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Message Board > Fabrics and more... > Fabric shopping in Beijing, China ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Fabric shopping in Beijing, China
stores and markets
Twinset
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Twinset  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/15/13 2:35 PM

I'll be in Beijing in November and would like to know if there are not to be missed fabric stores, or markets. I'm looking for good quality fabric. I've read the old threads, but I'm looking for updated info. I always like to shop for notions, too.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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http://www.jazz-couture.blogspot.com/
Before joining PR: 1 sewing machine
Since joining PR: 6 sewing machines, kilometers of stash and tons of fun

rivergum
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rivergum
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Date: 9/15/13 4:38 PM

Hi Twinset, I have been going to Beijing every year for the last five years on my way to Europe. There is a mountain of fabric in Beijing, but the problem is finding what you want. It's a bit like a needle in a haystack.

First of all, I have not seen much of a selection at the tourist markets, such a the Pearl Market or Yashow Market. The fabric is expensive and the silks are generally not to my taste.

The main fabric market in Beijing is Muxiyuan. It is beyond huge, more like an area of the city. Everything is aso very far flung, so there is a lot of walking to explore even a part of it, and while individual shops will be heated, a lot of walking will be outdoors.

I have been here several times, and it depends a lot which part of the 'market' the taxi driver drops you off as to what your experience will be. You can strike it lucky, or you can wander for hours seeing little more than junk.

Also be aware that it can be very hard to get a taxi in Beijing in peak hours these days, so while the hotel will have taxis available to take you, returning could be a problem.

My advice would be to ask the concierge at the hotel how to get to the subway station nearest to Muxiyuan, then either walk or get a taxi from ther ((ask the hotel to write the destination down for you for the taxi driver). Make sure you know how to get back to the subway just in case.

If you Google Muxiyuan plus fabric market, you will find quite a bit of info that may be useful.

I have travelled I Asia a lot, but I have to say that I haven't sewn up much of the fabric I bought there. The aesthetic is quite different. I also always suffer from fabric overload, as there is so much there to choose from that I get overwhelmed.

That said, all the fabric you want to buy is there, you just have to find it! Be sure to take some matches for a burn test, as often poly is called silk (have the Chinese for silk etc written down for you at the hotel). I'm not sure if they mean to cheat , as the prices for poly and silk are pretty much the same.

Good luck! It is certainly an adventure.

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Taking in is happier than letting out.

Sydney, Australia

Twinset
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Twinset  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/15/13 5:33 PM

Wow, thank you for the detailed answer. I'll be prepared to walk, and spend a couple of hours at that market. I'm not looking for anything specific, but just good quality in general as I like to come back from a trip with fabric from the country. But I think I know what you mean when you say the aesthetic is different. When I look at printed silk from China vendors on Ebay for example, the prints are generally not my taste. I'd be happy if I could find good quality solid charmeuse for example. Or anything good, really.

Have you heard of brick and mortar fabric stores? There must some I'm sure.

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http://www.jazz-couture.blogspot.com/
Before joining PR: 1 sewing machine
Since joining PR: 6 sewing machines, kilometers of stash and tons of fun

TGWGWS
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Date: 9/16/13 1:59 AM

Take an extra suitcase or bag to fly your fabric back. I bought so much fabric in Vancouver my suitcase was over weight. Airline rules are strange...I could have two fifty pound suitcases, but not one 100 pound suitcase. I had to pay extra for being overweight
-- Edited on 9/16/13 1:59 AM --

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FreyaStark
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In reply to rivergum <<
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Date: 9/16/13 3:11 AM

In Asia, I have heard polyester described as "washable silk" or something similar (e.g. Korean silk, although I don't remember the exact term). Looking at the selvedge is a good idea because sometimes something relevant is printed on it, e.g. "Pura seta" if it's Italian.
I too have bought silks that I still haven't run up several years later. It is too easy to go overboard.

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"To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world."

Twinset
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Twinset  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/16/13 10:01 AM

I'm thinking of shipping the fabric instead of bringing it in my suitcase!

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http://www.jazz-couture.blogspot.com/
Before joining PR: 1 sewing machine
Since joining PR: 6 sewing machines, kilometers of stash and tons of fun

sewdoggie22
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Date: 9/16/13 11:56 AM

I tried to ship my fabric from Paris only to have trouble at their post office and found it very expensive.
Instead, I bought collapsible suitcases make of a fiber cloth at the flea market for about $3.

The fellow at the check-in at the airport laughed at me and let me ship the bags for free. He said something in French to the other two behind the counter and they laughed too. It was the first time I enjoyed being an old lady, they probably thought I was their grandmere.

Now I always carry those folding bags and am ready to buy whatever. They're quite sturdy.

Always buy more than you need so you have no regrets when you get homeIn London I didn't buy some cashmere and have regretted it ever since. I still have no use for it, but...

rivergum
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rivergum
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In reply to Twinset <<


Date: 9/16/13 4:55 PM

Quote:
Have you heard of brick and mortar fabric stores? There must some I'm sure.


Not really. Yashow market has fabric in tailor shops but it is too expensive for my taste. Fabric shops seem to congregate in China, and then you have a fabric market.

BTW, shipping out of a post office in Beijing back to Canada is no less expensive then shipping from Canada, i.e. shipping prices are pretty international.

In my experience the US have the best prices for silk. Go figure!

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Taking in is happier than letting out.

Sydney, Australia

rivergum
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rivergum
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Date: 9/16/13 5:23 PM

Just another thought, while I don't fabric shop much in Beijing, I still love it for pearls, cashmere, semi precious stones to make my own jewellery and handbags. Let me know if you are interested in any of these and I can give you a few tips where to buy.

------
Taking in is happier than letting out.

Sydney, Australia

Twinset
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Twinset  Friend of PR
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In reply to rivergum <<
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Date: 9/16/13 8:50 PM

Interesting. So I guess I'll go to the market and be prepared to walk. The good thing is I'll be with a Chinese friend, so maybe she'll direct me to the right spots. I don't have specific expectations for fabrics, as long as they're quality I'd buy pretty much anything. And I don't really expect to buy prints cause they're probably won't be my taste, which would a whole different story if I was in Italy of France. There, it would be dangerous for my wallet!

------
http://www.jazz-couture.blogspot.com/
Before joining PR: 1 sewing machine
Since joining PR: 6 sewing machines, kilometers of stash and tons of fun

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