Sunday, December 04, 2016

Needle Shopping in Kyoto - Misuyabari

While searching for fabric stores in Kyoto I kept reading about a tiny needle shop that was quite tricky to find. Of course that meant I had to find it. I am so glad I did. Misuyabari is located just off a shopping mall down a passage way, luckily a few people gave quite good instructions. I followed these ones. 
At the end of the short passage way is a beautiful garden and at the back of it is a tiny little shop.
The family has been making needles for over 350 years. The owner was very helpful and patient and with the help of google translate we managed to work out what needles I wanted. They make all sorts of hand sewing needles and there are samples of each one to feel.

The detail on the decorative pin tops is amazing. They are so tiny that they hand you a magnifying glass so you can get a good look.
They also make these lovely sewing boxes.
And pin cushions that are full of wool so your needles don't rust. 
I bought a selection of needles, I really should have written on each one as I have no idea which ones are which now. There are quite a few needles in each packet and the packaging is really lovely.
Some of the needles have a round eye which I believe is easier to thread. 
It is definitely worth finding it if you are in Kyoto.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Fabric Shopping in Tokyo

If you visit Tokyo and you sew you really need to go to Nippori Fabric Town. It is an entire street of fabric shops! I was a bit worried about finding my way there, but it was very easy. Take the JR Yamanote line and get off at Nippori Station and follow the signs. Find yourself a map of all of the shops - it will make things a lot easier. I found a stack hanging outside one of the shops, so I assume most of the shops would have them. 
Inside Pakira where I bought the Liberty Hello Kitty fabric
A great shop with lovely linen/cotton fabric and great notions.

 I bought both of these there.
So many shops, some specialising in cottons, some knits, some dance fabrics and costumes and also shops full of buttons and notions. 

 And of course Tomato. This is the main shop and there are a couple of other branches on the street.
Linens at the Tomato on the other side of the street. So much beautiful linen. Still regretting not buying any of this. 
 On the top floor of the main Tomato branch is all the quilting cotton. Lots and lots of pre-cut fat quarters as well as bolts of fabric. Tomato has great notions and the girls chose lots of fun coloured zips.

 I only had a couple of hours to browse, but if I went back I would plan a whole day to look and shop!


Friday, December 02, 2016

Fabric Shopping in Rome

I love Rome, the food and the history. I love to wander with no aim and see what I can find.  I love that just across from where we stayed was the Largo Argentina which is now a cat sanctuary and apparently a couple of thousand years ago some guy called Julius Caesar was stabbed there.
Right behind it, you can just see it in the corner, is a store called Azienda Tessile Romana - lots of nice fabric. 
If you search for fabric stores in Rome there is one shop that appears again and again as a place you must visit. It is Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti. It is just a vert short walk from Largo Argentina (once again I swear I did not plan where we were staying based on fabric shopping - I was just very very lucky!!).
 This shop is huge! Rooms and rooms of every sort of fabric stacked to the ceiling. This is just a little of the shirting fabric.
 Wool, jersey, silk, everything.
 You can't see the ends of the bolts here, but many are labelled with designers names, including Valentino. Completely overwhelming and I came away with nothing (probably wise considering the prices).
There are a couple of others shops close by. There was one opposite the largo Argentina on via delle Botteghe Oscure there is a shop with really nice wools and other fabrics and there is a lovely little shop (it's a little tricky to find, I didn't see a sign) which sells silks, wools and other fabrics at much more affordable prices on via dei Falegnami.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fabric and Hundertwasser in Vienna

One of my favourite places in Vienna is the Hundertwasser Museum. I loved it just as much as I did 12 years ago. The girls really enjoyed it too. 
The museum shop is wonderful too and of course I needed some Opal sock yarn based on Hunderwasser pictures.
Komolka is conveniently located in the main shopping area, so I ran in for a quick look. So many fabrics! Upstairs was beautiful silks, laces and evening fabrics.

Downstairs was everything else you could possibly want. As they were going into winter there was lots of warmer fabrics, the wools were so lovely. We still had a long time to go so I restrained myself and didn't buy any fabric in Vienna, but if we were near the end of the trip I would have definitely bought a coats worth of wool.

Vienna with children - there is a great playground in the Stadtpark, the Botanical Gardens are lovely to wander (or run) around and the zoo is fantastic!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Madeline Dress in Liberty Hello Kitty

 One fabric I knew I had to find in Japan was Hello Kitty Liberty lawn. Thanks to a little help from Instagram I found some at a shop called Pakira in the Nippori fabric are of Tokyo. I forgot to take a photo of the front of the shop, but it is near the start of the street as you come from the station on the left, on a corner. It is full of Liberty and some other fabrics and there were a few rolls of Hello Kitty. Olive chose this one.
I used the Madeline Dress pattern by Peach Patterns. I have made this for Olive every summer and I still love it. It is so quick to sew and all the pieces go together perfectly. It's already been worn twice so I think the search for the fabric was worth it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fabric Shopping in Paris

When searching for fabric shops in Paris I came across Malhia Kent. It is situated under the Promenade Plantee which was the inspiration for the High Line in new York. We loved walking the High Line, so we planned a walk and the everyone really enjoyed it. We stopped for lunch in a park and a play in a playground.* Malhia Kent weave their own fabric using all sorts of textiles. They sell pre cut pieces at quite reasonable prices. The pre cut pieces are quite large, 2-3m, from memory. I only bought a remnant because most of the fabrics are quite bulky. Down the stairs are rolls and rolls of beautiful fabrics. If you wanted to make a Chanel inspired jacket or and amazing coat this would be the place to go. Right next door is Le Bonheur des Dames, a cross stitch and embroidery shop.                            Paris has an entire street of fabric shops at the foot of the Sacre-Coeur. We were staying in Montmartre just a couple of hundred metres away - in this apartment with the best roof window! (I swear I don't plan any of these coincidences, I did get quite lucky finding fabric shops on this trip!!). The twins and I went for a walk there one day. We climbed the Sacre-Coeur and admired the amazing view of Paris and then wandered down the hill. It was a Wednesday and unfortunately quite a few shops were shut for a Cultural Day including Marche St Pierre which sounded amazing in everything I had read about it. Their coupon shop was open, this was full of 3m pre-cuts of all different fabrics. I bought a really nice piece of black and white silk. Tissus Reine next door was open. They have these small odd size mannequins showing the fabrics made up in all different designs. 

They have lovely fabrics , including a huge range of Liberty and these amazing silks, unfortunately these were out of my budget or I would have bought them all.
For more information on fabric and crafting shopping in Paris Christine Haynes has an article in Seamwork. 
Top: remnant from Malhia Kent
Bottom: Black and White silk
*Travelling with a 4 year old meant lots of playground stops - there is also a good one in the Jardin des Tuileries close to Angelinas who make the best ever hot chocolates and macarons, and they do take away!

Thursday, November 24, 2016


We spend a week in London and could have easily spent longer. We were busy the whole time and there were things we still didn't get to see or do. 
I wasn't planning on going to Goldhawk Road, but then I realised it was only a couple of stops from where we were staying so I managed a quick visit. I didn't buy much as it was towards the start of the trip and I knew I would be dragging it around for weeks. I think I managed to have a quick look in most shops and know if I lived in London I would be there all the time. I think I saw every sort of fabric you could want. There were a couple of shops with very nice fabric with price tags to match, but most had quite good prices.
 I didn't have too long in the V&A but I loved what I saw and wished I could have had more time to wander by myself. The twins and I did see Undressed: a brief history of underwear, (I wish I could have taken pictures, but you weren't allowed to) it is not a huge exhibition, but it was fantastic and if you get a chance go and see it!
 I loved these 70s blouses in the Fashion Collection, I think I need to make some similar.
Shaukat was on my list of shops to visit. I have ordered online from there and I couldn't pass up the chance to see so much Liberty in the one place. I make most of Chris' shirts now so he was happy to come and choose some fabrics for himself.
It took us a long time to choose. We were lucky it was not busy so the girls could sit in the corner with an iPad. I had read about how the staff were not friendly so I expected the worst, but they were quite helpful.
The Tate Modern was amazing to wander around and they have the best shop full of amazing books and other things.

 Top: Liberty lawn from Shaukat
Bottom: Shirting fabrics from Goldhawk Road