Hi everyone! My name is Irina, I live in Cluj, a lovely city from Transylvania and I am thrilled to take you along on a virtual tour of the best fabric shops the city has to offer. I’ve started sewing about a year ago, and I’ve soon become obsessed with all things fabric and notions. The fabric shops in my city have quickly become one of my happy places and I love to pop in to see what new stuff they have. Also, whenever I’m travelling somewhere I always check out the local fabric shops, I think we can all agree that fabric is the best souvenir. So, if you ever find yourself in Cluj, I hope this little guide will help you.
First of all, if you’re curious about Cluj, I highly recommend taking a look at the Lonely Planet guide to Cluj (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/romania/transylvania/cluj-napoca). If you’ve never been, Cluj would be an ideal destination for a city break as there are flights to Cluj from every major European city. What I love most about the city is its laid-back vibe, with coffee shops around every corner, cobbled streets, art galleries and wonderful parks. Like many of its residents, I came here as a student and I never left and have been calling this city my home for the past ten years.
I’m sure you’re looking forward to including a few fabric shops in your travel plans so I’ll give you all the details you need to find yourself a few thread treasures to bring back home.
Sewing as a hobby is just starting to take off in Romania, so the fabric shops mostly cater to professional seamstresses and tailors. This means that their biggest focus is on special occasion fabrics (such as weddings): laces and silk for women and suitings for men. Also, home decor fabrics are pretty widespread for sewing curtains and bed lingerie.
A few practical aspects before we dive in:
– the currency in Romania is Leu (RON), so like all the other shops in Cluj, the fabric stores don’t accept Euros or Pounds, but you can pay with your credit card, except for Femina where you need cash – more details on this to follow
– the fabric and the trims are priced by the meter but you can buy fractions
– sales and remnants bins are rare, I think I caught a 20% sale only once since I started being interested in fabric shopping
– be mindful of possible flaws in the fabric, check it before it is cut because returns are not accepted, don’t ask me how I learned this
– information on fibre content or care instructions are most of the time lacking, so you’ll have to rely on touch and feel
– none of the stores sell patterns or sewing machines; the selection of sewing tools, quilting cottons and knitting supplies is very limited; on the other hand, the selection of buttons, elastics, zippers and decorative laces and trims is pretty decent in most of the stores
1. Nico Claus
Nico Claus is the best-known fabric shop in town and is located on the main commercial street (Eroilor Boulevard), you really can’t miss it if you visit the city centre. This area of the city is packed with cafes and restaurants so you can take a nice break if tired of fabric shopping. My favourite is Olivo Cafe just across the street. It’s difficult to find parking in the city centre so public transportation or cabs are the way to go.
Once inside, you’ll see that the store specializes in formal wear fabrics with laces of every colour and lots of silk. They also have a good selection of printed viscose and suitings. They are a bit lacking in the knit fabric department, but this is the case almost everywhere in Cluj. I usually buy my threads from them because they are good quality and they have lots of colours. As far as prices go, I’d say they are somewhere in the middle. It can get really crowded especially in the mornings in my experience.
Some of my most beloved makes have been made with fabric purchased at Nico Claus. I got both my lace and the satin for my lace Ogden cami hack from here. The denim from my first Erin skirt and the tropical print viscose for my Inari tee which I wore to death were both bought here too. When I need something I check here first, they have the biggest range of fabrics.
They have another two stores in other neighbourhoods of the city but these focus mostly on home decor fabrics and are a little bit more difficult to reach – would need special trips because there are not many things to visit in those areas. None of the Nico Claus shops sell patterns, sewing machines or accessories but unfortunately, that’s the case with all the shops in Cluj.
Address: 32, Eroilor Boulevard
Monday: 8am – 8pm
Tuesday: 8am – 8pm
Wednesday: 8am – 8pm
Thursday: 8am – 8pm
Friday: 8am – 8pm
Femina is also in the city centre and pretty accessible although it’s a bit hidden in a maze of small streets close to Mihai Viteazu Square. You’ll likely need some help from Google Maps to get there. Again, public transportation is your best friend, as there are limited parking spots in the area. There are actually three separate locations for this store in very close proximity to each other. One of them specializes in fashion fabrics, one of them sells haberdashery and knitting supplies and the third one offers home decor fabrics. If you found one, just look around and you’ll see the other two easily. If you are looking for quilting cotton, the home décor branch of Femina is your best bet. They have a small selection of printed cottons as you enter the shop on your right (see the picture below)
When you step inside you might feel a bit like you’ve entered Aladdin’s cave. All these three shops have limited floor space and they are packed to the gills with fabric and notions. Take your time, and when you see something you like ask for help. Because the fabrics are stacked on top of each other it’s a bit difficult to see and feel them so you’ll definitely need a closer look before you decide to buy something.
I found some real gems here like the corduroy I used for my mini Erin skirt. They have some of the best prices in town, so it’s worth rummaging a bit to find hidden treasures.
One thing to note, they don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to have cash on hand.
Address: 35-35, Piata Mihai Viteazu
Phone: 0733 086 514
Monday: 9am – 7pm
Tuesday: 9am – 7pm
Wednesday: 9am – 7pm
Thursday: 9am – 7pm
Friday: 9am – 7pm
Saturday: 9am – 1pm
3. Textil Point
Although this store is not as accessible as the other two, I decided to include it in my guide because it’s my favourite fabric store in the city. It’s located in Marasti neighbourhood and parking is easier to find here. It can also be reached by public transportation. You can expect to find trendier fabrics here, beautiful printed silks and knits with unusual patterns. I would consider this the most high-end fabric store in the city so the prices are corresponding. The store is airy and has a beautiful light so you’ll be able to walk around and check the fabrics in detail. Definitely, the best organized of the three and also the biggest. They don’t sell patterns, sewing machines or knitting supplies, and their selection of trims is limited. I love the feel of this place and I drop by every time I’m in the neighbourhood.
My scalloped hem Lou Box top is made with yellow linen bought here. I can’t wait to need a new special occasion dress and have an excuse to splurge on one of their beautiful printed silks.
Address: 10, Aleea Bibliotecii
Phone: 0733 086 514
Monday: 10am – 6pm
Tuesday: 10am – 6pm
Wednesday: 10am – 6pm
Thursday: 10am – 6pm
Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 2pm
These are my top three fabric shops in Cluj, the first two are located in the city centre so you can just pop in and have a look while sightseeing. The third one deserves a special trip in my opinion. If you have any questions about fabric shops or Cluj, in general, please don’t hesitate to drop me a message on Instagram at @irinacondor or leave your questions in the comments below. I’m always happy to chat about fabric and travels. Also, would love to see your Cluj fabric shopping haul so please tag me if you are sharing it on Instagram.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/irinacondor/ @irinacondor
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