Friday, 28 October 2011

Japan Fabric Haul

So Japan Trip #3 has come to an end. After some issues with my flight (my luggage getting lost), I finally got it back and was able to go through my findings. Onto the haul!



I didn't spend that much time in Kyoto, so I couldn't indulge in all the glory of the Dye Capital. I only went there to meet up with my parents and their friends (which btw, they paid for a real expensive dinner).  However, before meeting up with them, my friend Hitomi and I went to fushimi-inari, a place that I visited two years ago and really wanted to see again.

The area/hike/walk is a public space (i.e. it's free), but along the way, there are shrines where you can pay your respects or make wishes, and there were also some vendors. So of course, I saw some fabric. :D

It was a bit expensive (1000yen for half a meter; which is like 20$/m) but I found this really gorgeous obi-fabric that I don't even know what I'll be doing with it (certainly not making an obi, lol)...but it was quite unique. It reminds me of a nihonga painting.

It's weaved with silk and some copper-metalic fiber

Hitomi was staying with her grandparents, and when her grandmother heard that I was very interested in fabric, she decided to give me a bunch of scraps that she had. I love getting scraps because I can make patchwork stuff or they always seem to come in handy while plush-making. Needless to say, I was very pleased and grateful. ^_^

She gave me so many pieces! They have great textures.

This one is REAL shibori! (type of fabric dyeing that's tidious)


I only went to one store while in Osaka.  It's called Otsukaya, near Esaka station. It was pretty awesome, but since I was pressed for time, I couldn't bask in all its glory. :( I'd say, prices were normal, and maybe close to the expensive side. However, the quality and selection was excellent.  The place was very organised too! I was particularly impressed by their checkout system: the cut table was right next to the cash and they rolled my fabric up which was so space efficient!

Two gorgeous prints I couldn't resist.

Close-up of the great texture.


I had more time in Tokyo, so I went to two very different areas: Kichijoji and Nippori. I actually went to the latter twice because the Keisei-line train for the airport is connected in Nippori. Basically, I got there early, put my luggage in a coin locker, and went last-minute fabric shopping with the remaining cash I had! lol Talk about hardcore. Anyways, I'll start with Kichijoji...

I think there are many Yuzawaya stores around, but I heard from a crafter's blog that this one definitely had crafty goodiness.  The instructions on getting there were however outdated, and it resulted in me getting a tad lost (I finally had to ask the information desk at the station).  So for the record, you take the PARK exit... once outside, go straight and cross the street towards the Marui complex (it's not written Marui anywhere, just 1010...) Yuzawaya was only written in katanana (which thankfully I could read!) and it's on the 7th-8th floor.

Once again, the organisation skills of the Japanese never cease to amaze me. IT'S SO ORGANISED!!! I felt weird taking pictures inside stores, sp I can't show any photos. But when I saw their felt collection, I died a little inside. They were all placed in clear compartment drawers... and the quality! o_0 SO much better than the stuff we sell in North America. But the downside? You're paying a shitload more~ the 9inchX9inch pieces were 60yen.  Depite the price, I still had to get some...

They also had huge beading and yarn sections; but I didn't bother checking it out. I did peruse the findings section and found some small-sized buckle things that are bound to come in handy.

The 7th floor also had stationary and art supplies. One thing that I was absolutely shocked about (and made a reason why I am grateful being in Canada) was the price of their liquitex acrylic paints. Any good paint is expensive~ your average metal pigment (e.g. cobalt/cadminum) goes for about 15$, sometimes 20$...but it's usually 60ml and goes a long way.  They were selling it for 1200yen for a tube half the size!! I thought to myself; maybe that's why art students are so rare in Japan, lol! (you gotta be really damn rich to afford the supplies)

Anyways, back to fabric... the 8th floor was pretty much the fabric floor. Once again, the prices weren't the best and nor was the selection that great. I just got an echino print because I really liked it, and I also found some trims that will be used for a plushie commission.

Gold and black trims.

The print's real huge! This "swatch" is maybe half a meter wide.

Again with the organisation talk, but I saw the most nifty fabric-shopping carts! SO space efficient! I wish we had these at Fabricville here in Canada. I guess maybe it's cuz we're spoiled with our space; usually, we'd haul fabric little by little to a table, and then get it cut all at once. Yuzawaya only had 3 tables, and with the amount of people out and about, they couldn't let everyone leave their bolts on the table, so hampers-on-wheels it is!!

Candid shot of the carts.

Next up is Nippori...

Take the SOUTH exit and turn right. After walking down some stairs, stick to the left-ish (more like straight) and you'll hit the main fabric street. There are tons of signs everywhere, so it's really not hard to miss!

I was SO excited! LOL. I went at an odd time, so it wasn't that busy~ which was great! But since I stayed there for the most part of the day, when it hit around 4ish, the students seemed to come out and it got busier. :( Most of the shops are small, so I'd really recommend going at an odd time to avoid crowds.

Bought at 3 different stores; can't remember their names!
One thing that I really loved about this street was the bargain bins. I usually don't need big pieces of fabric since I make plushies or bags (and when making bags, I like to use many fabrics to jazz it up).  Therefore the bargain pieces are not only cheaper, but it's easier to justify getting a small piece since it's already cut! :) And their bargain bins were the most organised things I've ever seen, so it was REALLY easy to look around.

Cute "set" of various small pieces of fabric. Handy for plushies!

Wooden rings for my bag strap. And an awesome strap buckle.

There was a big store called Tomato, but I didn't thoroughly looked into it. There were a lot of people there, and I personally liked supporting the smaller stores.

Pre-cut fabrics! Two of them are Echino prints. I couldn't resist!

Concluding Remarks

And that pretty much concludes my fabric haul in Japan! I must say, it was a highlight of my trip! I really wished I had some of these ressources at home. Montreal has some decent fabric stores, but they're really not organised.  The next time I come to Japan, I'll be sure to haul more fabric!  I wish I was organised about what I needed to get. The only thing that I was really set on getting was traditional japanese-print fabrics, stuff by echino, and some things for this specific plushie commission. But I didn't look at any of the fashion fabrics for clothes.

I can't wait to get started on some projects. Most of the fabric I bought is for handbag designs that I plan on expect some fashion accessories in the future. :D

Oh, and a general tip: learn katakana! LOL. And a few kanji; mainly cotton. :) But since polyester, lycra, modal, rayon, etc. are foreign words, they're written in katakana so it's handy to know! (this is of course if you want to know the fiber content)

All in all, JAPAN IS AWESOME!! ^_^

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I never got a chance to meet up with you. We got sucked in a whirlwind of crazy LOL
    I managed to pick up some fabric too, but from Shibuya! LOL I'll post up pics later..
    I didn't buy too many fabrics because I had a feeling I would hoard them all and never use them. And my mom gives me enough flack about my stuff hogging up the house XD time though :)