Sewing supplies in Manila – South side!

Living in Makati will always be near and dear to my heart but The Part Time Homemaker is soon going to pack her bags and move to the South!  When our little girl came along we decided to buy a house and we are nearly done with the renovations (which of course took much longer than we would’ve liked!)

Although I definitely don’t look forward to paying for toll in SLEX, I can’t wait to see my precious daughter take her first steps in a place with some space for her to run around.  And of course I’m beyond excited to cook in my totally remodeled kitchen.  Yahoo!!!  We had no choice but to put a lot of our wedding gifts (the big appliances, etc) in storage since our flat isn’t big enough for a full set of appliances.  Plus I have a sewing room…well until another baby comes along!  🙂

So anyway, this weekend we found ourselves in Alabang Town Center.  I was happy to see that they’ve done a lot of renovations, with a lot of my favorite restaurants now in the South!  I was on the hunt for bamboo steamers in Metro Department Store since I wanted to make shu mai, and I ran into Carolina’s which had a pretty good selection of sewing and craft supplies.

They had headpieces, beads and buttons in every color:


Carolina’s Metro Alabang Town Center

Beads, necklaces and more headpieces:




Tassels for whatever purpose you desire:20130210-233513.jpg



Furry accents for make your own feather boas, shiny ribbons, silver and gold chains:20130210-233531.jpg

Of course they had their usual selection of fabric too.  Nice to know that I have a place for fabric and supplies that is pretty near even when we finally move.  🙂



Back from a blogging hiatus! And some Singapore fabric shopping!

Hi everyone!  I’ve been gone for way too long…got caught up in the joys (and little troubles) of first-time mommyhood as well as beginning to renovate our new (old) home.  Hope all of you are doing well!

I returned to work last July after 78 days with our little girl.  I thought I would be able to get a lot of sewing projects done during my maternity leave…But since I didn’t have help for the duration of my leave I wasn’t really able to get much done.  I don’t recommend not getting some sort of help when you’re taking care of a newborn…I barely slept for the first 2 weeks!  🙂

Girls will be girls though and I was still able to squeeze in a little shopping during my leave.   The week before I went back to work my husband and I took a trip to Singapore for a little quality time together.  Luckily, in between all the sightseeing and culinary adventures, I was able to hit up some sewing and crafts stores.  🙂  I didn’t have much time so I was only able to visit 3 areas, Spotlight in Plaza Singapura, People’s Park Centre in Chinatown, and Mustafa Centre in Little India.  I was able to go to all these places because the hubby wanted to check out electronics too.  I wanted to go to Arab Street so badly but we didn’t have time to go there  just for fabric.

Spotlight had a lot of fabric, you name it and they’ve probably got it.  This is located at the top floor of Plaza Singapura Mall.  They had all types of cotton (including voile which is hard to find in Manila), denim, mesh, formal wear fabric, the list goes  on.  They also had a lot of notions and an area where you can have clothes tailored!  I had a lot of fun looking around Spotlight, but I just purchased a few Schmetz ballpoint needles since my fabric stash is going out of control.

Spotlight, Plaza Singapura

Fabric in Spotlight, Plaza Singapura

Fabric for formal wear/party wear at Spotlight, Plaza Singapura

I actually bought more fabric in Mustafa but I wasn’t able to take pictures because I didn’t bring my iPhone with me.  Mustafa is the famous 24 hour shopping mall in Singapore where we went to check out electronics (again!).  I was able to get some gorgeous off-white silk, cute material for shorts, and some pretty cotton.  I’ll try to take pictures as soon as I can.  🙂

Sewing supplies in Divisoria!

In my post about sewing supplies in Manila, I mentioned the great fabric finds in Divisoria along Ilaya St where we bought the tela/fabric for our godparents.  This weekend, I was finally able to make a short but sweet trip to Divisoria to look for some sewing notions/supplies that I needed.  We went on a Sunday because we thought (emphasis on thought) that there wouldn’t be any traffic and that there would be fewer people than usual.  We headed to Binondo and we decided to drive through Juan Luna street (first big mistake) so that I could get to Ilaya street for the fabric and Tabora to look for some sewing supplies/notions.

It took my husband 2 hours to drive through Juan Luna street (this was insane since it was only around a 300 m stretch that we had to drive through).  Traffic was crazy because of the rush of people and vendors that turned the supposedly 2 lane streets into almost pedestrian-only streets.  We had fun though even during the crazy traffic part since we were able to people watch and snack on steamed white corn, boiled peanuts and ponkan oranges.  Good thing my husband is so patient with my hobbies!  Hehehe!  But  next time I would park in one of the nearby malls like 168, 999, or the newly opened Lucky Chinatown Mall and just walk from there since they are all just a few streets away.

Here’s a rough map I made for those of you who want to make the trip to Divisoria for sewing supplies, it really is worth it when you think about the variety available and how much you can save.  I wish I had pictures but I wouldn’t feel safe walking around this area with an SLR camera…actually it would be smarter just to bring your cash and a cellphone to communicate with whoever you’re with.  No jewelry please!  You can park in one of the malls or near the church and just walk, it really isn’t that far and it will save you a lot of time.  Plus there’s tons of street food and things to buy along the way so it’s not a boring walk at all.

I got down along Juan Luna and headed to Tabora street first and I was pleasantly surprised to find so many types of materials for sale even if the bigger stores (Wellmanson’s, Good Morning, Morning Glory) were closed since it was Sunday.  Those bigger stores are partially hidden by all the vendors on the street…look up and you’ll see their signs if you want to find them.

I went into some of the smaller stores that were open even on Sunday, and I was able to find the following:

  • Cotton twill tape which I’ve been searching for high and low since some of the patterns I have call for this to reinforce shoulder or side seams (like the Sewaholic patterns I’m excited to try)
    • This only cost 100-120 Php or less than 3 USD for a roll depending on the thickness
    • I bought black and off white, they have quite a selection of twill tape
  • Pretty elastic in a good range of colors, with and without embellishments
  • Bias tape in a whole lot of colors
  • Assorted sewing thread, much much cheaper than Carolina’s
    • Since I bought quite a bit of thread I was able to get a better price: 12 spools of thread (1000 m each) for 180 pesos (around 4 USD)
  • Ultra cheap serger/zigzag/overlock machine thread that the saleslady informed me was usually purchased by local businesses or those who take orders for clothes, and better quality cones of thread that I still found very reasonably priced
    • The better quality cones of thread are sold at 35 pesos for white thread and 38 pesos for all other colors.  If you sew for yourself I think it would be better to get these instead.
  • Black 1/4 inch elastic is 300 Php for 155 yards (around 7.5 USD)
  • A pair of heavy duty dressmaking shears for 220 pesos (around 5 USD)
    • These work way better than the expensive scissors I bought in Fabricland in Canada!
  • Lace and other rickrack at 5-10 pesos (a dime) per yard versus 20 pesos up in the malls
  • Buttons starting at 50 centavos per piece (a penny per button!!!) to 4 pesos for the nicer kinds
  • Seam rippers for 15 pesos, tailors chalk at a fraction of the cost in bookstores/malls
I also saw the following although I didn’t check on the prices:
  • Bag closures
  • Belt buckles
  • Patches, clips
  • Beads (175 Php for a big pack) and other jewelry making supplies – bangles, headbands, etc
Here’s my thread, 24 spools for 360 pesos:
And my twill tape which they call cotton tape:

What I didn’t find:

  • Still no fusible interfacing or sewing patterns!
  • Twin needles/stretch/ballpoint needles for sewing machines

It’s worth noting that I didn’t really take the time to haggle so much for the items that I just bought 1-2 pieces of, but I’m sure you could purchase the items I mentioned much much cheaper.  I took so much time looking around the supplies/notions that I had to rush back to meet my husband and wasn’t able to spend much time in the fabric area.  On the way back to Juan Luna, I passed by Ilaya street but they mostly had fabrics for curtains and crafts being sold on piles in the street.  They had a whole lot of cheap fabric at 20-50 pesos per yard, perfect for making muslins, curtains, craft items and nice throw pillows, but probably not for garments.  Printed cotton and canvas were at around 45 pesos per yard.  They had lots of Gina silk everywhere.  Finished curtains are available from 100/yard up.  The other fabric stalls were closed since it was Sunday but I’ll definitely be back next time when I have a little more time on my hands.  I was definitely a happy camper with my great finds last weekend!  Hope this helps those of you who are thinking of making the trip to Divisoria to buy sewing supplies!

Sewing supplies and fabric in Manila

Ever since I got interested in sewing, I’ve been on the lookout for sewing supplies and fabric in Manila.  The range available here is definitely a lot less than available abroad, especially for the sewing notions and sewing machine supplies, but there’s still a lot to work with.  🙂  Here’s what I have so far, will keep updating it with new finds:

Fabric/Tela in Manila

Most stores I’ve been to have a similar range of available fabric, with a lot of plain and printed cotton, knits (jersey, rayon knits, modal, copra knits), denim, silk, organdy, chiffon, and georgette.  Most of the fabric shops only carry fabric and do not have any notions or sewing supplies, which you will have to purchase in a different store.  Here are some of the shops I’ve been to lately:

Cotton Depot (3/F Glorietta 5, Festival Mall and Mall Of Asia) – Cotton Depot carries a wide range of cotton, from broadcloth to muslin to local and Japanese cotton.  The price ranges from 60 Php/yard for the ordinary cotton to 220/yard for Japanese cotton.  They have twill, Cavali twill (220/yard), corduroy, eyelet cotton, crepe (120/yard), jacquard (120/yard), flannel (120/yard), chiffon (100/yard) and several types of denim at 150/yard.  Pique (130/yard), bubble tea satin (180/yard), super merino (750/yard), printed muslin (230/yard), cotton silk (100/yard) are also available.  They also have canvas that works well for grocery bags and the like (I bought some at 120 per yard) and interfacing ranging from 25 pesos/yard for the lightweight interfacing to 45 pesos/yard for the heavy interfacing.  They don’t have fusible interfacing, you can get that at Carolina’s as I mentioned in this post.  Contact numbers:  SM MOA Branch- 8040245, Glorietta 5 Branch- 8367410.  Or you can visit their website here.

Fabric in Cotton Depot, Glorietta 5

Fanbi (Greenbelt 1, 1st Floor) – Fanbi is quite expensive compared to all the other fabric stores I’ve visited.  They have a lot of plain and printed jersey knits (around 250-320 Php per yard), plain, striped and checkered cotton shirtings for office wear (300 Php/yard), suiting fabric, modal, spandex, cotton voile, silk, georgette, and cute printed Japanese cotton at 280/yard.  Not the best value in terms of price per yard.

Fabric in Fanbi, Greenbelt 1

Fabric Warehouse (3/F Glorietta 5, Greenhills, Libis, North EDSA, Megamall, SM Southmall) – Fabric warehouse has most types of fabric, they have plain and printed cotton, rayon knits, jersey (160 per yard), georgette, chiffon, embroidered cotton, etc.  Maybe you can tell that I have been amassing a huge stash that I don’t know what to do with…yet.  Hehe.  Their contact numbers are as follows:  Greenhills (02) 584-8247 or 721-6608, Makati (02) 846-5403 or 728-030, Libis (02) 655-4019, North EDSA (02) 927-4124, Megamall (02) 470-1971, and SM Southmall (02) 805-2481.

Carolina’s (3/F Glorietta 5, Megamall) – Carolina’s has taffeta, satin, organza, jersey knits, georgette, chiffon, silk for lining, sew-in and fusible interfacing, but oddly no cotton.  There are 2 Carolina’s shops in Glorietta 5, the one on the top floor carries their fabric and the one on the ground floor has all the notions.  In the Megamall store, fabric and notions are together.

Expressions (Glorietta 4 and Shangri-La Mall) – Similar assortment of fabric as the other stores, they have nice jersey knits and cottons.  They have some designer fabric in their Shangri-La Mall branch, I picked up some linen that would be perfect for shift dresses or cool summer tops.

Ilaya Street and Tutuban in Divisoria – If you’re up to the excitement and chaos that is Divisoria, there are definitely a lot of great finds just waiting to be discovered.  This is where we got the fabric for our wedding, and it was definitely much cheaper than you can get it in the malls.  Set aside at least half a day to look around.  I have a post on this here.

Designer Prints – We Love Sewing blogged about a shop called Designer Prints in Greenhills here, They’re located in the second floor of Shoppesville across Krispy Kreme, contact numbers are (02)724-81-65/723-69-09.  I recently went to check it out, and I left the store with some imported jersey, striped silk, and some knits for comfy summer tops that I want to make.  They are a bit pricier than Fabric Warehouse/Carolina’s but they do have fabric that designs I haven’t seen elsewhere and the staff is much more friendly than in other shops.

SM Megamall Fabric Shops – There are a lot of fabric shops in the basement of SM Megamall, Fine Fancy and Bloomingdales are right beside Fabric Warehouse:

Carolina’s, Metro Department Store, Alabang Town CenterI have a post on it here

Sewing materials and notions

If you want to buy a lot of sewing notions, I’d suggest you head over to Divisoria for better prices and variety, I have a post on it here.  But if you don’t have the time or the energy to brave the crowds there, Carolina’s Lace Shoppe in Glorietta 5 (02-5013781) and Megamall carries the following:

  • Sewing thread
    • Astra and Globe brands, from small spools to 3000 m cones
    • Embroidery thread/cross stitching thread (DMC)
    • Crochet yarn/thread
    • Elastic thread (white and black)
  • Zippers (lengths ranging from 8 to 20 inches), regular YKK and invisible zippers
  • Assorted buttons in almost every color
  • Lace
    • Ordinary lace in a variety of colors
    • Imported bridal lace for wedding gowns (I saw this in Carolina’s Megamall)
  • Ruffles in several types of material and different designs and widths
  • Ribbons, a decent selection
  • Sewing machine needles
    • High speed and ordinary in sizes from 11 to 18 only
  • Rickrack
  • Elastic
    • Black and white only ranging in width from 1/4 inch which sells for 2 pesos per yard to 3 inches which sells for 22 pesos per yard
  • Bias tape in very basic colors (black, red, pink, white)
  • Plain brown pattern paper and tracing wheels
  • Tailors chalk
  • Beads, wires and sequins and other materials for beading enthusiasts
  • Small pouches for crafts
  • Cloth flowers
  • Feather boas (!?!) and other embellishments (I saw some really pretty laser cut flowers that would look great on a polo shirt)

Assorted lace, trim, rickrack in Carolina’s Greenbelt 5

I have seen low-priced notions in Japanese home stores like Saizen but I’m not so sure about the quality of the supplies here.

Pattern-Making and Cutting Tools

You can find your basic pattern making and cutting tools in National Bookstore:

  • Rulers and self-healing cutting mats (I saw a 60 x 45 cm mat for 504 pesos) although they don’t carry very big sizes
  • Scissors of all kinds (make sure you get one for cloth only and one for your paper/patterns)
  • Rotary cutter (out of stock though every time I’ve checked)
  • Tracing wheel (not the very good kind though)
  • Colored pencils for marking your patterns
  • Tracing paper but the biggest size they have is only 20 by 30 inches.  8 sheets costs 147.75 pesos
  • They have a small sewing section with your basic hand sewing needles, pins, pin cushions, and thread

I was able to get most of my stuff in Fabricland (dressmaking shears, tailors chalk and pens), Michael’s (Olfa rotary cutter and ruler) and Walmart abroad when I was on vacation since I wasn’t sure what was available here at the time.

For more specialized materials I’ve seen Manila Fashion Supplies online for Dritz, Fairgate and C Thru brand supplies if you’re really serious about sewing.  I personally haven’t ordered anything from them yet but I will if I really get into sewing and there are tools I really need.  And of course there’s always Amazon and eBay if you don’t mind the shipping cost or if you have relatives abroad that are due for a trip back to the Philippines.  🙂

Sewing Machines

Aside from Glorietta 5, SM appliance stores, and the sewing machine area everyone knows about near the pier, you can also check out the sewing machines on multiply on this site although I’ve had no experience buying from them.

Sewing supplies I haven’t found in Manila yet

Here are the things I haven’t been able to find a source for yet, if anyone knows where I can get any of these please do let me know.  🙂

  • Fusible interfacing (Found!  Update as of April 2012 here)
  • Ballpoint or stretch sewing machine needles (for knit fabrics)
  • Different types of presser feet for sewing machines
  • Dressmaking chalk pens
  • Sewing patterns (Butterick, Simplicity, McCalls, Vogue, are all nowhere to be found!!!)
  • Sewing organizers (bobbin/thread organizers)