Japan - Fabric Town

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Before heading to Japan, some friends in AMQG mentioned a place in Tokyo called 'Fabric Town'.  Located just outside the Nippori train station on the Yamanote line are several blocks lined with fabric shops.  They had more kinds of fabric than I ever imagined - quilting fabric, patterned knit, velvet & vinyl, not to mention the countless notions.  It was fabric heaven.

I managed to make two trips there during my month-long stay in Tokyo, which was difficult given that most of the shops in Fabric Town are only open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm and I was working Mon-Sat 9am-9pm.  Luckily, I had a week off from work during my stay in Japan, which included two Saturdays!  I dragged my poor husband there both times, the second time with the lure of lunch at a noodle shop nearby where they made fresh noodles right in front of you.  

The main store for quilt fabric was Tomato, which was 6 stories tall, each story being a different type of fabric.  The quilting fabric was on the 6th floor and has an overwhelming selection of fat quarters.  Not to mention an incredible amount of notions  - purse handles & straps, zippers, templates, etc.  Pure heaven.  I bought a bunch of zippers and some quilting fabric.  Much of the quilting fabric was actually not made in Japan, so I didn't go too crazy here.

Tomato.  From Left: Solid Knits, Pattern Knit, Fat Quarters, Purse Handles

One of the other floors had an amazing selection of knits.  I've recently become obsessed with making knit sleeves to keep me warm in the office, so I was particularly interested in this floor.  I managed to learn the symbols for cotton, polyester, and rayon thanks to google translate on my iPhone.  I didn't end up buying any knit, however, because much of the 100% cotton that I was interested in was $35 per yard...a little too rich for simple office sleeves!  

After leaving Tomato, I scored a ton of Japanese quilting fabric at the store across the street called Tsukiyasu Honten.  The folks working here were SO friendly.  On my second trip I was actually able to complete the entire transaction in Japanese after learning a few more fabric related words!  Tsukiyasu Honten was definitely my favorite shop that I visited and the main reason that I wanted to make the second trip back to Nippori.

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