Now Sewing in South East Asia…..

I’m baaaaaaaack! It seems like a lifetime ago I was packing up my sewing chattels in South London. The last few months have been a whirlwind, to say the least. New home, new job, new life! I couldn’t imagine sewing even a few weeks ago but a few fabric shopping expeditions and the arrival of my sewing machine last week have seen the return of my sew-jo! I have enjoyed taking a break from sewing as it had become a little too all-consuming. That said, I’ve got a few nice new pieces that I can’t wait to get started on.

I wanted to share a few of my fabric shop finds. I’m slowly finding my way round my new neighbourhood and have been totally reliant on you fellow bloggers to point me in the right direction. So it’s only right that I do the same.

My first outing took me to the fabric shops of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which seem to be clustered around one area of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Jalan TAR). The big stores were Gulati’s Silk House (162, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, tel +60326983901), Euro Moda (126, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, tel+60326940805), and Harisons (229-235, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur).It would also be worth checking out Jakel Mall: an entire fabric mall-sized shop, with everything from local polyesters and batiks to European linens.

Taste’s a subjective thing, isn’t it? I didn’t manage to part with any of my Ringgits. I found a lot of brightly colored synthetics that wouldn’t help me to keep my cool in the tropics. There were one or two reasonable cottons in the more expensive shops but nothing to write home about. I’ve since heard that there are other places for sewists in the know and have made my first trip to the legendary Australian craft superstore, Spotlight (Ampang Point mall, 2nd floor, Jalan Mamanda 3, 68000 Ampang, Selangor, and now there’s a new Spotlight in MyTown shopping mall, Cheras, which is better organised).  Next on the itinerary was a very quick stop in Bangkok. In my one spare hour I headed straight for China World Mall: three floors of fabric heaven located in the Pahurat neighbourhood, on the fringes of Chinatown. Jill at talks about Kimono House (2nd floor) being an amazing place to find high quality cottons. She wasn’t wrong! I nearly hyperventilated when I saw Cotton & Steel fabrics on sale (approx USD 2 per metre)!

 I bought some lovely fabrics here, including some shibori dyed cotton, and am dreaming about when I can next get to Bangkok. China World Mall is well worth a visit, particularly when speed is of the essence and it’s too hot to pound the pavements. 

My last field report is from Hong Kong, where I’ve fabric shopped before. All signs point to Sham Shui Po according to Google. This is Hong Kong’s garment district, raved about by bloggers the world over. In previous visits I was never sure I’d found the exact block on Ki Lung Street as all I came across were wholesale shops with samples on display, and nothing like the frenzy of fabric buying that other bloggers write about.

  This time I found Traveller’s Yarn’s post about shopping for fabric in Sham Shui Po and made a beeline for Moon Yue Piece Goods (125-127 Yu Chau Street). O.M.G. What can I say? This place was exactly as described. He sells end-of-bolt fabrics from high end designers and stocks mainly silks. So the big question for me is what am I going to make with 6 yards of Shanghai Tang silk?? 

Packing the Stash

Consider this less a post containing wit, irony and finished garments, and more a record for insurance purposes. As I write this I’m feeling a bit of a sewing-billy-no-mates. I haven’t made a Morris blazer (and I really really want to), I’m missing out on all the excitement of Me Made May and my new obsession Jumping into June, but such is life! Instead of being in the gang, I’m comforting myself with a good spring clearout to brush away those sewing cobwebs. As I don’t have a huge fabric stash it wasn’t an onerous task. I had a good think about what’s to come and packed a few fabric essentials.

There’s nothing so essential to me as cotton chambray. The colours look a little washed out in this photo, but I present several more metres of the Paul Smith cotton used in my hacked Mathilde, and another sizable length of cotton chambray used to make my Archer shirt. I’m wearing it today. Big love for this shirt! I think chambray is such versatile number. So classic!

liberty stash

Something for the kids! The spoilt small people don’t know how lucky they are. Their inheritance has been frittered away on Hello Kitty for Liberty cotton poplin, and Liberty Lawn in Gallymoggers Reynard D from the Alice in Wonderland collection. Both were bought at discounted prices: Hello Kitty from Simply Fabrics in Brixton for £12 per metre, and the Alice print from Goldhawk Road.To be fair, daughter number 1 is totally in love with her vintage dress, so it was time well spent. She might have earned herself a Hello Kitty number. Last but not least, you might have seen my recent GBSB shirred girls’ dress. I’ve got another one to make so there’s more elephant cotton lawn.

more libertyAnd then there’s a couple of Liberty lawns for me. Watch this space for something in my absolute favourite Oxford B next post. I hadn’t realised how much I’d become a Liberty lover. Oooh, get me. Expensive taste, eh?! But rarely bought at full price (unless someone else is paying!).

wax print

For a bit of tropical glamour I’ve packed a couple of African wax prints. The top one has already seen the light of day as a pair of Ultimate Trousers. I’m nothing if not thrifty! The jury’s still out on the bottom fabric. It might end up being a simple Laurel shift dress, or if I can get my hands on the pattern, a lovely New Look 6145 which I am totally smitten with after seeing Bedlam and Bird’s checked version.


Finally, some cotton jersey and some lurid random patterned viscose jersey. Looking at this technicolour smorgasbord of fabric, it’s probably high time I had my colours done! I’d also love to be disciplined enough to attempt the Wardrobe Architect process by Colette Patterns. So far it’s been trial and error, but sewing clothes has definitely helped me to refine my style. Have I missed anything? Oh, I can’t leave home without my trusty tins of notions, buttons and thread that you can see at the top of the post. If you could only pack a few fabrics to last a few years, what would you choose?