Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hong Kong: Fabric Shopping in Sham Shui Po

In anticipation of our trip to Hong Kong, I did a little bit of research on fabric shopping, figuring it could be a jackpot for that type of thing.  Sure enough, it was!  

Thanks to bloggers here, here, here and here for leading me to this fabric Valhalla! 

Relative to the big, shiny skyscrapers elsewhere in Hong Kong, like Kowloon or Central, the Sham Shui Po area has a very throw-back feel to it... lots of old buildings and street markets. Check out all the crazy signage... looks like something out of a movie:

Apparently it was one of the first areas in Hong Kong that was settled back in the day and is now where many working class Hong Kong folks live.

Ok, back to the fabric shopping. There are a ton of fabric shops in the Sham Shui Po area.  Some are regular stores with bolts of fabric:

Many of them, though, only have fabric swatches. They seem more geared towards wholesale shoppers:

Lots of leather, button and findings stores, crammed to the gills with product:

Most of my shopping, though, was from carts and makeshift booths in the street out in front of the shops. There was fabric on rolls and pre-cut pieces, all being sold for crazy cheap prices. Mostly garment fabrics- nary a piece of quilting cotton to be seen!

What did I buy? A lot. 

I came home with a ton of lovely stretch wovens: 
- stretch denim in two colors
- cool grey stripey stuff
- weird, but awesome silver-on-black stuff

I also got some nice knits: 
- an enormous piece of super soft black ponte (some of which I already used to make my Tilly and the Buttons Coco tunic
-some light blue and grey heather jersey
All super cheap: nothing more than $3/yard!

In the pile on the right:
- two pieces of seersucker, one striped and one small checks
- a piece of bright coral gauze
- pretty mustard lawn
- gorgeous blue and green floral voile
- lightweight chambray
- some linen-y bottomweight stuff... maybe a blend?

What did Tim get out of this trip? Practice with the camera and dim sum.
I read about a great dim sum place, Tim Ho Wan, not far from the fabric district and used this as leverage to convince Tim to join me in fabric shopping. Plus, dim sum.  Mmm.

This place was no frills, but had the best BBQ pork bun I've ever had.  It was baked rather than steamed and had this amazing sweet, crispy crust on the outside... after we inhaled our first order, we got a second:

Also, "phoenix talons" might be the best euphemism for chicken feet I've seen:


  1. Wow, looks like you got quite a haul! Do you speak Chinese? How did you do with the communication - that's what I would be worried about. I would have totally bribed my husband with dim sum too!

    1. No Chinese for me- used a combo of hand gestures and typing numbers in the calculator... Plus vendors knew enough English to let you know the price. Man. I am still dreaming of that dim sum!


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