Inspiration: Portuguese tiles

Last week I was on holiday in Portugal and photographed tiles. Many Portuguese houses are decorated with tiles. Sometimes they cover the whole building, but more often it is just the lower floor or the upper floors or just one band across the building. I thought it was brilliant. My boyfriend started to go a little crazy because I wanted to take a picture of almost every tile we came across, but hey, can you blame me? Just look at them! I think they’re very inspirational and I can see some of these turning into a quilt block or two.

Portoguese tiles 1I just love the variety in these tiles.

portuguese tiles 4Some are multi-coloured,  some have borders.

portuguese tiles 5

Some have a very simple design, others have a design that only really works when you put multiple tiles together to create the pattern.

portuguese tiles 3 They can be well maintained, faded or cracked. Most are only painted but sometimes you come across one that has texture.

Some of you might be wondering whether I bought any fabrics during our holiday and I didn’t because 1) We tried to travel light and buying yards of fabric didn’t really fit in with that, 2) I sort of already have a lot of fabric that maybe I should use first and 3) I was on holiday with my boyfriend so I thought it would be nicer to do things that both of us enjoy doing, which sadly excludes fabric shopping. I did spot some fabric and yarn stores though, so for those of you planning to visit Portugal in the future that do want to spend some time fabric or yarn shopping I can give you some advice! Tecidos means fabrics, so stores selling fabric will usually display this word on the outside.

Lisbon: While waiting downstairs of the Elevador de Santa Justa (simply brilliant, it is a public transport elevator from 1902!) I spotted a fabric store across the street on the left side. Another fabric store is located on the left side in the street that the 373 (to Castelo) and 714 (to Outurela) busses leave Praca da Figueira from (I tried to find the street name on the map but I am not sure which one it is). We did enter this fabric store but I thought it didn’t have very interesting fabrics so we left quickly. A bit more down this road there is also a yarn store.

Coimbra: There is a yarn store in the R. Joaquim Antonio de Aguiar. When you come from the Largo Da Sé Velha it will be located on your left side.

Viseu: Simply walk down the R. Dr. Luis Ferreira and you’ll encounter at least 3 stores selling fabric (two of these also sell other things but they clearly had fabric displayed in their windows) and 1 store selling yarn.

And I’ll leave you with some more tiles to ogle. These are probably my favourites. I found them in the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velho in Coimbra. They are at least several centuries old. In the early sixteen hundreds the part of the monastery where these tiles are located flooded every year. They even built another floor in the church and turned one of the upper story windows into a new door so they could continue using the church for a couple more decades until they build a new monastery a bit higher up a hill. Considering all that, I think these tiles are still in pretty good shape!

Portuguese tiles 2

October 27, 2013

Emmely Treffers

About Emmely

I am a sewing enthusiast from the Netherlands. I live in the Leiden area with my husband and two daughters and I am currently working as a senior researcher in molecular virology. With my quilting patterns and sewing blog I want to infect as many people as possible with my love for sewing.

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  1. wombatquilts

    What beautiful inspiration. I can see some amazing quilts come out of these inspiring tiles

    • Emmely

      Thank you, I had so much fun spotting them!

  2. ukcitycrafter

    Those tiles are stunning, such beautiful colours.I look forward to seeing the results of this inspiration.

    • Emmely

      I’m thinking of trying to turn some into foundation paper piecing blocks. I don’t have much experience with that so it will be fun to give it a try.


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