Fabric For The Soul

 

Fabrics are truly the building blocks for the greatest cosplays. That said, you need firm foundations to create realistic and believable attire for your favorite characters. Check out these excellent suppliers for a large variety of textures, colors, and weaves that could be the perfect fabrics for your next project!

 
 
Jo Anns
 

Jo Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

 
 

Hudson, OH, USA

 

Apparel Fabrics, Cottons, Linings, Linens, Faux Furs, Sewing Notions, Fabric Dyes, Trims

I will recommend Jo-Anns over pretty much any other chain across the US. They have a good standard variety and set of fabrics which can be used for a variety of projects, apparel included. Additionally, if you run out of a particular bolt of fabric, you can order more of the fabric online in more cases than not. Though it might not be exactly the same as it won’t be from the same bolt in most cases – it will be pretty darn close to the point it likely won’t matter. Jo Ann’s is also my go to for basic notions and sewing supplies – they have pretty much everything you would need for a standard project.

 

What do I buy here?

Primarily apparel fabrics for base items or more simple projects, sewing notions, and thread.

What do I avoid here?

Things I can find cheaper online – though those are few and far between considering the number of coupons Jo Ann’s provides in their emails along with their sales.

Best Thing?

The COUPONS. If you time it right, you can get fabric that’s normally $24 for 60% off (making it closer to $12 a yard including tax – this is how I got large amounts of their beautiful premium velvet for my Pirate!England cosplay). Just remember, patience is key.

 

Jo Ann's Gallery

 
 
 

Visit Jo Ann Here:

Jo Ann's
 
 
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The Garment District

 
 

New York City, NY, USA

 

Trims, Laces, Apparel Fabrics, Cottons, Spandex, Pleather, Leather, Suiting, Buttons, Belt Buckles, Sewing Notions, Rhinestones, Ribbons

With a history dating back as far as the 1870’s, the Garment District of New York today, though shrinking (another reason to support it), remains an invaluable asset to any seamstress. Concentrated between 42nd and 34th streets within 9th and 5th Avenues (I particularly like the stretch of stores between 7th and 8th Aves from 35th to 40th streets!), the Garment District of New York City has the largest concentration of fashion centered designers, schools, showrooms, and supplies in the world, and that includes carrying all kinds of fabric galore.

You can literally find anything here – from stretchy spandex pleather to diamond encrusted wedding lace. Can it break the bank? Yes. Yes it can. But will you be able to get exactly what you want/need? Definitely. It’s most certainly worth saving up and walking a good day through the streets looking for those hard to find items that you can’t find in your standard craft store. Trust me, you’ll thank me after your cosplay comes out seriously perfectly.

 

What do I buy here?

The rare fabric and notions that are hard to find, but perfect for my projects.

(ProTip: Buy a bit more than you think you need – you never know when it will save one of your projects!)

What do I avoid here?

Standard notions, interfacing, and fabrics easily found at my local craft store.

Best Thing?

The selection – you’re bound to find exactly what you’re looking for. Also, retailers here are great at giving samples so you can compare over a break at lunch (so don’t always buy something right away – look around, you might find something even better!)

 

NYC Garment District's Gallery

 
 
 

Learn More About The District Here:

The Garment District
 
 
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Nippori Senigai

 
 

Nippori, Tokyo, Japan
(日暮里, 東京, 日本)

 

Apparel Fabrics, Trims, Leathers, Traditional Japanese Prints, Buttons, Linings, Sewing Notions

Nippori Senigai (日暮里繊維街) or Nippori Textile/Fabric Town always gets overlooked by cosplayers I feel when they visit Japan, which is a shame because if you’re coming from Narita airport (成田空港), it’s right on the way into Tokyo! Not to mention, if you’re anywhere near a stop on the Yamanote train line (山手線), it’s also a stop on the famous line and thus very easy to get to! From Nippori Station 日暮里駅, simply exit on the east from the south exit, cross the bridge, ending down the steps at street level. From there, it’s easy to find signs sending you straight to the fabric street.

Very similar to the Garment District of New York City, Nippori tends to be a much smaller and compact area to shop. Where as the Garment District tends to have some stores that ‘repeat’ materials, Nippori does not and every store caters to a different variety of fabrics and trims. From leathers to trims, to satins and lace and remnants. In this way, you can hit a bunch of different stores all within a very close distance from one another without seeing the same thing multiple times. Shops like Tomato, Nagato, Yamayo, Maki Ito Kegawa (マキ・いとう毛皮), Okuyama (奥山), and Mihama are great and all offer unique and wonderful selections. Seriously, if you have the chance to go while in Tokyo and love to sew, best not to miss it!

(PS. You can find more about Nippori on my Beautiful Japan Blog!) ^_^

 

What do I buy here?

Most anything really – it’s all high quality and beautiful. Leathers though are especially cheap here, which is great if you have a project requiring a bunch of it.

(Pro Tip: Remember that here you’re going to be buying by the meter, not the yard!)

What do I avoid here?

Cottons – most are from the US and marked up (as one might expect) – and threads.

Best Thing?

The authentic Japanese fabrics – I love these prints, especially for projects like yukata (浴衣), hakama (袴), and haori (羽織). I also love how close all the stores are to one another – it makes it easy to go from store to store and back and forth until I determine the exact fabric I want. Not to mention, there are some gems in the wedding sections that aren’t nearly as pricey as they are in New York.

 

Nippori's Gallery

 
 
 

Visit Tokyo's Official Tourist Site for Nippori Here:

Nippori Textile Town
 
 
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Dongdaemun Shopping Complex

 
 

Seoul, South Korea
서울, 대한민국

 

Apparel Fabrics, Notions, Trims, Southeast Asian Traditional Fabrics, Home Decor Textiles

Located in Seoul, South Korea, Dongdaemun is an interesting conglomeration of fabric stores all in one hypercenter of sorts. Located inside 4 buildings, each connected and with 7 floors a piece, you can find most anything in Dongdaemun, particularly fabrics from mainland Southeast Asia. Bottom floors sell a number of materials for bedding and household goods, along with a number of notions for most any project, while on upper floors I found many traditional-printed and materials, such as those used in Hanbok. Most stores sell very specialized materials for specific projects, but with the sheer variety to choose from, that’s no problem at all!

With so many levels, shops, and stairways, it can be easy to get lost inside (and I did on many occasions as I found many shops on the same floors sold similar if not some of the same materials, literally turning me around a number of times). I recommend going floor by floor, building by building in a pattern – it will be easier to figure out where you are going. You could literally spend all day inside, so be sure to grab a bite before going in or alternatively, grab some food on the top floors! A must stop for seamstresses going to Seoul!

(Pro Tip: Remember this place uses meters, not yards! Take that into calculation when you ask for your amounts.) 😉

 

What do I buy here?

Apparel fabrics and notions such as laces or trims, particularly those for more fancy or elegant pieces.

(Pro Tip: This is again a place to buy more than you may think – I didn’t get enough of one piece and I was left very sad when I ran out as shops don’t all have online stores, let alone ship internationally.)

What do I avoid here?

Buttons, I found them for whatever reason to be rather generic here.

Best Thing?

The apparel fabric for Southeast Asian attire. Hands down, beautiful. They have a number of prints perfect for Chinese, Thai, and Korean traditional attire.

 

Dongdaemun's Gallery

 
 
 

Find Out More About Dongdaemun Here:

Dongdaemun Fabric Market
 
 
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G Street Fabrics

 
 

Rockville, MD, USA

 

Apparel Fabrics, Notions, Trims, Southeast Asian Traditional Fabrics, Home Decor Textiles

G Street used to be a larger chain with multiple locations, though now unfortunately, it’s gone down to one physical location located in Maryland. However, that doesn’t mean their online selection has diminished (and thank goodness for that!). G Street has a beautiful selection of fabrics and trims for all occasions and uses. If you’re native to the US, but you can’t make it to NYC, this is a really good backup as they sell many of the same if not very similar high end materials that you would find in New York all in one place (in other words, you don’t have to hop from New York’s many stores and their various websites to find good materials).

The wide, high end selection online gives G Street a huge advantage over competitors as they can provide everything all in one place – which makes things easier for you. This does tend to make it a little more expensive, but in my opinion, it can be well worth it if you’re looking for that one final hard to find piece! 🙂

 

What do I buy here?

I love their sewing notions here and trims. Their elegant fabrics are beautiful too – they’re a bit pricey, but if it’s for one item and it’s perfect for what I’m going for, I just save up as I’m always happier in the end when I do. ^_^

What do I avoid here?

I tend to avoid the leather here. It tends to seem thick and difficult to work with for some reason…

Best Thing?

Honestly, I love the buttons here. For whatever reason, I’ve always found them to be very unique and perfect for special projects. Their notions are also really good too.

 

G Street's Gallery

 
 
 

Check Out G Street Fabrics' Website Here:

G Street Fabrics
 
 
011552889464

Yuzawaya

 
 

Tokyo, Japan
東京, 日本

 

Apparel Fabrics, Notions, Trims, Leather Working Tools, Patches, Jewelry Supplies

Yuzawaya (ユザワヤ) is a bit like the Japanese version of a combo of Jo-Anns and Michaels. It’s very quant and dainty and filled with little gems through out its aisles. This chain is located through out Japan, making it an easy store to get to if you’re a local. I often would use it as a first stop in finding standard supplies for sewing along with various other crafting tools.

In my mind, where Yuzawaya really shines as a chain is in their trimmings and buttons. They have a large, unique selection and though they’re a little pricey, they’re totally worth it. I’d often just peruse the aisles trying to think of ways I could use them. I also found that Yuzawaya was great for getting ideas going – they have a multitude of items that could be used for mini-projects, perfect for if you’re looking for a way to spend a quiet afternoon. I also enjoyed paging through their books and magazines – a number of them had great ideas tucked in and hidden away secretly within their pages! 😀 In other words, be careful in here! It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole (albeit, a happy one!). 😉

(Pro Tip: Remember to give your measurements in meters here! They’ll be confused if you ask for yards. If you’re nervous about asking, write down the amounts on a slip of paper. The employees will be happy to assist you with getting the right amounts.)

 

What do I buy here?

So much stuff! It was my go to for sewing notions, threads, and even my first stop for trims at times. I also loved their buttons, which you wouldn’t expect for a chain. They have many tools in the non-sewing crafting section as well that are very useful and I’d hunt through for help on various projects before leafing through the interwebs. I’m also always happy to read through their craft magazines and books, though they are mostly in Japanese.

What do I avoid here?

Leathers and suiting – it can be really expensive. It’s great quality, but it is expensive. I also avoided their patterns, but that was primarily because my body shape wasn’t well suited for them. If I did have a body shape that would have worked, I would have been happy to give them a shot.

Best Thing?

I like to go here for threads and sewing notions especially. Everything here is well made, but there’s something to be said about their selection here of these items specifically and it was always super convenient. I also like the variety of things I can use to make other items, such as jewelry. 🙂

 

Yuzawaya's Gallery

 
 
 

Check Out Yuzawaya's English Page Here:

Yuzawaya
 
 

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