OK, I’ve been bad

But I have good excuses for the long absence. I’ve been touring the world visiting family. Literally. London to Taiwan (via HK) to New Zealand (via HK) to Australia to Los Angeles to Columbus and back (via Los Angeles). Mea Culpa on the carbon footprint. And it isnt’ as glamorous as it sounds. I’m totally fried from all those flights. I need a holiday!

On the plus side I did check out fabric stores all over the world. The only omission is in Taipei, where I didn’t discover where the fabric district was until it was too late. But since then, I’ve made a point of seeking them out.

So here’s the low down of where I visited. And my latest acquisitions.

Taipei,  Taiwan

There’s a whole bunch of fabric shops to the northwest of Taipei Main Station around Nanjing West Road (南京西路) & Dihua Street (迪化街). I only found out because the bus to the National Palace Museum passed by these shops. And now I Googled, there seems to be a fabricholic’s paradise called Yongle Fabric Market (永樂市場)… Must. Visit. Next. Time…Drool.

Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch is rather too suburban for my taste. Especially as I don’t drive. It was next to impossible to find the fabric stores. So I only got to visit one: Fabric Vision‎ (39 Main North Road, Papanui, 8053).  And within 5 minutes of arriving it was closing for the day ( it was only 4pm). Looks like a typical suburban fabric store. Not huge, but enough variety when you’re desperate. Needless to say I didn’t get anything here.

But I did experience some earthquakes. A bit like bad air turbulence. Luckily it only lasted a few seconds. Any more I would have freaked out.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney feels a bit more like NYC, but more outward looking. I mean towards the harbors and sea. So maybe that’s why it doesn’t seem to have a centralised fabric district. I could only track down two fashion fabric stores: Tessuti Fabrics (110 Commonwealth St, Sydney NSW 2010) and The Fabric Store (21 Cooper Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010). Neither are huge. Both seem to organise fabrics primarily by color. What does that says about Aussies? 😉

I did have minor success here. I got these lovely asian looking nylon-spandex silky prints from The Fabric Store. They are designer fabrics, but I can’t remember who. And anyway, it wouldn’t have mattered as I won’t buy something just because it’s designer. The only disappointment is that the print is naturally just one side. So the wrong side is rather ugly. And being totally synthetic, it might get a bit sweaty to wear. Imagine if it were pure silk….

And at $30/yd, it’s up there with my typical NYC purchase. Ouch.

Los Angeles, California, USA

Even before I left London I was excited to stop by Los Angeles. For I had Googled and found a LA Fashion District site indicating there’s a Fabric District. Plus from Project Runway Season 6 I knew there was a branch of Mood Fabrics in LA.

The problem is LA is another very spread out town. And by now I’ve lost my chauffeur – aka le Boyfriend. I end up spending most of my time on buses, because frustratingly Mood isn’t in the Fabric District.

But boy was I glad to have stopped by Mood. For when I got to the Fabric District, I was rather disappointed to find mainly small cheap shops, many selling pretty much the same not so high quality stuff.

(Sorry, picture from Google Map. Too tired to take any of my own.)

But hey, if you want $1/yd fabrics to experiment with, this is the place for you! Never have I found fabric so cheap. (OK, maybe Taipei or some 3rd world markets if I had visited.)

If my suitcase had been bigger and US Airways not charging the earth for baggage, I might have picked up some of these dirt cheap fabric anyway. For fitting muslims they might just fit the bill. But as I was on a trip taking me from the height of summer (28°C) to the depth of freezing winter (-6°C), there was no room for mindless purchases.

Here are what I managed to pick up in LA:

Faux fur
Flesh color jersey
Flocked denim

All from Mood. Roughly dressed up how I envision I’ll use them.

Faux croc leather in red & brown (from LA fabric district)
Grey denim with a touch of stretch (from Mood)

I think the faux leather might have been from Deco Design Fabrics, 512 East 9th Street in Downtown Los Angeles. I got them primarily to make handbags, after being inspired by Bags You Can Make blog.

The denim is to replace my beloved Miss Selfridge peddle pusher jeans that I worn to death. But I might try to squeeze a tailored jacket out of it too.

All together these cost me like $125 for 8 yards. That’s like a tenth of what I spent on my last trip to NYC! (Give me luxury fabrics over designer anything any day! :-D)

Oh, and one mustn’t forget the lovely Fashion Bookstore inside the California Market Center building on 110 E 9th St. It’s got an amazing range of fashion & apparel books & magazines, including plenty of sewing, fitting, pattern drafting ones. I wished I had more time to browse.

Columbus, Ohio, USA

And Columbus has…Jo-Ann’s. And more Jo-Ann’s! I’m sure I’d find something to buy if my stash wasn’t overflowing. But there’s nothing special here that would have parted me with my money despite myself.

On the other hand, I love browsing these warehouse size craft shops. If I have one nearby I’d no doubt squander lots of loose changes in it!

And the conclusion?

There is still no place like home. That’s NYC, not London (despite me being here like forever now). The wallet might be happier else where, but there’s still nowhere that beats NYC garment district for sheer concentrated fabric lushness.

Care to contradict me? Where do you love to shop for fabrics and why?

0 comments on “OK, I’ve been bad

  1. Your characterisation of Christchurch as ‘too suburban’ made me laugh. I live there and it’s so true. I think it may have to do with the fact that the entire central city was destroyed by the earthquake. Everything has moved to the suburbs since then. The fabric stores here have never been that great but there were a few in the city which were badly damaged and have closed. I am super jealous of your fabric store world tour. Good fabric is hard to find in NZ.

    • Sorry to hear that all the ones in the city were condemned. Such a shame. My other half did show me around – he’s from Christchurch originally. But it’s hard to get a sense of downtown Christchurch from the rubbles. Hope your fabric shopping options will recover soon!

      Though, I would have thought good wool would be aplenty in the Land of the Sheeps! (Or Field Maggots as I call them when viewed from afar. Baaaa! 😉

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