Category Archives: Fabric finds

Fabric-a-brac good times

If you’re in Wellington, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what happened yesterday. Fabric-a-brac!

Tables piled high with fabric-y goodies, waiting for the doors to open to customers.

Tables piled high with fabric-y goodies, waiting for the doors to open to customers.

Yep, the twice-yearly fabric lovers event was on again, chock-full of fabulous finds, vintage goodies, tasty treats, and fundraising for the local hospice.

Fabric lovers waiting for the doors to open.  (In the rain!  Now that's dedication to fabric.)

Fabric lovers waiting for the doors to open. (In the rain! Now that’s dedication to fabric.)

And naturally enough, I was there. (Well, I kinda had to be, since I’m one of the organising committee these days.) From set-up to (nearly the end of) pack-down, and all times in-between. Organising the ‘cafe’ room, looking after the stall a friend and I shared in an attempt to downsize our stashes, and ‘accidentally’ buying more goodies I spotted on other stalls.

One of the 'cafe' tables, waiting for people needing a break from rummaging through fabric.

One of the ‘cafe’ tables, waiting for people needing a break from rummaging through fabric.

(I’m feeling rather proud of myself though – I came home with less fabric than I took with me! Very restrained, I was.) (And yes, it was hard to be!)

Tasty homemade treats at the 'cafe'.  (Those choc-chip biscuits?  Amazing!!!)

Tasty homemade treats at the ‘cafe’. (Those choc-chip biscuits? Amazing!!!)

Pretty much all of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network made their way through during the day, and at one point a bunch of us ended up congregated in the ‘cafe’, over tea and cake.

(From the front to the , going right clockwise: Trees, Ria (not a blogger but we like her anyway), Juliet, Jenna, Emma, Gemma, Nikki, Johanna, Sandra, me, and Joy.)

Wanna see what I came away with? (If not, look away now, because I feel the need to share!)

Vintage brown floral cotton, polka-dot something-or-other (true fact: I’m kinda bad at identifying most fabrics *shame*) synthetic, crepe-like in feel, and a bit sheer, and two smallish pieces of rib.

Brown floral vintage something-that-seems-like-viyella, pink and blue floral vintage something-else-that-might-be-viyella, and a heavyweight cotton twill (small pieces, likely to become overalls for the Little Guy).

A copy of ‘Dreaming of Chanel’, two rolls of vintage overlocker thread, and some buttons with trains and cars on them (a gift from the lovely Zara for the Little Guy – thanks Zara!)

Yep, all in all, a successful day. De-stashed some of my stash that wasn’t inspiring me, bought some new-to-me goodies that do inspire, saw a bunch of my lovely friends, and raised a bunch of money for a good cause. Win. 🙂


Fabric-a-brac, my favourite vintage fabric fair, happened again a couple of weeks ago. So much fun! As per usual, most of my finds came from the hospice fundraiser table, where fabric etc was donated and all profits went to the local hospice.

I was very good this time and limited myself to less than two bags. (And yes, it was very hard to keep to my set limit! So many pretty things to be found….)

Wanna see what I got? (Well, I want to show you, so here you go!)

Wool and vintage lining | Modern Vintage Cupcakes
Nearly 3 metres of winter-coat-weight grey wool for only $12!!! (Coat for me, or several years worth of coats for the Little Man…. Hmmm…..)
And some pretty pretty vintage lining in shiny blue and grey. (Perhaps another Bellatrix in the grey wool, with this lining? Hmmmm….)

Vintage Patterns | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Fabric | Modern Vintage Cupcakes
A lightweight synthetic dusty pale blue with white dots – I’m leaning towards a bow-neck peplum blouse for this one, either the La Sylphide or a 1940’s blouse pattern I have.
Wool/acrylic/something blend vintage leaf pattern – so pretty! (But also somewhat scratchy.) Likely to become a dress (with lining, to counter that scratchiness.)

Vintage Patterns | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Fabric | Modern Vintage Cupcakes
Brown cotton sateen with flowers – this one will be a dress definitely.
And check it out – it’s got ladybirds all over it! Oh yeah! Blouse, all the way.

Vintage Patterns | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m loving all the vintage patterns. So excited to find a bunch of Academy patterns! I’m slowly building up a bit of a collection of those. They used to be a New Zealand company, that I can find out hardly anything about. (One day, I will unlock the mystery behind them. One day….)

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. 😉

Fabric shopping in Tokyo

After all that I’ve heard about fabric shopping in Tokyo, I couldn’t go there for a few days and not hunt out some craft shops, now could I?!? (Silly question, right?!)

Before I left, I went hunting online for where to go, and all the blogs I found and advice I was given pointed to two places – Tokyu Hands for all sorts of craft stuff, and Tomato in the Nippori fabric district for fabric. Luckily for me, my long-suffering partner let me indulge in hunting down those places – thanks, darlin’! 😉

First stop was Tokyu Hands. There are several of these stores around Tokyo, and we went to two of them. The first one, in Shinjuku, was really disappointing. (Even though our guide book said it was the best and biggest one….) There wasn’t really any sewing-related things at all – various jewellery findings, leather working stuff, and lots and lots of rows of iPhone 5 cases. (Turns out customising your iPhone 5 is a common hobby in Tokyo….) But no sewing stuff at all. *sad face* I left, wondering if maybe the craft boom had vanished from Tokyo, with sewing replaced by iPhone accessories….

Turns out that’s not the case, thankfully! We stumbled upon another Tokyu Hands in Shibuya, and much to my happiness it had a smallish but cute selection of buttons, trims, and other fun sewing things. Yay! (The good thing about buttons – they don’t take up much space in one’s suitcase, so it’s very very easy to justify buying a whole bunch of them as “souvenirs”….)

buttons and bias binding

Tokyu Hands haul – buttons and bias binding

They weren’t the cheapest buttons in the world though, so I was very good and only got three sets, plus some bias binding.

Metal buttons

Metal buttons with woodland creatures from Tokyu Hands – too cute to leave behind!

Bias binding

Printed bias binding from Tokyu Hands

wooden buttons

Wooden buttons from Tokyu Hands – toadstools and flowers!

And then there was the Nippori fabric district. Oh my! So many shops bursting with fabric and trims and other glorious things!!! Sadly (although perhaps luckily?!) our little guy wasn’t feeling all that well, so I didn’t have a huge amount of time to look around before we had to get him back to the hotel for a rest. I only made it into one store – the big Tomato store that everyone seems to recommend (second Tomato on the left when you’re walking away from Nippori train station. It’s got 4 floors, and a big display of 105-yen-a-metre fabric at the right of the street level floor). And can I just say – I was in fabric heaven!! So many glorious, glorious things! Floor after floor of them!!! And sooo cheap (or at least, super cheap compared to fabric in New Zealand). I wandered around happily for a good hour or so, trying to decide which ones were going home with me from the huge selection I wanted to get. (I’d promised my Other Half earlier that I was only going to get three lengths of fabric. He was so impressed with the selection at Tomato he didn’t bat an eyelid when I may have walked away with seven lengths in two bags….. *ahem* So much for that fabric-buying ban….)

Shopping at Tomato

Helping choose fabric at Tomato

Interestingly, there seemed to be a large selection of cotton/linen blends. (At least, I think that’s what they were? Next time, I’ll find out what the various fabric compositions are in Japanese beforehand so I can read the labels…..) Lots of block colour bright prints too.

Fabric from Tomato

Pretty fabric from Tomato – two linen/cotton blends, and a shirting weight cotton with little cats on it

I indulged myself a bit and bought some Echino fabric. Sure, you can get it over here, but it’s so expensive I’ve never been able to justify buying the stuff. In Tomato, it was less than half the price we pay for it at home. (E.g. the cotton ones were $10/m in Tokyo, vs. $32/m in Wellington.) And I’ve had my eye on the Buck print fabric for quite some time now, so I was determined to buy it if I could find it for a decent price. (Yay! Success!! 😀 )

Echino fabric

Echino fabric – including Buck print in black

(In fact, I may have started making the Buck fabric up into something already…. But you’ll just have to wait and find out what it’s going to be. 😉 )

But oh! There were so, so many pretties that I had to leave behind!! Next time, I’ll be taking an empty-as-possible suitcase with me, so I can fully indulge. 😉

Fabric that I didn't buy

The ones that got away….

The other great thing about going fabric shopping in Tokyo? Going on a quest for something that’s not in the usual tourist to-do list takes you to places you’d never go to otherwise, which can be quite fun. Adventures are great!

Fabric-a-brac times

Down this way, there’s a lovely twice-yearly event held, that goes by the name of Fabric-a-brac. It’s a mecca of sewing goodness, with lots of stalls where people sell sewing-related things. Fabric, notions, patterns, other random sewing/knitting/embroidery things – it’s all there. It’s held as a fundraiser for the local hospice, with money from stall hire, the tea-coffee-and-cake stand, and the hospice stand all going straight to the hospice. The hospice stall is one of my favourite parts – lots of people donate fabric and other sewing things and it gets manned by volunteers. There’s always a fascinating collection of things on it, and some good bargains to be had. And all for a good cause!

(I’ve helped out the last few times it’s been run as well, helping set up the hospice stall (measuring and pricing fabric donations) and run it on the day. It’s a good day – being surrounded by fabric, lots of crafty people, and donating time for a good cause. Gotta love it.)

Anyway, the latest Fabric-a-brac was held two weeks ago (yes, it’s taken me that long to finish this post!), and crammed full of people selling crafty things!

Now, this is where volunteering is actually a bit dangerous. You see, you’re behind the hospice table (which is actually 2-3 tables), putting out all the donated fabric for sale. I dare any of you crafty types to do that for even half an hour without buying some fabric yourself – you’re the first to see it when it goes out, and it’s all for a good cause. I find it pretty much impossible to resist!

So, yes. I walked home with two bags stuffed full of fabric and related goodies. Ahem. So much for not adding to my stash…..

(But it’s for a good cause, right?!?)

Wanna see what I got? (Whether you do or not, I want to show it off, so here goes!)

A few non-fabric things – several metres of pink lace, a couple of spools of thread, and a vintage pattern that I picked up to have as a giveaway item sometime soon (as soon as I check all the pieces are there).

Dusky pink wool/acrylic type blend and matching lining, which I was rather excited to find as I’ve been wanting to find some good coat fabric to make a 1950’s style swing coat that fits over my bump for winter. Yay!

Here’s something else I’ve been wanting to find for a while – interesting, and good quality, swimsuit fabric! Far more than I need – I haven’t measured this, but I’m guessing there’s a good 4-6 metres there.

Lots of cute cottons and blends for pretty summer tops and blouses. (The teal blue floral even had a matching zip and a ‘Veilla cotton lawn’ tag pinned to it. I’d love to know the stories behind all these pieces of fabric and how they made their way to the hospice stall.)

Two vintage-looking prints – not really my colour, but how could I pass them by?? Especially since they’re border prints – not something I come across very often, so gotta grab them when I find them.

A length of blue floral tshirting for some bump-friendly tops.

A couple of types of lingerie fabric, which is something else I’ve been meaning to get for ages, so I was pretty happy to find these for $1 each! There’s a good 4-5 metres of that plain pink one, even. I need to make some slips that fit over the bump – my regular one is getting a bit tight.

Some pretty blues – an acrylic-blend (I think) woven plaid, and a cotton drill with diagonal stripes through it. There’s a good 5 metres of that blue with stripes – one day, it’s destined to become a 1950’s style dress with a full skirt. Or maybe a 1940’s dress with a sailor-style collar…..

And this synthetic stuff – I have no idea what it is, but it seems pretty vintage-y to me. I’m thinking 1940’s (post-pregnancy) dress with this one. It’s got a good weight to it and I think it’ll drape beautifully.

And last but not least – Steve was the official photographer on the day, and in his mission of getting photos of the stalls he found this 1970’s Golden Hands magazine and bought it for me. Check out the crochet outfit!

Fabric-a-brac awesomeness

Hello lovely people. Remember how several months ago I posted about Fabric-a-brac? A wonderful fabric extravaganza held in my town (my suburb, even. Just two blocks away, in fact!) to raise funds for the local hospice? Well, it was on again on Saturday. Yay!

Just like last time, I volunteered to help out on the fundraising stall. (Fabric-a-brac raises funds in three ways – people can sign up to have a stall there to sell fabric/wool/craft supplies/etc, and the stall fees go to the hospice. They have a tea-coffee-and-cakes stall, which also raises money for the hospice. And then there’s the donations table – they collect fabric/patterns/etc donations before the fair, then sell them on the day and all the money collected from that also goes towards the hospice. And that’s where I come in – helping with the donations table! I went along to help measure and price donated fabric on Friday evening, then was at the fair all morning on Saturday (and early afternoon), helping to sell it. Lots of fun, and we raised quite a lot of money for the hospice. A feel-good, fabric-surrounded day, all in all. 🙂

I spotted quite a few of the local crafty blogging girls there as well – Trees, Ria, Karen, and for the very first time I met Kerry, who’s lovely blog I discovered recently. We had one of those ‘hey, you look familiar… do I know you? Oh, you write a blog, don’t you!’ moments. Good times. 🙂

Here’s a few pictures from the day:

Of course, one of the downfalls of helping man the donations stall is seeing all the donated fabric first, as it comes out of boxes. Um, yeah. I may have gone completely over my budget for fabric purchases for the day. But it’s all for a good cause, right?

I’m not going to list everything I bought here (I’ll save some for later this week). But here’s a few of my finds….

I’m not sure what this is – some sort of rayon or synthetic? (One day I will get good at identifying fabrics that aren’t cotton or merino….) It looks vintage, and is nice and floaty. I’ve got around 4 metres of it, so I’m thinking 1940’s style dress.

This one’s a nice, soft cotton. I have enough for a dress out of this one too – I’m thinking something pinafore style (perhaps the Colette Parfait?) so I can wear it all year around – the colours call out ‘winter’ and the softness of the fabric is calling ‘summer’, so I’m going for a compromise.

I’m not sure what this one is either – something synthetic. It’s not my usual colour/style, but it just wanted to come home with me and probably become a 1940’s style blouse. So I thought I’d humour it.

I also scored a whole bunch of patterns, mainly from the 1970’s. Since I was helping out on the day, I stayed right until the end to help pack up, and someone was throwing out a whole big bunch of vintage patterns. Eek! How on earth could you THROW OUT VINTAGE PATTERNS!!!! So I went through and ‘rescued’ a whole bunch of 1970’s ones. (I must admit to letting the 1980’s ones meet their doom. Sorry, 1980’s patterns – I just didn’t have space for you. 😦 I’m still feeling a bit guilty about that…..)

Just like the fabric, I’ll just show a few in each post. Here’s the first bunch:

Butterick 4661 – a square-neckline, raglan-sleeve fitted tshirt and a back-wrap skirt with big patch pockets. I’m totally going to make this tshirt – so cute in stripes!

Butterick 3037. Not all that exciting, just a jacket and a skirt, but hey, it may come in handy one day. Or it may become a giveaway. Dunno yet – I probably have plenty of jacket and skirt patterns already…..

Check me out! I’m doing my best impression of a banana in full sunlight! Woo-hoo!
Ahem. Yes. Simplicity 8830. Who knows what they were thinking with the fabric choices for either of the illustrations. From 1970 – too much acid, perhaps?

Yep, that is what you think it is. A shirt onesie. There was no way I could leave this pattern behind – every time I’m having a bad day, I’ll just pull it out and look at that onesie and laugh. Brilliant.
I’m almost tempted to make it, just to see what it’s like in reality. (I can’t quite figure it out – why on earth did someone think this was a good idea?) Don’t worry though – I won’t be making it up any time soon. Unless I particularly want to scare small children.

Want to see what else I got, both pretty and ugly? Tune in later this week and I’ll show you some more! 🙂

Fabric-a-brac fun!

A couple of times a year, there is a super-lovely event in Wellington called Fabric-a-brac. It’s a day-long event, where various crafty people have tables to sell fabric, patterns, trims and notions. There always so many awesome things to be found – it’s like a little Aladdins cave of crafty goodness! Today was my second time along at Fabric-a-brac (in the past I have tried to avoid it due to my inability to control my urge to acquire more and more fabric), but this time around I decided to volunteer to help out. Fabric-a-brac is a fundraiser (organised by a lovely volunteer called Josie) for the Wellington Hospice. My mum works at a hospice down in Dunedin, so I quite like the idea of supporting them, and supporting them by spending a morning surrounded in fabric is, in my mind, a pretty good way to do things!

Every Fabric-a-brac there is a table (or two or three – or in today’s case, 6) full of things that have been donated for sale, with all the money they raise going straight to the Hospice. I was down there helping out on the $1 table and the trims table all morning today – heaps of fun! I managed to have a quick race around a few tables before the doors opened to let in the hordes (queues of crafty women waiting outside up to half an hour before the event opened!), and I also snagged a few goodies while I was manning the Hospice tables allocated to me, so I walked away with a few new bits and pieces to add to my fabric collection. (Oops!) I did stick within my $40 limit though, so it wasn’t all bad. And most of it was from the Hospice tables, so I’m telling myself it was more in the way of a donation, rather than a fabric accumulation. (Yeah, right.) Here’s the write up from today’s Fabric-a-brac, along with a few photos. (Including a rather bad photo of me at the $1 table down near the bottom – look for the pink hair).

Here’s what I added to my collection today:

Firstly, a few patterns (5 for $2 from the Hospice table – bargain!)

Simplicity 9970, from 1972, reminds me a lot of the famous Butterick Walk-Away Dress, with it’s wrap around front and back and tie ends. It’s got buttons tabs at the shoulders as well, which seems a bit like overkill to me – with so many fastenings, I’d worry that the dress would fall off in a strong breeze! I’m going to try making this up to see if it’s any easier to fit than the Walk-Away dress (which is notoriously hard, and which I found hard as well when I made my Cartoon Eccentric dress. (I think I’ll make this one without the button tabs though. If I add buttons, they’ll only be for decoration!)

The other pattern in this pair is Simplicity 6946 from 1975. I don’t really own shorts, and every summer I think, I really should get some. Now maybe I’ll get around to making some. 🙂

Style 1414 is a cute pinafore dress and blouse pattern from 1976. I can see this pinafore dress being a bit of a staple once I get one made up and in my wardrobe. (Notice how I’m being a good girl and adding patterns I can’t find to the Vintage Patterns Wiki? I’ve decided this is a good habit to get into, so I’m being a good little online sewing community person.)

Simplicity 6850 is a wardrobe pattern from 1975. While it’s not a major pattern for me (I could make all of these quite easily without the pattern) I decided to get it as it’s a cute wardrobe pattern, and hey, it was 5 patterns for $2, so why not?!

The last pattern in my bunch of five is Vogue 1423, from sometime in the 1960’s. I just love the photo on this pattern cover – it’s so lady-like 60’s! This one’s a Vogue Couturier Design pattern, by Jo Mattli of London. There’s a little blurb on the back flap that I really like, it reads: “Jo Mattli (Mattly) – Swiss charm and Parisian taste combine in the designs of this member of London’s couture group. Mr Mattli has designed the clothes for many English films.” Isn’t that cool? Even if I never make this pattern up, the pattern envelope makes me happy so I’m glad I’ve added it to my collection.

And now, on to the fabric!

This was the first fabric I spotted today, and I had to have it. The lovely girl selling it had it with orange flowers as well – I was very tempted to get them both, but sanity prevailed! I love the tag on this – it’s so cutely vintage! It’s got a little fake dress collar, so the fabric looks like a dress hanging up on it’s little hanger. I’ve never come across that before – it’ll be a shame to use the fabric and separate it from it’s label! (Naturally, I’ll keep the label though, don’t worry about that!) Apparently this is ‘dress length’, whatever that means. I’m guessing there’s enough here to make a 1960’s style dress, so perhaps I’ll get a wiggle dress out of it.

And now we get into the selection of fabrics I got from the Hospice table. I haven’t measured most of these yet – they were on the $1 table, and I just put them aside as they caught my eye while I was manning the table. Although I usually only buy fabric once I know exactly what I’m going to make out of it, these ones were all bought because they grabbed my attention and I figured I’ll figure out what to do with them later.

The white one with the blue abstract type print is a nice lightweight cotton. I’m hoping there may be enough for a short-sleeved shirt. I’m not sure what the green and white striped one is. It feels a little rough, but also a bit satin-y. I’m thinking summer top for this one. The last one in this photo is a black-and-cream check – once again nice and lightweight, and some sort of blend I think. Not sure what I’ll do with this, but I’ve discovered while typing this that if it’s in the corner of your eye the pattern makes you see weird things, which is kinda fun in a distracting sort of way!

The first in this lot is a nice bold blue – some sort of synthetic with a slight bobbly texture running through it. I’m leaning towards a shirt for this one as well – I usually buy lots of fabric suitable for dresses, and I’m thinking it’s time I added more separates to my wardrobe. Next up is a knit – some sort of nice, thick blend in a tartan type print. Hopefully there’ll be enough for a vest – there isn’t a huge amount of this fabric. Last up in this lot is what seems to be a craft cotton (one of my favourite fabrics, oddly enough!). A nice burgundy, with lighter brownish circles on it.

Here’s a group of three cute blue-pink-white floral type prints. The first two are cottons, and the last is some sort of cotton-synthetic blend I think. There isn’t a huge amount of any of these, but hopefully there’ll be enough to do something fun with!

Here are some more little florals. The first one seems to be quite vintage – it’s got that 60’s/70’s polyester type feel to it. Such a pretty pink, I’m hoping there’s enough here for a top. (Like I said, I need to make some more separates!) The brown floral looks like it used to be part of a skirt, or else it was the remnant from a bolt of fabric panels which were designed to make skirts. It’s shirred at the top, and has a ruffle and rolled hem at the bottom. But there isn’t enough for a skirt, which is why I’m thinking it was a remnant. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing with this, but sadly I don’t think theres enough of the shirred section to be of any use for anything. Last in this bundle is another cotton – cream with a floral and striped design on it. There’s a decent amount of this one, so I’ll definitely be able to turn it into something cute.

This was the last bit of fabric I added to my collection today, and the only one that had actually been measured! There’s 2.5 metres at 160cm wide of a lovely vintage blue floral knit. There’s not a huge amount of stretch in it, and I’m hoping that there may be enough to make a 1940’s style dress, if I underline it with knit fabric lining. I just couldn’t go past the colour and the print – so lovely!

I got some lovely vintage ric-rac and double-fold bias binding as well. Because lets face it – you can never have enough ric-rac and double-fold bias binding.

This was my random purchase for the day. I found it while I was helping to measure and price donated fabric lengths for the Hospice tables this morning – a bag containing a whole lot of fabric that was cut out, with the pattern pieces still attached. It looked like it’s meant to be a hooded jacket in a size 12, so I thought, hey, I’m going to buy this and take it home and make it up and see what it was meant to be! Kind of like a sewing lucky dip, really. (And I figured no one else was likely to do that, and it would be a shame for it to go to waste.) I did a bit of hunting when I got home, and it looks like the pattern is for this hooded jacket from 1976. Which makes me wonder – has this been cut out and waiting to be sewn up for as long as I’ve been alive? The poor jacket – that’s a very long time to wait, wondering if you’re ever going to become what you were meant to be! Definitely time someone adopted it and made it up. I’m not a huge fan of the image of the jacket on the pattern cover, but I’m sure I can figure out something to make it work. Hopefully all the pieces are there – I didn’t have time to look through and see if they were (and of course I have no idea what pieces are meant to be there, so it’s hard to tell what’s missing unless it’s something really obvious!).

Looking over that list, I got quite a lot today – oops! But all for only $35, so that’s ok, right?! (It does undo all the good work I’ve been doing with stash busting, though. But for an event that happens twice a year, a girls allowed to treat herself, I reckon. 😉

Beijing fabric finds

And we’re back from Beijing! 🙂

Steve and I had a fantastic time over there – it’s a surprisingly pretty city, despite the smog, and we went wandering around exploring every day. Lots of fun! I’ll post photos and tell you all a bit more about what we did there once Steve finishes sorting through the hundreds of photos he took. 🙂

But in the meantime, I wanted to show off some fabric that I bought over in Beijing. I did intend to go over there and buy up some silk, but I found the prices were a bit steeper than I expected and, not speaking Chinese, it was quite hard to figure out how to haggle the cost of fabric! So I ended up paying the listed cost in pretty much all cases, since I didn’t have a huge amount of other options. (I’m not even sure if you’re meant to haggle the price of fabric over there – does anyone know?!? Just in case I get to go to China again sometime, it would be good to have the inside scoop beforehand!)

I’m pretty happy with my finds, though. Yes indeed.

First up, the ‘blue’ collection!

Blue fabric collection

I bought both of these pretty blue fabrics from a fabric store that wasn’t far from where we were staying. (Of course, we had to search maps, take the subway and wander the streets for about an hour looking for the place before we discovered it was about 15 mins walk from our accomodation! A good way to find random parts of the city, it turns out. 😉 )

The darker blue with the peacocks and flowers on it is a polyester – not a type of fabric I’d usually buy, but it was so pretty I couldn’t resist! It worked out to be about $10 per metre (I bought 4 metres). I envisage this becoming a pretty 1950’s style dress (no surprises there, right?!).

The lighter blue with the flowers is quite a heavy silk. It’s got gold threads running through it, which adds to the weight. A bit more expensive, it was around $19 per metre (eek!), making it some of the most expensive fabric I’ve ever bought! But as Steve kept telling me, we were in China, so therefore I should buy some silk. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with this lot – due to the cost I only got 2.5 metres, and it’s only 75cm wide. I was originally thinking about making a 1950’s wiggle dress, but with the gold thread I’m not sure when I’d wear it as I suspect I’d feel it was a bit too ‘dressy’ for work. Hmmm. Currently I’m contemplating a pencil skirt instead, but I think I’ll leave it a while and see what it wants to be turned into……

And now, the ‘cartoon’ fabric collection!

Cartoon fabric collection

Both of these came from a little shop we stumbled across on our last day. I think the shop was actually to make made-to-order bedspreads and duvet covers – there were lots of images of duvet and sheet sets tacked up around the walls, and a couple of women wielding sewing machines in the back of the store. But I spotted ultra-cute fabric, so had to go in and have a look! I think we left the shop people shaking their heads over the craziness of foreigners – one of the customers in there spoke a little bit of English and asked what I was going to use the fabric for and they were all a bit taken aback when I said I’d be making dresses! What can I say? I do like me some random dress fabrics, yes indeed.

The top one is a cute lightweight cotton drill, with little Hello Kitty cartoons all over it. So cute! And only about $6 a metre – bargain! I got 4 metres, and I might make a dress out of it. Or, if I decide it’s a bit much for a dress, I’ll be using it as panels in a dress.

The bottom one was a must-have due to the crazy cute print, especially the semi-English-but-doesn’t-really-make-sense text on it. Crazy times! It’s pretty lightweight, so I’m thinking maybe a full skirt if I lined it. I just had to have it because of the print, though. It makes me smile. 🙂 And at just under $5 a metre, why not, eh? 2 metres of happiness went home with me from that bolt of fabric!

I love the way some shops wrap up your purchases in China. They wrapped up my fabric bundle like this:

Fabric bundle

Brown paper and string – how cute is that?! We bought some books while we were there, from the foreign languages bookstore, and they were wrapped up in paper and string as well. So, so awesome. “Brown paper packages, tied up with string…”.

The last fabric I got is this pretty rose-printed stuff:

Rose fabric

It came from a store in the tourist-y part of town, so was kinda expensive ($10 a metre) but it was so pretty I just wanted it. They had just over 2 metres left, so I got the last of it. Hopefully there’ll be enough for a dress, as that’s what it’s crying out to be! (One day, I may branch out from making dresses. They seem to be my ‘thing’ this year, though….)

So there we have it – five lovely lots of fabric, all the way from Beijing! I know I would have spent more than I should have on them, but too bad – they’re all pretty, and since I was on holiday, I was allowed to! And now I can make pretty dresses and be reminded of our China holiday, yay!