Before leaving for Hong Kong I did a fair bit of googling to check out what’s what and found the excellent post by When Kath is blogging which I used as my basis for some of the shopping I did.
I did find a shop called Gala Fabrics in Nathan Road and paid them a quick visit. Quick, because when I enquired as to the price of a lovely floral printed wool, I was told that it was HK$1500 – hmm, more than $200 AUD. No thanks.
So, it was off to the hinterland. Our (the intrepid Bea joined me) first stop was Sham Shui Po, which was an easy MTR ride from Nathan Road. It is on the red line and was five stops from our starting point of Tsim Sha Tsui.
We left the underground via Exit C1 (this is important!), do not cross Lai Chi Kok, turn around and walk up Kwelin Road and Yu Chau Street is the third street. Turn left. This is where the bead shops are. If you are into beading this is the place for you! Bea managed to spend here
and she was quite intrigued by the bling
We walked to Yu Chau Street where we found a shop called the Flying Dragon, owned by a lovely lady called Margaret Chung. This shops sells ribbon – you cannot believe the ribbon…
sorry, I have to show one aisle of this store:
The average cost of the ribbon was HK$10 per 3 yards (that’s around 47 cents a yard), so yes, I bought ribbon. This is the very accurate way that it is measured out – an arm span is clearly a yard:
Next stop was buttons. Button shops look like the ribbon shops – miles and miles of little drawers filled with delectable buttons the likes of which I have never seen in Perth (I have seen polka dots, but these were nicer quality). I took some photos before I put them all away but for some reason they didn’t work, so here is a sample of some of my favourites.
It is worth noting that I simply wanted 10 buttons to put on my new Miette cardigan and a couple of these are candidates. I haven’t decided which yet.
I also thought I had a photo or two of the button shop but haven’t managed to find it. Most of my buttons were bought in Yu Chau Street, just along from the ribbon stores (it is worth noting that there are whole blocks selling ribbon, then blocks selling buttons, etc). I bought buttons in two different stores – the first was Wing Fung Industrial where I was served by the owner, Danny. I collected all my buttons in a little basket trying to calculate the cost in my head (you will need cash in most of these stores, although some take credit cards). I gave up counting at around HK$300, but Danny took one look at all the sorting he would have to do and offered them all to me for HK$50 – er that’s AU$7 for more than 100 buttons! I also bought some bra making bits here.
We then found another button store in Ki Lung Street called Global Button Manufacturing Ltd, where the buttons looked like lollies. More were purchased here!
I had heard rumours of cheap zips, but unfortunately it was now lunchtime and some of the stores were closed. However, we found one that was open – Wai Hing Zipper Button Mfy in Shek Kip Mei Street and I bought the odd invisible zip (chronic understatement) for HK$3. This is less than 40cents. I bought a variety of colours and sizes and am now set for several lifetimes!
In Nam Cheong Street we found elastic and I bought a small selection to make belts. I found leopard skin (drool), blingy, studded, knitted, all sorts of elastic.
We then turned to the fabric stores (yes, the purpose of the post and the visit!). Oh my word, the stores, the stalls, the fabrics!
Many of the shops had samples to be selected from, ordered and the buyer would need to go back to collect the cut fabric. Some also had minimum purchases of 5 yards.
I knew this would be impossible (although knitted denim was very appealing!) so we found a stall selling some dodgy flannelette (my sole mission) and the man took us upstairs to the warehouse and cut whatever we (the royal we, I was the only one buying) fancied. I was reasonably restrained. Don’t worry, the restraint didn’t last! My next post will explore fabric buying on Hong Kong island. You’ll be pleased to know that it will be a much shorter post.
If you are going to Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po is a must destination. We were probably the only westerners there (I only realised this when reflecting on the day), but everyone left us alone, we felt safe, and very welcome in most of the shops. This is in complete contrast to Nathan Road where we were hassled endlessly to buy watches and bags. We were also able to cross the road without taking our lives in our hands, and did spend most of our time there zig zagging across the various streets (and clutching each other in sheer delight). This suburb of HK is also home to lots of other sewing notions, but I managed to stay away from them. However, if you are wanting/needing cord, needles, pins, thread, etc, this is definitely the place for you.