Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fabric Shopping in Japan (Osaka)

First, I thought I'd show you the pretty Chirimen and Chirimen-like fabrics. They look SO Japan, right? Typical fabric designs for traditional Kimono....  Beautiful.  But that isn't all they have, of course.  Go on.

This is Ebisubashi-suji in Osaka.  Ebisubashi-suji continues on to Shinsaibashi-suji, this is just one looooong covered street of shops, shops, and more shops of all sorts. Lots of people, both local and tourist shoppers!

The fabric shop, Toraya, is located closer to Namba although you can say it's between Namba and Shinsaibashi on subway Midosuji line. If you are ever there, I'd recommend you get off at Shinsaibashi, and start walking toward the direction of Namba, enjoy window (or real!) shopping along the way.

You'll eventually find Toraya. It's located at a corner of, I don't know what that street is called but it is on Ebisubashi-suji. You can't miss it if you keep walking straight from Shinsaibashi station.

This two-story shop is full of fabrics.  Most made in Japan, with exceptions of Indonesian batik, and some Indian cotton, some Chinese wool blends, Italian, French, and some Swiss made fabrics.

On the ground floor, you see this type of arrangement.

All sorts. Cotton, wool, silk, rayon, poly, gauze, linen; woven & knit, everything. They were doing the summer sale, so, many light weight fabrics were discounted.

"These are all samples. Please do not remove the fabrics, but just get an attention from store staff. We will cut a minimum of 50 cm [that's about 20" or half a yard], and in 10 cm increments"

Quilted cotton. Grade school children often have a bag made of fun pattern quilted cotton to carry gym clothes and other things that don't fit in their regular "Randoseru"

Pretty, pretty.  Partly due to the horrifyingly humid and hot summer in Japan, I was mainly interested in cotton woven this time.  (Besides, the quality of Japanese cotton -- you know.)

Fabulous quality cotton, from about $4.50/meter, 45" wide.

I stood in front of this bunch for a long time, and touched many of these, trying to decide which one I want to go home with!

Wool. Some of these are made in China.

I told you. Summer fabrics were very attractive to me.

Upstairs, they had finer fabrics. (Although there were plenty of FINE fabrics downstairs!)
Yuwa's cotton and cotton/silk. These are all made in Japan. On Yuwa website, they sell fabric in 10 cm increments!

So fun. So pretty.

I wanted them all.

I stood in front of this rack, pulled the red one off the rack, draping it on me in front of a mirror several times, in fact.  I decided not to get it this time : (

When you know what you want to buy, you talk to a store staff.  She or he will come to you and snip two small pieces of the fabric you want.

And attach the piece onto two separate slips, one for you to keep and give to the cashier when you are done shopping, and the other slip with the sample piece is sent in a tube (think drive through banking) that gets shot up through a long tube to the "warehouse" where the fabric is cut to the length you specify.

Here are the pieces I bought. All quilting type cotton but a little thicker and bit more stable than what you'd typically see in the US as quilting cotton.

Then, there's this outside the store. Pre-cut fabrics, most at discount. Reminiscent of my fabric shopping in Paris last year.

There was also a small stack of pre-cut stuff upstairs in the finer fabrics section.  I picked up this beautiful light weight linen.

I'd better get busy and sew more.  Before the summer is gone.  All these summer fabrics!

Osaka has a textile wholesale district called Semba. Most shops now sell to consumers directly as well as their wholesale business.  Unfortunately, my time in Osaka this time was very limited and I wasn't able to make it there. (Next time, for sure) Below, some links for fabric shopping in Japan.

Tokyo's Nippori textile district
Osaka's Semba Center Building (wholesale/retail fabric district)
Toraya (Osaka)
Yuzawaya (Many locations - a big chain of beautiful stores)

Have you gone fabric shopping in Japan? If you have, which stores did you go?

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