I think we could all use a little escapism, so how about a quick tour of just some of the craft shop gems in Munich? Today’s treats involve the spectacular Roly Poly, Quilt & Textilkunst, ORAG Haus and a classic German craft staple, Wolle Rödel.
This was the first time that I had ventured so far south in Germany and, having heard so many excellent things about it, I was looking forward to finally getting to see Munich as a city. It is a lovely place and I can only imagine how fabulous some of operas and theatre performances must be. The architecture is very beautiful and there are plenty of museums and fabulous houses to keep you entertained.
But what about the fabric? Well, Roly Poly is really something quite special. They have an outstanding collection of craft leathers (in an overwhelming amount of colours) and unusual ‘fabrics’ that are wonderfully shiny holographic things that look like mermaids tails and I am not sure what the technical name for them is. I have a huge amount of respect for craft shops that make me go ‘wow, here’s something a bit different’ and Roly Poly is really a special place for that.
They have a wide variety of more sensible fashion fabrics, with a bizarre amount of leopard print if that’s your thing, but nearly everything they have is very ‘different’. The owner clearly has a strong sense of style! This is also reflected in their own home-designed kits for bags, accessories, skirts and plenty of other projects that are available as patterns only or as part of pre-done kits with some of their fabulous fabrics. They’re also packed up as charming gift boxes so not only do you have everything ‘ready to go’ in an easy package, they’d make a lovely gift for yourself or the sewist, sewer or generally crafty person in your life.
The accessories are gorgeous (check out their tapes and ribbons), the shop is gorgeous and I could have quite happily put the whole thing in my bag and walked away with it. Prices are very reasonable given the ‘unusual’ materials and the fact that Munich in general is pretty pricey for Germany.
Now for the more mundane, Wolle Rödel. Chain craft stores can be a little soulless and disappointing or they do technically stock things for a range of crafts but they tend to be cheaper brands and not that interesting. Wolle Rödel definitely has an aesthetic of its own – part Japanese-cute part hipster neutrals but they have some good quality wools and a surprisingly good crochet collection.
To my horror they do seem to have waltzed into my favourite craft marketplace and found this hellish synthetic glitter hair monster wool that seemed to be everywhere in Korea. Don’t fall for the cutesy website photos, this stuff is so irritating that it’ll make your eyeballs itch just looking at it. Someone stop this stuff before it takes over the world.
They have some really nice amigurumi sets and a really solid choice of yarns. There’s a lot of embroidery – both surface embroidery and cross stitch – with some very pretty kits for sale. I think attempting to embroider a hand table cloth is something I should never consider as I suspect it would take me at least a millennia to get it done…
The haberdashery section is very good and there’s a good fabric range, with some weird towley items that I guess were for monogramming for gifts? There’s even some felting fluff if that’s your thing. If I’m honest, the style isn’t really my thing but if you need something practical or are into that shabby chic palette range there are worse stores out there.
Quilt & Textilkunst is the kind of patchwork and quilting store that I wish I had locally. They obviously like batiks and bright fabrics here, kindred spirits of my taste in fabrics. The selection of interfacings, stabilisers and waddings is brilliant, something I really appreciate in a physical craft shop. These are the things that you really need to be able to test and pick and choose between and it is so hard to do this online. Plus, you need them for most projects and it is very annoying how many shops seem to neglect having a good range!
There’s a great selection of machine embroidery threads and hand embroidery threads too, including some rather interesting variegated pieces. I particularly enjoyed the selection of quilting templates too. I’m not sure what half of them do or what I’d use them for but they always look very intriguing and I hate cutting so much that anything that would make my life easier sounds good.
Have a dig around for some of their fabric selection packs that are beautifully curated and enjoy digging around in every nook and cranny for all the crafty goodness that has been squeezed into the store. Some shops just have a nice atmosphere to them as well, and this is definitely one that makes you want to linger and enjoy all those colourful fabrics. Maybe it’s just the batiks calling to me…
The final stop is the ORAG Haus, a beautiful Baroque building that has now made it to the Bavarian list of monuments. The building is owned by the Bayerische Schneidergenossenschaft – a local tailoring collective. I have a feeling there’s probably lots of interesting things going on here but unfortunately the only part I got to see was the very gorgeous tailoring shop on the ground floor.
If you’re looking for bargain basement fabric, this is not the place for you but if you want a zip to an exact size and colour, then it most definitely is. It really is a beautiful shop with old fashioned wood and glass counters and fabric bolts galore. I didn’t get too many photos as it’s quite claustrophobic in there to make room for the reams of fabric but the window display should give you a hint this is something a little special.
A lot of the fabrics are couture fabrics with a price to match but that doesn’t make them any less fantastic as eye candy. There’s a lot here, with a great selection of threads, trimmings and everything else you might need for making that something a bit special.
The best part of all of this is that I only managed to make it to a small selection of Munich’s many crafty places and perhaps the city that is known best for its beer and Oktoberfest should perhaps be more famous for its fabrics!