Shanghai Stash-building

Before we went on our holiday, I spent quite a bit of time with ol’ friend Google, trying to hunt out information on where to go to buy fabric and/or notions in the places we were going to. (Coz you know, if you’re going to completely destroy a fabric-buying ban while overseas, you may as well plan ahead for maximum ban-destruction, right?!) However, one place that I really struggled with was Shanghai. We were headed to Shanghai for just over two days on our way home, and since there’s a big tailor-made industry there (or at least one that’s big enough that I’ve heard of it!), I figured there must be somewhere to go fabric shopping. But could I find any details of such a place? No. No, I could not.

Until I got an amazingly, lovely, full-of-details email from one of my blog readers, Jenny. (Jenny – thank you again! So, so much!!!)

Shanghai notions market - grosgrain ribbon

Reel upon reel of grosgrain. Plus, my Midsummer’s Night Dream dress out and about in Shanghai!

And yeah, once I read that email, that was it. There was no going back. Of those two-and-a-bit days we were going to have in Shanghai, at least half a day would be fabric-and-notions shopping.

Jenny told me about the places to go for both fabric and notions in Shanghai. If you’re ever heading to Shanghai and have some space in your suitcase, here’s where to go.

Shanghai notions market - buttons

All the pretty buttons!

For fabric:

There are two main fabric markets – the South Bund Market, and the Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market. The Sound Bund Market is the most well known and the biggest, however it’s also the most expensive and more crowded than Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market. From both, you can get all sorts of fabrics, as well as tailor-made clothing.

South Bund Fabric Market
399 Lujiabang Lu,
near Nancang Jie

Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market
168 Dongmen Lu,
near Zhongshan Dong Er Lu

Shanghai notions market - buttons

Buttons, buttons, pretty buttons

And for notions:

Head to the Wholesale Notions Market. It’s about 15 minutes walk from Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market, on a section of street that’s lined with little shops selling fabric and notions.

Wholesale Notions Market (Shanghai Tan Shang Xia)
388 Renmin Lu (near Sichuan Nan Lu), 人民路388号, (近四川南路)

(One thing to not with all three markets, they all only take cash, and preferably smaller notes. So go prepared with a bunch of ’em!)

Shanghai notions market - buttons

And even more buttons….

Unfortunately we ran out of time to get to either of the fabric markets, but that was probably just as well, since there was no space left in any of our suitcases by then (being as all available room was taken up with Japanese fabric!). We did, however, get to the notions market. And oh my, I could quite easily have spent our entire time in Shanghai in that notions market!!!

Shanghai notions market - invisible zips

Invisible zips

There were several stories in a massive building. Each storey had lots and lots of little stalls, selling pretty much every sort of notion you care to name. Lace. Buttons. Buckles. Snaps. Elastic. Random fur trim. Collars. Care labels. Webbing. Everything, including a bunch of things I didn’t even recognise. And the variety! Oh my!!! Seriously. I don’t know if the rest of you get spoilt with choice, but for us over here in little ol’ New Zealand, this place was like a kid being let loose in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. (And then the prices. Wow!) I think the one that impressed me the most was the stalls selling overlocker thread. Rainbows of thread. Every colour you could possibly want. And for the equivalent of 80c NZ per spool. If only I’d had more luggage space, I would quite happily have come home with about 40 spools. (Instead, I had to limit myself to 6 and hope I could squeeze them in somehow!)

Shanghai notions market - webbing

Stacks of webbing

Sadly we got to the notions market not long before it shut, so I only really got to explore part of one floor. But that was probably just as well, as otherwise I may have gone a bit mad buying all the pretties. 😉

Shanghai notions market - overlocker thread

Rainbows of overlocker thread

Wanna see what I came home with?

The first thing that made it into my bag was a bunch of grosgrain ribbon. This came from a little shop just along the street from the notions market – we walked past it on our way there, and I couldn’t help myself but stop and admire all the candy-like pretty colours of grosgrain, most with cute prints on them. (25 metres of grosgrain may have come home with me….)

Grosgrain ribbon

25 metres of grosgrain ribbon with fun prints (sailboats! polka dots!! hearts!!!)

I had to stop myself from buying buttons. But not before enough for 13 new garments had crept into my life….


Lots of pretty pretty buttons


MOAR buttons!

(Didja notice the little dogs in the photo above? And the leather hearts?? And the ones with little bows painted on them???)

Invisible zips

Lots (and lots, they were soooo cheap!) of invisible zips in different lengths

Overlocker  thread

Pretty colours of overlocker thread

Thank you again, Jenny! If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have lots of little pretties to admire. 😉


14 responses to “Shanghai Stash-building

  1. gasp – the buttons! and the overlocker threads! looks like heaven!

    • Oh it really was like a little slice of crafty heaven! One day I’ll get back there with a lot more time to look around – there were so many little spaces crammed full of interesting things

  2. Looks like your little one was enjoying the colourful sensory experience too!

  3. Swoon’s a good description – so is GAWJUS!!!

  4. I think I’d have a hard time choosing, too much choice! Amazing!

  5. Oh my I think I want to take a holiday to Shanghai just for this experience! I am impressed that you got all that in just half a day.

  6. I am so pleased you made it to the notions market. It is an incredible place and I love it 🙂

  7. Wow. I want go there!!! And your buttons are gorgeous!

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