Thursday, 4 September 2014

Fabric Shopping in Bali: Toko Madju batik patchwork fabric in Jalan Sulawesi

Driving around Denpasar I had seen some lovely fabric shops dotted here and there, but Jalan Sulwesi is a street dedicated to just fabric shops and well worth the trip. The street is lined with fabric shops like this:

If you are looking for formal or bridal fabric you will find it here, but as there are so many shops selling similar fabric it would be worth shopping around.

There are a few things you need to do to prepare yourself before you go to Sulawesi Street. These are things I had learned from other fabric shoppers, and from our experience.

Before you go:

  • Make sure you go to the toilet beforehand (although there is a Asian public toilet on Gold Street if you need it)
  • Make sure you are well and up for fabric shopping - it can be draining.
  • Make sure your family is well and up for your fabric shopping
  • Take water with you
  • Take snacks with you (although there are some traditional food carts around, but not many)
  • Take baby wipes and hand santiser (everything is dusty, batik fabric can be dirty)
  • Take a fan (there is no air conditioning anywhere - you can pick them up for about $1)
  • Take your camera
  • Be adventurous and always courteous

Every taxi driver knows where Jalan Sulawesi is. Straight away they will smile and say, "Oooh, you want some fabric?" They will usually drop you at the northern end of the street. This is the start of the fabric shops. If you look across the little river you will see the traditional markets. These are multi-storey markets with everything packed in very tight. It is like a rabbit warren inside, dark and very steamy, and it is where locals shop. On the ground floor there are fruit and vegetable sellers, butchers, and rice and cracker and dry goods sellers as well as kitchen ware. We loved walking through there and had fond memories of our last time in the traditional markets. If you want to buy any Balinese souvenirs and homewares there is an Art Market there that has really lovely things at fantastic prices. Be prepared that the traditional market will have a very distinct smell that Westerners may not like much. But remember, be adventurous and always be courteous.

Standing on the traditional market side and looking back to my patient family.

 And looking right down the street...

And left...

OK, back to the fabric. If you are after patchwork fabric, you will find it in one of the first shops. It is Toko Madjo, shop number 19, Jalan Sulawesi, Denpasar.

This is what it looks like from the street, not much but there are lovely things inside. As soon I we entered a man came up to me and talked about jelly rolls and fat quarters and I knew I was in the right place! At the very front are the rayon batiks, but the rest of the shop is 100% cotton.

They only had jelly rolls in three colour ways, but I loved them. The peach coloured one actually has a rainbow of muted colours in it and was exactly what I was looking for. There were 40 strips in each roll, two strips of each colour. I bought three peach rolls for me! Plus, extras for gifts. The fat quarter packs have 18 fat quarters in them. There were a number of different colour ways and our eldest spent an hour sorting and resorting them so they looked nice. I bought a lot of these because there was a lot of variety and they were too gorgeous to leave there!! Now, I can't remember exactly but the prices were something like $12 for the jelly rolls and $15 for the fat quarters. I really went a bit nuts with the fabric shopping here.

They also had a few handmade things like these sweet zippered pouches with Suffolk Puffs sewn all over them...

And these stuffed animals.

There was a small waiting area for the patient family.

And all around the walls in the front half of the shop were racks with lovely lengths of batik hanging in colour families.


I asked the girls to stand in front of their favourite colours.

And they had some very plain marble wash type of fabric to match with the traditional batik.

In the centre of the room are piles of printed lengths of batik. These are various lengths, depending on what the maker was working on at the time. All of this hand dyed fabric, and the ones on the bolts, is only $2.50 per metre!!! It is ludicrously cheap, but absolutely lovely. I could have bought it all. I ended up just getting 6m of a teal batik that I would use for the back of the batik quilt I was planning. The majority of my purchases were pre-cut because I really wanted the variety. As you can see, there were a lot of local men in this shop and they were after certain fabrics. I am not sure why. I was the only woman there for a while until two other Australian patchworkers walked in.

Lovely patient hubby showing how I actually did spend every rupiah he had.

In the back half of the shop you will find fabric on bolts like we get here.

And at the table you could see where someone had been working on more fat quarter packs.

This shop is simply amazing for patchworkers. I highly, highly, highly recommend visiting this shop. It was one of the highlights of my trip and I will be enjoying using the fabric, and the finished quilts, for years to come. In my next post I'll show you a fantastic place for sarongs.

Thanks for stopping by!

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