Friday, February 7, 2014

Fabric shopping in Nippori, Tokyo

Not all the stores were open when I shopped in Nippori on Monday…so remember that when you shop here. Sunday not opened at all. Oh and remember to bring CASH.  No credit cards in these small stores.  I jumped on the Yamamoto Line from Shibuya(head towards Shinjuku) getting off in Nippori (not Nishi-Nippori).  Go out the south exit and you will see a sign for Nippori – Fabric town.  Follow signs at bottom of stairs and marks on the sidewalk.  Remember to take the stairs next to the fire station to go back to the same gate to train.   There is a paper map in English if you find one on street or in a store.  They are promoting the stores and give a good description of what each store has on the back side of map.  Some of my favorite stores are: Mihama cloth on the corner(43 on map)  He has prepackaged goods.  Some traditional Japanese designs and some children prints I love.  Also he sales Echino prints for 6.30 a yard.  This stuff in the states is expensive…so I look through the and see if I see something I can’t get at home.  Each visit is a bit different.  This time I found the cutest Pink youth print and one with monsters.  He has 1 meter packs and 2 meter packs.  Just fun and easy to buy.  Tomatoe is a good store but can be expensive.  Look in the sale racks.  One of my favorites is Yasuda Shouten(69) and Humongous. They are next to each other.  Yasuda has cottons and linens in natural colors and indigos.  So many to choose from.  Not cheap but really nice stuff.  Humongous has Indian cottons and beads that match the colors.  She is a nice gal and can speak a bit of English.  Love her colors. It is just fun to walk down the street and look at the bins outside the stores.  There are usually remnants and sale racks out there.  Again kind of close quarters in some stores.  The thing that caught my eye this trip were the leathers for 1500 yen($15.00).  Small hides but lots of colors.  Soft and thin hides(wonder what animal they are?!)  Can be put on garments or bags.  Lots of Elegance knits.  Expensive but fun.  Fabric is not necessarily cheap in Japan but when you find a piece you gotta have it is worth it.  I really try to look for the print and textures I can’t find at home.  You can find some Kimono shops and fabrics as well.  I have other spots I like to find these so I did not go in and look, but if you want one made that is the place to look.  This is a good site for pictures and video of Nippori.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Shopping Hong Kong Sham Shui Po district for fabric and trims.

I was in Hong Kong last week for work and asked a co worker to take us to the area for sewing notions, trims and fabrics.  She first took us to a place called Yen Chow Street Hawker Bazaar.  Imagine a homeless tent city in a large square block.  This was the most interesting shopping experience I have ever had! Low hanging ceiling of tarps, corrugated fiberglass and wood.  Linoleum paved narrow aisles with stacks of fabrics on both sides. Small swatches tagged to end of bolts to show the fabric. 
The lighting was so dark at some points I couldn’t see the color of the fabrics.  The prices were decent but the selection was not what I was craving.  With the way things looked I would be afraid to buy some wool in fear it had been wet at some point and probably stacked there for years.  I found some black lace and some iridescent fabric for cheap. 
Next we walked down to Yu Chau Street that every shop was trims, ribbons or beads.  Each store a bit different, every color of twill tape, cording or ribbon I could want.  We found Leather toggles, plastic buckles and sequin.  We found a fabric shop on Ki Lung Street but I got claustrophobic with the narrow aisles and the blaring radio talk show that was abrasive to my ears.  They had a lot of linings and left over production run fabrics.  The woman told us there was another store down around the corner on Shek Kip Mei Street.  This was exactly what we were looking for.  Laura found some silk for $10 yd for her niece’s wedding dress and I found two pieces of linen for $6-7 a yard.  One striped from Italy 56” wide and the other a light pink Irish linen 48”.  He had lots of men’s shirting fabrics and some wool.  Again my larger back side was not feeling the love in this store as every time I turned around I knocked over rolls of fabric just stacked on end.  I was also with a group not really shopping so I couldn’t spend my precious time to look through everything….so I took his card and will go back. Wa Fat Piece Goods Co. Shek Kip Mei Street
After telling another coworker about our adventure she wanted to go back Friday afternoon once we were done with work.  She is a subway taker and got directions how to get there from our hotel on Nathan road.  We took the train from Tsim Sha-Tsun heading toward Jordan and Sham Shui Po.  I believe it was 3-4 stops (it will say in English on the train monitor Sham Shui Po). When you get off the train walk to Exit A…that is really important.  When you come up from subway turn left.  This will point you toward Yu Chau Street.  There are lots of street vendors to distract so enjoy your way town to the street.  Once you are in the area you will start to see the trim stores.  Sorry I don’t have more on fabrics….next trip.