Tuesday, October 13

If you love fabric...

...and you happen to fly out to Asia, don't miss your chance to do a spot of fabric sourcing (and buying)! I did my research before we left, scanned local forums and discovered that there seems to be a lot of confusion among those looking to buy economically-priced fabric in Asia, especially Hong Kong. Some of the advice given was quite dubious, not to mention conflicting. It was a real headache trying to figure out the whats, wheres and hows, but I finally narrowed my choice down to three places. Fabric junkies - I've put together a little guide to spare you the headache and make your (buying) trip so much easier: 1. Spotlight (shop opens 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.) this fairly large Australian-based store is located in Megabox Shopping Mall in Kowloon Bay. The station is easily reached by subway, but once there you need to get into the queue for the free shuttle bus, that will take you to the mall. Look for the bus depot and a large green bus. Spotlight is on the 5th floor. Here you will find a good selection of quilting, decorating and fashion fabrics, plus all the notions. The prices here are average to high, only slightly less than what I would pay here in Germany, so I refrained from buying anything, but if you're looking for high-quality buttons and zippers in all colours and widths, (and you're not into bargaining) then this is the place to go. 2. Western Market (open from 10:00 a.m.) Firstly, this is a tourist trap. If this doesn't bother you then go up to the first floor of this revamped Edwardian building and you will see middle-aged men sitting among a row of textile shops - more like stalls, really - either side of the escalator. You will find mostly polyester silks and synthetics here, some linens, a few cottons - but don't expect any designer fabrics. The prices are reasonable, but you could try bargaining a little. Not all shop keepers speak English, so practise a few phrases of Cantonese before coming here. I bought a length of subtly patterned 'silk', to be made into cushion covers. 3. Sham Shui Po (open from 10:00 a.m., closed Sunday) This is the place everyone is talking about, when they want to buy low-cost fabrics, ribbons, zippers, buttons, beads, embellishments and whatnot! It's a fabric paradise, but it is also the most confusing, especially for first-time visitors. Plan to spend at least two days here, and... Go here with a sense of adventure ☺ Again, easily accessible by subway, you will emerge into a sprawling industrial area with two main streets and a couple of connecting streets tightly packed with textile manufacturers, haberdashers, bead shops etc., interspersed with stalls selling raw meat hanging from hooks - try not to be put off ;-) You won't find bolts of fabric here, rather walls and walls of fabric swatches, which you can take with you for future reference. Descriptions are mostly in Chinese. Keep in mind that most shops are wholesalers, but some offer their goods by the yard as well, the minimum being 5 yards. Also, expect to pay a small yardage fee, if you buy retail. More often than not, fabric needs to be ordered, unless you are lucky and they have some stock of the fabric you want. The shop keepers speak only a little English, if at all. So you need to be creative in your communication. Take a notepad and pen with you to write down figures. As I mentioned, the area is vast. You could easily get lost here. Check the street map down in the subway station. The streets to look out for are Nam Cheong Street, Ki Lung Street and Yu Chau Street. Prices are cheap. The cottons I saw were priced at approx. 3 - 5 Euro per yard. If you're looking for dirt-cheap, go to India or South Korea!

9 comments:

  1. First let me say thank you very much for visiting my blog and leaving such a constructive comment. I don't think the wife and I will ever make it overseas to purchase fabric but she has a very keen eye when it comes to picking certain fabrics for certain projects and also waiting for the fabric to go on half price before making the deal. She is thrifty and I appreciate that good quality in her. Thanks for this very informative post!

    Friends 4 Life!

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  2. I think it would be fascinating to go to any of these shops, just for the experience alone! I think it's awesome you've given such great detail on how to find these shops and I'm sure many will benefit.

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  3. very informative, Duni! You sure is a fabric-lover:D) And to explore these places for fabrics is another thing... I liked the time and the effort you put into this post:) very passionate!

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  4. gosh! sounds like a blast! Unfortunately, I won't be going to Asia any time soon. And I think I would be looking for paper, though I love fabric too!

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  5. I imagine the fabric choices are incredible in Asia! I don't have any plans to go there in the near future although I'd love to!

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  6. The one thing I miss and have missed over the past 21 years is sewing. Maybe one day I'll get back to it.

    Great info Duni and hope you stocked up!

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  7. i love fabrics but im bot very good with the stitching and sawing, and so either hire someone to have it made for me or the easier way of buying a ready-made.

    sorry to hear you're in such a bad weather today...we really have our own ups and downs. theresa's right, stock up.

    will be linking you , friend=) hope you do the same. visit back!

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  8. So many information Duni! I must say Spotlight is my favorite store here in Singapore. I can spend days there:)

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  9. very informative, Duni! You sure is a fabric-lover:D) And to explore these places for fabrics is another thing...

    I think it would be fascinating to go to any of these shops, just for the experience alone!

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