As Stephen King once said: “In polite society, we call our obsessions hobbies.” That is completely true in my case, as I have had a life-long obsession with sewing and needle crafts. This first thing I did when I moved to Basel was to scout out all the fabric and knitting stores in the area. If you share this passion or are looking to cultivate a new hobby (that will soon turn into an obsession) this list of resources should help you on your way.
Our partner Centrepoint also has a Hooks & Needles group that meets on Thursdays. It's a great place to practice your skills and enjoy the company of other needle craft enthusiasts!
In Person Classes
The primary language for these classes is German unless otherwise stated. If you are interested in sewing, but hesitate because of the language, keep in mind that it is also a great way to learn German! It is a very visual practice so you can follow along without understanding everything verbally and often times there are people there that speak English to help clarify.
Migros Klubschule (Jurastrasse 44053 Basel)
Migros Klubschule has beginner and mixed level courses with professional equipment and experienced instructors. Beginner courses teach the basics, but 'Atelier' courses are more flexible and you can bring your own projects to get expert advice.
Mode und Gestaltung (Berufsfachschule Basel, Kohlenberggasse 10, 4051 Basel)
Mode and Gestating as part of Berufschule Basel has courses primarily in learning how to make clothes for yourself and others. They also have courses to improve your technique teaching you skills to help you to complete projects in a faster more efficient manner.
Nanikana (classes available in English) Auf dem Hummel 2, 4059 Basel
Nanikana has a series of courses that focus on specific tasks or projects. Courses include: learn to use sewing machine, hem trousers or make a skirt. They also sell a small selection of handmade bags, self care and home decor items at their studio.
Peggy's Nähschule (Schwarzwaldallee 173, 4058 Basel)
Peggy's Nähschule has operated a sewing school in Basel for over 60 years! Their classes can be tailored to your interests and they have professional equipment (10 machines and 3 overlock), exclusive patterns and fabric for sale on site. Courses are done in more of a club-style in that you pay monthly and sign up for free spots during their open atelier hours. if you want custom-made clothing (from a professional) this is also an option.
Tatjana Geiger (Feldbergstrasse 95, 4057 Basel)
Tatjana Geiger has been teaching sewing for over 15 years. She has experience in many different techniques, but has a specialty in underwear (which if you have ever tried it, you know how tricky it can be). Her courses are small (max 5 people), but she will help you through your project with tips and techniques tailored to your sewing level. Courses can be purchased in pack of 6 for specific days and times.
Die Schneiderinnen (Schnabelgasse 3, 4051 Basel)
Madeleine Bütschi and Melanie Meyer teach small classes (max 5 people) for all levels for whatever project you like. You can either sign up for a specific course or pay weekly for use of their studio and expertise.
Nähen macht Spass (Pfeffingerstrasse 88, 4053 Basel)
Nähen macht Spass has courses for individual projects of your choice as well as courses on how to make lingerie. They also teach how to alter patterns for fitting and how to transfer these alterations back to the paper pattern. Custom made clothing is also available.
Nähkurse in Riehen (Baselstrasse, 4125 Riehen)
If you live in Riehen this studio has regular courses throughout the week that you can join at any time (sold in packages of 6 sessions). Special courses also pop up from time to time and they also will do themed birthday parties for children interested in sewing (ages 10 and up).
MacherSchaft Aktienmühle (Gärtnerstrasse 46, 4057 Basel)
Machershaft in Kleinbasel has a professional studio and industrial equipment (including leather work machines) available for its members, but no instructors. Training for some of the machines is available on request, but you are mostly left to your own devices. This is a good option for more advanced sewers who need some serious power.
These stores have a great selection of good quality fabric for garments and quilting. They also carry notions, patterns and interfacing.
Stoff-Discount (Missionsstrasse 55, 4055 Basel)
Alija Nouveau (Clara Shopping, Greifengasse 36, 4058 Basel)
These stores are small (with limited opening hours), but they carry some beautiful specialty fabric with a focus on natural and ecological production.
Spalenberg 56, 4051 Basel
General Guisan-Strasse 187, 4054 Basel
Falknerstrasse 5, 4001 Basel
The fabric in these stores is absolutely beautiful, but pricy! If you go be prepared to fall in love (and drop some cash!) as they both have a beautiful selection of high end fabric with special occasion and suiting options.
Pfluggässlein 5, 1.Stock, 4001 Basel
Ochsengasse 13, 4058 Basel
Stoffmarkt Holland (79576 Dreiländergarten,Basier Straße)
If you love fabric shopping (I know I do!) make sure to visit Stoffmarkt Holland when they are scheduled to stop in Weil am Rhein (usually twice a year in the spring and fall). The selection at this market is amazing (over 100 stalls!), as are the prices (which are often half of what you would pay for the same fabric in Switzerland!) The market takes place outside under tents in an area near the border. It its incredibly busy (even in poor weather), but well worth it. Bring cash and be prepared to part with it as you will be surrounded by packs of happy enablers (fellow sewing enthusiasts) who will encourage you without hesitation to buy that gorgeous fabric you are looking at, even if you don't really need it. As my mother says, "Whoever dies with the most fabric wins!"
Although you will find yarn in many stores (including larger Migros and Coop), these stores have specialty knitting supplies, high end wool and expert staff.
Zum Roten Faden (Steinenring 41, 4051 Basel)
FärbStoff (Rixheimerstrasse 5, 4055 Basel)
Haberdashery (Buttons, Notions and Trim)
Manor and Pfauen have a good selection of notions, buttons and trim, as well as fabrics for home upholstery and drapery. They also have a small selection of wool and knitting supplies.
Manor (in the home wear section) (Greifengasse 22, 4005 Basel)
Pfauen (in the home wear section) (Freie Str. 75, 4051 Basel)
These specialty stores are real gems, but definitely on the pricy side. The items they carry are gorgeous and you will definitely find some like minded sewing aficionados to help you find the prefect buttons or trim for your project. There is even a specialized pleating studio (with occasional workshops) where you can take your fabric to get intricate origami-style pleating for special occasion wear.
Dequoi (buttons) (Grünpfahlgasse 8, 4001 Basel)
Robert Caraco AG (trim) (Gerbergasse 77, 4051 Basel)
Plisseebrennerei (pleating) (Innere Margarethenstrasse 19, 4051 Basel)
I hope this this article will inspire some new projects. Let us know if you have any favourite places we have missed. If you have a different hobby (sports, art, cooking etc.) that you would like to share? Please contact us and let us know!