I haven't been sewing but I did some travelling! Last month I was very blessed with the opportunity to visit 3 major cities in Australia. As this is mostly a sewing blog, this post will be about my window shopping trips (yes, you read right, since AUD is so strong against our RM!) to the 2 major Aussie fabric/craft stores, Spotlight and Lincraft!
This is the Spotlight Canningvale branch in Perth. It is a big building by itself. I finally get to touch and feel fabrics like gabardine and crepe for myself as Malaysian stores do not label the fabrics properly so it's all guesswork on the fiber content of the fabrics. Spotlight was having a 3 day Big Brand Sale on that day, so it was bustling with shoppers.
I was hoping that the paper patterns would be ridiculously cheap during a Big Brand Sale but they were only 50% off, still a far cry from the famed Joanns' $1 sale that I've read so much about. I also believe that the pattern prices in AUD are much pricier than the retail undiscounted USD prices at the respective pattern companies' websites. I wasn't too disappointed though as I already have enough sheath dress patterns in my personal pattern stash to work with.
I was hoping that I could thumb through some pattern envelopes and revel in the joy of having so many pattern envelopes around me for once. Malaysia fabric/craft stores do not stock paper patterns by the way, one has to order online and pay hefty international shipping costs, if downloading/piecing together digital ones are not your thing.
My sewing friend from the States told me that one can actually 'touch' and thumb through the paper patterns in Joanns, what a delight! However, the system in Spotlight is a little bit different, one has to choose from the pattern catalogues and order your choices from the lady who guards the big steel cabinets containing pattern envelopes at the counter. And she will dig it up for you. A very efficient system but no thrill of being able to go through the pattern envelopes myself.
Adjustable Body forms, we don't have these locally!
I so wished that I could lug a Brother sewing machine home as those 'Runout' models were selling for AUD99 each (RM300), which, despite the foreign exchange translation, is still cheaper than the cheapest generic model in Malaysia which retails for average RM500. I was really, really tempted but my parents thought I am being impractical as it is not that light weighted and I need to hand carry it on the plane and had to transit for many hours in Kuala Lumpur International Airport on my flight home to KK. Mum said: "It's not like you don't already own sewing machine at home". I have a generic sewing machine by the brand of Okurma BUT I so want a Brother. Oh well, true, true my sewing machine is not broken....yet. Grumpily and defeated, I heeded their advice and rest my case. I didn't buy any fabrics as those on sale were still expensive in my opinion when translated to my local currency. Oohh..and don't let me start on the Overlockers for AUD99 each (RM600), where can you find a good overlocker for that price in Malaysia?
Though I didn't end up with any fabric or patterns, I was still very happy to window shop there, to be surrounded by so much beautiful fabrics and sewing/crafting notions not normally available in Malaysia. They have many variations of lining fabric such as stretch and non stretch and of varying fibers, unlike where we only have polyster or satin here. I got to learn so much fiber content, it was an educational visit, ha!
To my consolation, I didn't leave the store empty handed. I got myself a nifty sewing gauge ruler which is really useful for hemming. I have wanted this for so long. Yes, it's not available locally, at least not in my town.
I did not expect to visit Lincraft at all but I chanced upon it during my last morning in Melbourne, before heading to the airport. This is Lincraft in the city, just behind the beautiful Burke mall. It is 2 storey-high and had a really pretty window display. I didn't spend much time there as we were in a hurry, hence do excuse some blurry pictures.
They were having a mega sale. Paper patterns were not on sale at all and disappointingly, they were also kept in big cabinets overlooked by a worker, so I didn't have the chance to 'touch' any. I think Lincraft is slightly a more upscale version of Spotlight, if you have visited both stores and reading this, do you agree? I do not have much to describe about this store as I only had time to snap pictures!
This is a really pretty mosaic piece on the ground floor of the mall where Lincraft is
Australia is really a beautiful country. Spotlight and Lincraft are just shopping havens for sewing enthusiasts like me! Here's to hoping that the next time I visit the RM has strengthened against the AUD so I will actually get to shop! For the meantime, I really hope local stores here will one day carry paper patterns (with reasonable prices). Cheers!!