Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Notes from Istanbul

So remember my long list of fall sewing/knitting/crafting plans from last week? Welp, I just realized that I didn't *actually* follow the rules to enter the contest, so...if anyone knows of any other contests I could enter to keep my motivation up, I'd appreciate you sending them my way! That being said, all of the things on my list *are* things that I still want, and I've finished several of them already, so...let's hope that motivation continues!

Before I get into showing off those projects, though, I wanted to share with you a few pictures from my recent trip to Istanbul (all fabric-related, of course). 

Before I went, I (obviously) looked up what kind of good fabric shopping there was (that's one of my first priorities when planning a new trip these days). The Selfish Seamstress, Dibulous, and Clio and Phineas all indicated that there were some places to be found in the Grand Bazaar, as well as on one magical little road between the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar. I decided to look for the latter first, so my friend and I started wandering along the cramped, busy streets of Istanbul. When I found this guy, I knew we were going in the right direction:

I stumbled upon this great store with a beautiful purple floral print that I got for about $5/yard. I'm planning to make a spring dress with it, I think. I'd also heard about the great silks that can be found in the city, so on our last day there, I went hunting for it in the Grand Bazaar. This proved to be kind of difficult, because A) that place is HUGE (seriously, I didn't quite realize how big it was, and probably still don't, but it's SO easy to get lost in there), and B) even the people who work there, who know almost everything about what there is to find, looked at me blankly when I asked for the fabric section. Thankfully, we eventually found it!

The first place we went was nice, but a little more than I wanted to spend (and you can almost ALWAYS find a better bargain at another shop in the bazaar). We eventually stumbled on a good one willing to deal. Though they didn't quite have all of the choices that the other places had, I found a blue ikat and knew it would make a great robe. Unfortunately, with very narrow (15" wide?) fabric, I had to buy 5 meters of it at about $15/meter, but...once it's made, it'll be a really great, long-lasting souvenir of my trip! As Selfish describes it, it's more of a twill weight than a chiffon, so it should be a great weight for a spring/early summer robe in which I can luxuriously lounge around the house. :)

I also couldn't resist going back to the first fabric shop to get some more great deals on our last day there. I ended up adding the fabric on the top, and the blue colorway of the purple fabric that I originally fell in love with (more florals, of course. I am seriously in love with those two prints). 

I feel like this is a great time to tell one of my favorite "Istanbul hospitality" stories. As described above, we basically stumbled around the shopping district of the city on the first day and happened to find this shop in the "fabric" section. I had no idea how to get back, so I showed a random shopkeeper the picture of me and the fabric statue, hoping that would at least get me in the right direction. He didn't know, so he asked several passers-by. He eventually found an elderly man pushing a heavy cart who knew where it was, so gave directions, which the shopkeeper interpreted for us. We started on our way and, about halfway lost. As we were standing there scratching our heads, the elderly man with the cart happened to be on his return trip, saw that we were lost, and exasperatedly (but good-natured-ly!) shook his head and enthusiastically gestured in the right direction. We didn't end up finding the statue again, but did walk right to the fabric store I wanted! Phew, that got kind of long-winded, but we thought it was one of the most adorable things we'd seen, so I had to share. :)

I wish I'd had a bit more time to explore the fabric and notions in Istanbul, but I'm really happy with the souvenirs I did get. What's your favorite fabric-shopping experience been?

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