WARNING: PHOTO HEAVY
My husband and I recently took a short trip to Hawaii. It was a great balance of seeing and doing what we each and both wanted. As for what I wanted, obviously it’s fabric shopping! We stayed in Oahu Island for the whole trip, so I searched up fabric shops in Honolulu.
I went to the following shops and I’ll talk about each of them and my purchases in more detail:
- Fabric Mart
- Hawaiian Fabrics
- June Fabrics
- Kaimuki Dry Goods
The most important thing is: have a hire car! It’s a long way to walk, expensive to take taxi/Uber around, and public transport isn’t very convenient. This applies not just to fabric shops but most of the tourist sites as well.
The shops take major credit cards, and cash in American dollars. The tax (General Excise Tax) is about 4-5% which is added on top of the marked price. Check the opening hours on Google before you go. All the shopkeepers and assistants have been very friendly and helpful, true to the Aloha and Shaka spirit!
1. FABRIC MART
- Address: 1631 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96826
If you only have time to go to one shop, I recommend Fabric Mart, for it has the most diverse range of fabrics and notions, large selection, easiest to find (located on a main road that leads to Waikiki Beach and tourist strip), and with very reasonable prices. It has two levels, with hawaiian prints, lace and upholstery fabrics mostly on the bottom level, and other cottons (they also have Cotton+Steel fabrics), fur, batting on the upper level. The most popular hawaiian printed cotton or cotton/polyester blends are around US$4/yard. I bought a turtle print cotton, Asian print polyester and gold-embroidered organza.
2. HAWAIIAN FABRICS
Owner David is very approachable and helpful. He had travelled around where we live in Australia (Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gold Coast) and we bonded over our experiences (and the Aussie-shaped clock on his feature wall). His shop is located on the ground floor in a corner of a block of units. It’s a small and charming store full of character, much like Dave himself. Hawaiian print fabrics are about US$5-6/yard. He ships his goods to all over the world! I bought a piece of 100% rayon in tropical print.
3. JUNE FABRICS
Ok, to be completely honest, we thought Google Maps made us go to the wrong place (in the past, GM had sent us on goat tracks and dangerous roads unfit for car travel). I knew some fabric shops are located in warehouses or in industrial areas – but my first impression of the surroundings was: Is this safe?! Maybe it was just a quiet time of day…
Yes, it was completely safe. Once you go inside, you’re in Hawaiian print heaven! Huge colourful selection of prints and patterns, mostly in cottons and polyester blends, at cheapest prices I’ve seen (less than US$4/yard). The lovely Korean owner was very helpful too, and took time to help me find what I wanted. I was fixated on finding pineapple prints that aren’t very conventional, and I bought 2 pieces of cotton/poly in the end.
4. KAIMUKI DRY GOODS
A delightful shop with lots of lovely Hawaiian and Japanese prints, as well as a small selection of crepe, polyesters, silk and wool. It has notions and patterns too. They sell primarily quilting cottons. The prices are higher than other shops, but their selection of fabrics is more unique, with brands like Echino (by Etsuko Furuya) too. I’d have bought some Japanese prints if I don’t have so much already. In the end I bought some tropical and coral cottons.
Well, that was a great and fruitful trip!