Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Dongmen Lu Fabric Market

Happy Wednesday! Time to get some fabric inspiration from the Dongmen Lu Fabric Market here in Shanghai!

Can't believe how quickly 2016 is flying by! Hope things are good with you... we're good, healthy and enjoying the summertime so far! It's been rainy season, so a bit hot and humid and just now a huge thunderstorm and rain making our house so dark at 10am!

Today I wanted to share with you a gorgeous fabric market tour I shared with Stacy a wonderful blogger & seamstress who contacted me a month or so back as she was in town for a work... and didn't want to be swept on the tourist tailoring trail ... which is the common 'fabric market' shopping tour here... where you can get your clothes tailor made with a small selection of fabric, and arguably a smaller selection of design finesse!

My favourite fabric market in Shanghai is on Dongmen Lu, the corner of Zhongshan Dong Er Lu in the Old Town (kind of - it's all kind of renovated now) of Shanghai... and I love it because it's eclectic, never the same and has a great range of different fabrics. Some cheap, varying quality and reasonable price... but you can still bargain for a better price if you buy a lot of fabric!

It's called Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market and can be your one stop shop if you're short of time in Shanghai! Stacy & I spent about 2 hours browsing the 4 floors, and on this last visit, I noticed the 'tunnel of fabric' has been extended wayyyyy back to the south side of the level 2... so there's even more fabric if you peep around the corner... but! You might get lost finding the right corner, for it feels a little endless inside! Neverending fabric shopping! Be wary if you shop alone!

Here's a few pieces I photographed along the way as we walked and talked and shared some sewing ideas! Looking at the photos again, I now wish I bought these pieces, but oh well! I can go back, and hope they're still in stock! The vendors seem to change stock every season!

What GORGEOUS flamingos!

Thanks for the lovely morning of fabric shopping Stacy! Here she is wearing all handmade, a beautiful jacket from another fabric market in China! And my not as exquisite handmade blouse (a Plantain Pattern) and my DIY gathered skirt!

And my new stash! Floaty cottons, some black and white scuba for cowl scarves to sell, and pinks and blue pears that I've started sewing a shift style dress with... but that was before we moved house and now everything is all over the place!

The address, with Chinese: 168 Dongmen Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Er Lu 东门路168号, 近中山东二路

Talk soon, but maybe not with any new sewn up pieces, unfortunately I have NO idea where the sewing machines will fit in our new (tiny) apartment... EEP. Any short of space solutions, please send my way! We have a lovely table for cutting, but NO sewing desk... I love sewing when the feeling calls, so don't want to set up the machines each time I have a project to sew. I'll take some photos of the house, and maybe you can help!

Bye for now!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Voila: Pusan Wrap Dress by Couture Nomad

Hello! Today I have another Couture Nomad dress, sewn up over several weeks at my lovely Teacher Catherine's Couture Nomad Sewing School here in Shanghai!

This is called the Pusan dress, and part of Catherine's Urban Jungle collection. She uses a business shirt style fabric for her version, and when I saw how easily she pops on her pushbike with it, I thought I've got to sew it up for Spring... well spring kind of came and went here in Shanghai, there were some nice warmer days, but it's RAINED so much. At least once a week, and today... it actually was quite cold. Humid AND cold. Not fun!

So I started this to wear in Spring, and only just wore it yesterday on a lovely humid & sunny day... AND in our NEW HOUSE! I have so much to tell you about... I definitely need a pause button for our life right now!

Pusan Dress was Couture Nomad's Pattern of the Month a few months back, and is a light and loose wrap dress with optional collar and different ways to tie/clasp. Catherine has a lovely light mustard one that I've seen her wear, and I wanted something green for me... and this polka-dotted light linen cotton was the first thing I spotted across the road from the Renmin Lu Haberdashery Spot... but a funny thing, half the store was a fabric shop along the left wall.... and the other side of the shop was a camouflage sport gear shop... Strange Combo, but CHINA! And so I asked how much the fabric was on the roll, and the shopkeeper didn't know... she was the camouflage shopkeeper! Not the fabric shopkeeper. So I waited a while, no one came back... more waiting... I thought I'd go buy some stationary (Yu Garden Markets have SO many things you can buy for cheaps!) and then come back to get the green fabric.

So probably half an hour later, after buying my pens and envelopes, I came back ... and NO shopkeeper! Ridiculous! I waited another 15 minutes... and in the end haggled with the Camo Shopkeeper to sell me the fabric for 38RMB a metre (it's usually that at the other market for this kind of think...) and she was sooooo reluctant selling her fellow shopkeepers wares... but I couldn't stick around, I had sewing class and a three year old to pick up from kindergarten!

So funny, and so China!

As for the pattern, it was a great trace, cut & sew over 3-4 sewing nights... love the shape with this light fabric. I did felled seams for the back yoke, and they came up quite nicely... I had a wrong machine bobbin problem on one side of the dress (also felled sleeves) so there's some wobbly stitching, but it's under my arm... so who will know! It's a well covered wrap dress too, in that it doesn't gape and reveal my undergarments. And the coverage around the legs is also great!

I shortened the sleeves a bit, and then made the bands half the width, for I decided I would fold them up anyways... and last minute decided not to do a button/snap close and then attached the ties. It's the same material as my Bettine Dress from last year, actually... so having the ties reminds me of that. I loved wearing it yesterday!

It's a great wrap dress pattern, and very quick to make! For all up my sewing hours wasn't too long, but just spread out between all the other things going on! I'll share another update soon on the busy-times here... but at least you get to see my lovely balcony, on the 5th floor of a normal building, no elevator, but in a Chinese compound. So we're stretching all our conversations, and practicing Chinese all the time now! In our old house, lots of people spoke English... but not here! We're still around downtown/Former French Concession, but more in the thick of it... brilliant green Plane Trees are all along the street and heaps of local places to check out. And walking distance to kindergarten!

Thank you to Teacher Catherine for sharing her pattern & her skills with me! If you're interested in sewing in Shanghai, I highly recommend getting in touch! Send me an email and I'll connect you with Cathy! If you're in Singapore, or other parts of the world... do go and visit Couture Nomad for there's lots of e-learning spots but also there might be a Nomadette teacher in your hometown!

Speak soon, and hope you're well wherever you are in the world!