Instead of talking about fabrics today, I am writing an ad-hoc post on where to buy Japanese sewing books and fabric shopping in Singapore. I have been asked this quite a lot both on this blog and my other blog, so I thought I would use this chance to list down the places that I know, so that it may be useful for those of you either living here or if you are stopping by for a visit. I have listed the nearest MRT station to these places, because it is generally alot easier to get around on the MRT.
For Japanese sewing books
Kinokuniya – www.kinokuniya.com.sg
There are four branches of this giant chain of Japanese bookstores, but I highly recommend the one at Ngee Ann City (Orchard MRT Station) which is on the main Orchard Rd shopping belt. It is the most convenient for tourists especially if you are at Orchard Road for a day of shopping, plus it is huge and has a great selection of Japanese books. It is also the one I go to the most due to its location.
The second one is the Liang Court branch (Clarke Quay) –
located a bit further from the main stretch of shopping, this branch is a lot smaller in size but as this mall is frequented by lots of Japanese expatriates, the books here are usually available for browsing (i.e. not wrapped up in plastic) and there is also a good selection of Japanese books. Both of them have a stationery section that is run by NBC bookstore that may be a major source of distraction :P. Lots of cute characters from Sanrio, San-x, and even Shinzi Katoh. There is also a fabulous Japanese supermarket at the basement of Liang Court called Meidi-ya which sells alot of imported Japanese foods if you are looking for that too.
The other two branches are at Bugis and Jurong East (the new JEM mall). The Bugis one is quite small, and I haven’t been to the JEM one at all since it just opened and Jurong East is kind of too far out in the west for me (Yup it’s on the Western part of Singapore)
For Fabrics (both Japanese fabrics and other fabrics)
- People’s Park at Chinatown– (right outside Chinatown MRT Station)
View Larger Map
The place that I go to most often is on the second floor of the Food centre at Blk 32 (see picture above). The food centre (you can’t miss it, it’s bustling with food stalls and people) is right in front of you when you exit the MRT station. Take the escalators or stairs to the second floor and you will find the fabric shops. (I know, it’s strange that the fabrics are being sold over a food centre, but believe me, both the fabric shops and food centre have been there since I was a little girl and followed my Mum to buy fabrics).
In particular, you can look for this shop called Malin Textiles, they carry alot of Japanese fabrics including Sevenberry, Kokka, Yuwa etc and the cutesy ones like Hello Kitty and other characters. They have two stores (Level 2 number #1134 & #1122) that are along the same row but not side by side, and another one called Maggie Textiles that sells all sorts of fabrics, and they are my source for buying linen in Singapore. There is cotton linen, european linen, Japanese linen, in all kinds of colors. And much cheaper than Spotlight. There are also lots of other fabric shops to browse through.When you are done exploring this place, walk across to the building across the street called People’s Park Centre (you need to take an overhead bridge from the second floor of the food centre). In this building, there are a few craft shops selling Japanese fabrics and lots of sewing related goods. They are not easy to find though, because at first glance you may think you are in the wrong place because there are so many travel agencies and all kinds of other shops, but it is worth the search. In this building you will find : Golden dragon Unit #02-51 and Sing Mui Heng Unit #01-05A and some other shops that I do not know the name to, but apparently you can find some Japanese fabrics too. Here you can find a selection of Japanese fabrics, but they are not cheap. After you are done with your fabric and craft shopping, remember you are right in the middle of a tourist spot, so walk down Chinatown and catch some sights as well.
- Arab Street see map (Bugis MRT Station)
This is another place that you can combine some sight-seeing and fabric shopping. Rows of shophouses with lots of fabric shops. This street has lots and lots of fabrics. Any type of fabric you can think of, from silks to cottons, to lace, to brocade… but be prepared to bargain, and walk around before deciding because you may find the same things in a shop further down for less. I have not been here for ages though, because the traffic is bad and parking is difficult. But you can find lots of fabrics here. I heard some of the shops sell Japanese fabrics too.
- Textile Centre see map(Lavender MRT Station) –
This is where I go when I want to buy stuff like zips, buttons, and other sewing notions in bulk. Note, that despite its name, it’s not a place to go for buying fabrics. There are a few shops with some fabrics (read on), but this is more of a wholesale place, and most of the building is made up of offices. I believe there used to be more fabric shops here but now it’s mainly offices, probably still dealing with textile trade, but they don’t sell fabric by the metre here if that’s what you are thinking. There are 3 or 4 shops on the ground floor selling things like ribbons, straps, zips, threads, buttons etc. There is also a Sing Mui Heng here that sells mainly to factories and wholesalers, but they do stock some Japanese fabrics, including fat quarters and pre-cut fabrics as well as off the bolt. They also have some cute printed ribbons/tapes that you can use as labels. I even found the large covered button shell for making macaron cases here. There is another shop that sells all kinds of bag straps and buckles, and another shop that is full of YKK zips in every color! If you don’t have much time or you are just looking for fabrics, you can skip this one unless you have a hard time finding basic things like zippers and buckles in your own country, or if you want a large quantity of say, buttons and zips. It is much cheaper to buy these in Textile Centre because they sell everything in bulk.
- Spotlight (for other fabrics) see map (underground link from Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station) I have not seen Japanese fabrics here other than some imported ones like Japanese cotton lawn, which are imported from Japan but if you are looking for specific brands like Kokka, Lecien, Yuwa, Sevenberry etc, this is not the place to go. This is more for buying other fabrics in general, and they have wide range of apparel, upholstery, curtain, quilting fabrics. Spotlight is big, and conveniently located on the 5th floor of Plaza Singapura. Good if you want to shop without the heat. Generally expensive due to its location, although if you dig through the bargain section you might be able to find something cheap. Sometimes you can find cute prints. Also a good source for other household products or crafts.
For Japanese stationery and other cute stuff
- NBC Bookstore – Japanese stationery and gifts. Various locations, including the stationery department of Kinokuniya. Check their website for other locations.
- Daiso – the $2 store–
This is the same chain as the famous 100yen shop in Japan, there is a big one located in Plaza Singapura (where Spotlight is), and lots of branches all over the island. Mind boggling range of items for $2 each. Everytime I come here, I forget what I came for, and end up buying lots of other things instead. Lots of cute stationeries, sewing goods. Including hard to find elsewhere metal purse frames, covered button kits, cut fabric, large sheets of felt, the list goes on….
- Nippon-ya – Buy Japanese souveneirs without even leaving the country. Level B4, Ion Orchard. There is also Muji and a Royce Chocolate (both famous Japanese brands) a few doors away from Nippon-Ya on the same floor.
Well, these are the places I frequent, if you know of any other places I’ve missed out, do leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list.
I will be back next Wednesday to talk about fabrics, so see you then!