Fabric Shopping in Nuremberg, Germany
Fabric shopping in Nuremberg – a totally gratuitous post, you may ask? Is she scraping the bottom of the barrel now as she’s stuck at home with all the COVID-19 issues going on, sticking essential travel only (business, a funeral and visiting my in-laws)?
Well, yes. Its the reality right now. And it is what it is. Also, there are opportunities for some home sewing as my travel plans for 2020 have basically gone into the bin.
Could I travel locally? Of course. But somehow, this summer has brought a lot of distress and grief. Of course, what I often don’t see, being the glass half-empty person, are the fact that my job is still there, I live in a house I can lock with food readily available, and I am enjoying fairly decent health.
And international travel is my thing, different cultures, cultural stuff, you name it. Just hopping across the border to Poland for petrol (not now, but in principle) is more exciting for me than going on a hiking trip in say, beautiful Bavaria. And plenty other bloggers covered the “Travel Local!!!” niche now very well, thank you. Holidaying in Germany is the BIG thing, and everyone’s hopped on the boat, and like often, trends don’t interest me very much.
Fabric Shopping in Nuremberg: a couple of good options
Let’s go back to fabric shopping. You may be interested in making meaningful souvenir purchases and lovingly stash them in sewing rooms or sew with them. Nuremberg is beautiful and at other times, a very rewarding destination for cute gingerbread houses and German War crimes. Of which the latter are ultimately more interesting as because there are tons of cities where you can view gingerbread houses, drink beer by the gallon and eat very small sausages made from politically incorrect meat. But there is only one Third Reich Rally Ground and a Museum dedicated to the Nuremberg Trials, both of which make for an uncomfortable but extremely rewarding visit.
Anyway. I had to travel to Nuremberg for work recently. I was beside myself with grief over the sudden death of a close friend, so I’d rather not have travelled. However, I was halfway through a course needed for my job. Highly specialised courses in times of COVID and Zoom Learning are somewhat thin on the ground. So, off I went, stiff upper lip ‘n all, sticking it out for the weekend and looking forward to return home to mourn in private.
Other than that, I thought of ways to cheer myself up a bit to get through the weekend. Fabric shopping always works. I am a terrible seamstress but I know a thing or two about fabric. So, instead of a 3am start like the last course weekend, I took a day of work, a somewhat constipated train journey to Nuremberg and then walked to what promised to be the best fabric shop in a rather slim selection in Nuremberg
Rudolf Maderer Stoffzentrum
Rather off the beaten track in a sober but not unpleasant inner city residential area, this shop takes a little effort or either Bus No 43 or 44 to get to. It has all the trappings of a cutesy hippie-hipster fabric store: vintage store front, pleasant back yard with lots of random garages and outbuildings stuffed with goods, and the obligatory rummage table outside, albeit organised in an efficient Bavarian manner.
Fabric Shopping in Nuremberg: Hitting the Bargain Bins
I did the garages first and as expected, found the least attractive options here: mainly cheap fabrics sold cheaply. If you don’t care about quality but want cheap cheap cheap, you get superbly nasty nylon for 1-2Euro per metre here.
Also, last decade’s laser-print treasure can still be unearthed here for a bit more, let’s say 5-10 Euro per metre, all suspiciously artificial-feeling and sweat-inducing.
Other treasures at Rudolf Maderer
Almost as an afterthought, the much-hyped double gauze had finally made its way into German fabric shops. This one felt rather nice, but the print is a bit ubiquitous now and the print felt very scratchy. Also, I couldn’t possibly wear a fabric so reminiscent of nappies and 1980’s lurex nappy scarves – or could I? Leave it to the very young and the millenials I thought, especially at 12 Euro per metre.
The main shop was dominated by fabrics sorted by material, and lorded over by the elderly couple who owns it. Due to COVID restrictions, only a small number of people were allowed into the actual shop, they were really busy cutting fabric and serving customers, and an orderly queue had formed outside the shop, so there was no chance to browse much or ask for recommendation of nice nontransparent summer dress fabric that will withstand a 100 washes. I give them credit that when I asked for something, they procured the desired item (knicker-strength elastic and “ear fluff” to hold my facs mask gently but snugly in place) very quickly and sold them at reasonable prices.
Another one that caught my eye for its striking colours was this one – thick yet floaty viscose. But you need to be no gynaecologist to see this is actually a crowded vulva print. Erm, thanks but no thanks. I’d take a chance with kissing tonsils or dancing ossicles, but my medical interests stay firmly at the top end. Hm. Or maybe they are calla lilies? Or peas in a fat pod?
Organic Fabrics at Rudolf Maderer
I finally entered the holy halls of the organic selection. This is housed in the small shop out front, a really pretty small space with wooden floors and a few old sewing machines, and bolts of fabric in tall wooden shelves. A lot of soft furnishings shared the space, but a small side room is dedicated to organic fabrics. At first glance, I found it a little disappointing, because most of it is jersey in kiddie designs. Or rainbow stripes and polka dots. Well – the customer gets what the customer wants, but I am obviously not their target market.
A good thing I do not have any children, as they would probably have to endure a childhood in flowery Liberty smocks, boys included. And I don’t sew for children, either – they grow so fast and then your lovingly sewn garment gets tossed. No way. So, I have no use for kiddie jersey whatsoever and skipped that.
The shelf opposite was looking much more promising. here was a small selection from some organic German producers. Albstoffe produces exclusively in Germany and unfortunately jersey is one of their main outputs, they do have them in some okay patterns, but don’t expect cutting-edge design. Their quality is really good, though.
Swafing and Burda -branded cottons were also available. Neither of these brands has a huge organic cotton output, though, but the ones I saw looked quite pleasant and were on the lower end of the price scale, starting at 16 Euro for GOTS certified cotton lawn and popeline. Here are some of their samples. I did like the bright flowers at the bottom, but there was less than 1 metre on the roll.
Buying responsibly and organically -sort of
Last not least, I came across some really beautiful jungle print meets Georgian Drawing Room type fabric. The first one, cockatoo in a sea of sunset orange, caught my attention. The fabric was a thick-ish lawn and felt silky smooth. The company that designs and produces them is C. Pauli, a company based in Morsbach between Cologne and Frankfurt. I had neither heard of the company nor the area before. All their fabrics are GOTS certified and produced in Turkey. I don’t know if they are fairly produced, but well, GOTS is a good start.
And then I spotted the same quality fabric with this beautiful swan and undefined birdie chimaera among leaves. I mean it’s somewhat more subtle than the skull and cross bones or something out of Alien. The design is called “Kiso” and the distributor states on their website that this is “a cotton popeline in Far Eastern style with cranes, swans and some other pretty feathered creatures”. It probably escaped their attention that they listed it under cotton lawn and that it bears some rather curiously GM feathered creatures, but hey! its pretty!
Well, its shrink-free, washable made from organic cotton in Turkey and GOTS certified. As a scientist, I approve of the design and think nobody will notice the GM modification much. I mean, can you seriously spot the three-headed birdie once its turned into a summer dress? As for the quality, it probably is a chimera between lawn and popeline too – soft but not floaty, with a nice touch but not super clingy – perfect for a summer dress. I saw the price was exactly the same as on the web shop and bagged three metres.
Now 90 Euro lighter, I concluded my little Nuremberg outing. Yup, I consider that a big spend. But then there are yards and yards of that much hankered-for knicker elastic and the hard-to-get ear fluff, of course.
Now, I have not personally visited them but I know Gruene Erde from their Berlin shop and I did at least walk past the others and got a rough idea what they might be like, but both were closed on the weekend.
Gruene Erde Stoffe Nuernberg
Gruene Erde is an Austria-based ethical living brand with shops in Germany. Even though it sounds like this is a fabric store, it is actually a clothing and homewares shop. They do sell some organic furnishing fabric ranging from about 10 to 100 Euro per metre. If you are interested in ethically made organic clothes and home goods, I recommend you visit, though. I have bought some okay clothes from them on sale. But then, I have not put them through the test of several wash and wear cycles yet. I also bought a few soft furnishings – two wool blankets turned out great while an organic cotton throw was terrible quality. As our cats had already familiarised with it, I thought it’s be a bit shitty to return it, though.
A small shop near the hospital (Klinikum Nord) and always closed when I walked past. I don’t think I missed much it looks very sober and small.
Schoenheiten in Stoff
Although they have “Stoff” (fabric) in the name, this is an accessories boutique. If you still need a pouch for your face mask, you can buy a pricey one here. They have no fabrics for sale although they use some pretty amazing looking fabrics for their accessories.
Getting to Nuremberg
I travelled by train – something I do not recommend while the coronavirus infection rates are still high.
Where to stay
I stayed in two hotels, which I paid using my own funds. For disclosure, I want to add that my employer will partially reimburse travel costs as I travelled to attend a professional course, but the hotels were both of my own choosing and booking.
Both were good and for around 50 Euro a night, excellent value for money. I preferred the first one, the Best Western Hotel Nurnberg Hauptbahnhof. Unassuming, almost downright ugly from the outside, but warm and super comfortable on the inside. Super duper hygienic, and one of the comfiest hotel beds I slept in. To walk to the Old Town, it’s about 300m along the train station and through the train station tunnel, so I’d still consider this pretty central but in a middle class residential neighbourhood.
The Gasthaus Pillhofer is on the Old Town side of the station. Its a 2min walk to your plat form if travelling by train, and this was one of the reason I had chosen this hotel. There was nothing really wrong with it except some noise at night, a narrower single bed and, well it just paled in comparison to the Best Western.
The small print
This article contains affiliate links to Booking.com. This means I may earn a small commission if you make a booking using these links. I either book direct through the hotel or use Booking.com for all my trips. Like many trips, this journey was uncertain until about a week before, due to hygiene rules and uncertainty over the course actually happening. Booking.com offers room with free cancellation, and their cancellation policies are very clear. Tip: It’s better to reserve with a credit card, don’t pay in advance as you may get a unfavourable exchange rate if you have to cancel – I have observed this once with Paypal and now I am not making the same mistake again.