Monday, October 4, 2010

Fabric Heaven!

I told you I would do a post just on the fabric store, Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti, where we went on our hunt for fleece. In one word: wow. If I could do it in more than one word, it would mostly be expletives. If you have ever had daydreams of walking through room after room of fabric stacked floor to ceiling, than you have seen this store. It was amazing. We were on the search for fleece, so I didn't have too much time to explore, but what I did find made my brain buzz with all sorts of ideas and projects that I am fearful for my wallet ;)

Living in New England, I am about an hour away from Boston, so the prospect of real fashion fabrics is too far to do on a consistent basis. I mostly have to resort to Joanne's (searching for non-polyester) and, before leaving for Rome, finally started ordering online. I had taken two trips this year where I purchased beautiful fabric at the two Mood stores and that had been the "fabric highlight" of my year. Until now. I knew I would be able to find fabric here in Rome, I just wasn't sure what exactly I would find. Apparently I found fabric paradise!

First, when we walked in there was this bulletin board with shots from recent designer runway shows. Next to the pictures were the fabrics hanging in strips next to the photo. These fabrics were there. They were there in the same building I was standing in! It was crazy.

Next I walked in and noticed a huge rack of cute cotton prints. Beautiful cotton prints. Yes. They were Liberty of London fabrics. I think my jaw was actually on the floor. I have seen pictures of the fabrics on blogs and websites for sale, but not in person. I felt like I was seeing a much of a fabric dork am I?!

And then, like I said, room upon room of fabric. All neatly stacked and longing for me to take them home. Shirtings, wools, tweeds, silks, lace, cottons and satins just waiting to be turned into something wonderful. In every other room were gentlemen (which was greatly different from the ladies I deal with at Joanne's) waiting to help and cut fabric for you.

As far as the language barrier...we did have some roadblocks that even my friend could not help with. After our trouble with fleece, but then settling on a type of sweatshirt fabric, we tried to get what I needed. First, I should have looked up the Italian word for "lining." Instead I got linen. Beautiful, but not what I wanted. Next we tried to describe it to the very patient man. Finally he got it. But then I wasn't sure exactly what it was made out of, and I didn't want to insult and suggest it was polyester. So, I went safe: "Cotone?". Yes, of course they had cotton. After getting the lightest one (another Yay! for Rosetta Stone helping me there) he cut my fabric, and we went to the final phase of this wonderland.

To pay for fabric at box store/Mood: go up with fabric, hand cutting slip to person and pay at the register. No? No. Not here. Our kind gentleman took our name and put it at the top of our cutting slip. Then he handed that to a woman behind a glass window. We waited there, but then were told to wait at the other window. Okay, we shuffled down. But we weren't supposed to wait at the window, just near it. Next we had to wait for our name to be called and then we could pay. In the meantime our precious fabric had been whisked away (we actually didn't touch it after being cut) and was waiting to be claimed at another table with our paid receipt. A different woman had the job of checking our receipt (even though this was about ten feet from where we paid) and then she placed our fabric in a bag, ready to be taken home. Phew! It was quite a process. I imagine this process helps when it is busy in the store, but for our first time, it seemed lengthy.

And I what did I walk away with? Two meters of black cotton. That is it. I know. I was so overwhelmed that I could only buy for the next project I have at hand. But, my dears, don't be sad for me. It is literally a fifteen minute (and less if the buses and trams are at the ready), so I will certainly go back. I am already planning and scheming....


  1. Wow - I'm envious. I've tried finding material stores when o/s, but I didn't have time on my side. Sounds like, as you said, Fabric Heaven. I love fabric shopping too.

  2. is the fabric store near the cat ruins/gardens?

  3. Monica, it is right near the Largo Argentina (which I do think is considered the cat ruin) on the Corso Vittorio Emanuale II. I'm not sure about gardens, for the Borghese is a big hike from here, but there may be a garden that I am not aware of?