Hello everyone 😀 It has been quite a while, hasn’t it? I am sorry for the lack of updates, there was a lot going on last year and I did not really get much done sewing wise. But I am back and I guess, there is no better way to come back than doing the best thing ever: buy far too much fabric and glittery stuff in another country! During our last bigger trip, I went fabric and trim shopping in Japan and Hong Kong.
Japan has been in my heart since I discovered manga and anime and the country’s intriguing culture in my teens. I traveled to Fukuoka to learn more about the culture as well as the language in 2014. It is one of these places that never lets you go. So I wanted to return 🙂 And I did: My boyfriend and I started in Hong Kong, then flew to Fukuoka on Kyushu and travelled all the way up to Tokyo by train. Find our route in more detail here on Google Maps.
I bought something for sewing in almost every city… If you did not already notice by my lengthy intro let me warn you politely: This post is going to be a long one… Should you not be into reading novels, maybe you’d prefer to watch a video on youtube 😉 I just uploaded it here. And yes, I have a channel… I just did not know what to do with it because I was overwhelmed by the reactions and all the people following me (already 475, that is so wild!!!) So I did not really promote it. But I like filming and editing so I think I’ll go on doing some videos from time to time 🙂
Now, let’s start!
We started our journey in Zurich, Switzerland, flying directly to Hong Kong in the best machine I’ve ever been in. The screens to watch movies were giant. Needless to say that we only slept for about an hour or so, watched a ton of movies or played on our Nintendo DS and arrived quite drained in Hong Kong.
Let me tell you: This city is absolutely mesmerizing at night! We arrived in our hotel at about 19:00 after being awake for almost 20 hours but decided to got outside because we saw all the lights in the harbours, all the giant enlightened buildings etc. The city is so stunning by night it’s unbelievable. This picture was taken on the roof of a car park with view on Hong Kong Island:
But let’s talk about the goods! We went to Sham Shui Po in our quest to find fabric. However, we didn’t. I blame it on my lack of Google Maps skills that we did not find the famous little fabric stores and stalls. What we did find though was a row of small stores that sold beads and trims in an amazing quality for an even more amazing price. I bought two different trims as well as some beautiful beads for about 65 $ in total, which is insane.
I bought stuff in two of the stores, but unfortunately, i do not remember the name of one of them… We did not really choose which stores to hop in, we just walked up and down and then entered somewhere, which happened to be the nameless one. But let’s start with the second one first, which was right next to the Nameless Shop.
The shop was called “Hang Fung Hong Kong Ltd. At least that’s what I think… three different things on the business card, but have a look for yourself 😛 So maybe shop number two might remain nameless as well…
I bought two different trims here. Since I am such a good blogger/youtuber, I don’t remember the prices, but both must have been around 50 HKD, since I have the prices for the beads and remember looking up, how much I paid in total (which was around 65 Swiss Francs, according to my memory).
This is the first one and I got 3 yards of it. I love the gold embroidery on the black mesh. 2.80 meters should be enough to adorn the hem of a nice skirt, maybe from the 1900’s? I thought about combining it with the beads from the Nameless Shop, it matches art nouveau so well. Maybe in a flowing a little bit sheer black fabric?
The second one I decided to take home with me is this beautiful trim with embroidered birds. I loooooove this one! I bought it because it matches the fabrics I have in my stash that are at the moment meant to become a 16th century gown. I love the colours and the motive but I am not sure wether it matches the gown I have planned… So I’ll have to see about that. The fact, that I’d have to use the trim vertically to make most out of the bird embroidery is also not the best… But I wanted it 😛 I got 3 yards of this one as well.
Let’s go back to the Nameless Shop that was really cool. There were walls and walls of little drawers, filled with beads, bags full of sequins, so many bigger beads and little things, like these for example:
I almost couldn’t decide what to get because I wanted so many things and they were all so affordable. In the end, I bought some beads to go with the black trim for a 1900s evening gown in green and black. I love these details, they remind me of an art nouveau lamp back at my mum and dad’s appartment. I got 3 sachets of each style and paid 15 HKD per sachet.
My little Hong Kong haul was followed by a long lean period of not buying anything sewing related while still spending too much money, for example on two vintage maxi dresses from the 70s. But in Nara, We finally had some time to visit two fabric stores.
Both, my boyfriend and I, filled our SD cards mainly with deer in Nara 😛 We stayed in Mikasa Ryokan a little bit up the hill, which was pretty and we had a great view on the city. I loved staying there it was a nice time out after we were running through Fukuoka, Osaka and taking long walks to shrines and temples in Koya san.
The shops were both located in the narrow streets behind Kintetsu station. The first one we visited was a sweet, small chaos:
The shop is called Zeniso and looked like a treasure cave, I already fell in love with it at the entrance, which was two pieces of net, overlapping each other and catching every visitor while announcing their arrival with the bells attached to the net. It was really fun in there and the lady who ran the shop was so lovely and allowed me to take pictures and film some sequences. If you want to, visit her website. The website actually looks very professional, quite a difference to her cute, chaotic store. This is what I bought:
I found this beauty on display on a hook in the back of the shop! I have no idea what kind of fabric it is, probably polyester but I am not sure… I bought seven meters of it and I plan on using it on something 18th century. In total I payed 4838 Yen, which is about 48 Swiss Francs. A steal, if you ask me 🙂
When we decided to return to get our shuttle bus to the hotel, I discovered another store that we decided to return to the next morning: Itotemari. Unfortunately I have no website to link and no pictures from the inside, I did not ask whether I could film or not, but here’s a picture from the outside:
I mostly shopped on the first floor: They have amazing cottons in the front and a whole wall of brocade in the back, which is where I spent far too much time, trying to decide what to buy. I settled for two brocades.
This one is so lovely. I love the pattern and the colour, it is so unique. Unfortunately the camera did not pick the beautiful warm brown up the way it is in reality, but it still looks beautiful, doesn’t it? The 2.5 metres I bought cost me 7250 Yen (about 72 CHF/USD) and I have something renaissance in mind for this one.
This is the second one. I had to decide between this and a blue one in the end and went with this one because I think, it will match more of my other fabrics than the blue one would have. And since I did not really have a plan (which is very bad and leads to far too much money spent), I went with the option I thought would be easier to use in the end. I loved both, but decided to settle on this one. I bought 3 metres for 8700 Yen (87 CHF/USD, I guess, you get the math by now :P)
On the second floor you can find everything for knitting and crocheting as well as a lot of patterns and books. I bought a book on how to make ponpon Pokémon for my sister here. She loves handcrafting as well (she’s an amazing crocheter) and we both played the hours away with Pokémon when we were younger.
Btw, both of these Fabric Stores were located near Kintetsu Station Nara, here’s the link to Google Maps.
Kyoto was not only my favourite city, but also my favourite fabric shopping experience. On the picture is the imperial palace btw. I loved the gardens! Our hotel was in the middle of the cake (as we’d say in Swiss German :P). It was located in the arcades of Torimachi Dori and Nomura Tailor, a 3 floors fabric store was only about 10 minutes away, here’s the link to Google Maps:
This store was absolutely fantastic and stuffed with the most amazing cottons, silks, brocades and more! You can find their website here.
I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of fabrics, but after an hour, that my boyfriend patiently spent in the store together with me, I managed to settle on three fabrics. I wanted to buy things that I could not get in Switzerland, but silk was way out of my budget and I already had bought some beautiful brocades. So I decided to shop in the cotton section and let me tell you: It was not easy to decide, I loved so many of the fabrics. In the end I went with japanese prints, since these would be hard to get. The first one has the most wonderful colour palette:
The cranes will be used for a 1900’s tea gown that I want to make since forever. It will be based on this one (verlinken). I got five meters of it and paid 2900 Yen in total (580 Yen per meter, or 5.80 CHF/USD).
This fabric will be turned into a Yukata. I wanted to buy one but in the end decided that I’d rather make it myself. So I bought nice fabric for it. I also got 5 metres of this one and it was also 2900 Yen in total (580 Yen per meter, or 5.80 CHF/USD).
The last one I bought is wild. I love it and I’ll turn it into a 40s or 50s dress that I’ll proudly wear to work :P. I bought 3 metres for 480 Yen each (1440 Yen in total, 14.40 CHF/USD).
All of these are extremely soft and the prints are so nice and adorned with gold/silver details. Really in love with them and I hope, I don’t screw any of the projects up.
Our last stop was Tokyo, where we spent four days before we flew back to Zurich. I decided with some very convincing help of my boyfriend, that I would only visit one fabric store and buy nothing there. The first did happen, but I screwed up the latter and bought more fabric ;). The store, which is called Okadaya, is located in Shinjuku (which you see on the picture above) and easy to find, it is just over the crossing in a mall when you leave the station for Kabukicho. It is two floors of fabric, but there have to be some floors with trims and make up etc. we just did not find them… Which might be better considering the amount of money I had already spent on fabric.
This store was even more overwhelming than the one in Kyoto… Here are some impressions (credits to my boyfriend for his aesthetic fabric photography).
I found a nice cotton in a colour, that matches the crane fabric I bought in Kyoto. This cotton is out of this world, it feels so soft… So, I had to buy it.
The picture does not really show it’s qualities, but believe me, it is the nicest cotton I’ve ever got between my fingers. Softer than my Kyoto buys. I bought 5 metres of it for 1600 Yen per meter, which was about 80 CHF/USD in total in the end.
Here’s one last picture from Tokyo, showing some of the beautiful glass buildings as well as Tokyo Station! I loved these towers.
And that is it you guys! What a long post! I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for reading it. Bye 😀
PS: Credits for the detail shots of the fabrics, trims, beads and mostly everything the stores goes to my boyfriend 😉
PPS: Here’s my YouTube video 🙂