Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Is it time to get up? Fabric shopping in Tokyo & a Giveaway

As I'm sitting in bed at 3am with a cup of Earl Grey and a cereal bar I thought I might as well do something constructive - and it's a bit early to get the sewing machine out!

So, here is what I bought in Tokyo (I didn't go looking for fabric when we were in the mountains). I'll do another post with more details of plans for each fabric but here's an overview:

This little lot was bought over 3 separate days and adds up to 29 metres, do I have a problem?

I actually found the experience quite stressful which seems ridiculous because I was so looking forward to it. I'm clearly a total muppet but here's the thing - I am just not used to having the choice, it was literally overwhelming. P, J & F were so supportive but it was a group trip and I didn't want my craft buying to take over. We split up and did our own thing when P and I went to Nippori which was totally the right thing to do. I read a lot of advice before travelling to Tokyo but, for what it's worth I'll add my view:
1. If you only have time to go fabric shopping once go to Nippori - it's easy to get to, the public transport system is great. The shops are condensed on one street and over a few blocks. It will look overwhelming at first but you can eliminate some shops by type of fabric they stock. Tomato is brilliant and spread over 5 locations, by fluke I realised I actually made all my fabric purchases in branches of that store. You will not get fabric cheaper than in Nippori in a store*. Buy it, you'll regret it!
My Nippori stash, laid out on the hotel bed.

2. Do not expect to find bargains in fabric stores - I'm not saying this is a problem, you will actually find amazing choice and beautiful fabrics and notions but they will not be cheap, I found no significant difference in prices to the UK. Liberty fabric and american quilting fabrics were well stocked but far more expensive for obvious reasons.
These are my purchases from Yuzawaya. There are branches all over the city. We went to the one in Takashimaya Times Square building in Shinjuku. If you're travelling with non-fabric buyers this is great as there are lots of other stores for them to visit in the same complex and restaurants (very important if you travel with my brother who needs regular cake and coffee!). Tokyo Hands is also in this building - go there, it is brilliant, we got fabulous things for Christmas stocking gifts. (Apologies if I've offended anyone by mentioning the 'C' word in September - I'm a planner!).

The fabric shopping trollies in Yuzawaya were perfect.

3. Get yourself to a flea market* - this is where you will find bargains outside Nippori. We were limited as we didn't have a shopping Sunday in Tokyo and that's when most of them take place. However, F found one on Saturday and it was amazing! There was an entire Craft section, we all bought loads of different things, a great way to spend the morning. I loved this fabric shopping the most, I think I enjoy the randomness of what you'll find, finding a use for something no longer wanted or needed by the previous owner - or I'm just cheap! I don't have photos, it wasn't appropriate and I didn't want to offend anybody there. Do an internet search before you visit, F found it easy to get info, and you may well get to see an area of the city you wouldn't have visited.
My fabric finds at the flea market - 10.4 metres in total for about £12. I'd have paid far more than that for 1 of the cat fabrics at home.

And these are the non-fabric crafty purchases I made:
There were loads of stores I didn't get to, Marunan in Shibuya being one on my list, but I did OK, no complaints. And my non-sewing travelling companions were the best and a bit disappointed that I didn't buy much - seriously!

Having bought myself so many things it seemed only right to have a little giveaway. I'm still slightly bemused that there's anyone out there reading my ramblings, let alone taking time to leave comments, I do appreciate it. I'll happily post anywhere so, if you're a follower, please leave a comment and I'll adopt the really technical approach of putting names in a hat. You've a good chance of winning on my little blog, here's what's up for grabs ...

A bin kit (the beautiful paper is for covering the bin and it's perfect table-top size for threads etc when sewing), 2 buckles (1 navy, 1 brown), a brooch kit (as with the bin the instructions are mostly drawings so I think will be easy to follow), 2 rolls of sewing themed washi tape (close up below) ...

Don't you just love it? The gift rolls are still pristine and wrapped but tricky to photograph, the opened ones above are mine.
Deadline for comments is Sunday 30th September - good luck.


  1. Oooh, what lovely fabrics! I can't wait to see what you make with them, although with 29 metres, I'm sure it'll take you a bit of time to get to them all!

  2. Your fabrics are so very lovely! I love the flowered print along with all the sweet cat prints - what fabulous pieces!


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