Sunday, May 13, 2007

fabric shoppin'

For the last rather a long time I have been not buying any fabric and not many patterns in order to complete the things I had in mind. There are now not so many things outstanding, and no very expensive fabric sitting unused; only moderately expensive fabric. The thing I have to try to do is complete some Goretex trews for James before rainy season, and I also want to sew some more T-shirts, which I have fabric for - but apart from that....

...well this weekend I went looking for for fun fabric. I started off in bed, online at the fabric stores on Saturday morning, but of course that stuff hasn't arrived yet. The photo above is the results of a 1.5 hour shopping expedition in our home town of Kamakura. There are two fabric store companies in Kamakura but that comprises 5 shops. Wimmin's work seems very much alive and well in the 12th Century capitol of Japan!

Swany - 3 shops. This being an old-fashioned world it is closed on Sundays and all national holidays. Of course most Kamakura wimmin can shop during the weekdays so no problem there. :-) Actually the shop is packed with wimmin on Saturday and merely busy the rest of the week. It has floors spread throughout its 3 shops dedicated to, in no particular order:
a. notions, buttons, ribbon, beads and bag-making essentials. Bag making does seem very popular.
b. quilting cotton and quilting notions
c. cotton and linen
d. home dec fabrics and notions
e. clothing fabrics with a particular emphasis on knits, and including some lining and interfacing fabrics.
You can buy examples of pretty much anything you can imagine although there is not a large range of some things. The emphasis is on cheaper things, and you don't find many very striking things or designer fabrics here.

Sometimes (and at present) it has a relatively large amount of denim in stock. I got the lovely and unusual ripped denim for the jeans I made here, as well as the infamous stretched denim for the second pair. On Saturday I bought a dark blue very lightweight stretch denim (I thought I might make some shorts) and a guaranteed uncolour-fast denim both for under 500¥/m. The non-colourfast one just seemed interesting - it was wrapped on the bolt inside out so that the indigo didn't get on everything! I suppose it will make the whole house blue.

Then I was determined to choose something from their large wall of knit prints. The problem I have is that almost all seem to have a pale yellow-green cast and I look really quite ill in pale yellow, pale green and pale orange. I guess these colours suit the average Japanese complexion well. Anyway I found one rather striking thing - a buttermilk stripey number for a little over 500¥/m. It isn't a print, though, but a "real" stripe of dyed threads. It is bright, has a sheen to it and if it is too yellow for me, it looks like it will be super on James.

Next, on to Keitoya - 2 shops. Basically they have one shop concentrating on cheaper fabrics and the second one focusses on the hyper-expensive designer shit, and stuff. The first shop is currently flogging all its huge stock for almost nothing. Whether, when it is all over, they will re-stock or close down from too much competition from Swany I don't know. The overall effect walking in to the stores is that colours in both the stores tend to be brighter than those in Swany. However, looking back through my blog I see that although I visit the cheap Keitoya often, I buy far more often in Swany. Perhaps the best thing I bought in Keitoya was the fabric for the trench coat. I also quite regularly buy practice fabric, or fabric to use as interfacing in their 100-200¥/m section.

Still a closeout sale is not to be missed. I want to attempt to make a proper shirt for James so here is some practice fabric - 100¥/m really quite nice shirting cotton (as far as I can tell at this stage) brown and light brown with thin gold stripes.

Next a real find. Well I've seen it here before but not for 500¥/m! Usually it is more like the 3000¥/m I paid for similar in Yuzawaya. It is the wool with 40% angora knit. This one is very thick so definitely will make a winter jumper for James.

From the sublime to the ridiculous. This is 1.5m of velvet knit. I think it is the stuff that is variously called panne velvet and crushed velvet. Anyway this is remarkable variagated gold, and almost as interesting on the back as the front. 500¥/m. Maybe it's just for looking at?! It is rather more "interesting" in real life than in this photo. One could make some weekend trews out of it if one dared to cut it up.

Finally - hyper-Keitoya - which was the place that had preciptated the shoppin' trip. I've only lived here 6 years and so it was only last week when I realise that the stuff in hyper-Keitoya was not _quite_ as expensive as I had thought. Much of the fabric is sold in cut lengths and the price tags are for the whole length rather than per m! Having said that they do have astonishing fabric at extraordinary prices ( 480,000¥/m?!). Hyper-Keitoya is probably the only place in town where you might find cashmere coating or suiting fabric. Last weekend I picked up two pieces of matt finish very lightweight, but not sheer, silk, for, erm, some money. Suitable for shirts or blouses, here they are:

While there last week I spotted these rather extraordinary prints: so extraordinary that I left it a whole week before buying (a dangerous ploy in the Kamakura fabric buying business where the good stuff usually sells out very fast). The first is a 4-way stretch woven, which will make a lovely revolting pair of trousers. In the shop they assured me that despite being made in Japan, this print is of the Italian style. Being of the Italian style seems to be quite important in hyper-Keitoya. They confidently informed me I'd only need 1.2m for a pair of trouser but I can't imagine that working out so I went for 1.5m. Hope it is enough. The price was: more money.

Finally, near to the stretch woven was this knit. I'm not really into flowers, but this one seemed very nice. I suppose the reason is that it is not a regular pattern. It also cost some money. I was doing so well, having spent less than 10,000¥ until I got to hyper-Keitoya...

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