Friday 24 August 2018

Fabric Shopping in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong

I've had this post half drafted for a while now and a recent message on instagram has inspired me get it done!

This is in no way an exhaustive guide, in fact every time I go I usually find somewhere new and since the stock can change drastically you never really know what you are going to find.  If you are looking for that special piece of silk this may not be the place to find it to be honest.  (I go to Shenzhen in China for that, but you will need a visa if you want to do the same.  You can also try upstairs at the Western Market in Sheung Wan, more expensive, but nice stuff).

This is the area I focus on in Sham Shui Po when I am doing a quick trip so I thought it would be useful to share for those of you visiting Hong Kong on holiday or a stopover and maybe with a friend or partner who does not get as excited about fabric shopping as we do!!  If you have time and want to really explore then you can just expand out from the area highlighted here.  Let me know if you find any gems!

Mauve Cloud Studio also has a fantastic post with photos of this area that I really recommend you also take a look at.

Last time I went it was chucking it down with rain so I was really efficient.  I also managed to fill up my rucksack in one shop where everything was on sale for HK$5 per yard (around US$ 0.65) - insane.  I assume stock must come from fabric or clothing factories at the end of a production run so the quantity, quality and type varies enormously.  There are though a few shops that reliably have certain things and the suggested itinerary below includes them.

First, here is my $5 haul which has singlehandedly made my stash out of control!

Stretch cotton shirting and ribbed knit

Stretch cotton twill in all the colours

Suggested fabric shopping itinerary
Take the MTR to Sham Shui Po, Exit A2 for Apliu Street.  (There is a fascinating market here selling a bizarre collection of things - one stall will only have secondhand remote controllers, next door a pile of drills for example).

This area is laid out in a grid system so it's quite easy to get around.  You want to go straight from the exit across Apliu and Yu Chau Streets and then turn left onto Ki Lung Street.

For fabric shopping I generally stick to Ki Lung Street between Nam Cheong Street and Wong Chuk Street.  You'll see a bunch of stalls selling fabric in the street here and there are also shops lining both sides of the street.  (The end of Ki Lung Street that you start at from the MTR is mostly for wholesalers, you'll see all the little sample cards outside the stores, so you need to walk further up to reach the regular stores).

Once you reach the right section the stalls in the street are worth a look, one place sells nice soft cotton prints, there is always cotton shirting here and suitings/knits of varying quality.  I also get zips and overlocker thread here.

Of the shops lining the streets some regulars for me are :

Pattern Bee, 156 Ki Lung St
An actual store with fabrics nicely displayed, always great prints here.

Earth, 158 Ki Lung Street
Another nicely laid out store if rummaging is not your thing, often some amazing digital prints here.

Wa Fat Fabric, 217 Ki Lung Street
Usually some nice jerseys on the stairs at the back.

Jerseys from Wa Fat, really wide, HK$30-45/yard

159 Ki Lung Street
This is a new one for me, but is where I got my HK$5/yard fabric so I will always have a look now!

For higher end fabrics, though again it's kind of random what you will find, I recommend Moon Yue Fabrics on the first floor of 125-127 Yu Chau Street, the next street over and weirdly marked on the map above.  No matter when I visit the staff seem to be eating in the middle of the store so it is kind of an odd experience, but they are very helpful!

You could then walk back to the MTR along Yu Chau Street which is the place to go for all the trims, beads, buttons etc. that you could ever wish for.

Last, but definitely not least, should you need a coffee break and a pitstop in the middle of all this then I recommend Cafe Sausalito, just one street across at 201 Tai Nan Street, also marked on the map above.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Three Easy Knit Travel Dresses

I've mentioned before that I love knit dresses for the summer and especially for travelling - they are comfortable, pack up really small and light and don't crease plus it is easy to wear them very casually for sightseeing and dress them up a bit for evening.

This is mostly old news if you follow my instagram account (@allisoncsewing), but last month I went to Puglia, Italy and as usual decided at the last minute that new dresses were needed.  I turned to 3 of my favourites that I have made many times before.  I actually only managed to get two of them done in time, but the final one is finished now and will still get plenty of outings before summer is over.

Burda Style 05/2010 - 105
I have lost count of the number of times I have made this dress (& now I think about it I packed 4 of them on this trip!).  I usually widen the skirt and wear a slip underneath to reduce the lumps and bumps a bit, but honestly I prefer the narrower skirt silhouette if you have the confidence for it.
This version is very casual, in a soft pink & black stripe cotton knit.  It doesn't drape as well as some of the ITY knit versions I've made in the past, but for casual daywear it is ideal.

McCall's 6319 (out of print)
I've only ever made View A and I've never bothered putting on the zipper at the shoulder, perhaps I will branch out on a future version!

This one is in a classic black & white striped knit, I like the effect the asymmetric pleats make with the stripes.

McCall's 6069 (out of print)
Last but not least is McCall's 6069, View A which is the one I just finished last week.  Despite making this dress a few times before I have yet to make it in anything close to the 1 hour boldly claimed on the pattern!  Originally I wanted a sort of relaxed maxi sundress feel so I widened and lengthened the skirt.  However, when I tried it on it looked too much like a formal gown with it's dramatic front and back cowl drape.  This is good to know if I ever need a packable, quick to make fancy dress, but it wasn't what I was looking for this time so I hacked the skirt down to midi length.