lovely post just solved all my curtain problems!

Thanks for the post! I could barely find anything else about fabric shops in Lisbon so this is really helpful!

Thank goodness I googles up fabric shopping in Lisbon. We are going in 2weeks for 6 days and I am a fabric freak. (my husbands sure I will win at having the most fabric when I die) looks wonderful. Thanks for posting. Looking for buttons and trims too. Then on to Spain and canary islands. More fabric, please?

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