So*, we went shopping yesterday.
First stop was at Vijitha Yapa’s, the biggest bookstore in the country, and nothing. In English, that is. There were some fairly thin books (3rd and 5th volumes, each about 30 pages) on dressmaking in Sinhalese. I couldn’t read them to understand the content, but the diagrams were enough to tell me what they were about. But English? Nope. Nothing.
Then we headed down Duplication Road, a fairly major road as far as businesses and shops are concerned, because Fahim saw some fabric shops as we drove by last week. Well, we found those fabric shops alright. One was for curtains and furniture. The other was closed (we could only go after Fahim was done work.)
We then headed into a local fabric store – local to where we were, not where we live, that is. I could swear I’ve been in that shop before, never mind that I’ve never been in Welawatte before. It was the usual – a store about twenty feet long, about eight feet wide, with a long counter separating the customer area from the sales area. The walls were covered – floor to ceiling – with glassed over shelves. To the right as we walked in were a bunch of shelves filled with bright orange bundles. Robes for Buddhist monks, I suspect.
They had loads of pre-cut sarong material – some batik, some plaid – and they had bolts of fabric. The employee (owner?) after finding out we were looking for dress material, pointed to the end of the store where round bolts of polyester fabric stood. Polyester! In this heat! Are they mad?
And yet, many women here wear polyester. It doesn’t wrinkle, it looks nice for a long time, and the locals don’t have a problem with heat.
They had flat bolts of cotton fabric which they insisted wasn’t suitable for dresses. Well, so what? I’ll do whatever I want. But no, there wasn’t anything there I was fond of.
We left after my niece bought some batik sarong material for her to sew into capris. Cool.
That was it. Shopping trip over.
Except. Someone I talked to earlier told me about another fabric store – Salusala – that had hand-painted and hand-woven fabrics, very upscale. Too expensive for me, I thought. I mentioned it to Fahim, who talked to the driver in Sinhalese, and the driver thought there was a Salusala in the neighborhood, but after driving by where it was, discovered it had been closed down. So yeah, shopping trip over.
But, the driver said, he had a fabric shop in our area, and he knew of a Salusala there as well. Turns out Salusala is a chain. Too late for the day, but tomorrow?
We were picked up, and we went. Fahim was dragged along because we thought we’d need translators. Turns out we didn’t. Fahim picked his nose instead and kept my nephew occupied as my sister, my niece, and I looked at bolt after bolt of fabric.
They had some very nice Chinese cottons – soft and with a nice drape ($1.45 a yard). They had a few grades of silk, some that hung so beautifully ($1.75 to $2.35 a yard), and beautiful linens. They had t-shirt material. They had fabric stuffed in that place. So*, not as big a selection as a major fabric store in Canada, but far more than I thought I’d ever find here.
But no, no patterns, no dressmaking books. They think that such are not available in the country. At all. Anywhere.
My niece bought two pieces of fabric for more capris. I bought one piece of fabric – Chinese cotton – a green floral. I still have no pattern, nor do I have a pattern. But now, I know where I’ll be going to buy all my fabric.
Oddly enough, at a fabric store, all ya buy is fabric. We had to go elsewhere to buy the thread and other notions.
But still, no patterns. *sigh* I may have to end up going with the downloadable course. Or, er, well, maybe not. My sister is probably heading over to the Maldives sooner than she thought – her husband will probably have an apartment for them to live in in a week, so she’ll head over there then. And then I’m on my own, and if I’m on my own, then I can take my time, relatively speaking.
And I’m still open for suggestions. [Big Grin]