Fabric (and yarn!) shopping in Finland & Iceland

Fabric from EuroKangas in Finland

Fabric from EuroKangas in Finland

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’d be a bit delayed in some of my costume posts, because some Real Life™ had come up – well that Real Life – was some wonderful travel! For much of the month of November I was in Finland and Iceland (again! My second visits to both countries) and that means for nearly a month I wasn’t sewing or writing at all…

But I did shop for fabric!


My first stop in Finland was in Turku, a beautiful city that I loved during my first visit to Finland on the west coast. I stopped in EuroKangas, the large fabric store chain, which is located at the top floor of a department store. There I bought:

Fabric from EuroKangas in Finland

Fabric from EuroKangas in Finland

Approximately 2 meters of rich dark red pvc – this is going to be an amazing purse/bag I think… This was sold by weight rather than yardage, at the side of the store. (Top row, far right)

5 meters of creamy-silver-grey silk (taffeta weight, no slubs at all – it’s super smooth) – I have this in mind for a Tudor/late-period gown. 100% silk, “Silk Assortment” 19,90 Euro/meter (pretty good) (Top row of the photo, far left)

5 meters of yellowy-green silk (taffeta weight, very few slubs) – this is so not my normal colour, but there was something about it I really liked – perhaps the price! I bought enough for a simple late-period kirtle/dress, though I also think I might try dying it, since it’s a light enough colour that I think it will overdye well. 100% silk, “Sanderson – homecoll” 9,90 Euro/meter (wow!) (Top row of the photo, second from left)

3 meters of olive green silk knit. I bought some of this knit in a grey colourway last time I was in Finland, and although I haven’t actually made it up into anything yet, absolutely love the fabric. I think this will be a loose pullover top. 100% silk, “Moda Jersey” – 27Euro/meter (ouch!) (Top row of the photo, second from right)

My second stop in Finland was at the EuroKangas in downtown Helsinki, not too far from my hotel close to the central train station. Here I bought:

Just under 2 meters of silver sequinned fabric. I don’t know what it was about this that made me want it – but I’m thinking it will become a simple sheath dress for the holidays. (Maybe not THIS holiday season mind you… I have a lot of other sewing to catch up on first!) This fabric was sold by weight, rather than yardage, from their bins at the rear of the store. (Bottom row of the photo, left)

10 meters of gorgeous olive-green silk. This jumped out at me right away, and the price was really good too. This I also bought enough for a lovely full-skirted late-period dress. This is the same fabric as the yellow-green silk from Turku, a taffeta weight with VERY few slubs in the weave. 100% silk, “Sanderson – homecoll” 9,90 Euro/meter. (Bottom row of the photo, right)

… not just fabric…

In addition to fabric, I also bought some really lovely Viking Age reproduction beads from the gift shop at the Hämeenlinna castle.

Viking Age reproduction beads from Finland

Viking Age reproduction beads from Finland

More about the castle and the exhibition there in an upcoming post!


In Iceland, once again I visited Virka, a shop I visited the last time I was there. This time around though I didn’t get anything at all!

New CDs from Finland - 25 discs in total of (mostly Finnish) metal (and some rock)

New CDs from Finland – 25 discs in total of (mostly Finnish) metal (and some rock)

I loved some of their wool fabrics, but they were so bulky, and after all that fabric shopping in Finland (not to mention buying a LOT of CDs) I just didn’t think I’d have the space in my luggage. Not to mention, their prices were considerably higher than what I’d pay for similar wools at home (when I can find them that is….) I just couldn’t justify the price considering my luggage woes.

Instead though, I did pick up a few other things:

From the hand-knitters association, and A4, a rather dollar-store like shop in the Kringlan mall, I picked up some lovely Icelandic wool yarn. I bought the Álafosslopi which is a heavier, bulky weight (100 g approx. 100 m.), and the Léttlopi (50 g approx. 100 m) which is a lighter weight – half the weight of the Álafosslopi, and a bit softer.  All of it will likely go into naalbinding projects, since I haven’t yet gotten off that particular bandwagon.

Yarn from Iceland

Yarn from Iceland

I found it surprising how inexpensive the Icelandic wool was, compared to prices of 100% wool here in Canada, and compared to the imported (American, British, etc) wool for sale in the same shops. I suspect the industry might be subsidized… but that meant I was keen to take advantage and bring back some authentic Icelandic wool! If you head to Iceland on holiday, definitely save some room in your luggage for wool yarn! It’s one of the few ‘bargains’ I think can be found there. (Everything else is pretty expensive compared to Canadian prices…)  It seems like a good price on the Álafoss website too – so once I work up some of this wool and see how it works and wears, I might just order more online!

From the Icelandic National Museum I also picked up a handful of additional Viking Age reproduction beads.

Beads from the Iceland National Museum - reproduction Viking Age beads

Beads from the Iceland National Museum – reproduction Viking Age beads

Other purchases from the Icelandic National Museum gift shop

Other purchases from the Icelandic National Museum gift shop

(I also bought a book on one of the Viking Age women’s burial sites, a new Icelandic Thor’s Hammer necklace, and a Thor-shaped reflector to hang off my bag).

While in Reykjavik, I also popped into a craft store, Gallery Reykjavik/ Litir Og Fondur, where I bought some reflective ‘yarn’ to weave/knit/bind/embroider/? into textile projects for outdoor wear, and a pair of thick needles – I had thought I’d start some naalbinding while on holiday with that gorgeous Icelandic yarn wool.. but ended up not finding the time after all.  (I also still have 3 magazines and a book I never had the chance to read while on holiday.)

Craft store shopping in Reykjavik

Craft store shopping in Reykjavik

4 comments on “Fabric (and yarn!) shopping in Finland & Iceland

  1. Rhia says:

    What did you think about the price range of fabrics here in Finland? I think they are quite high. Especially if you want something else than polyester it’s very difficult to find affordable fabrics.
    Lovely fabrics you got there anyway.

    • Dawn says:

      I found the prices in Finland higher than Canada overall – for instance a sweater might be 39Euro… and here I’d pay 39$ Canadian for the same sweater… BUT the exchange rate makes the Finnish sweater a bit more. Fabric was kind of the same way. I did find some really nice things for ok prices, but it seemed a lot harder to find “deals”. Still – I love what I got, and figure it makes a much nicer souvenir of my trip than a postcard or a shot glass!

  2. Josephine says:

    Well, I am off shopping for wool and linen in France today for my viking dresses, notoriously expensive here so I think I will need to buy chocolate to cope with the stress. I love your blog so helpful for my new attempts at Viking garb. Thanks for sharing so much.

    • Dawn says:

      I’m glad you find it helpful! I’m definitely learning a lot more as I move on… so my early posts are much less historically-informed than my latter ones!
      Enjoy the chocolate!

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