Fabric Shop in Adelaide, SA – DK Fabrics.

I haven’t been to all of the states within Australia, and I’ve been here for more than 2 decades! Recently, I had the chance to go to Adelaide, South Australia.  We did the usual sight-seeing, vineyard-visiting, wine-tasting activities, on top of work-related stuff. And of course, I took time to visit fabric shops!

DK Fabrics lived up to my expectations when it says it’s the largest independent fabric shop in the state! I spent a “bit” of time there. The ladies there were very nice and helpful, and was happy for me to take lots of pics of their family-run shop.

It is also very easy to get to, just opposite the Adelaide Entertainment Centre which is at the terminus of the tramline, and is within the free tram zone for me (I stayed in the CBD).

End of the tram line.

 

You’ll see the Entertainment Centre right off the tram station.

 

Opposite the Entertainment Centre, a block or so away on the other side of the tram track, is the warehouse of fabrics.

 

It’s big, with lots of different fabric types and compositions available. Reasonable prices. I wouldn’t say they specialise in a particular type of fabric though.

 

I bought this shimmer floral scuba. I just love how it glimmers in the light. Part of the reason I spent so long in the store, was also because I only allowed myself to get ONE thing only! And this was it~

 

I want to go back again!

 

Life is not a straight road, it’s Zigzag [Missoni cardigan – McCall’s 6844].

I have a thing for the Italian fashion house Missoni, for their beautiful textiles, prints and fabrics. I made a baby cape with a Missoni for Target cotton blanket before, but I was still thirsty for more. When I saw some Missoni knit fabric in Rome on my honeymoon, I couldn’t help myself and bought some! And when I saw McCall’s 6844 envelope, I knew I’ve found the perfect pattern for it.

  • Pattern: McCall’s 6844, View C, rated ‘Easy’, sized for ‘Petite’.
  • Size made:  ‘Y’ (Xsm – med included), I made size Xs.
  • Pattern pieces: 6 for view C
  • Fabric used: Wool blend [40% wool, 30% polyester, 30% acrylic], 140cm width, 1.5m long, made in Italy, bought in Rome on my honeymoon
  • New Techniques used: First serious pattern matching attempt; First time using knit (tricot) interfacing.
  • Modifications: I reduced the peplum length and corresponding neckband by 6cm due to not enough fabric for pattern matching.

 

Missoni is famous for their chevron weave. I chose the blue/pink colourway.

 

I made View C, which has a mullet peplum. Pic from here.

 

The pattern is rated ‘Easy’ and sized for Petite. However, the only difference is the sleeve and bodice lengths for petite – which is no different to using the shortening/lengthening line. The shoulders and bust areas are the same for regular/petite.

 

I’m considered petite (5’0″) but when I put the pattern against my body in the mirror, the waistline point falls on my natural waistline, so I didn’t do the petite adjustment for the bodice. I did it for the sleeves (and later found out I didn’t have to, either).

 

I had just enough fabric for the pattern (1.5m) IF I didn’t have to pattern match. Since I had to, I didn’t have enough and needed to reduce the peplum and neckband length (as marked in the pic).

 

The reduced peplum sewn together.

 

Bodice and peplum attached. In the end, I STILL didn’t have enough fabric to make the two front peplum prints symmetrical.

 

The fabric has a loose weave, and I decided to hand sew the sleeve and peplum hems to maintain tension and make sure it doesn’t fray. All other seams were done on the overlocker.

 

The neckband with interfaced facing, ready to be joined to the bodice.

 

The neckband will be folded back lengthwise when worn, to create some kind of ‘lapel’ for the cardigan.

 

Sleeves attached as well. I did the petite adjustment (shortened) for the sleeves, and in the end it was too short for me. So instead of a 3cm hem (included in pattern), I sewed 1.5cm. In effect, I didn’t need to do any petite adjustments. Which is strange given that I AM petite. As for the print matching, I tried to match the zigzags across the neckband, bodice AND the sleeves – ideally I needed an extra 50cm of fabric to achieve it if I didn’t reduce the peplum.

 

ZigZag all the way!

 

Although I’ve reduced the peplum length by 6cm, I think it’s still relatively in proportion, especially because I’m so short.

 

The pattern says “For moderate stretch knits only’. I guess the sturdier the knit, the more pronounced the peplum. I’d say mine is a medium-fine loose weave knit fabric.

 

I actually bought another Missoni chevron fabric in the red/black colourway. Dreaming about what to make with that…

Split up, Wrap up [McCall’s 7185].

I’ve wanted to make this dress as soon as I saw the pattern envelope. A fitted wrap dress with a split, and rolled up sleeves. I could never find something similar in shops that fit my 5’0″ stature, so why not try to make one? Not being experienced with pattern fitting and grading, I think I got lucky this time.

  • Pattern: McCall’s 7185, View B, with separate pieces for cups A/B, C and D.
  • Size made:  US 6-14 included, I made size 6 in cup A/B.
  • Pattern pieces: 11 for view B (without pockets)
  • Fabric used: Cotton Sateen [97% cotton, 3% spandex],  127cm width, 3m long, made in China, bought from Spotlight
  • New Techniques used: First time trying a true wrap design; Making buttonholes; Sleeve tabs.
  • Modifications: Eliminated pockets.
McCall’s 7185. The description on the pattern envelope is “Wrap dress have fitted bodice, waist band, skirt variations, stitched hem, snap and hook & eye closure.” I made View B, which is what the model is wearing.

 

View B: “Rolled, below elbow sleeves with button tab. Mock bands, semi-fitted skirt, pockets. Separate pattern pieces are included for cup sizes A/B, C, D.”
Photo from here.

 

Eleven pattern pieces when the pocket is eliminated. I would have made the pocket if my fabric was plain, but with the print I thought it would be too cluttered.

 

According to the suggested sizing, I should have made 6/8/10 for B/W/H, but I cut a straight 6 knowing there is so much ease in Big 4 patterns. Above, the facing for neck and bodice is continuous in the wrap design.

 

Bodice done. It fits me without any grading. As it is a true wrap design, there is some leeway as to how tightly you overlap the pieces at the front to fit the body.

 

The two front skirt pieces are mirror images of each other, and the edges are faced. Actually, as I’ve posted on Instagram, the skirt pieces are darted, ease-stitched, interfaced, self-faced, understitched, basted, overlocked, pressed and then top-stitched…

 

Skirt done. It also fits my hips, which is surprising given the discrepancy between their suggestion and what I cut – but again, being a wrap design, it offers some window of error.

 

First time making sleeve tabs, and more importantly, BUTTONHOLES! I’ve been avoiding them for years thinking they are too difficult…my first 20+ garments had no buttons for a reason. I finally tried it on my sewing machine and it took all of 5 minutes!

 

Finished garment. This actually took about 30 hours to make. I had to go very slowly especially with top-stitching all the way around the neck, bodice and skirt edges.

 

The front flap is held by metal snaps and bar-hook closure at the waistband.

 

I tacked the roll-up sleeves in place, as I will never wear it unrolled (it doesn’t have a cuff), and I can’t be bothered rolling it every time. The buttons have a shell-iridescent base with pink and purple swirls on top.

 

Back view. Being short, I usually have to shorten the skirt piece by 10+cm. I did not alter the skirt length here, and you can see that the dress is supposed to be above-knee, on the model, but on me it is clearly below the knee.

 

 

I think I got lucky this time, making a somewhat fitted garment with reasonable results, without making any adjustments or pattern grading, while cutting a size that clearly deviates from what is suggested by the company. It was stressful every step of the way, not knowing if it would fit or not and whether the garment is wearable in the end! The most sensible thing to do is to make a muslin, but I just don’t have the motivation to do so…gotta thank my lucky stars.

 

Fabric Shopping in Honolulu, HAWAII.

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:

  1. Fabric Mart
  2. Hawaiian Fabrics
  3. June Fabrics
  4. 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
  • Website: https://hawaiifabricmart.com/

    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! 

 

 

Fabric Shops in Melbourne – Clear It & The Fabric Shop.

These two shops are next to each other in the suburb of Fitzroy in Melbourne, so double the happiness! They are quite easily accessible and only a short walk from the tram station, which we took from our hotel in the CBD. 

CLEAR iT

This store primarily sells clothes, and I didn’t notice they sell fabric until I saw their window display. 

It is a factory outlet, and initially I walked straight past it (because next door is a proper fabric store).

 

Then I saw this window display! I wasn’t interested in clothes from this store, but sure I am excited about fabric!

 

The fabric is in a small section upstairs. Easily missed, but not hard to find if you are looking for it.

 

Truthfully, they are just bolts and bolts of fabric lumped altogether! They do try to put similar composition fabrics together, but it’s more “buy-what-you-can-find” rather than “buy-what-you’re-looking-for”.

 

The fabrics are cheap, starting fro$2/m, and most are under $20 or $30/m. There are lining, cotton, synthetics and wool fabrics.

 

I found Alannah Hill fabrics too! She’s an Australian designer and her boutique stocks feminine, unique pieces. Link to her website for RTW clothes here.

 

But if you’re looking for a certain composition or print and have something specific in mind – good luck ;)

 

Great for bargin hunting! There are some cute fabrics and nice woollens too.

 

Then we strolled to next door – the famous, The Fabric Store! I’ve been to the Auckland branch already (see post here) and am familiar with their layout. I want to visit every store even if they are the same! Actually, they have a branch close to home, in Brisbane (where I live, basically) and I haven’t been. 

 

THE FABRIC STORE – MELBOURNE

Storefront.

 

Get happy!

 

Well categorised and the store layout is intuitive and easy to navigate.

 

Leather corner.

 

The colour organisation itself is visually satisfying.

 

Liberty range!

 

It was difficult to limit myself to just one purchase…

 

Decided on this! I guess while I love colour, I also like monochrome…

 

…and horses!

 

Yay~

 

And view of Melbourne from our CBD hotel.

 

And night view.

 

Happy times. Fabric is the best souvenir – I will surely remember where I got it from, and when made into garments, those pieces will be extra special to me.

 

Shades of Autumn [Burda 6919].

Mustard with hints of Burgundy, Emerald and Teal. It screams Autumn to me! This loud print is not my usual style, but I fell in love with the colours. The fabric is also buttery soft, and is perfect for mild autumns in Queensland. I made Burda 6919 with it. It is a pattern for a knit semi-fitted dress with scoop neck, shoulder holes, tucks in bodice and skirt, batwing sleeves and elasticated waist.

  • Pattern: Burda 6919, View A. Rated ‘Easy’.
  • Size made:  US 8-18 included, I made size 8
  • Pattern pieces: 5 for view A
  • Fabric used: Stretch jersey [90% polyester, 10% spandex],  148cm width, 1.5m long, made in China, bought from Spotlight
  • New Techniques used: First time trying pattern matching – I only managed the centre fronts of bodice and skirt. Side seams not matched…
  • Modifications: Shortened skirt at hem by 14cm; Encased waist elastic instead of sewing onto the seam allowance; Hand-stitched hem and dress hems.
Burda 6919.

 

Line drawings. I made View A, which is knee length (although I still had to shorten the hem by 14cm!). Pic from here.

 

Only 5 pattern pieces.

 

The pleats were interesting to cut >< even harder on knit fabric.

 

Luckily I had enough fabric (1.5m length). Normally I buy 2m to be safe.

 

Bodice done. The neck binding sticks up – it was probably too long? Or I stretched it when I sewed it? Or thread tension issue? Anyway, I actually didn’t really mind it…

 

Pleats on the skirt.

 

I hand-sewn the skirt (invisible) hem for a neater finish. Still haven’t figured out the invisible hem function on my sewing machine…

 

Completed.

 

I think the pleats got drowned in the print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabric Shop in Melbourne – Rathdowne Fabrics.

Melbourne is like our second home and we go there often, mainly for family and work-related reasons. It’s about 2.5 hours flight from where we live. Of course, I try to visit fabric shops when we have time to spare. Last time we ventured out of the city centre and took the tram to the suburbs…for fabric shopping, of course. Sharing my experience here visiting Rathdowne Fabrics and Remnants.

Situated inside an industrial-looking building.

 

When you walk in, you see this vintage sewing machine and a picture of your husband…haha

 

The Corridor to Glory

 

Basically a warehouse with bolts of fabrics categorised by composition.

 

Pretty prints catch me eye.

 

Plain fabrics are sewing staples, but often overlooked (by me, at least).

 

I wasn’t interested in furnishing fabrics, but they have them as well!

 

So much to choose from!

 

Photo with the lovely lady, who was very helpful. And could we just spend a minute looking at the rows of vintage sewing machines adorning the wall~!

 

This used to be their old location – even more machines! Delicious..

 

Happy with my purchase :)

 

What I bought – a polyester knit with digital print of birds on it.

 

We didn’t just go to the fabric shop – we also went to the hobby/model store so my husband got to look at things he likes, too. This is back in the city centre.

 

He didn’t buy anything though. Apparently models kits are pretty standard and buying them online isn’t as risky/difficult as fabrics.

 

We had a great day! Couples who hobby together stay together :)

 

Dressmaking Scrapbook Vol. 1

I have done proper scrapbooking in the past (they are on my Gallery page under ‘Scrapbooking‘), with fancy papers and embellsihments. It is a really time-consuming hobby, and also after discovering dressmaking, I’ve lost motivation for scrapbooking a bit.

However, I’ve decided to make a simple scrapbook to document my dressmaking projects. I drew them using templates from a Fashionary book (I’m not affiliated with them), and made paper envelopes to house my traced patterns. I added a swatch of fabric with metal studs.

Here is my first Dressmaking Scrapbook, Volume ONE. It documents the first 20 handmade garments I’ve completed. You can click on the link at the bottom of each pic to see the post of each item.

 

 

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

Full post here.

 

That was fun! Both the dressmaking and the scrapbooking. It’s great to combine two crafts, the process and result is always satisfying. I’ve already started Volume Two! But it will take a long while to fill up. At the moment I’m only sewing maximum one garment per month.

 

Fabric Shop in Brisbane – Beth Wyn Couture Fabrics.

So I was walking around the city looking for a present for my partner…and ended up buying a present for myself. Because, I walked past and discovered a fabric shop!

They specialise in imported French boucle/tweed, Italian silks, Swiss cottons and Spanish embellished fabrics. It is quite a small shop, like a treasure trove. 

(Same as always, I am writing this post purely to share my fabric shopping experience and relish in my love of fabric shops.)

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-1b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-6b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-2b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-4b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-5b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-3b

beth-wyn-fabrics-brisbane-7b

All I can afford now, is something from the half price section.  It’s a piece of Italian silk with red flowers on a white background with some textured leaves weaved into the fabric itself. I’m sure there is a name for this particular type of fabric/silk…educate me, anyone? I can’t seem to find the name of it.

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (8)

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (9)

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (10)

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (11)

Beth Wyn Fabrics Brisbane (12)

It is slippery, slinky, luxurious and probably difficult to sew. I only bought a metre of it and am thinking of perhaps making a summer top, or a simple skirt with it. Or if all else fails…a scarf? The lady there is very helpful and approachable (not to mention graceful and sews her own outfits). It makes me want to go back again, but I dare not without more ammo in my wallet, which is not anytime soon :P

 

Japanese Cushions Vol.2

Whenever I go to Japan, I cannot resist buying fabrics and especially those with Japanese prints on them! In 2012 I bought some bunny-themed Japanese festival fabrics, and made them into cushions (here).

I picked up some similar, but cat-themed four seasons fabrics on our trip in 2015 (post here)and made them into cushions again recently! I gifted them as housewarming presents for my friend. I’m always careful when making things for my friends’ homes – it has to suit their taste and decor. 

I bought 6 fabric scenery squares, which makes 3 double-sided cushions. Compared to 2013 when I made the first lot of cushions, I got better at inserting invisible zips.

 

Two spring scenes, one summer, two autumn and one winter scene(s). A cute black-and-white cat in each scene!

 

I used bigger cushion inserts than normally needed, to add bulk. I like cushions that are pouffy!

 

I’m going to eliminate the construction process here, because it is the same as the last lot (here again), apart from making neater zip openings this time! Finished product:

1. Spring scene #1

 

2. Spring scene #2

 

3. Summer night scene

 

4. Autumn scene #1

 

5. Autumn scene #2

 

6. Winter scene

 

 

 

 

 

A set of 3 double-sided cushions to adorn my friend’s couch.

 

Congrats on the new house!

 

Next time I sew cushions, I want to try piping!