Aside

Shockingly small acquisition

You’ll have to excuse me for a while. I just came back from Taiwan and I’m terribly jet lagged. On top of that a laptop upgrade means countless hours setting up again & learning where everything is. I would never understand why companies insist on changing what’s not broken & chasing after the ever new. (In this case Windows 8. In a word: Don’t. Unless you only ever use a tablet rather than traditional PC/laptop.)

Anyway, this time around, I did manage to check out Taipei’s fabric district. I only discovered where it was by chance on my last visit there. I didn’t have time to check it out last time, so this time I made sure it’s first on the agenda.

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Shockingly I only came back with one piece of fabric.

2013-10-silk-print This is from one of the stalls on the second floor of Yongle Fabric Market (永樂市場) that specializes in silks from China. There’s a few of these. Others specialize in quilting fabrics, or at least I assume that’s what they are judging by the sizes of the pieces. There are also a few home furnishing fabric stalls, fake fur or leather stalls. And probably others.

It’s a bit of a maze. And I find I’m not good with choosing from lots of small selections. I get overwhelmed. Give me one of the big organized stores of NYC and I’ll spend a fortune. Drop me in the midst of these bustling markets and I walk away (almost) empty handed! Therein lies the secret to curbing my fabric addiction!

Third floors seem to be loads of small dressmaking stalls. I guess it’s not so much of a home sewer scene (though there seem to be a burgeoning craft scene – cutie bag-making etc) as much as leftover from a time when RTW weren’t so readily available and dressmakers still quite affordable. I remember my mother & aunts mentioning buying fabrics to get dresses made. (A few unused pieces eventually found their way to my stash!)

Apart from Yongle Fabric Market there are also a bunch of small fabric shops in the neighboring streets. A few of these specialize in imports. And boy were the prices sky high! I suppose Taiwan is further from Europe than London or even NYC. So shipping alone would jack up the prices. And perhaps you’re meant to haggle over prices, judging by how my Mom shops (or used to shop) and the fact that most fabrics weren’t labeled with the prices. That, for me, is a terrible turn off. I’m more of a self-service type of gal. What you see on the label is what you pay for. In & out. So no purchases from these shops then.

No idea what I’ll make with this lovely silk print. It reminds me a bit of traditional Chinese paintings. Love peonies! Will have to pay a visit to the blog of the ultimate mistress of prints, the lovely Oonaballoona for inspirations!

And meanwhile on the other side of the earth…

My OH was visiting LA and was tasked with bringing back that rare beast called Lambswool Interlining. This one is from Bergen Tailors & Cleaners Supply Corp.

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Not having worked with this before I’m not sure if this is the same thing that sewing books and more experienced sewers refer to. This one seems to be a knit – there’s quite a bit of stretch crosswise. The fiber content is lambswool & rayon. I can’t find any information on how to work with this – whether you need to pre-shrink it, can it take heat & steam, do you treat it like a knit or woven, etc.

A visit to Artisan Square is in order me thinks. Hopefully one of those experienced sewers who’ve worked with this before can shed some light. And of course if you’ve got the answers to these pressing questions, do share!

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