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 Shopping in Malta.

During our honeymoon, we dashed from Italy to Malta for a few days. It’s a special little place packed with so much history and culture. We drove around the main island and also took the car ferry to Gozo. The waters are amazingly pristine and clear. I had a few pics up on Instagram.

There doesn’t seem to be many fabric shops around, judging by a quick search on the internet. Many textile shops are interior decorating stores. The best seems to be JB Stores which are a chain of department stores in Malta. Anyway, we didn’t have much time for fabric shopping, so we made a quick dash to one of the JBs on the morning of our flight out of the country! We stayed at St. Julians, so Iklin was the closest store.

JB Stores (Iklin branch)

English is an official language in Malta, as is Maltese. Nearly all the signs are in English, or have English translations anyway (apart from street signs). So much easier to get around, find places and buy things!

Being a department store, JB has lots of different sections, and they didn’t skim on fabrics and haberdashery – a whole floor is dedicated to it. There were all kinds of fabrics, at very reasonable prices. Pity we didn’t have much time there – MS had to remind me a few times we had to get to the airport and there would be traffic – oh it was so hard to walk away from the store empty-handed! By the way, traffic to the airport was BAD!!

Greatest invention: Google Maps. Finding the store was a breeze. The sign on the main road helped too.
Greatest invention: Google Maps. Finding the store was a breeze. The sign on the main road helped too. As is a husband who is a good driver – people on the roads in Malta are crazy!

 

The entrance is at the side street.
The entrance is at the side street.

 

A whole floor of fashion fabrics? Yes please!
A whole floor of fashion fabrics? Yes please!

 

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And so we rushed to the airport. Lucky for me, the newsagent inside the airport stocks heaps of sewing magazines!

Burdas!
Burdas!

 

Italian ones.
Italian ones, some dedicated to plus sizes.

 

More sewing mags, all with patterns attached.
More sewing mags, all with patterns attached.

 

I bought BurdaStyle Easy and Ottobre. It's the first time I've come across either of the magazines. I can buy BurdaStyle locally, but not the Easy edition, which is way more suited to my current sewing skill level.
I bought BurdaStyle Easy and Ottobre. It’s the first time I’ve come across either of the magazines. I can buy BurdaStyle locally, but not the Easy edition, which is way more suited to my current sewing skill level.

 

I shall point out that I’m not this selfish wife who drags her husband around the country to look for fabric stores (or am I? Haha). Well, MS got to see a model store in Florence too! 

Florence model store

 

So that concludes ALL the fabric and sewing-related experience in our honeymoon (Italy and Malta). I’ve been so busy since I came back, but hopefully I can start doing *some* sewing soon!

 

Fabric Shopping in Italy [Venice, Turin, Florence & Milan].

[Warning: Photo Heavy]

Since we are honeymooning around Italy, let’s visit more fabric shops :P

Firstly, I want to acknowledge that the Sewing Princess’ list of fabric stores in Italy was immensely useful and has so much information. Thanks a lot! Here’s just my own little experience in visiting some of them.

Notes about communication, payment, fabric origin, price, opening times and tax refund from my previous post on Rome fabric shopping also apply here.

 

VENICE: G.Benevento

Fabric shops in Venice are few and far between. So happy to have let Google Maps do its work and take us there. About 10 minutes’ walk from the famous Rialto Bridge in the main Island. This store sells lots of Italian silks, tweeds and men’s suiting.

There are 2 shops on the main strip facing each other. One sells dress fabrics and the other upholstery textiles.
There are 2 shops on the main strip facing each other. One sells dress fabrics and the other upholstery textiles.

 

Fine Italian silks. About 100 euros a metre.
Fine Italian silks. About 100 euros a metre.

 

A lot of the fabrics are behind the counter, so it's difficult to rummage around.
Most of the fabrics are behind the counter, so it’s difficult to rummage around.

 

Tweeds (designer and generic) and men's suiting materials.
Tweeds (designer and generic) and men’s suiting materials.

 

It's difficult to find the right print when they are folded and stacked like that, and you only get to see a tiny portion unless you trouble the attendant to take them down and open them up for you. I feel uneasy after looking through 10+...
It’s difficult to find the right print when they are folded and stacked like that, and you only get to see a tiny portion unless you trouble the attendant to take them down and open them up for you. I feel uneasy after looking through 10+…

 

He seems to be thinking "What are YOU looking at?!" hahaha.
He seems to be thinking “What are YOU looking at?!” hahaha.

 

Italian men wears well-tailored suits all the time, and I think it's a good look! Don't get to see that often in Australia :P
Italian men wear well-tailored suits all the time, everywhere, and I think it’s a good look! Don’t tend to see it that often in Australia :P

 

I splurged (hey, you only honeymoon once) and got a metre of this D&G silk.
I splurged (hey, you only honeymoon once) and got a metre of this D&G silk.

 

That's the curtain/drapery shop across the street.
That’s the curtain/drapery shop across the street.

 

And a little peek inside.
And a little peek inside.

 

TURIN: Antonietta Tessuti

This family-owned business gives an intimate, welcoming vibe. There aren’t many fabric shops in Turin ( I haven’t found anything else), and I bet they know all the dressmakers and home sewists in town!

I've posted this on IG - the shop owner, a lovely grandfatherly gentleman, was closing up shop (it was late afternoon) and saw us rushing and taking pics across the road. He posed for the photo and waved for us to go inside! How sweet.
I’ve posted this on IG – the shop owner, a lovely grandfatherly gentleman, was closing up shop (it was late afternoon) and saw us rushing and taking pics across the road. He posed for the photo and waved for us to go inside! How sweet.

 

It harbours some goodies inside, but also fabrics that are good to make casual, day-to-day clothes in.
It harbours some goodies inside, but also fabrics that are good to make casual, day-to-day clothes with.

 

They gave no sign of displeasure even though it was probably past closing time. They even welcomed photographs and eagerly helped us with fabric selection.
They gave no sign of displeasure even though it was probably past closing time. They even welcomed photographs and eagerly helped us with fabric selection.

 

I bought this Emilio Pucci stretch cotton in the end.
I bought this Emilio Pucci stretch cotton in the end.

 

Happy!
Happy!

 

Their business card and bag.
Their business card and bag.

 

FLORENCE: Casa dei Tessuti

This store is only a few minutes’ walk from the magnificent Duomo. It had served many famous and rich people. I also found a blog post about its 85th celebration in 2014 here. We didn’t get much help from the gentleman – he seemed pre-occupied with the exterior of the shop and who’s walking by. Which is completely fine with us, as I was just browsing and not looking for anything specific.

Lovely window displays.
Lovely window displays.

 

Lots of different types of fabrics. But they don't have jersey.
Lots of different types of fabrics. But they don’t have jersey (I asked in English, unless jersey means something else to them?)

 

"Why have wallpaper when you can have a wall of fabrics?" hmmmm.
“Why have wallpaper when you can have a wall of fabrics?” hmmmm.

 

Vintage machines - typewriters? Cashier?
Vintage machines – typewriters? Cashier?

 

The shop is divided into a number of areas, each housing a different type of fabric stacked from floor to ceiling.
The shop is divided into a number of areas, each housing a different type of fabric stacked from floor to ceiling.

 

I didn't end up getting anything there (lack of funds, lack of time, lack of assistance...)
I didn’t end up getting anything there (lack of funds, lack of time, lack of assistance…)

 

The prices are as premium as their prestigious location.
The prices are as premium as their prestigious location.

 

MILAN: Valli Tessuti Milano

This store is even featured in the official tourist magazine. The wall of pure Italian silks is drool-worthy. Couture and designer fabrics are what it’s most famous for. It is readily walkable from the centre of activity around the Cathedral and Galleria area.

At the entrance. Looks so posh.
At the entrance. Looks so posh.

 

Hmmmmm silks.
Hmmmmm silks.

 

And another wall of goodies. There are more fabrics at the back and on other levels.
And another wall of goodies. There are more fabrics at the back and on other levels.

 

I risked having the gentleman telling me off for touching, but I couldn't resist stroking them...
I risked having the attendant tell me off for touching, but I couldn’t resist stroking them…

 

Tourist magazine feature.
Tourist magazine feature.

 

MILAN: New Tess

Oh, how I love this store. It’s like a giant studio. Organised, spacious, light and airy. I love it. That wall of colour hit you when you first walk in. I gasped. But on closer inspection they are just solid colours. Then you go to the back and see all those brocades and embroidered goodies.

It is an outlet fabric shop, the textiles are made in nearby Lake Como area.
It is an outlet fabric shop, the textiles are made in the nearby Lake Como area.

 

Walking through the spectrum of colours.
Walking through the spectrum of colours.

 

So organised and colour co-ordinated.
So organised and colour co-ordinated.

 

This brings me such joy.
This brings me such joy.

 

It reminds me that I can re-upholster chairs and make old furniture look a thousand times prettier.
It reminds me that I can re-upholster chairs and make old furniture look a thousand times prettier.

 

I want a studio like this. DREAMING!!
I want a studio like this. DREAMING!!

 

There is nothing known as "too much table space".
There is nothing known as “too much table space”.

 

I want open shelves for my fabrics and permanent space for my machines...
I want open shelves for my fabrics and permanent space for my machines…

 

Textural and rich brocades.
Textural and rich brocades.

 

The printed silk section isn't as big as the other stores.
The printed silk section isn’t as big as the other stores.

 

The ladies are delightful (though communicating in English was a slight issue. We got by, though).
The ladies are delightful (though communicating in English was a slight issue. We got by, though).

 

I bought this silk, it looks quite different under various lighting conditions.
I bought this silk, it looks quite different under various lighting conditions (same piece as the one on the table in the pic above).

 

Including the ones in Rome I previously wrote about, these are all the fabric shops we’ve visited in Italy on our honeymoon! We went to one more location outside Italy, I’ll write about it next time. I’m one happy wife! Thanks again, hubs :*

 

Fabric Shopping in Rome, Italy […and we’re married!]

[Warning: Photo Heavy]

We got married and I not-so-secretly incorporated a mini fabric store hunt into our honeymoon, and thanks to my ever-so-patient husband, he encouraged me to do what makes me happy. Of course, first and foremost we did loads of sightseeing, eating, and experiencing the Italian culture!

More about my wedding at end of the post. Now, FABRIC SHOPS!

  • Communication: Communicating in English wasn’t a problem in all of the fabric stores I’ve visited, and the fabric composition, measurement and price are mostly clearly marked on the bolt – in Italian – but the shop attendants were all able to tell me what they were when I asked.
  • Payment: Metropolitan stores all take major credit cards.
  • Fabric origin: I’m not sure if all the fabrics were made in Italy, but whenever I asked I always got told they were.
  • Price: Depending on the individual store but in general, designer silks are 100-200 euros/m; Unbranded 100% silk 50-100 euros/m; Wool variable price, much more expensive if mixed with cashmere (of course); Tweeds 40-80 euros/m unless designer; Cottons and synthetics under 50 euros/m. Suburban stores may be cheaper.
  • Opening times: Also, many retail shops (especially those out of main tourist and CBD areas) close for a daily long lunch and are not open on Monday mornings and Sundays, so I made sure to check the opening times on Google before I went. August 15th is a public holiday, and many shops are closed on Nov 1st and 2nd (All Saints Day and All Souls Day respectively).
  • Tax refund: When you spend over 155 euros in one shop in a day (and intending to bring the purchases out of the E.U.), you can get 15-25% VAT return (VAT: Value-Added Tax) claimable later at the out-port before check-in; The goods have to be unused. I had to show my passport at the stores and there were forms to fill in for that.

 

FRATELLI BASSETTI TESSUTI

This celebrated shop has been described by many. To name a few – Selfish SeamstressCation Designs, Bobbin and Baste, and the New York Times! It also sells bed linens, upholstery textiles, and designer fabrics.

Despite being Rome's largest and most famous fabric store, the entrance is a bit secluded. It is behind the large container.
Despite being Rome’s largest and most famous fabric store, the entrance is a bit secluded. It is behind the large container.

 

Humble entrance.
Humble entrance.

 

Hall after hall of fabrics stacked from floor to ceiling, each dedicated to specific fabrics. E.g. silks, tweeds, cottons, shirting, synthetics, brocades, designer...
Hall after hall of fabrics stacked from floor to ceiling, each dedicated to specific types of fabrics. E.g. silks, tweeds, cottons, shirting, wool, synthetics, brocades, designer…

 

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This lovely gentleman was very helpful and friendly. He kept taking out and opening up bolts after bolts of fabric to show me, and also let me rummage around.
This lovely gentleman was very helpful and friendly. He kept taking out and opening up bolts after bolts of fabric to show me, and also let me rummage around even in the designer silk section here.

 

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Traditional cashier counter. Very old school :)
Traditional cashier counter. Very old school :)

 

 

AZIENDA TESSILE ROMANA

This store is not far from Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti. It is in front of some ancient ruins. There are upholstery fabrics upstairs, and dressmaking collection downstairs. 

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Taken from the side street, you can see the ruins in front of the shop
Taken from the side street, you can see the ruins in front of the shop in this photo.

 

Taking a moment to admire the ruins
Taking a moment to admire the ruins.

 

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He agreed to pose for a photo, and he was pretending to cut my hair! Hilarious.
He agreed to pose for a photo, and he was pretending to cut my hair! Hilarious.

 

Happy customer.
Happy customer.

 

Selfie with patient husband outside the shop :D
Selfie with my patient husband outside the shop :D

 

Business cards for Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti and Azienda Tessile Romana.
Business cards for Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti and Azienda Tessile Romana.

 

My purchases from these two shops.
My purchases from these two shops.

 

PAGANINI TESSUTI

This is a curtains/upholsery fabric store. No dress fabrics, but nonetheless, what they have is pretty amazing. I didn’t spend much time in there though, knowing I probably wasn’t going to get anything (and I didn’t, as I was only looking for dress fabrics).

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LONGO TESSUTI (2 stores)

  • Silks & Wool: Piazza della Enciclopedia Italiana, 50, 00186 Roma (street store)
  • Cottons & Synthetics: Via delle Botteghe Oscure, 34/a, 00186 Roma (inside an apartment block)
  • Website: http://www.longotessuti.com/
This is the first store in the main street, housing mostly silks, wool and tweed fabrics.
This is the first store in the main street, housing mostly silks, wool and tweed fabrics.

 

The shop is at the corner of the building, so it's L-shaped. The other entrance is on the other street.
The shop is at the corner of the building. The other entrance is on the other street.

 

Quick, quick!!
Quick, quick!!

 

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This is the other shop inside an apartment block, just across the road from the first store. Not hard to find.
This is the other shop located inside an apartment block, just across the road from the first store. Not hard to find.

 

This shop mostly hold cottons, jerseys and synthetics.
This shop mostly hold cottons, jerseys and synthetics.

 

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Some lovely silks here too, smaller section.

 

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Cottons.

 

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I asked the gentleman for a photo and he said yes, but he didn't want to have anything to do with me hahaha :P
I asked the gentleman for a photo and he said yes, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with me hahaha :P

 

My purchases from the two Longo stores.
My purchases from the two Longo stores.

 

There are many more fabric shops in Rome that I didn’t get to visit, but I didn’t want to bore my husband too much with fabric overload! I’ve bought a lot already too :P

 

A BIT ABOUT OUR  WEDDING

After knowing each other since 1992 and together for 15 years, we are married. We have been partners for the whole of our adult lives. It has been an affirmative road of growth and maturation for us as a unit, and also as individuals. Every decision we make, right or wrong, affect not just ourselves but also each other and our future. It’s about learning, celebrating, forgiving, exploring, making memories, working hard, achieving, crying, laughing, rectifying mistakes, improving, tackling setbacks, evaluating, eliminating toxic people and things, understanding, problem solving, planning and building our future together :)

Our ceremony was in a church inside the Vatican City, and our reception was nearby in Rome. I have done some DIY projects for the wedding (no, I did not make my dress…) and will post them when the photos become available…maybe in a few months, according to our Italian photographers :P

For now, a few pics to share :)

First time staying at an Airbnb the week leading up to our wedding. Pleasant surprise - there's a sewing machine!!
First time staying at an Airbnb with our families the week leading up to our wedding. Pleasant surprise – there’s a vintage sewing machine!!

 

Mmmmmm I like! But I didn't try it out and not sure whether it was in working order.
Mmmmmm I like! But I didn’t try it out and not sure whether or not it was in working order.

 

Sant'Anna dei Palafrenieri - Church of Saint Anne - where our ceremony was held.
Sant’Anna dei Palafrenieri – Church of Saint Anne in the Vatican City – where our ceremony was held.

 

It was surreal to walk down this aisle.
It was surreal to walk down this aisle.

 

Happy, happy day :)
Happy, happy day :)

Ciao, honeymoon time!

 

Fabric Shopping in Athens, Greece.

[Warning: Photo heavy]

When one is in Athens…in addition to sightseeing and exploring the city, visiting the magnificent Acropolis, its multitude of ancient ruins and modern museums, and sampling Greek delicacies…of course I scouted out fabric shops to visit!

I did some pre-planning. Searching on the internet, I found Sewing in Athen’s post the most useful (thank you!!). Here in this post I just want to add in my own experience!

 

DIRECTIONS

So the streets where the fabric shops are congregated are in the city centre and conveniently close to one of the metro train stations. The fabric streets are Kalamiotou and Athinaidos. The closest metro station is Monastiraki, which is really just a few minutes walk from the Acropolis complex if you take the exit close to the Temple of Hephaestus.

Coming out of Monastiraki metro station, you just walk towards and turn right into Ermou Street and keep going until you see the ummissable Church of Panaghia on Kapnikareas Street. Then you kind of go around and behind it, and there is Kalamiotou Street!

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Monastiraki metro station.
Monastiraki metro station.

 

Monastiraki metro station building
Monastiraki metro station building

 

Monastiraki Square, and looking back at the metro station you can see the Acropolis behind it.
Monastiraki Square, and looking back at the metro station you can see the Acropolis behind it.

 

At one of the magazine stores...I spy...
At one of the magazine stalls…I spy…

 

BuraStyle, Greek version! :D
BurdaStyle, Greek edition! :D

 

Turn into Ermou Street and keep walking...
Turn into Ermou Street and keep walking…

 

...and keep going until you see the church.
…and keep going until you see the church.

 

The elegant Church of Panaghia Kapnkareas.
The elegant Church of Panaghia Kapnikareas.

 

Go around the church to the back...
Go around the church to the back…

 

Yay, arriving at Kalamiotou Street. FABRICSSSSSS here I come!
Yay, arriving at Kalamiotou Street. FABRICSSSSSS here I come!

 

FABRIC STREET/SHOPS

We went to the fabric streets twice – I couldn’t resist going back a few days later.  Most of the shops are attended by men, and they are helpful and approachable in regards to questions about fabric types and composition. They are also happy to have their photos taken with me! :P

There is a 24% tax on top of the marking price. I mainly paid cash. Communicating in English is not an issue, but many of the bolts are unmarked, and not all shop attendants can tell you the exact fabric content or country of origin.

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I bought fabrics from these shops (I only asked to take photos with the shop owners/attendants if I bought something, although it does not make it any less weird to them, haha).

 

Another unforgettable fabric shopping experience for me! This includes lugging heavy bags of fabric through winding streets under the scorching sun to walk back to the hotel, with legs that were about to fall off any minute (we spent hours walking around and visiting the Acropolis complex prior to visiting the fabric shops). SO WORTH IT.

 

East Meets Greece [Vogue 8898].

I’m not even going to pretend to be able to say ‘Hello’ in Greek. I still couldn’t, even after spending 2 weeks there some time ago.

In preparation for my Greece trip, I have sewn a grand total of….ONE garment to wear there. Boo. I had aimed for three, but alas, life has been crazy and busy. Oh well, one is better than none.

I had originally wanted to make a Grecian inspired dress – a white, one shouldered, fluid-y, maxi-length concoction. But the more I think about it, the more cliche it is to wear that in the country especially as a tourist. So instead I used a pattern with an asymmetrical design. I still used white as the base colour, and it was not until after I’ve finished the dress that I realised the print has an oriental feel to it. So, East meets West it is.

  • Pattern: Vogue 8898, I used elements from all views: View A length + View B shoulder tie + View C hole-in-waist design (sans sash as I used a belt)
  • Size made: Size Y (x-small to med included). I made x-small
  • Pattern pieces: 3 (I cut the pattern for sash but didn’t use it. Four pieces if include sash)
  • Fabric used: Polyester knit (92% polyester, 8% spandex), 147cm width, 1.5m length, made in China, bought from Spotlight
  • New Techniques used: Interfaced sash opening (like a buttonhole) and handsewn
  • Modifications: Moved sash opening 3cm towards midline; Moved armhole from shoulder to side seam; Shortened length 5cm at lower hem; Topstitched drape-y side seam.
Vogue 8898 and my fabric.
Vogue 8898 and my fabric.

 

I made View A length + View B shoulder tie + View C sash opening at waist combination.
I made View A length + View B shoulder tie + View C sash opening at waist combination.

 

My happiest/worst habit: eating chocolate while tracing patterns...
My best/worst habit: eating chocolate while tracing patterns. My favourite pattern weights.

 

4 pieces here including the sash. I didn't make the sash in the end as I wore a belt instead. So only 3 pieces for this dress!
Four pieces here including the sash. I didn’t make the sash in the end as I wore a belt instead. So only 3 pieces for this dress!

 

4 pieces here including the sash. I didn't make the sash in the end as I wore a belt instead. So only 3 pieces for this dress!
I even cut out the 2 pieces of fabric for the sash, but decided against sewing it because the waist needs more contrast.

 

Shoulder pleats sewn.
Shoulder pleats sewn (wrong side shown here).

 

Making the sash opening - essentially a buttonhole. I cut out a rectangular piece of iron-on interfacing as instructed, but in the future I will cut a circular piece as I feel rounded edges don't peel off the fabric as easily as sharp corners.
Making the sash opening – essentially a buttonhole. I cut out a rectangular piece of iron-on interfacing as instructed, but in the future I will cut a circular piece as I feel rounded edges don’t peel off the fabric as easily as sharp corners.

 

I wasn't feeling up to trying the buttonhole function in my sewing machine, so I did it by hand. Puckering...
I wasn’t feeling up to trying the buttonhole function in my sewing machine, so I did it by hand. Puckering…

 

The "modification" (accidental...) I made. I sewed the armhole on the sideseam. The effect is such that there is less bulk of fabric under the arm. Which is a good thing for me, as I have short arms.
The “modification” (accidental…) I made. I sewed the armhole on the sideseam. The effect is such that there is less bulk of fabric under the arm. Which is a good thing for me, as I have short arms.

 

Einstein quote: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Einstein quote: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

 

Finished garment. I didn't sew the sash as I wanted the waist to be more defined. I tried a red ribbon...
Finished garment. I top-stitched the “wing” seam to add structure and definition, as my fabric is quite fluid and the fold doesn’t hold and looks like a circular tube otherwise. I didn’t sew the sash as I wanted the waist to be more defined. I tried a red ribbon…

 

...a green sash... (I am demonstrating the "optimal arm lift" here. Too bad I can't walk around like this all day, haha)
…and a green sash…but I chose a gold belt in the end for the Grecian touch.
(Here I am demonstrating the “optimal arm lift” here to highlight the asymmetrical under-arm wing . Too bad I can’t walk around like this all day, haha)

 

And where did I wear this dress? In Cape Sounion, at the Temple of Poseidon, in the Attica Peninsula in Greece. (On the left is the private beach of our hotel, and the temple is on the hill)
I wore this dress to Cape Sounion, at the Temple of Poseidon, in the Attica Peninsula in Greece. (On the left is the private beach of our hotel, and the temple is on top of the hill)

 

Vogue 8898 dress (13)

Vogue 8898 dress (14)

Vogue 8898 dress (15)

"I will just make the opening in the middle of the shoulder tie and no one will see it" - and you can CLEARLY see my shoddy handiwork there :P
“I will just make the opening in the middle of the shoulder tie and no one will see it” – and you can CLEARLY see my shoddy handiwork there. You can also see the swarm of freckles creeping up my arm – we walked in the fierce sun for hours every day, and I have gotten quite a tan after the trip too.

 

Vogue 8898 dress (17)

Vogue 8898 dress (18)
Temple of Poseidon, built circa 440BC, on Cape Sounion.

 

Vogue 8898 dress (19)

Vogue 8898 dress (20)

 

Vogue 8898 dress (21)

Vogue 8898 dress (22)
View from the cape – beautiful sunset over the Aegean Sea.

 

We also went to Athens, Delphi, Olympia, Nafplio, Mycenae, Corinth, Marathonas and Santorini in Greece. I wish I had made something to wear to each city!

NANOBLOCK: Icons of Tokyo.

It’s no secret that I love Lego, but in more recent years, Nanoblock is making a splash on the market as well. I love their mini travel series!

I went to Japan a few times in the past few years and have done some sightseeing. In Tokyo, the important sites, amongst others, are the Tokyo Tower, and the Buddhist Senso-ji Temple. And of course, I bought the Nanoblock kits!

TOKYO TOWER

Nanoblock Tokyo (7)

 

Tokyo Tower Nanoblock

 

Nanoblock Tokyo (9)

 

Nanoblock Tokyo (10)

 

Nanoblock Tokyo (11)

 

SENSO-JI TEMPLE: Outer gate (Kaminarimon)

Nanoblock Kaminarimon

 

Nanoblock Tokyo (1)

 

Nanoblock Tokyo (3)

 

Nanoblock Tokyo (4)

 

Nanoblock Tokyo (5)

 

Nanoblock Tokyo (6)

Love, love, love travelling!

 

Childhood Places.

I grew up in the more ‘rural’ areas of Hong Kong. It is such a densely populated and developed city even decades ago, that ‘rural’ means less urban areas, rather than truly isolated. Nevertheless, pictures of where I lived and walked past nearly every day fill me with nostalgia and awaken fond memories.

Previously I made line drawings of my frequented places in my teenage years; here, on the other hand, are photos of places I remember most in my childhood years. I took them last year when I went back to HK to visit my family.

 

Childhood Places (1)

 

Childhood Places (2)

 

Childhood Places (3)

 

Childhood Places (4)

 

Childhood Places (5)

 

Childhood Places (6)

 

Childhood Places (7)

 

Childhood Places (8)

 

Childhood Places (9)

 

Childhood Places (10)

 

Childhood Places (11)

 

Model (by MS): Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin.

I went to Berlin, Germany during the Christmas period of 2014. The tour went to Checkpoint Charlie, and I bought a 1:87 model kit for MS. He finally made it up, and I’m once again bathed in fond memories of travelling!

I hated studying history in high school; I am soooo much more interested in history via travels rather than from textbooks. 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (1)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (2)

 

checkpoint-charlie-model-3

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (4)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (5)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (6)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (7)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (8)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (9)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (10)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (11)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (12)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (13)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (14)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (15)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (16)

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (17)

 

checkpoint-charlie-model-18

 

Checkpoint Charlie Model (19)

MS loves model-making. Wish I had his patience! I’m happy to have bought him this kit, although his usual projects have ultra-detailed parts, multi-staged construction and historical accuracy.

 

Papercrane Travels.

When I folded 10,000 papercranes, I took some of them travelling with me. Here’s their journey.

Fly, fly away.
Fly, fly away. (Brisbane, Australia)

 

Maybe a view that real birds see!
Maybe a view that real birds see! (Above the Pacific Ocean)

 

Arrived in Hong Kong.
Arrived. (Hong Kong)

 

Taking the iconic Star Ferry.
Taking the iconic Star Ferry. (Hong Kong)

 

At top of The Peak, Hong Kong.
At top of The Peak. (Hong Kong)

 

Crane in Japan.
Another destination. (Tokyo, Japan)

 

Sunbaking.
Winter sun-baking. (Kyoto, Japan)

 

Snowbaking.
Snow-baking. (Nagano, Japan)

 

It's a long way to take you there!
It’s a long way to take you here! (Nagano, Japan)

 

Crane in South Korea.
Still cold. (Busan, South Korea)

 

Cranes go travelling (15)
Swan Lake. (Gyeongju, South Korea)

 

Along the cliffs. (Jeju-do, South Korea)

 

Back home. (Brisbane, Australia)
Back home. (Brisbane, Australia)

 

Can you find me? (Brisbane, Australia)
Can you find me? (Brisbane, Australia)

 

Shall we fly again some day? (Brisbane, Australia)
Shall we fly again some day? (Brisbane, Australia)