Fabric Hunting Segovia – in search of inspiration

 

fabric hunting Segovia

Fabric Hunting Segovia, well… almost.

If you had told me back in February that I would be writing this post in a hotel room in Segovia, Spain, I would have said “No Way! But do tell, I like to hear a good story…”  Yet here I am.

I have come to help my daughter settle, she will be doing her university studies here in Spain.  It took her a while to decide what she wanted to do, and when she did she quietly applied to the university by herself.  Only when the acceptance came through did she come forward and share with us her plan.  The idea of studying in Spain came forth with no warning, so I simply had to jump on the plane, and here we are.

This is my first time in Segovia.  Despite being so close to Madrid, only 27 minutes ride on the high-speed train or 1 1/2 hours by car — I have fallen in love with this beautiful Medieval town.  Let me show you why. 

A bit of Geography and History…

Because these two go together hand in hand.

Segovia sits in the middle of the country at a little more than 1000 meters (3297 ft) above sea-level.  The city is flanked by the central mountain ranges and the Eresma River.  The city is part of the region of Castile and León.  If you ever heard of Castillian Spanish, this is it.  The accent is so neutral it is poetry to my ears. 

The history of Segovia is peppered in the architecture of the city.  It is thought to have started as a Celtic settlement which fell under the dominion of the Roman Empire.

The Aqueduct of Segovia

The most impressive landmark in Segovia is its aqueduct that is still standing today.  The aqueduct of Segovia was finished during emperor Trajan's reign, whose full name was Caesar Divi Nervae Filius Nerva Traianus Optimus Augustus, or Marcus Ulpius Traianus  (I could not resist sharing the little trivia with you). 

Amazingly the aqueduct was in use all the way up to the mid-'90s.  Today it stands as a testament to the powerful ability of ancient Roman engineering and architecture.  It is one of the best-preserved aqueducts in Europe.

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If you want to know more about this beautiful aqueduct check out this blog: https://www.ourworldforyou.com/aqueduct-segovia-spain/

The Romans ruled Segovia for 700 years until the fall of the Empire.  It is believed that the city was abandoned after the Muslim invasion of Spain.  It was then resettled after the conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI of León and Castile.

Iglesia de la Vera Cruz

Thought to have been built by The Knights Templars of the order of Malta, inaugurated on the 13th of September 1208.  Architecturally, it is considered to be of the late Romanesque and early Gothic peroid.

La Juderia or the Jewish Quarter

La Juderia is found behind the Cathedral and before you arrive at the Alcazar at the edge of the city wall, you know you have found it if you see the plaque above.  The Hebrew people lived in Segovia between the 12th and 15th centuries.

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La Iglesia de San Miguel

This Church is famous for being the place where Isabelle La Catolica was crowned queen of Castille y Leon.  At the foot of the steps of the church in the Plaza Mayor on the 13th of December, 1474.  An early Romanesque style boasts a Gothic nave an area where the church gets wider) normally two columns or walls are found) dominated by an altarpiece.  I could gaze for hours at intricate work done more than 500 years ago by the sculptor Jose Ferreras.

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The Alcazar of Segovia

Alcazar which literally means Fort, started out just like that, a simple Roman fort.  It was expanded during the occupation of the Moors in Southern Europe.  When it was returned to the Christians, it served as the Royal Place for Isabel Queen of Castilla y Leon during her reign with Ferdinard II of Aragon, which famously united the Spanish Kingdoms.  It is said within these walls on April 1492 Cristopher Columbus got the approval and financial backing to set sail in August of the same year, arriving in The Bahamas on the 12th of October 1492.  This of course started the Age of Discovery that would benefit the Spanish Empire for many centuries to come. 

I am not the only one who has come here for inspiration, the Alcazar of Segovia served as inspiration for a castle, a landmark in USA pop culture.  Who could it be?  If you follow me on Instagram you would know the answer since I shared it as a story.  Leave your answer in the comments section below.

Today the Alcazar hosts the oldest historical archives of the Spanish Armada and it is open for tours from 10 am to 6 pm every day with exception of Sundays.

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Fabric Hunting Segovia

Leticia Tejidos

Leti has been behind the store for 30 years, she began helping her mother 10 years ago and now she is in charge of the store.  I find her a warm and happy person.  I can't help but think that if I lived here we would become good friends.  Her love for fabric and knowledge of the subject is extensive. 

Her fabrics come from Barcelona, Valencia, Milano, and the region of Cuomo in northern Italy.

This is a very little store that everyone in Segovia knows.  It is surprising the quality and array of choices given the size of this little gem.

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La Tonelada

I went to this store twice to see if I could meet the owner, sadly she was not around and I was told she was at the other outlet in Madrid.  

This place is a bit larger than it looks from the street and mostly specializes in furnishing fabrics, therefore, the staff was busy attending the customers.  Due to the health protocol imposed by the government, there could be only two people inside the store which made it for a very long waiting experience.  Still, I got to browse the whole store taking a mental note of what was found.  

Canvas cotton and polyester, silks, linen, damasks, wool, leather, hemp, vinyl linen every possible space of this store.  Had I had any room in my suitcase I would have bought some colored hemp that is so hard to find where I am currently living.

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Liz Segovia

I have left the best for last simply because I passed this store three times before I decided to enter.  Technically not a fabric shop but a source of inspiration no less important given the history of this town with leather going back to Roman Times. 

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I was not sure if I would be able to meet the hands behind this magnificent little shop.  Upon entering, sparkling blue eyes and a warm personality greeted me, immediately I could sense we would be friends, and I was not wrong.

Liz Segovia (Brand name) is a team effort of Eva who handles the store, website, and social media, and her husband Paco, the artist in the leather studio who is in charge from concept to finished product.  I was given a tour of his Alibaba's cave, I was especially excited since I have never seen a functional leather studio before.  I was shocked to see that only two German machines and a set of leather tools are all it takes to make these wonderful bags.  Paco's experience goes back three decades.  It was then I remembered one of my fashion design teachers once said: “the better you are the less machine you need”.  I won't say much more about Paco and Eva, because I am editing a video about them so you can know how the magic happens. For now please check their website: https://www.lizsegovia.com/

I am hoping that Paco agrees to make a series of classes so we can all learn from his vast experience.  I would like to bring a few travelers every year to take classes with him, Eva, and I could translate…

My thoughts…

If you like history, sitting in a cafe to sketch and watch people, chatting to shop owners that have been in the city for generations, learning or practicing your Spanish, this is the perfect place. 

Inspiration is given by the sunsets, the narrow cobblestone streets with flowered balconies, the smell of coffee escaping from a window, the small caña after a long day of exploring, the medieval buildings, the echos of past eras of hardship and prosperity.  Segovia has seen much, and there is no doubt in my mind that whatever happens the strong in mind and spirit will survive protected by these ancient walls.

But for now, I am tired of walking, I don't know how many miles I've done in the past three weeks looking around exploring, helping settle my daughter in her new home, taking pictures, and looking for fabrics.  I'm very blessed to say that here I've found a wonderful town and some friends who can truly inspire.  And for that, I am deeply grateful.

Conclusion:

I have found that people who work in the fabric industry complain about the same things all over the world.  There are fewer people sewing, the competition with online shops is fierce, and the pandemic has made a hole in the economy that is hard to recover from.  But all agree on one thing, that they just want to be left alone to continue selling their fabrics and earning an honest living.  I am hoping and wishing that they do get their wish, this is such a charming city, with enormous history, amazing architecture and full of wonderfully warm people… what can we do to help? 

Please follow Eva and Paco on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lizensegovia/

Together we can be stronger.

So what do you think of Segovia?  Have you been here before?  Would you like to take a sewing leather class with Paco, explore the city and its surroundings, or an Online class?  Let me know in the comments below. And Until Next Time, Happy Sewing! 


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40 Responses to Fabric Hunting Segovia – in search of inspiration

  1. Ginnie wilcox says:

    Hello Mayra Cecilia. Sent you “Coffee” several months ago.
    We were in Spain several years ago visiting many of the cities and thinking back to what life was like then.. love the nostalgia of great little cities. Have Fun and enjoy.. Love all your patterns keep up the good work.

  2. Jennifer Moore says:

    What a beautiful place Myra and your pictures and description make one wish to be there and see it all. My son spent some time in Spain when he was designing an olive harvesting machine (for a French company). He loved it there and would love to go back, but he is married now with 2 kiddies and never stops working, so I cant see it happening. He went to London for only 2 days and spent the time riding around on the top of their red buses in the rain just to look at the architecture & history (the crazy Australian in shorts and no hat). I wish your daughter well with her education. I too love your newsletters when I get time to read them and appreciate your patterns and the work that goes into them. Thank you so much, very best regards,

  3. Pauline says:

    Oh what a tonic that was Mayra Cecilia. We visited Segovia on our journey returning home to the UK a few years ago and I treated us to that hotel right beside the aqueduct that someone else has mentioned too. I’m not normally emotionally moved by architecture but that colossal structure which runs further through the city than photographs show definitely did move me. The image memory remains in my head. We were incredibly fortunate to be there on the annual feast of Patron Saint Fructos? when commemorative ceramic bowls are given by the Ajuntamiento filled with a stew cooked by chefs in a huge pan in the main square where hundreds of citizens queue until serving starts at midnight. Then there was live music, singing and dancing. Your daughter has made a good choice!

  4. Khristine Rivers says:

    Wow! I miss Segovia. I’m hoping one day i can go visit Spain again. Thanks for sharing your journey in Spain.

  5. Paulette McPherson says:

    Thank you for this little tour of Segovia – It and Toledo were on our “to visit” list of places to see on what should have been our trip to Spain this fall. We will have to see what the future brings, and hopefully we will be able to complete that list sometime in the future.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      I do hope you can renew your plans next year…do look for Leticia, Eva and Paco they are Gems within this kingdom!

  6. Nilsa says:

    I had the pleasure to visit Segovia and Toledo on a day tour from Madrid about 20 years ago! I got to see the La Iglesia De Vera Cruz and La Iglesia de San Miguel (Stunning). And of course the Aqueduct. Thank you for making me relive the memories of this enchanting medieval town!

  7. Peg Sullivan says:

    Mayra,
    My Sunday morning (in central Massachusetts, US) is now complete. I look forward to opening up your letter to me! and starting my week. I have now a chance to thank you for taking me to places I can only visit on line. Thank you.
    Would I take a class, yes. I have a 20 x 30 inch piece of goatskin that I am hoarding to make the perfect purse. I will wait for Paco.
    Also thanks for all your hard work drafting and then publishing your patterns.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Peg, Thank you for taking the time to comment if you don’t I do not know who you are. All I can see is how many of the newsletter you open, so thank you for your support from the bottom of my heart.

  8. Eva Callejo says:

    Mayra, it was a real pleasure meeting you, and sharing with you those moments of talk, work, secrets and beers. 😉
    We deeply appreciate the words that you have dedicated to our beloved city, and that you have dedicated to us. Showing our work to who knows how to value it, and appreciating all the work behind it, is a pleasure.
    And, of course, we are delighted to welcome everyone interested in our work and in our city.
    Greetings from Segovia.
    Eva.

    Mayra, fue un verdadero placer conocerte, y compartir contigo esos momentos de charla, trabajo, secretos y cervezas. 😉
    Agradecemos profundamente las palabras que has dedicado a nuestra querida ciudad, y que nos has dedicado a nosotros. Mostrar nuestro trabajo a quién sabe valorarlo, y valorar todo el trabajo que hay detrás, es un gusto.
    Y, por supuesto, estamos encantados de recibir a todas las personas interesadas en nuestro trabajo y en nuestra ciudad.
    Un saludo desde Segovia.
    Eva.

  9. Jan says:

    From the way you mentioned the Alcazar of Segovia, I knew that is must be the inspiration for one of the Disney castles, but there are several and each is different, so I had to do a search to know which one. I will not say what I found, and leave the complete answer to someone else.

  10. middleagecouple says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful tour and info about Segovia. As a young woman, like your daughter, I visited Barcelona and Madrid but not Segovia. It looks and sound amazing. It is very special to “meet” the shops and owners. I don’t know how you would choose fabric in those tons of choices. I bought lace in Switzerland, Belgium, and Netherlands in my 20s and still have some. I hope you get to visit often and again give us a periscope.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      I will go back and show you how I choose the fabric, but I think you got it, what the countries you mentioned made best: LACE! so you choose wisely. One of the best cotton batiste in the planet is Swiss made.

  11. Jeannine says:

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful experience, loved your historical background comments, felt like I was accompanying you on the tour.

  12. Lynne Bee says:

    Thank you for your marvelous post! I can’t wait to visit some day…..
    My husband and I were fortunate enough to have visited Madrid and Barcelona this past January and fell in love. We will definitely add Segovia to the much anticipated return. Our memories of the amazing places and lovely people we saw while there have done a great deal to help us get through the stress and enforced isolation of these present times. Posts like yours are a big part too! Thank you again.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hmmm…I am with you memories of the good times is what keeps us sane these days, Lets hope that we are once again able to enjoy the freedom to go places.

  13. Alison Alison says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am a fan of your weekly emails and I appreciate your hard work, knowledge and your sharing all that with me. Alison

  14. Claire says:

    This is my country. Goza (enjoy) have you had the wine? The olive oil? Ask for the one olive oil it’s in it’s purest form. Maybe go to Paris. Oh thank you for the pictures I wish I was there with you.

  15. Sue Acosta says:

    I would be very interested in taking a tour of Segovia with you. Looks lovely.

  16. Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing your pictures and story. I will never be able to go there in person.

  17. Lori Kamphorst says:

    Well, i just added Segorvia to my list af travel destinations. The history is fantastic and i get fabric shopping as well, possibly a leather working class. FANTASTIC!!!!!

  18. Sharon Cardoza says:

    I’m green with envy. I’d be having a nervous breakdown with so much to see and want to take it all home. Pictures are so lovely and thank-you for sharing your world with all of us.

  19. Alice Cornelson says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and descriptions, Mayra. I sure would love to visit there, but know that it is beyond my means unless we win the Florida lottery. I would be interested in on-line classes though.
    You live in a great location to be able to travel to such awesome places. Your daughter picked a beautiful place to continue her education. If she is like you, she will do exceptionally well there. Thanks, again, Mayra, for sharing.

  20. Frances Colon Vega says:

    I stayed in Segpvia in 2016, at a hotel next to the Acueducto, the view especially at night was worthy of fairy tales. The town is so inviting, warm and friendly. I didn’t have the chance of fabric shopping but would absolutely love to go again. Thank you for bringing back these memories!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Frances, I know just the hotel you are talking about (*****), I did not stay there. Indeed you had a great view of the aqueduct and great location. Hope you make it back.

  21. Patricia M Burckhardt says:

    I hated history in school, but now I love it. Thank you for your very delightful tour of Spain. I am past the age of travel now but love to look on the Internet and tour by couch to very interesting places in the world. Thank you again.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Patricia, you probably did not connect with history due to the way is taught at school sometimes. Khan Academy has one of the best articles for free…

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