Bolts and Bolts

There are some things about living in China that are simply amazing. There’s a lot that’s not. Today I want to focus on the amazing.


The fabric market would be one such thing. It’s this giant, semi-outdoor market of individual shop owners who sell more fabric than you can imagine. And it is so cheap. I bought enough to make new curtains for my living room and new seat covers for my dining room chairs for just over $10. And it is nice, thick fabric… not just cheap cotton.


For those of you who are Vera Bradley fans, look closely at the above picture… you may notice that some of the fabric is “official Vera Bradley fabric.” I wouldn’t have noticed it, but one of my friends has a VB-Eagle-Eye and noticed right away. It even says “Exclusively for VB” on the side of the fabric. I guess it’s discontinued or something… and it ends up in the Beijing fabric market. You have to hunt to find good stuff, but it’s there.


And in the not-so-amazing-things-about-living-in-China department, no story could end that perfectly. Without thinking about the implications, I really only bought enough fabric for JUST what I needed. And then I went home and promptly cut it wrong, leaving me with only 5 chair covers and not the desired 6. In America, I’d be frustrated with myself, and then I’d hop in my car to go 10 minutes back to Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby. In China, nothing’s that simple. So, now I have to set aside an entire half-day to get back to the fabric market, not because it is so far away; just because it involves crowded buses and inconvenient schedules. And then I have to hope that they still have it. Since I have to go back anyway, I think I’m going to get fabric for our bedroom curtains as well. It’s a cheap makeover, and it makes my apartment feel more like my own home.

But despite the frustrations, I’m still super-excited about what I found. When the project is finished, I’ll post pictures.

PS: I also found fabric for a skirt, which I’m having made by a little tailor I know in the village. (Another amazing thing about living in China — cheap and high quality tailors!) I didn’t really buy enough fabric for that either (oops!), so I’m not sure how it will turn out. But if I like it, I’ll post pics of that as well!


6 thoughts on “Bolts and Bolts

  1. How fun! I can't wait to see the photos. My eye is like a magnet to nice fabrics now, as we are just beginning to collect for Khloe's 100 Good Wishes Quilt. I can't wait to see who contributes and what she receives for her quilt… and like you, I will post pictures as they arrive.

    Can't wait to see how your projects turn out. It's amazing how curtains and fabric can make a space feel more like “home”! 🙂 Have a blessed day!!

    ~Tanya

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  2. They didn't take us to the fabric market when we were there last time, probably a good thing, BUT if we get that pesky PA I will be looking up the fabric market…

    My word verification is “tents” how did that happen??

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  3. Oh My! When we went to China 4 years ago, I was desperate to go fabric shopping. But our trip was so short that there was no time. It looks like bliss! Congrats on your good fabric deals.

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  4. I DID spot that Vera Bradley…how in the world would you ever choose from all of those beautiful fabrics! I so wish I could sew….I should have paid more attention when I spent my summers with my grandmother….on that note…I should have paid more attention in Spanish class in high school too;)

    Please post pictures of your finished work….I would love to see it!

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