Tissus et Mercerie, Fabrics and Habadashery in Rouen.

I spend far too much time doing tedious chores, and after having another “English tea” party with my fellow french mums pondered on the question several of them had asked over the course of the afternoon.

What do we do with our days – what activities do we do? What indeed?Most if us have at least four children, have difficulty balancing our desire to work with caring for the needs  of a large family; and spend a large part of our daily lives as cook and chauffeur! But what do we do to inspire ourselves?

Fresh from those thoughts I headed for my fabric drawer. Today I would achieve something, and end the day with something tangible and not just a clean kitchen!

These are just a couple of fabulous linens I had lying about thanks to offcuts from my great friend at  http://limetreedesign.com and which were crying out to be made into something!

It didn’t take long to decide on the layout, and I had two old cushions which needed new covers. The only thing missing was some piping cord for the edges and some bias.

Rouen has two  ‘on-roll’ fabric shops and one habadashery, although both fabric shops have a basic selection of habadashery, it is by no means exhaustive. It took a year, and a chance discovery by my husband to discover the first fabric shop – and before that I had been going demented for lack of a source. All other fabric shops are upholstery/furnishing fabric boutiques and not only expensive, but for those wanting immediate gratification – placing an order doesn’t do the trick!

So for those, who like me are finding it difficult to find faric on the roll in Rouen – this is where you need to go:

Toto Tissus Rouen - Rue des Arsins

Toto Tissus Rouen, 3 rue des Arsins 76000 Rouen. tel 0235 70 48 87

Lots of great Linens, shirt fabrics and an an extensive range of everything else. It is luck of the draw what you findon any one visit.

Tissus au mètre Rouen 76

Tissus Rive Gauche, 11 Rue Malherbe 76100 Rouen tel: 0235 62 86 91

Tissus Rive Gauche is slightly more up market, and has an excellent range of patchwork squares in every possible colourway as well as canvasses for recovering deckchairs etc.

and finally for habadashery, with delightful old fashioned counter service visit Homo Roussel in the Rue de Gros Horloge.

Homo Roussel, 116 rue de Gros-horloge,76000 Rouen

After a little ’round-about’ description I learn from the assistant at Homo Roussel that piping corde is la meche, and plenty of other keywords sailed over my head so I make a mental note to have a handy jotter in my pocket for the next time.

One word of caution – if you are like me and have an English sewing machine, it is just about impossible to get replacement ‘feet’ or ‘les biches’. The singer shop only sells Singer products , and all other french branded sewing machine companies only sell their own label and so on. Don’t waste your time trecking about the city on the off chance that you will find what you need – just order off the internet.

Shopping done – I rush back with that and my bias binding to get started on today’s project.

A few hours later my task is complete and here are the finished products!

Ducks in duck-egg blue and cream colourway with cream piping.

Ducks in taupe spot colourway with duck-egg blue bobble trim.

Verdict: Satisfaction!

5 thoughts on “Tissus et Mercerie, Fabrics and Habadashery in Rouen.

    • Hi Susan, Another new shop has opened up on rue St Nicholas, not far from the junction with rue de la Republique. It looks lovely but I am always leading a trail of 30 americans and so never have the opportunity to go in. However it seems to have lots of pretty fabrics, maybe some liberty and definitely suitable for quilting. Thanks for reading my blog. Nice to know you are in the locality!


  1. Thank you for your thoughts. I am taking a trip to France in July (my first!) and thought a fabric shop would be more my kind of sightseeing. The linen sounds very interesting. Do you have any other recommendations?


    • The best places for fabrics like linen are now in an area of the countryside just north of Rouen, but Rouen does have a museum of cordmaking, musee de la corderie. Paris also has some wonderful fabric shops around the Mont Martre


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