If you’re ever in Berlin, Germany, don’t miss your chance to go fabric shopping. In the years that I lived there I’ve discovered many great shops, and today I want to share 3 of my favorite fabric stores in Germany’s capital city.
Fabric stores in Germany tend to be small, privately owned, and staffed with knowledgeable employees. If you have a question but don’t speak German, ask the nearest staff member if there is someone can help you in English. Most Germans speak at least rudimentary English, but by asking first who to talk to, you’ll get them to point you in the direction of the staff member with the best language skills.
Fabric prices are higher in Germany than in the US; you can expect most fabrics to cost 12 to 25 euros a meter (1 meter = 39″), but the selection of irrestible, high-quality fabrics makes German fabric stores well worth the splurge. If you’re looking for a deal, look out for a table or rack of “Reste”. “Reste” are the leftover pieces from the end of a bolt of fabric and they’re sold at a reduced price, usually 30% below the normal price.
If you’re visiting historic Alexanderplatz or the Nikolaiviertel, nip over to visit this charming shop. Tucked under the brick arches of the city train tracks, this small shop sells sewing, quilting, embroidery, knitting and crocheting supplies.
Address: Dircksenstr. 105, 10179 Berlin
- Monday-Friday: 10am to 8pm
- Saturday: 10am to 4pm
- Sunday: closed
Above you can see the fabric and embroidery thread selection. Behind the embroidery thread is a corner with embroidery patterns and sewing patterns. Knopfloch carries Burda, the biggest pattern company in Germany, as well as Simplicity.
Below you can see their sewing machines and more fabric.
Here is the knitting and crocheting corner. Hidden behind the dummy is also a niche full of quilting cotton.
One subway station from Alexanderplatz, at Rosa Luxemburg Platz, you’ll find another favorite shop of mine – ZickZack Nähwelt. Like Knopfloch, ZickZack Nähwelt is a small shop with a bit of everything – fabric, notions, yarn and sewing machines.
Address: Torstraße 49, 10119 Berlin. Important note: the shop entrance is around the corner, on Schönhauser Allee.
- Monday-Friday: 10am to 7pm
- Saturday: 10am to 6pm
- Sunday: closed
On thing that really stands out about ZickZack Nähwelt is their wall of buttons. It is absolutely swoonworthy! If you’re planning ahead, pack small fabric swatches of your upcoming projects so you can get buttons for them here.
Let me give you a moment now to swoon…
I love the friendly atmosphere of this store. The owner is so sweet and welcoming, and really takes the time to answer questions. I bought my sewing machine here in 2009, just a few weeks after arriving in Berlin, and I was impressed how much time she took to explain the new machine to me. Also, she is used to working with English-speaking tourists, as the shop was located at a big tourist location until recently.
If you’re visiting Potsdamer Platz, you must take a detour to my favorite fabric store, Gebrüder Berger. This store is a wholesaler as well as retailer and it sells nothing but fabric.
The sale table greets you at the entrance.
Address: Potsdamer Str. 68, 10785 Berlin
- Monday-Friday: 7:30am to 7pm
- Saturday: 7:30am to 4:30pm
- Sunday: closed
The front room has a table of cotton fabrics. Behind that are two tables with a different selection of fabric every time I visit.
Today they were selling African wax prints. They must have sold well, because there wasn’t much selection left 🙁 but I bought two anyways! They’ve also had beautiful jerseys and floral satins here in the past.
Around the corner is a table of silk and a table of “Reste”, as well as shelves of fake fur, sequined fabrics and more.
Through another door you’ll find one more entire room full of all sorts of fabric.
Gebrüder Berger isn’t quite as “user friendly” as the other shops. The prices aren’t displayed on most of the fabrics, so you have to ask for the prices from the employees. Also, the prices they quote you are before sales tax, and sales tax here is almost 20%. Lastly, you should know that you have to buy at least 1 meter of a fabric. However, starting at 1 meter you can specify the length in 10 cm (4 inch) increments. For instance, you could buy 1 meter, 1.10 meters, 1.20 meters, or 1.30 meters of a fabric.
However, don’t let these things deter you. Prices are very low here compared to the other stores – on my last visit, I paid 3.50 euros per meter for a lightweight cotton, 8 euros for silk organza, and 14 euros for lace (before tax). I find it easiest to pick out all the fabrics I want, then ask for all the prices at once. I ask before I get the fabrics are cut so I can get rid of something out of my price range. Also, college students who can show a student ID a 10% discount at the cash register.
If you are visiting Berlin, I hope that with this list you’ll be able to find some one-of-a-kind fabric souvenirs. If you do visit these shops, I’d love to hear about your experiences. And if you think I’ve left a great fabric store in Berlin out, tell me in the comments – I’d like to add on to this guide.