Vintage Rhodoid buttons at La Droguerie

Right on the Button


Have you noticed that posts about buttons on social media elicit a flurry of comments about grandmothers’ button tins or jars, fond memories of special buttons, buttons that made certain cardigans and dresses special favourites. It seems that buttons really do “press our buttons”,and we are, like the late Steve Jobs, fond of the perfect button. (Of course he was fond of an entirely different sort of button, but we understand the sentiment.)

Buttons have been special since fashion became fashionable. Not only useful for fastening and making clothes fit, buttons were signs of wealth – status symbols, where the rule of the day was the more buttons the better.

While these days we are not so heavy on the buttons we all know that the right button is worth the hunt. Paris isn’t short of fabulous button purveyors and in our Stitching up Paris guidebook we’ve given you a sample of button heaven in the heart of Montmartre’s fabric district.

Now we’ve got three more button addresses for you to stash in your notebook:

Buttons Paradise
15 rue St Guillaume
Paris 75007

Metro: Rue du Bac or St Germain 

For the English version click the Anglais button at the top right. The blog posts are particularly interesting and cover a range of topics including fashion tips.

Open: Mon, Tue & Thurs 2pm to 7pm, Weds & Fri 10am to 7pm, Closed: Sat & Sun

Sandrine Mettelal’s fabulous boutique is just off boulevard St Germain on the Left Bank. In fact, it’s not far from the new location for France Duval Stalla’s fabric store that we mentioned in our last post. It’s also just a short stroll from the fabulous department store Le Bon Marché and any number of delightful cafes and refreshment stops.

File 14-06-17, 12 18 51 PMAs well as a beautifully curated range of luxury, vintage, contemporary and top-selling buttons you will find stunning button jewelry and buckles. Just to whet your appetite further,  Sandrine has shown Barbara a selection of fabulous vintage buttons including some made of snail shell that were designed by Lucien Weingott – who worked with Schiaparelli.

Sandrine is an experienced connoisseur of buttons and provides excellent advice for choosing buttons.

File 14-06-17, 12 18 14 PM

Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie
51 rue Roger Salengro
Méru 60110
(English translation button top right)

Open: Everyday except Tuesdays 2.30pm to 6.30pm

Meru postcards on mailbagThe Mother of Pearl museum is housed in a 19thcentury button-making factory in the town of Méru. For a (half) day trip out from Paris take the train from Gare du Nord to Beauvais-Le Tréport via Persan stopping at the village of Méru (about 50mins from Paris). Consider taking a taxi from the station to the museum; my map App advises it’s 1.1km away, approximately 15 minutes walk.

The museum is open daily from 2.30pm to 6.30pm (except Tuesdays). Please check the Hours and Access information on the website under the tab “Useful” for annual closing dates and any variations to these opening hours.

There are guided tours, in French, that will give you an idea of the working conditions in the old factory; harsh! There is a boutique on site – after all you might like some little souvenirs to remind you of your expedition to Méru.


Mireille Boutonnières
21 rue des Petits Carreaux (3rd floor)
Paris 75002

Metro: Sentier (exit rue des Petits Carreaux)

Open: Monday to Friday 8am to 2pm

File 16-04-18, 1 53 05 PMIf you are on the hunt for buttons, chances are you may want buttonholes too. Here is a great address for stress-free buttonholes made tout de suite and it’s right in the centre of the fashion capital where rue des Petits Carreaux becomes rue Montorgueil (featured in Neighbourhood Notes page 73 Stitching up Paris guidebook).

Drop in to this tiny workshop, the entrance is right next door to Starbucks, between 8am and 2pm any weekday and Monsieur Mireille (junior) will make buttonholes, covered buttons, eyelets, and popper buttons for you on the spot at a very reasonable price.  What’s more, you’ll likely see a genuine side of Parisian sewing life: young men and women with their cosplay outfits, independent fashion designers, young sewists with their tote bags, and clever seamstresses bringing their latest self-made winter coats, all of them know the best address for stress-free, perfectly professional finishing touches.

You’ll need to have the placement of the buttonholes marked on your finished garment, know the size of the buttonhole you need (take your buttons) and your piece of fabric chosen for covered buttons.

As always, bon voyage!

PS: the fabulous vintage Rhodoid buttons in the top photograph (and the single button picture) are from La Droguerie in Paris.

La Clarière in Paris has vintage mother-of-pearl buttons and gave us the old French Post bag.





Update your Paris address book

Since we published Stitching up Paris there have been a few changes of address that bring some exciting shop expansions.

We’ll continue to keep you right up to date with new or changed addresses by posting updates here on our blog and on social media.  Stash these away for your next trip to Paris because the stitching scene just keeps getting better and, as we’ve noted before, “Paris is always a good idea.”

La Bien Aimée – now at 89 avenue d’Italie, Paris 75013

Nearest Metro:  Tolbiac or Maison Blanche

Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 6pm

Still as bright as sunshine and beautiful as ever, but with even more space for La Bien Aimée’s highly coveted hand-dyed-in-Paris yarns,  Aimée’s new shop is located on the busy Avenue d’ Italie at number 89.

This new store and expanded dyeing studio is still in the same neighbourhood of the 13th arrondissement as the sister store L’Oisivethé (at the corner of rue Butte aux Cailles and rue Marie Jego), and is about a 10-minute walk away. This means you can still call in to La Bien Aimée for some new yarn before walking on to Wednesday knit night at L’Oisivethé to begin casting on.


France Duval-Stalla – now at 72 rue Mazarine, Paris 75006

Nearest metro:  Mabillon or Odéon

Open Tuesday to Thursday 11am to 7pm

Located at number 72 rue Mazarine, tucked cosily at the back of a pretty little courtyard, France Duval-Stalla’s new boutique is well worth a visit, and not just for the chance to stroll around the Left Bank neighbourhood, perhaps window shopping nearby on beautiful boulevard Saint Germain and stopping at one of its famous cafes.  The new boutique itself is more spacious and there are ever more elegant fabrics and trims – look out for the gorgeous sparkly elastics. France Duval-Stalla offers a programme of demonstrations and classes, which are in French but the teachers often speak English, as do the sales staff.


Le Bonheur des Dames 

We hear that Le Bonheur des Dames embroidery boutique at avenue Daumesnil is closing in early April 2018. Their pretty little boutique in Passage Verdeau (number 8) remains open and is as delightful as ever. A visit to the covered passages of Paris is a must-do.



Weber Métaux

We posted about the change of address for Weber Metaux here.

Remember, always check social media for any changes to opening hours for all stores before you visit. Most boutiques update their Instagram and Facebook accounts with any changes. It is common in Paris for opening hours to change seasonally, or for special occasions and events, and of course many boutiques close for a few weeks in the summer holidays.

Bon voyage!

L’Artisanat Monastique

imageThe Monastery shops throughout France showcase high quality artisan products that come from monasteries and convents. They sell honey, oils, jams, soap, embroidered children’s clothes, household linens, handprinted paper..


In their Paris shop they also sell old linen and lace for the benefit of their religious orders.  In the cool vaulted cellars there is a wonderful selection of old monogrammed sheets, table linen, nightdresses, lace edgings, dickies, collars, blouses and ecclesiastical linens and embroideries.



L’Artisanat Monastique

68 bis avenue Denfert Rochereau

75014 Paris

Mon –  Fri  12 – 6.30pm

Sat 2 – 7pm

metro Port Royal


Weber Metaux

One of the highlights of our book research was exploring the cellars at Weber Metaux in the Marais district.IMG_5477

Then after the book was published, Weber moved to a warehouse not too far away at 66 rue de Turenne.  Having seen the extent of the narrow underground corridors full of potential treasures for imaginative designers and craftspeople we were a little sad to think of the end of an era for the rue de Poitou shop. What a job it must have been to pack up and shift!2017-04-04 16.45.41

To find the new place, look for the entrance way to number 66 rue de Turenne.IMG_0267

Head down the alleyway…..Photo 4-04-17, 4 40 18 PM (1)

Keep going….Photo 4-04-17, 4 39 53 PM (1)

The new warehouse stocks the same interesting array of materials. For the metallic threads and wires, go to the product stands in the right hand corner immediately on entering the shed. For chain mail or any queries ask at the central counter.


And on your way out don’t miss this courtyard scene…Photo 4-04-17, 4 40 38 PM

Or the traces of stitching that went on before at 66 rue de Turenne.Photo 4-04-17, 4 48 27 PM

If you’re a fan of old doors, there is a beauty just along the road, painted bright blue at the time we visited. IMG_0268

While you are in this neighbourhood you are only a few minutes walk from the Picasso Museum in the beautiful 17th century Hôtel Salé (named for it’s owner of the time who was the salt-tax man – the word for salty in French is salé.)  Exit Weber Metaux onto rue de Turenne and take rue Sainte-Anastase almost opposite the alleyway to arrive at rue de Thorigny near the entrance to the museum.

It’s worth taking a coffee or tea break in the museum’s lovely roof-top cafe overlooking the entrance courtyard. From the rooftop you have a birds eye view of this cosy inner city neighbourhood.P1040539P1040537

The museum re-opened in late 2014 after being closed for 5 years for extensive renovations that doubled the exhibition space allowing many more works to be displayed.

The museum is open Tuesday to Friday 10.30am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 9.30am to 6pm and entry is free on the first Sunday of the month.

Bohin: prized needles

The village of St Sulpice sur Risle is a picturesque little corner of rural Normandy on the banks of the river Risle not far from Aigle. There may even be a haystack or two nearby but you won’t have any trouble finding needles there because it’s the home of the Bohin factory that has been making perfectly smooth sewing needles for almost 185 years. Bohin is the last European manufacturer of sewing notions; needles of every sort, from embroidery needles and glass tipped needles to needles for silk flower makers, taxidermists and sail makers, pins, safety pins and more. They have expanded their range of needlework necessities and kept up with trends to ensure this factory flourishes and the rich heritage of French specialty manufacturing continues.Photo 18-06-16, 1 58 35 PM

For a wonderful day trip you can visit the Bohin factory and museum to see the workshops where needles are being made, learn about the history and tradition of Bohin and buy ever so special Made in France souvenirs from the shop. There is also a needlecraft exhibition space. The factory is about 2 hours from Paris by car, or you can travel by train to Aigle and from the station take a short taxi ride, or make the walk of about 3 kilometres to Saint Sulpice sur Risle. You might like to picnic at one of the spots alongside the river and admire the Normandy cows on the opposite bank.

Opening hours in 2017 from 11 Feb to 5 November, Tuesday to Friday 10am to 6pm, Closed Mondays and on 1 May.

Weekends and Public Holidays open 2pm to 6pm.

We strongly recommend that if you can, plan your visit for a weekday when the factory staff are working the machines so that you see the needle making in action. On weekends the manufacturing process is shown on video screens beside the machines.

More details about the museum and factory, exhibitions and visiting hours here.

Photo 18-06-16, 2 23 22 PM

Photo 18-06-16, 2 40 00 PMThe Bohin brand is well respected by sewists and embroiderers around the globe; the needles known for being high quality with exceptional polish so that they glide through fabric, making them a favourite of French tailors. The Bohin manufacturing expertise has been growing since 1833 when the factory was established. At the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1889 when Monsieur Eiffel was feted for his magnificent tower the Bohin manufacturing company won a Gold Medal for their needles, and again in 1900 at the next Parisian Exposition Universelle for which the Grand and Petit Palais were constructed, Bohin won the Grand Prize for their needles. At the same exhibition other gold medal winners included Campbell’s Soup.

Photo 18-06-16, 3 03 52 PM

Photo 30-06-16, 9 57 35 AM

Spring highlights and new addresses to stash

booksign photo2Friday last week was special –Paris turned on a gorgeous spring day for our visitors arriving from London. Helen of Curious Handmade, Renée of East London Knit and Pauline made the trip over to Paris for our book signing soirée and a spot of afternoon fabric shopping, patisserie hunting and yarn petting, (that may just have turned into patisserie tasting and yarn buying the following morning). 

In the few hours available between stepping off the Eurostar and turning up at L’Oisivethé for our book do, Barbara took us on a mini-tour of three newish fabric addresses in the 11th arrondissement. Come along and see what we found. 

First stop Maison Cousu on Boulevard Voltaire, a good-to-know address for novice knitters and sewists who are keen to pick up the wave of do-it-yourself clothing and homeware crafting. Everything here is contemporary and cool; kitset knitting and sewing projects like We Are Knitters kits, a super range of fabrics including Linna Morata designs, fabrics for dressmaking and making things for the home, plus a selection of buttons, ribbons and notions. Maison Cousu offers lots of classes for beginners – adults, teenagers and children. This is a fun place to check out. 

Next stop, Eurotissus for a quick look at this on-line fabric retailer’s no-frills store on Boulevard du Temple. It was a lucky day for a couple of bargains on pre-cut coupons.  

Mid-afternoon, right on cue like a well-rehearsed actor in a Paris classic, the rain arrived. Big drops landing splat on the pavement made us hurry down rue Keller into Anna Ka Bazaar. It was the perfect place to shelter and shop. There’s a tantalising selection of fabrics: Anna Ka’s own Atelier Brunette range of modern geometric designs, coveted Nani Iro fabrics and snazzy Ellen Luckett Baker and Kokka fabrics. (Love those seagulls!) There’s haberdashery and popular contemporary sewing patterns – the sewing bloggers love this place. Then there’s the kind of crafty goodies – paper, pens, stamps, string, threads, yarns and mini-looms – that are fun for everyone, and a cozy sofa to sit awhile and contemplate creative possibilities for the things that catch your eye. 

Purchases made, the rain gone and sunshine back on the scene, time to head back to base camp on the Butte aux Cailles. Aimee Osbourn-Gille hosted our book-signing evening at L’ Osivethé, Helen brought along a selection of her gorgeous shawl designs, knitting and crafting friends from near and far came along to share the evening with us. We could not have asked for a better way to celebrate Stitching up Paris. booksign photo3Special Stitching up Paris cupcakes made just for us by Sugarddaze Cupcakes 

(All photographs courtesy of Aimee Osbourn-Gille of L’ Oisivethé.)

Addresses to stash:

Maison Cousu

25 Boulevard Voltaire, Paris 75011

Open Mon 12.30 to 7pm, Tues-Sat 10am to 7pm

Metro: Oberkampf



28 Boulevard du Temple, Paris 75011

Open 11.30am to 7pm, Tues – Fri, Saturday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm

Metro: Filles du Calvaire, or Oberkampf


Anna Ka Bazaar

16 rue Keller, Paris 75011

Open Monday to Saturday 11am to 7pm

Metro: Bastille, or Ledru-Rollin


We’re celebrating! Stitching up Paris is in print.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our book Stitching up Paris: The Insider’s Guide to Parisian Knitting, Sewing, Notions and Needlecraft Stores.

Just about a year ago we began this exciting project to write about the many fabulous stitching and needlecraft stores that we love in Paris. We set our sights on creating a crafter’s travel guide: enticing, yet practical enough to slip into your handbag for your trip around Paris. It’s finished; we love it and can’t wait to share it with you.

Along the way we’ve had a wonderful time chatting with store owners, hearing their stories and talking about our common passions for making things, stitching and needlecrafts and the joy we feel at discovering beautiful old textiles on market stalls. It is such a pleasure to share these stories with you in Stitching up Paris.

What’s inside the book? More than 65 addresses for shopping at boutiques, stores, fabric warehouses and local flea markets, Neighbourhood Notes, anecdotes, historical notes and tips. Everything to make your visit to Paris truly delightful, whether it is real or virtual.

For the cover image we searched through our stash of supplies bought from Paris boutiques and craft fairs to find glorious woolly yarns and colourful contemporary fabric that captures the spirit of the fresh and flourishing Parisian needlecraft and stitching world that is as chic as ever.


The colourful fabric featured on the cover is one of the Linna Morata range woven and printed in France. Nathalie Aflalo owner of this company took the Italian word innamorata, meaning sweetheart or lover, for her business to describe her attitude as a lover of life. The name perfectly reflects her vibrant and enthusiastic personality and the fabrics she makes.

Linna Morata fabrics are available at boutiques featured in our book and at the Linna Morata showroom in Montreuil where you can shop for fabrics, haberdashery trims, bags and satchels as well as a selection of Michael Miller fabrics. The warehouse is open Friday mornings and on special sale days notified via social media, (see address details below).

Stitching up Paris is available now on Amazon and at these Paris stores:

  • Les Tricoteurs Volants
  • La Bien Aimée
  • L’ Oisivethé
  • Le Comptoir
  • Les Petits Points Parisiens
  • Tapisserie de France

We’ll update details of stockists right here on our blog site along with more Paris stitching stories, new addresses to stash and information about exhibitions and needlecraft events. Be sure to sign up and follow us.

Stitching up Paris is available to book retailers internationally through Ingram,  so if you ask at your local bookstore they will be able to obtain copies for you.

You can also find us @Stitchingupparis on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Addresses to stash

Linna Morata

76 Rue Marceau, Montreuil, 93100 (At number 76 walk through to the building at the back of the courtyard.)

Metro Robespierre Line 9