Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fabric shopping in Singapore

You might want to get a cup of tea before you start reading this post - I've included as much detail as possible and the post is very pic heavy!

View from my hotel room (level 37 of Swissotel Stamford Plaza, Singapore)

At the start of March I had to go to Singapore for 10 days for work. It's not quite the same as a holiday but I certainly made the most of my time there - especially since we were there for a weekend! What did that mean? Fabric Shopping!!

My shopping plan

I did some research before my trip, which included the following links. Kat from All the whimsical things also gave me some great suggestions when I put a call out on twitter for suggestions (thanks Kat!).

So when Saturday rolled around, I was ready to head out to the following (there are more places listed on notabilia but these were my shortlist):

  • Arab St (nearest MRT station Bugis) - I planned to just explore the shops here, with Alta Moda and Collezione definitely on my hit list. The stores I purchased from are as follows:
    • Kadir: 116 Arab St (Tel: 62 945 787). Beautiful quilting cottons and other cottons. Cash only.
    • Aladdin's Exclusive: 110 Arab St (Tel: (65) 6398 0944). An assortment of silks, laces, polyesters at varying prices. I was sold $5 'silk' which I knew was really polyester but the prints were lovely so I wasn't too fussed. Still, buyer beware!
    • At this stage, I decided stopping at every shop would take me all day ... so I moved onto my must visits!
    • Teng Joo: 102 Arab St. I only browsed and was so overwhelmed by the rolls and rolls and rolls in large containers. I'm told the prices are cheap but nothing was labeled, so I wasn't sure what was what. I'm sure there are gems to be found but it would require some time and patience to dig!
    • Alta Moda: 92 Arab St (Tel: (65) 6296-7117, email: Some seriously stunning fabrics. Silks (non-branded, Valentino, Pucci, Ungaro, to name a few), suiting and shirt fabrics upstairs (including Ermenegildo Zegna, Roberto Di Camerino and Lanifico Di Tollegna, among other designer labels) and some Chanel fabrics. Anita served me and was lovely and incredibly helpful.
    • Collezione: 99 Arab St (Tel: (65) 6292 5755, email: Gorgeous silks from Italy and Korea. Also had some lovely linens.
  • Jalan Sultan Textile Centre (200 Jalan Sultan). Three floors of sewing supplies and also an amazing looking suit fabric supply store. Not all stores are open on a weekend, so weekdays are better however I still found plenty on a Saturday. The places where I shopped were as follows and only on the first floor. I found out after I left that there were 2 more floors!
    • Sing Mui Heng Pte Ltd: #01-27 (Tel: (65) 6297 0211, email:, web: Haby galore! Overlocker thread, a huge range of buttons down the back, Swarovski flat backs, all sorts of tools and notions, some items in bulk (e.g. box of 12 tailors chalk).
    • Sin Hin Chuan Kee Pte Ltd: #01-08 (Tel: 6298 8622). Stocks the largest range of overlocker threads that I saw. Also stock a HUGE range of YKK zippers. I only bought some trouser zips in basic colours but next time I'll take swatches and zip length for overlocker threads and zips. I wish I had a photo of all the zips - it was awesome!
    • Sungai Industrial (S)Co Pte Ltd: #01-10 (Tel: (65) 6294 2642, email: I think this is more of a supply store for store owners, however I did find some label rolls with '100% Polyester', 'Dry Clean' etc... They were out of '100% silk', '100% wool' and '100% cotton'. She said they could get more in within 2 days but with work I couldn't go back.
    • RSK Singapore Pte Ltd: #01-35 (Tel: (65) 6292 7433, email: I only browsed briefly but they have a HUGE range of wools for suits and cottons for shirts (including some designer labels - I saw a lot of Dormeuil, among others). It's about 3 stores wide and rows and rows of fabric on bolts. I didn't end up buying anything and don't know the prices but next time I will go here first for suiting fabrics.
  • People’s Park Complex, particularly Nicolexavier shop number 02-1138 (in Chinatown - I took a taxi and ended up in People's Park Complex next door. Look for shop numbers on level 2 that are in the 1000s (e.g. #02-1138). If there are in the 10s or 100s, ask for directions. Most people weren't sure but the guy at the security desk was very helpful! Once you arrive, you'll know because it's an entire floor of fabric stores.
    • You could spend a whole day exploring the shops here. I was getting tired by this point, so I just browsed briefly then high-tailed to Nicolexavier.
    • Bee Bee Textiles: #02-1136 (Tel: 6533 9490). This was right next to Nicolexavier and I just happened to find a knit that I liked.
    • Nicolexavier: #02-1138 (Tel: (65) 6532 7856, email: A good range of Linton Tweeds (the mill where Chanel gets their boucles from), Liberty tana lawns and other designer fabrics.
    • I ran out of time and energy to go to Spotlight at Plaza Singapura (MRT Station Dhoby Ghaut, then follow the signs to Plaza Singapura - level 5) but I had a brief look the following day. Basically the same as the Aussie stores!
  • I also stumbled across Joe's Tailoring & Fashion Design and noticed that they have some great fabrics for suits and shirts that they can tailor for you or you can buy by the metre. I was particularly interested in the Thomas Mason shirt fabrics. I stopped by the one at 50 Market St, Singapore 048940 (Tel:+65 6225 0686, closest MTR is Raffles Place)

Sewing purchases

And now, the photos of my goodies!!


Left: Peruzzi Collection Italian Cotton Double - beautiful drapy cotton
Right: Quilting Cotton that will be used for a dress

Aladdin's Exclusive

$5/m 'silks' (actually polyester)

Border print polyesters and polyester jacquard (both with gems)

German Lace

Alta Moda

Amazing wool suiting fabrics.
Left: Super 180's Ultrafine wool Made in Italy by Roberto Di Camerino. This has a very subtle Prince of Wales style check, including red lines. Unique and beautiful.
Right: Superfine Australian wool for Ermenegildo Zegna. Seriously soft and drapey - a stunning fabric.

Left: Valentino tissu (chiffon). So light and flowey - just devine!
Right: Emanuel Ungaro crepe-y chiffon

Chanel wool coat fabric


Left: Dilara Seta Pura - Italy, Right: Enzo De Luca Seta Pura - Italia

Left: Lana Bellucci Seta Pura, Right: Pure Silk

Prima Donna 100% Pure Silk Satin and matching chiffon (over my hand)

Sing Mui Heng Pte Ltd

Overlocker thread, lots of shirt and pant buttons, 2 types of tailors chalk and a pattern notcher

Sin Hin Chuan Kee Pte Ltd

Overlocking thread (in colours I like and use but can't find in Australia) and YKK zippers for pants

Sungai Industrial (S)Co Pte Ltd

From memory these were around $5-10 a roll (depending on the size)

Bee Bee Textiles

Knit fabric


Left: Cotton Jersey, Right: Cotton Sateen

I can't remember what this is made of but it's lovely!

Linton Tweed and a trim for a Chanel inspired jacket

Summary and Singapore shopping suggestions

  • If you can shop on a weekday, that is what I would suggest however most places are still open Saturday. I'm understand that most shopping districts are closed on Sunday and I'm also told that the shops in Arab St close early on a Friday.
  • Most stores are open 10-5, although some open earlier at 9am. If you can, get out early before it gets too busy.
  • Plan ahead - work out which shops/areas you want to visit and how to get there. A taxi is always an option if you are unsure but I saved the taxis for getting my goodies back to my hotel. The MRT is also an easy way to travel - just work out which station is closest to your location.
  • Take a list of what you want/need. It can be easy to get overwhelmed when there are sooo many stores. That being said, sometimes you find fabrics that you may not 'need' but they still manage to follow you home!
  • If you have specific zips that you need, take fabric swatches and the zip length. The zipper variety at Sin Hin Chuan Kee Pte Ltd in the Jalan Sultan Textile Centre is huge, so make sure you know what you need!
  • Since the overlocking thread colours are limited in Australia, I would take fabric swatches and stock up on overlocking threads in the stores in Jalan Sultan Textile Centre.
  • Check your baggage allowance before you travel. Fabric is heavy. Just saying :)
And finally, some tourist-y photos from my trip!

Marina Bay Sands from across the Harbour

Big Prawn Laksa from 3rd Generation (Stall No 2) at ION Orchard - seriously delicious!

The view from 1-Altitude, an open air bar on level 63 with a spectacular 360 degree view of Singapore from 282m

The view from New Asia Bar (Level 71 Swissotel Stamford Plaza, Singapore)