Friday, July 28, 2017

Quilting Shops in Tokyo: Tomato

I mentioned in a previous post about my visit to the Nippori Fabric Town that I was only able to visit one shop -- Tomato. It's the biggest fabric shop in the area. If you're coming from Nippori Station it's on the left side of Nippori Chuo Dori street. It's fairly easy to find since it's five floors worth of fabric goodness.

Before I went to the main shop I made a detour to a smaller Tomato shop that had everything in it on sale. I managed to buy fabric at just 100 yen per meter/yard! I went crazy and bought a lot of backing material since it's much cheaper than what I buy in Divisoria in the Philippines. I was also able to purchase wadding with backing at 200 yen per meter. They had a wide variety of fabric on sale. What was interesting to me were the Japanese fabrics.

I thought the detour was already THE Tomato shop and I was ready to go back to the hotel. I was ecstatic when I found out that it was just a tiny "sale" shop and that the main shop was just a few steps away. I was awed with the endless bolts of fabric from the entrance. I didn't know where to look first! Here's what they have floor by floor at Tomato -

1F - Discount Floor; 2F - Knit Floor; 3F- Luxury Fabric Floor; 
4F - Cotton and Character Print Floor; 5F - Patchwork and Bag Floor

After quickly going around the ground floor I headed straight to the fifth floor where all the quilting fabric is located. My eyes feasted on the available Western and Asian fabric organized by type and color. It will make you dream about having your own fabric room! I had already splurged on purchasing backing so I held back in indulging to purchase new quilting fabric. 

It was in the fourth floor though that I gave in. They had a gazillion kawaii fabric. Star Wars, Hello Kitty, Pooh and famous Japanese characters like Gudatema, Doraemon etc.. I wanted it all! But they were one of the most expensive per meter so I controlled myself from going crazy. 

After going around the fourth floor a couple of times I just browsed through the third and second floor to check out what was available there. I ended up getting a few things from the first floor since there were a lot of interesting fabrics. 

I hope I would have time to visit Tomato again when I get a chance to visit Tokyo. 

How to get there: head to Nippori Station (I have details here).

Friday, July 21, 2017

Quilting Shops in Tokyo: Nippori Fabric Town

I've been visiting Tokyo fairly often lately and I finally got to check if there were any great fabric shops. I did some research and found out that if you have very limited time there's one must go-to place for craft makers in Tokyo -- the Nippori Fabric Town. Everything for your sewing need is available there and at very affordable prices.

How to Get There

I used Google Maps to find my way there, so from wherever you are coming from within Tokyo just get yourself to the Nippori Station which is on the Yamanote Line.  After offboarding the train follow the exit path to the South Gate.

Go down the stairs.

Cross the street and turn left. You'll see the Cozy Corner shop.

Turn right after the shop. You'll see this signage.

Then cross the street.

Turn to the right and just go straight. You'll start seeing dress shops and fabric shops.

What You'll See

I only had about two hours to go through the Nippori Sen-i Gai (Fabric Town) so I just targeted to go through (from to to bottom) one place. There were many different shops that offered a wide variety of fabric. There's fabric for sewing clothing, curtains, making sofa covers, quilting, lace, gowns and even leather and there was a lot of notions as well. There were also sewing machine shops, both for home and industrial sewing.

I would suggest spending at least half a day at Nippori Fabric Town so you have enough time to browse through the many different shops. Also best to bring a large bag (or a bag with wheels) if you intend to purchase a lot of things.  A map of the textile town is available here. Shops are usually open until 6pm.

I spent all my time at Tomato. I'll post a bit more about that later.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Let's Talk About Quilting Thread

There's a different type of thread used for quilting. When my Mom taught me how to quilt when I was in high school she used to buy thread from Divisoria. The brand was J&P Coats. Compared to the usual ordinary thread, quilting thread is a bit thicker and has a nice sheen to it. I was always in a hurry to finish piecing together my projects so I could move on to the quilting part. Quilting is challenging because you have to try your best to stitch consistently.

When I took up quilting again two years ago I tried to look for the brand my Mom always used - J&P Coats. Surprisingly I couldn't find any across Asia. It's either they stopped manufacturing quilting thread or it's no longer distributed in Asia. I've found an alternative that's more or less the same - Gutermann Creativ. I love that they have thread available in many different colors. I so far only buy the hand quilting thread, but they also have machine quilting thread available.

My friend Mary said that the sickness of crafters is collecting many variants of materials. I've had to keep myself from buying different colors of thread. I've so far kept to the primary colors. I have so far finished several spools of black and navy blue. So far I rarely use green and yellow.

What about you? What brand of quilting thread do you use? What's your favorite color?

*Tip: In Singapore, Gutermann Creative quilting thread is cheaper at Art Friend than Spotlight. Colors though are a bit limited.