Fabric shopping

In Martinique

Bonjour, Bel Bonjou!!

Today we’re off fabric shopping in Fort-De France, capital of Martinique. Technically the capital is Paris but let us not get too deep. We have a capital. Fort-de-France is in the middle of the island, on the west coast: It is where the English and French fought for the island countless of time until France won in 1815.

I went fabric shopping with mum. The last time I was in Martinique I was just dabbling in sewing and I had no idea about fabric and my style, let alone others. I think that when you’re a beginner the choice of fabric is overwhelming and you buy anything shiny and pretty.  Fast forwards a few years and I am wiser. I know what I need, want, what serves my style and what works for my clients.

Today’s objective was to research a restaurant uniform for a project back in the UK and find the fabric for my upcoming fashion show, (28 October).

For now, off we go.

The iconic shops

Click the gallery and spot my mum 🙂 —->

Forum Caraibes

I have always known this shop. Forever! It also exists in Guadeloupe and St Marteen.  The choice of madras fabric is the largest you can find, in any colour scheme. They also do the basic very well; cotton, satin.

DOUM 2000

Also an oldie but goodie. For luxurious fabrics this is the place: raw silk, dupion silk, brocade, lace, guipure on 2 floors. They also do gingham in all colours and check sizes. I really love the floor in this shop: wooden floor layed out in right angles. The lay out is also very clever. Fabrics are presented on rolls mounted on parallel panels you can pull. That way you can see the full effect.

Au Bonheur des Dames

I love the name of this shop. It means: The Ladies’ Delight or The Ladies’ Paradise. Probably taken from an Emile Zola’s novel (1883)

There are several branches: in Trinite (my home town) in Lamentin and Fort de France. It is very tidy, very white: no distraction. You have a full view. Very unlikely to have any hidden treasqures. Everything is properly on display.

There are a few others, less iconic and less inspiring. Also discovered a few pop-ups.

A funny thing: I bumped into Gertie… on a Butterick poster that is. An old one

Ladies in Martinique sew, a lot. They are however not online; and are very unaware of the online sewing community i live in. Their sources of inspiration are family gatherings, Burda magasines going from home to home, church, tea dances. It’s one bold catwalk everywhere you go. I love the women of my island for that. Their fabric choices are bold yet elegant. They’re brave and it works.

Rest and treat

We deserved a treat and our feet deserved a rest.

We stopped by “Josephine lounge and bar” for pastries. Mum in a lounge bar is pretty funny, bless her.

Don’t forget: click the gallery for a full pastries view.

A spot of tourism

I always want to check that the library, the cathedral, the market are still standing.

The library was looking glorious under the blue sky. The work of archictect Pierre-Henri Picq

St Louis cathedral, desgined by Gustave Eiffel (yes he is also responsbile for the famous Eiffel Tower) and built by Pierre-Henri Picq. It is one giant steel iron sctructure to fight hurricanes and is in Neo-romanesque style.

Did I find my Fashion Show treasures? Yes I did…..Will I reveal them? Nah! 🙂 Stay tuned. The show is on October 28th.

As usual, I am working from the fabric up, to let it dictate the garment. I do prefer this holistic approach. It keeps me safe from regrets, indecisions and dilemmas.

It is an exciting project in the making! I am lucky that I am in the Caribbean to work on it. The blue sky, the sunrises and sunsets, the flowers, the sea, the lush green are so inspiring!

Contuining your Martinque visit I’ll show you my sewing room for this holiday and my mum and dad*s colourful garden.

A bientot!


  1. Angela Bowling

    Well, I think this fabric would be great for shorts and a top for my granddaughter. Just a side note, the picture of the wall of buttons reminded me the best fabric store that used to be in Louisville KY called Baer Fabrics. Three floors of everything you could ever need for sewing. Miss it.

    • GhislaineGazon

      Hi Angela, That shop sounds amazing! 3 Floors of everything sound even. I’d be delighted to see that fabric fly off to Louisville. I’d love to see what you make for your grand-daughter. Thank you for your entering

  2. Lesley

    Gosh I just love the vibrancy of colours on show here. If I had this kind of fabric I’d probably make an In the Folds Collins top . I’m off to Rwanda tomorrow but hoping I might get some fabric shopping too.

    • GhislaineGazon

      Hi Lesely, You’re in Rwanda now. I hope you’ll have a fab time. I will have other colourful fabrics give away soon. Keep an eye out for them.


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