Where And How To Buy The Best Fabrics in Marrakech.

For those of you who do not know, I run a traditional guest house in Marrakech (called Riad Assakina), where I have lived for the past 15 years. 

I am often asked by my guests about buying fabrics in the souks – sometimes for furnishing but more often for fashion purposes – and I am always pleased to be tell them that there are lots of fabric shops just around the corner from us! Our local district is called the Mellah (old Jewish quarter) and, traditionally, there are many tailors to be found here.  In addition, the local spice souk doubles as a fabric & haberdashery market.

Over the past several years, some of these shops have fallen by the wayside, morphing into tourist shops selling souvenirs & gifts instead. However, thankfully, a good many have survived, helping to keep our area truly authentic for a while longer. 


Fabrics are generally imported and so you will find a huge range, from lovely Italian silks and satins to English woollen suiting fabric and gabardine. 

Obviously, Moroccan ladies love their colour and exotic fabrics, so Indian saris are also very popular for evening caftans. 

Surprisingly, linen and cottons are not so popular for making caftans, so they are more difficult to find. 

However, you will find lots of printed satins, chiffons and especially velvets in the winter months. 

A typical fabric shop in the Mellah district

Traditionally, here in Morocco people will purchase a length of 2.5-3 metres of fabric, to give to their favourite tailor to be made into a caftan. As a result, fabrics are generally pre-cut in these lengths, ready to go. 

Please note that the local Moroccan tailors are not like those found in Asia. They do not copy western clothing: they only sew traditional caftans. They also take their time; and you can expect to wait anything from two weeks to two months or more for the work of a good tailor. 

Purchasing these pre-cut lengths of fabric can be confusing and frustrating for tourists. There will either not be enough or there will be too much for their needs. Unfortunately, in the Medina only a few shops will have fabrics on the roll, and these are often satins, with which to line evening caftans (known as takeshitas). 

You may be fortunate to find a fabric on the roll which is perfect for your needs. If not, you have two options:

(a) You purchase two of the same pre-cut lengths, giving you 5-6 metres of fabric; or

(b) You ask the shop keeper to see if he has any left on the roll that has not yet been cut. He may have to check with his warehouse, so be prepared to return the next day for your answer. 


If you find yourself in the Marrakech Medina and you love fabrics, then the Mellah district is definitely the best place to go. Fortunately, it is also surrounded by many of the most popular museums in the city (such as the famous Bahia Palace, the Dar Si Said Palace and the new Culinary Arts Museum), so it doesn’t have to be purely a fabric fest! 

The Jewish spice souk can be easy to pass by, but, as mentioned previously, it too has some fabric shops. There are some stalls selling fashion fabrics, but most are aimed at basic furnishing fabrics. Even so, do not dismiss them. In lockdown, I purchased all of my fabrics very cheaply from one little stall. With a degree of imagination, you will find that you do not need to spend a fortune on fabric.

The shop on the right is where I purchased most of my fabrics in lockdown

The main set of shops that sell furnishing fabrics sit together along a busy road (Avenue Hommane Al Fatouki) that runs from the local square (Place des Ferblantiers) to the main square the Jemma el Fna. 

The fabrics are often hung from rolls on the wall, and generally come in three co-ordinating designs which are intended to be made into traditional Moroccan sofas. There are wonderfully heavily woven fabrics, cut velvets and now contemporary linens and textured fabrics such as chenilles, too. Expect to pay anything from 80-200 DH ($8 / £6.50 – $20 / £16) a metre 

You will also find an amazing selection of wide-width weighted voiles, perfect for large contemporary windows. 


There are also fabric shops dotted around the main city souks. As with all shops in the souks, it is nigh on impossible to pinpoint exactly where they are, so you’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled! 


For the dedicated and intrepid fabric shopper, there are also fabric shops situated outside of the Medina/souks, in local residential areas. For these, you’ll need to get in a taxi for 20-30 minutes, and, of course, to know where they are in the first place.

If you do make the effort to follow-up on a local lead (preferably from someone you feel you can trust!), you may very well find a treasure trove selling everything on the roll and at prices that you can only dream of at home! There can be every kind of fabric that you can imagine, from printed jersey to luxurious embroidered chiffons. Note that you will need at least some basic French to get by, and in a lot of places they will only speak Arabic. As always, though, if you’re armed with a pen, paper and plenty of patience, you’ll probably get by!


Normally, in the souks you need to haggle and haggle hard!

However, fabric shops deal, for the majority of the time at least, with local shoppers. Therefore, you may well find that the prices are fixed, which is actually a relief to many tourists! You will either like the fabric and its price, or you will not. Simple as.

The price quoted will be for the whole piece and not by the metre. If you are looking at an elaborate fabric that is destined for an evening caftan, then there will be two fabrics sold together. A sheer fabric and a satin for the under dress. 

If you do not like the lining (they can often be very bright and shiny), then they may very well be willing to change it, or sell you just the main fabric. You just need to ask. 

Prices can be as little as 100 DH ($10 / £8) for a length, to 2,000 DH ($200 / £164) for a very special evening fabric. 

For satins (man-made to pure silk), expect to pay 30, 40, 60 or 80 DH a metre depending on the quality, which can vary enormously. 

Rolls of fabric are more easily found outside of the Medina

In the spice souk, for furnishing fabric you can expect to pay as follows:

▪️wide width (300cm) cotton sheeting, printed and plain. This is perfect for summer dresses, shirts, shorts etc. It is incredibly economical at around 80 DH ($8 / £6.50) a metre. Ideal for all those fabric-hungry patterns for 50’s style or gathered and tiered summer dresses that are in fashion right now. They are perfect for quilting too of course!

▪️Gingham fabrics, which are always in fashion: generally, around 30 DH ($3 / £2.50) for the better quality.

▪️Towelling fabrics in many weights and colours from 60 DH ($6 / £5) for a wide width. 

▪️Novelty cotton prints aimed at children’s furnishings or kitchen accessories, which can make fabulous 50’s style retro dresses and shirts for you or your children: 40 DH ($4 / £3.30 a metre.

▪️Cotton canvas fabrics for those who love to make bags and craft items: under 30 DH ($3 / £2.50) a metre. 

▪️Wide width (300-320 cm wide) damask fabrics designed for tables cloths at around 60 DH ($6 / £5) a metre. You can make your own tablecloths (to an unlimited size) and napkins or even duvet covers and pillow slips for a fraction of the cost. 

My favourite fabric shop in the Mellah souk

Sadly, as with everywhere at the moment, or so it seems, prices are rising – sometimes even doubling in just a short space of time – and therefore the above prices are a rough guide only . There are also high import taxes in Morocco, which has an inevitable impact on the retail price.  However, even so, compared to fabric shops “back home”, I’m pretty sure that Moroccan prices will still come as a very pleasant surprise! 


Finally, be prepared. If you are coming out to Marrakech, you may want to plan ahead as to what you want to purchase.

▪️Photograph / scan your favourite patterns along with the fabric requirements. This way you can stay focused and make sure that you do not make any wrong decisions or purchase incorrect quantities of fabric.     

▪️Measure in advance for curtains, blinds, cushion covers etc so that you do not make any mistakes.

▪️Bring paint charts or fabric swatches with you if you need to match anything. Do not leave it to memory or eye! 

▪️Make sure that you have an empty suitcase for all your purchases 😉


▪️Do not be afraid to enter the fabric shops, you will be made more than welcome. 

▪️The shop owners and assistants are male, 99% of the time. However, they are very used to ladies shopping and have the patience of a saint!

▪️The local ladies will be delighted to see you there with them, and will happily offer their opinion when asked for help. 

▪️Remain calm, and do not get overwhelmed! It will feel like being a child in a sweet shop again with so many lovely fabrics on offer. 

▪️So that you do not feel guilty, be selective about what you chose to ask to see. The fabrics will all be folded and even sometimes wrapped in tissue, if more expensive. 

▪️Remember that if you are purchasing a fabric with a large design or something that requires pattern matching, be sure that you have enough fabric.

I hope that this article has helped to take away the fear and mystery of fabric shopping in Marrakech. Have fun and happy shopping!

Michele x