Photo by the New York Times

Don’t worry, you won’t find gym bunnies or little girls hunched over sewing machines at this “sweat shop.” In true Parisian style, Sweat Shop is the sartorial equivalent of an Internet café, with sewing machines you can rent by the hour as you sip your café au lait. Sissi Holleis, an Austrian fashion designer, and Martena Duss, a Swiss makeup artist, hit upon the concept after noticing a burgeoning interest in do-it-yourself projects among their friends, especially after the recession hit. Ten sewing machines later, the duo opened their “couture café” in March, and it’s been doing bustling business ever since.

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Photo by the New York Times


Located near Canal Saint-Martin on 13, rue Lucien Sampaix, right next to an organic restaurant and juice bar, Sweat Shop is awash with vintage nostalgia, funky furniture, and color and style for miles. The pièce de résistance, of course, is the battery of Singer-sponsored sewing machines, which you can rent for €6 (US$7) per hour or €25 ($31) for the day—tea or coffee included.

You can rent a sewing machine for €6 (US$7) per hour or €25 ($31) for the day—tea or coffee included.

Can’t sew a straight line? The café also holds five workshops each week to school participants in the basics of sewing, knitting, clothes-making, and more. (You can also buy kits that include everything you need to make a particular garment or accessory.) Bordered by sewing machines, a large communal table offers plenty of room for everyone, including guest designers who make the occasional appearance. And like any good cafe, you’ll never want for tea, coffee, or cake.

+ Sweat Shop

[Via Springwise]