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If you love fabric shopping or looking for craft accessories, Nippori Fabric Town will not let you down with its 1 km of shops full of sewing supplies.

Fabric Shopping in Tokyo – Nippori Fabric Town

If you love fabric shopping or looking for craft accessories, Nippori Fabric Town will not let you down with its 1 km of shops full of sewing supplies.

My dressmaker friend is always going fabric shopping in Japan. On her last trip there she bought many beautiful types of fabrics that I had never seen before.  I finally went fabric shopping with her in Tokyo last month. It was such a great experience that I think I will make this trip an annual event!

Tokyo, a city full of vibe and rich in culture. Everyone thinks of shopping, amazing food, temples and hot springs when travelling to Tokyo. I have been there many times, and just like other travelers, I am fascinated by their beautiful shops and the complicated train network.

Nippori Fabric Town

Nippori Fabric Town is a place all textile crafters should visit to fabric shop. This cozy district is hidden in the city of Tokyo. You can find all kind of textiles, accessories and anything fabric-related here. My spirit was lifted as soon as I stepped out of the train station – there was a big sign right outside of the station – Welcome to Nippori Fabric Town!

How to Get There

To get to Nippori, take the JR Yamanote Line (light green color), get off at Nippori station and take the east exit. You will immediately see signs leading to your destination. The Fabric Town is located few minutes from the station. Almost all the shops are situated along this street, but there are some hidden gems in the neighboring streets.

You can also get an official map of the area from most of the shops which shows you almost all the shops location in the area. You can plan your route before starting the shopping spree.

Sewing and Crafters Paradise

Although Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, some districts do have a slower pace. In Nippori, you cannot find skyscrapers or big shopping malls. All the craft shops are small, but every one of them is unique. Each shop has a different specialty, such as webbings, leathers, fabrics, sequins and beads, buttons, sewing machines and other accessories. You can easily spend a day in this area. This was my first time visiting this town and I was so overwhelmed that I spent over hour in just a button shop. My friend pulled. me away and took me to a big store called Tomato with multiple shops along both sides of the street which sells  upholstery, garments, sewing tools and discounted goods. I decided to go into the main shop.

Tomato – Paradise of Fabrics

This place sells everything! The main shop is 5 stories tall, each floor sells different fabrics and accessories. They have a large variety of printed fabrics – from high-end imported prints to traditional Japanese prints. The fifth floor sells mainly imported and designers’ fabrics. The fourth floor sells traditional Japanese printed fabrics and sewing accessories, the third floor sells upholstery and the ground and second floors sell fabrics for formal wear and discounted fabrics. 

If you love fabric shopping or looking for craft accessories, Nippori Fabric Town will not let you down with its 1 km of shops full of sewing supplies.

Don’t worry about choosing so many fabrics that you can’t carry them all; each floor has its own set of rolling fabric baskets which can be used to wheel your selections to the cutting table.

6-44-6 Higashi-Nippori, Arakawa-ku. Open daily, 10am-6pm. www.nippori-tomato.com

Tomato – Seamstresses’ Paradise

Tomato not only has all sorts of fabrics, they also have different accessories – sewing tools, pattern kits, fabric scissors, quilting tools, bag or pouch accessories, sewing floss, different sewing needles, buttons, etc. You can easily spend half day at Tomato! As a first time shopper at Tomato, I bought almost everything, from fabrics to floss. I am lucky that my friend gave me some very useful shopping tips before getting there, such as preparing a list of things you want to buy and the projects you plan to do. This helped me to focus on the things I need instead of just being distracted by all the beautiful fabrics and accessories.

Fabric Shopping and Accessories Will Never Be The Same

Tokyo is a highly populated metropolitan area with advanced technology and one of the busiest train networks in the world. Tokyo preserves its own traditions and handcrafts. After visiting Nippori, I felt their passion to make every single detail perfect. They are so proud of their products when they introduce them to their customers.

My visit to Nippori was an eye opening experience to me. I discovered another side of Japan – friendly and relaxed. Sewing to me is a way to slow down and enjoy the process of creating something stitch by  stitch. If you are planning a trip to Tokyo and you are a sewing enthusiast, put Nippori on your itinerary. It will never let you down.

How to make a Double Happiness Sachet – (Part 2)

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Did you find the Double Happiness embroidery mesmerizing? Although it takes longer time to complete the embroidery, the result of the embroidery, especially with the DMC satin floss, will not let you down. The exceptional sheen that the thread brought cannot be compared with other embroidery floss. The scented sachet I used was bought from a dollar store. You can make your own scented sachet if you have your own. You can also get them from Amazon (MYARO 12 Packs Lavender Scented Sachets). You can make this sachet without hanger so that you can put it in drawer or even put it underneath your pillow to give you a s relaxing good sleep.

You can download the free pattern again ​HERE.

I will show you how to use repetitive pattern for embroidery next week.

How to make a Double Happiness Sachet – (Part 1)

A dear friend of mine asked me to make her a sachet, specifically requesting for a double happiness embroidery. Double Happiness originally refers to the simultaneous arrival of two happy events, namely “Double Happiness”. When people get married, they always post Double Happiness on the door of the wedding room to express their congratulations. I used the DMC satin floss this time for the Double Happiness. This thread is the shiniest DMC thread available. It glides through fabric and brings an exceptional sheen to any embroidery projects.

I am going to show you how to prepare the material and start the embroidery.

You can download the free pattern here ​HERE.

I will show you how to make a Sachet next time.

Essential Tools for Hand Sewing Beginners

Essential Tools for Hand Sewing Beginners

Essential Tools for Hand Sewing Beginners

Sewing is a relaxing hobby which does not require expensive equipment. I love to spend my weekends on my sewing projects. It helps me unwind myself after a hectic week at work. Making your own things by hand-sewing is therapeutic and fulfilling, especially when you are making unique gifts for your loved ones.

Are you not quite sure what you need to get your first sewing project started? Let me share with you what I consider the must-have sewing tools for beginners.

Scissors

All sewers should have 3 pairs of scissors – a pair for cutting fabrics, a pair for embroidery and a pair of paper scissors.

Fabric Scissors (or shears)

This is the most expensive tool you will ever get for sewing. The quality is totally proportional to and reflected by the cost. The higher the price, the better the quality. High quality scissors can cut through all sorts of fabrics. It is worth investing in a good pair; they are safer and easier to use. Use fabric scissors to cut fabrics only. Do not lend them to anyone in your family; you risk them being used to cut something other than fabric and they will lose their edge. Take good care of your fabric scissors and they can last forever.

Gingher 8-Inch Knife Edge Dressmaker's Shears

Gingher Dressmaker's Shears

Embroidery Scissors – These scissors are small with pointy tips. They can cut a normal thread or multi-ply embroidery thread easily. Due to the sharp pointy shears, they can cut through tight areas and get a clean cut without fray.

DMC 61253 Peacock Embroidery Scissor, 3 ¾ inches

DMC Peacock Scissors

Paper Scissors – You might already have these plain paper scissors in your drawer. They can be used for cutting patterns for your sewing projects. Use this pair of scissors for everything, instead of your fabric scissors.

Needles

Hand sewing needles come in different thicknesses, lengths, point shapes and needle eye sizes. They are packaged by type and size – the larger the needle size, the shorter and finer the needle. Use heavy needles on thick fabrics. Use finer needles on delicate fabrics.

Singer Assorted Hand Needles in Compact, 25-Count

You may easily be confused or overwhelmed by all different kinds of needles that are being sold in a store. I recommend buying a variety pack for beginners. It will include needle sizes for all your needs. Singer Assorted Hand Needles 25-Count is an example of a good variety pack.

Thimble

When you are sewing with thick fabrics, you do not want to hurt your fingers and shed blood over your beautiful fabric. A thimble protects your finger when pushing a needle through fabric. They are commonly made from metal, leather and rubber. The specific type of thimble is your own preference. The important thing is to make sure it fits your finger and it doesn’t fell off.  Clover Leather Coin Thimble is an example.

Clover 614C Leather Coin Thimble

Thread

There are different varieties of threads available. The two most commonly used embroidery threads are 6-strand embroidery threads and pearl cotton threads.

6- Strand Embroidery Thread

 Stranded embroidery cotton thread is sometimes being called “Embroidery Floss”. The thread consists of six single threads which you can separate easily. This is most commonly used in embroidery and there are wide range of colors available to choose from.

DMC Embroidery Floss Pack 8.7yd, Holiday Decor 30Pkg

You can choose to thread your needle with one thread or all six strands, depending on the project you are work on or the fabric you are using. The thicker the thread you used, the larger the holes in your fabric. If you use a thick thread on a very fine fabric, the thread will easily displace the fabric. Use one strand for fine and delicate fabric. DMC Embroidery Floss Pack is an example.

Pearl Cotton Thread

 This is a rope-like twisted thread. It comes in one single strand and is not dividable. There are different thicknesses available. The higher the number of the thread, the finer is the thread. For example, Pearl no. 3 is thicker than no.5. Pearl No.3 is about the thickness of whole six strands of embroidery thread. Pearl No.8 is about the same thickness as three strands of embroidery thread. LE PAON Pearl Cotton Balls 15 Colors are one type.

LE PAON Soft 1500Y 15 Pearl Balls Cardinal Size 8 Rainbow Colors

Pins

You will use a lot of pins once you start sewing! Although pins small, they do important jobs. They hold pattern pieces in place, secure trims, mark seam allowances and much more. I always use glass head pins – it will glide through most fabrics with ease.  They are very sharp and never rust. The best part is that the ball head is made of glass, not plastic. This is very important because you will come across with projects that require ironing with pins. The cheap plastic pin head will melt under the iron, while the glass head pins never will. Clover Quilting Pins are one brand.

Clover Q2509 Quilting Pins

Fabrics

For beginners, I suggest using fabric with a looser weave. These fabrics have lower thread count, which allows the needle to pull the thread through easily. I recommend beginners start projects with quilting fabric (cotton), middle weight linen or plain cotton muslin (or calico). Beginners should avoid using these fabrics - satin and other very smooth and shiny fabrics, stretchy fabrics, velvet, corduroy, fleece, gauze and very thin and transparent fabrics. Try Calico Quilting Squares 5”.

80x5inch Antique Calico Reproductions Charms Quilting Squares

These essential tools  for hand sewing can be paired with great ideas on how to organize your sewing space, check out 5 Great Sewing Room Ideas for Small Spaces.

How to make a Card Holder – Clover (Part 2)

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I hope everyone enjoy the embroidery of 4-Leaf Clover I demonstrated last week. I am going to show how to sew all the pieces together to make a Card Holder. Make sure to iron all the fabrics before you sew them together to avoid the creases. This Card Holder can hold three cards on each side, six cards total. You can always use other color fabrics to match with your desired pattern to be put on the card holder.

 You can download the free pattern HERE. I will show you how to make a Sachet next time.

How to make a Card Holder – Clover (Part 1)

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What is the best gift I could make for my friend who just got his new job? A card holder. This is a very simple card holder which you can make it either with a sewing machine or hand sew the entire project. I chose to do it all by hand. I embroidered a four-leaf clover on both sides of the card holder. A four-leaf clover is thought to bring good luck to anyone who finds it. I wish my hand-sewn clover can bring my friend luck in his new job.

Today, I am going to show you step by step on how to prepare the material for the card-holder. You can download the free pattern HERE.

 I will show you how to complete the Card Holder next week.

How to make a Coaster – Finale

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In the last few weeks, I showed you how to embroider Dill, Rosemary and Thyme using different stitching methods. You must have enough practice of embroidering and looking forward to know how to sew them together to make a good looking coaster.

I am going to show you two methods to sew the coaster. You can choose either way to make your own. You notice that I used a thicker cotton fabric because I want the coasters to be thicker and water absorbent. Enjoy your coffee with your own hand-sewn coaster!

I will start a new sewing project next week – card holder.

P.S. Our World Axiom Pegboard Jars have arrived at Amazon. They are great at helping you organize your sewing supplies. You can find them HERE.

How to make a Coaster – Thyme

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Thyme is one of the most commonly used herb both in medical and culinary throughout history. It is known for its antibacterial properties. They are thought to have antibacterial, insecticidal, and possibly anti-fungal properties. Essential oil of thyme has many fungicidal properties which research suggests that it can be used as a disinfectant where there is mold. Essential oil of thyme also can sooth you mood when you are blue.

Last week we made a Rosemary Coaster. This week, I am going to show you step by step on how to embroider the Thyme pattern. You can download the free pattern from HERE.

I will show you how to sewn the two fabrics together in different ways to make the coaster next week.

How to make a Coaster – Rosemary

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Rosemary is a fragrant herb. It makes delicious dishes such as rosemary chicken and lamb. Studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.

 Today, I am going to show you step by step on how to embroider the Rosemary pattern. You can download the free pattern from here.

I will show you how to embroider the Thyme pattern Coaster next week.

How to make a Coaster – Part 2 (Dill)

Dill is widely grown as a culinary spice. It has many health benefits which includes aiding digestion and improving your immune system. Today, I am going to show you step by step on how to embroider the Dill pattern. If you missed the pattern from last week, you can download the free pattern from here again.

I will show you how to embroider the Rosemary pattern Coaster next week.