Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Fabric Shopping in Bali: Sarongs from Istana Batik in Kuta, Bali

Rayon sarongs are very popular among the tourists in Bali and there are lots of reasons why. They are usually bright and colourful, cool and comfortable, great to wear around the pool or beach and can be dressed up for casual dinners, they are "holiday clothes", and they make great gifts. Some people also like to buy them to use for other sewing projects.

When I was last in Bali, 12 years ago, all of the sarongs were batik print, and some had tie dye. Batik is still the most popular but some modern designs are creeping in as well. I had been looking for a good place to buy sarongs, a dedicated seller not just from the markets. We passed this place one day in a taxi and I was thrilled that we made it back there on our second last day.

The address is No. 3AA, Jalan Patih Jelantik, Kuta, Bali. It is near a large and busy intersection, most taxi drivers would have no trouble finding it. It is in a row of shops that sell batik and tie dyed muslim clothing, in fact the shop has some out the front, but we didn't see any inside. I think you go to their shop next door for those.

When you go inside you will see huge piles of neatly stacked sarongs. The samples are hung from the roof and high around the walls. You just point to one and they will get it out of the stack for you.

We spent a lot of time here, and the staff were lovely. They even gift wrapped the ones we were giving away with a coconut sarong buckle for Rp2000 (AUD$1 = Rp10500). They offered to take us to the factory to see how they are made, but as we were going home we didn't have enough time. On my last trip I had the opportunity to see a craftsman working on a large batik piece and it was amazing.

There are two types of sarong: first class and second class. The print will be the same but the quality of the rayon was different. We actually couldn't tell them apart at first. The second class sarongs were Rp25,000, and the first class were Rp35,000 (so roughly $2.50 and $3.50). Some of these sarongs in the market were Rp70,000 to Rp100,000 and in the department stores for US$15 each!

If you were looking for some lovely rayon fabric to make into girls dresses or summer clothes, I would recommend coming to this shop. They have multiple of each print so you can buy 2 or 3 sarongs and know that when you cut them out and sew them together it will all look like the same dye lot. I am so looking forward to the warmer weather so I can try out a few of my new sarongs while sitting around the pool.

Thanks for stopping by!

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