Posted by: debrakolkka | September 8, 2011

The biggest fabric shop I have ever seen

I have been sewing since I was a child and I love to buy fabric. I discovered Gori Tessuti in Sesto Fiorentino (just outside Florence) a few years ago and I go there every time I go to Italy. This place is huge!!! It is a wholesale warehouse that seems to sell ends of lines. Sometimes I find lots of great stuff and other times not, but it is always worth a visit. www.goritessuti.com

lots of fabric

There are no elegant displays. You need to gather all your strength and forage.

it is the size of a football field

There are all types of fabrics available if you are prepared to search.

piles of fabric

It is a wholesale store, so you will need to provide a business address to buy from them. I have bought small amounts of fabric in the past without this, but lately I have heard that they have been more strict with this requirement.

how do you choose?

It can be a bit tricky if you want something from the bottom of the pile, but there are several gentlemen there to help. It helps if you have a bit of Italian as not many of them speak English.  On the most recent trip they were expanding and perhaps straightening up a bit. Who knows what I will find next time.


Responses

  1. Wow, mind boggling.

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  2. Thanks so much for this, I do a fair bit of sewing in the winter so this place looks great, will be planning a trip there for a good rummage soon I think!

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    • Perhaps we could go together one day. I will need to go there to buy fabric for the curtains for the Vergemoli house.

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  3. Debra, did you know that there’s a handloom weaver in a tiny village up the Pescaglia valley, only 30 minutes from Bagni di Lucca? His workshop is the opposite to your fabric shop: a small attic room half of which is taken up by the loom and the other half by a small selection of cotton and hemp tablecloths, runners, place mats, napkins, towels, rugs and adorable stuffed animals made by his wife. He does beautiful work using traditional Lucchese patterns, and he’ll weave fabric to order if you want to make something yourself. The prices are ridiculously cheap on top of which he often gives my clients a discount or throws in an extra table mat for free.

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    • We really do have to get together when I get to BdL. I have to see this shop and I need to go to the cheese makers. I can’t wait to take some photos of these things.

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    • Heather, I’m intrigued by your description of the handloom weaver. Could you tell me the name of the villlage and how I would find the workshop? i’ll be in Bologna from the end of February until mid April and would love to visit it on one of our “side trips.” Thanks very much, Ellen Leeds

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      • I will be in BdL soon and will track this down and do a post on it before February. I will be in the village between February and May next year. Let me know when you will be around I will buy you a coffe at Bar Italia.

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      • Ellen, The handloom weaver is well worth meeting. He’s near Pescaglia, but you can’t go on your own. It’s his private home and not open to the public. Either you can go to one of the fairs where he sells his products (I’ll find out exact dates and places) or, if you’d like to see him weaving in his attic, then I have to accompany you. I organise tours to artisan food producers and crafts people who are invisible to tourists. My mission is to make tourism work to sustain the fragile rural economy in this area. I look for producers who wouldn’t want to have streams of tourists visiting them and occasionally take people who are seriously interested in what they do, and want to buy their products. I’ll put a blog up on my own blog soon, but this week I’m with clients every day. http://sapori-e-saperi.blogspot.com/

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      • Thanks for the information Heather. I can’t wait for your to show me some of your amazing places.

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      • Thanks, Heather. I’ll be in touch again closer to our departure for Bologna. Ellen

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  4. Thank you for finding my buttercup silk at Gori Tessuti.You’ll be happy to know it is being created into a beautiful simple long gown for the upcoming Butterfly Ball – so inexpensive – yet is the perfect match to the tuelle wrap.Great rummaging Deb. Enjoyed seeing the photos of the piles of fabric – you must think you are in fabric heaven

    Di Cant

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    • It was abit overwhelming the first time I went, but now that I have the lay of the land I know just where to look.

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  5. Oh…..didn’t i have fun here! Fabricaholics paradise! I have already used some of their neautiful fi linen to make an “antique” quilt for my niece’s 15Century house in Normandie. Can’t wait to go again but i think you’ll have to take me Deb as i would never find it again!!
    For neautilul fi linen, read beautiful fine linen!!

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    • It is not that difficult to find. The first time I went to Gori Tessuti alone I caught the train to Sesto Fiorentino and walked there, then carted bundles of fabric back 3 kilometres to the station. I later found there was a bus. Now that I have a car and a licence I can drive.

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  6. When I used to sew, we would always say, “she who dies with the most fabric, wins!”. I’m not sure it’s true anymore, as I’ve now given most of mine away. But I would have (and probably still would) find a place like this irresistible!

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    • I think I might win. I have a room full of fabric. I make some up, but I am always finding new bits.

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  7. One of my favorite things to do Fabric Shop! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I’d love to take you to both and more. Let me know as soon as you hit the runway at Pisa.

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    • I arrive in Bagni di Lucca on 8th October and I will be there until 4th December. I have a couple of small trips planned, but I will be around for most of the time. I will go where ever you want to take me.

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  9. My advanced salumi course is going on when you arrive. Let’s talk after teh 10th. I’d love to see your new house too.

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    • That sounds great. We can certainly go to the Vergemoli house.

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  10. This sounds like my kind of store. I don’t sew, but ever since I started making quilted Christmas tree ornaments I’ve become fabric-crazy. What a great place to explore and uncover treasures!
    Kathy

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    • The best part is that the fabrics are very inexpensive.

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    • hi, my name is modupe and i am a fashion designer in Nigeria, will love to visit this beautiful fabric place,. how can you help me as i havent been to italy before?

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  11. I too have a fabric obsession, I just love looking at beautiful fabrics. It’s been a couple of years since I sewed anything, I must get back to it. Sometime!

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    • We have a beautiful fabric store here in Brisbane that stock gorgeous fabrics from all over the world. I find it irresistable.

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  12. What a marvellous aladdin’s cave of fabrics!!! I wonder if fashion designers go crazy in those stores….or do they have fabrics made exclusively for their creations?
    I like the idea of visiting the local weaver with his own loom, just imagine finely woven muslin curtains fluttering in the breeze at the Vergemoli house….? Lovely.

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    • Most of the bigger designers would have fabrics made especially for them, and the leftovers probably end up in places like this. I am very keen to get to the local weaver.

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  13. Oh my, I have to say…..the comments in this post are as interesting and fascinating as the subject matter. What a treat to get the day started!! THANKS, to everyone!!

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    • I was not sure that anyone would be interested in this, you never know.

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  14. What an amazing store. How long does it take for you to find a treasure or two!

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    • I am only interested in the fine cotton or linen so I have figured out where they are and I just go straight there. My first trip was a lengthy one.

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  15. What a wonderful, beautiful mess! I love fabric stores too; the smell, the feel of all the different materials…

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    • That is a perfect description of Gori Tessuti. It presents a challenge for the buyer.

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  16. I am pretty hopeless at sewing… but I will share a little story with you regarding fabrics in Bagni di Lucca. We used to have a very strong silk industry in the area quite a few years ago, before the advent of the Chinese mass manufacturers and the increased importance of synthetic fabrics. Mulberry trees are very abundant in the area which helped to develop the silk industry. Actually, an abandoned building near our mill used to be a silk workshop where many women and children used to work. Good silk weavers must have small hands!!!! Tuscany had a very important silk industry for many years, until it disappeared…. What a pity!

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    • It is a pity there is nothing left of the silk industry in the area. I have heard that Lucca was a major silk centre, which was part of the reason for its wealth.

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  17. I too am a fabricoholic. All those bits of ‘stuff’ as my mother calls it, just waiting to be made into something – but what? I buy fabric with no idea what I need it for but I inevitably use it for something. I have recently made a top with some wonderful ‘vintage’ fabric mum bought back in the sixties!! I will have to find this shop.

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    • It is a great find, you will love it. I have fabric that I bought in the 60s waiting to be made.

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  18. It was indeed huge & I even bought fabric & I don’t sew!!! They had lovely sheets as well very inexpensive –

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  19. Dang, my mom would be in heaven here. It’s spotlight on steroids. 🙂

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    • That is exactly what it is, but cheaper.

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  20. I love the sound of the hand-loom weaver in the attic in the tiny village in the valley….very Rumpelstilstkin…I’m sure he would weave serene magic into material.

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    • I’ll check it out for you Jan and see if I can spin some wool into gold.

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  21. This is like the counter part of Lego land for me. It must be amazing to be surrounded by fabrics of endless textures, colors and designs. Wonderful, fun post.

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    • I can be very confusing shopping there, but I usually manage to find something good.

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  22. I still get a little nervous in fabric shops. Too much time as a kid being dragged along for hours with my mum. She too has a whole room (actually and a half) of fabric. Helpful for me, as when ever I need something now, I can go to her ‘shop’. I’ve also had a long ‘rest’ on the couch at Tessuti in Sydney, while she examined every roll there… a shop like this with her and I would wilt away….

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    • Most of the fabric in this shop is of no interest to me. I just zero in on the bits I want and then go. The first time it was a bit daunting.

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  23. My friend adores the Tessuti in Sydney! I must say that I went with her once and they had really lovely fabrics (including one that I saw on a Louis Vuitton dress!).

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    • I think the shop in Sydney is a bit more elegant than this one. It is a huge warehouse where display is not their forte.

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  24. I used to work at Spotlight, and one of our jobs when customers were thin on the ground was to walk around and tidy all the rolls of fabric, picking them up and re-rolling the first few layers. I can just imagine doing that there… my wrists ache just thinking about it!

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  25. I love fabric too, dear Debra, I can’t imagine myself in there. Thank you, Have a nice weekend, (for you both) with my love, nia

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    • There is an amazing selection of fabric. You have a great week end too.

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  26. This place would be heaven for me. I hope to see it with my own eyes one day…endless bolts of inspiration. Amazing.

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    • It is not too far away from you. Perhaps we need to meet in Florence one day and I can take you there.

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  27. Please let me know before you go again for a visit. I am also interested in cottons and linens and would really enjoy coming along. And I would be more than happy to pick you up and drop you back at the train station if needed.

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    • I will be going to the fabric shop sometime in October. Where do you live?

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      • About 1.5 hours south of Florence in Monte San Savino. I could join you there.

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      • That sounds like a plan. I have a car so we could meet at Gori Tessuti and I can show you the ropes.

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  28. Love, love, love it! I’m a complete fabric-freak and can’t resist buying something when I see it 🙂
    I’ve taken note of the website for future reference.
    I can see why you would need all your strength to get around this shop – would they mind if you took a packed-lunch in with you?!

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    • It is huge, there are sections I have never been in. I just head for my favourite bits.

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  29. Thanks so much for this info, I’m in lucca for a wedding in september but as a fashion designer I love finding new fabrics. I will definetly visit this store. Do you have any other recommendations for fabric warehouses/weavers to visit in Italy? Thanks so much, Martha

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    • The area around Prato is famous for textile factories. There are probably lots of outlets there, but the only one I am familiar with is Gori Tessuti. It is huge and as you can see from the photos, a bit of a jumble. They have another section where there is much more fabric for sale. I bought all the white linen for the curtains in our new house there at a great price.

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      • Excellent, thanks so much, Martha 🙂

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  30. By chance, does Gori sell to the public? My wife and I will be in Genoa in November and may want to stop in to look around.

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  31. Can you ask around worldwide need help with my dream have no money for sewingthreads YELLOWTHREADS samples mix colors threaded fabric dog cat fabrics make bags firetruck fammerlike old man daddy.

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  32. Hello I am visiting Benabbio the next village up from Bagni de Lucca next year to hold a Shibori workshop, I would love to take a tour of the local artisans especially the weaver and let others know of the tours. How do I contact Heather Jarman? And the fabric shop WOW definitely on my list to visit.
    Barbara

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  33. Location?? cmachelle70@yahoo.com

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  34. Is anyone familiar with Fabric outlets in the Milan or Como area? there are many manufactures, do any of them sell end of lines or remnants?

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