A while ago I was chatting with someone, and mentioned how I liked to visit bead, craft, and fabric stores when I travelled. I’ve gotten into the habit of picking up a piece of fabric as a ‘souvenir’ of the trip. Some people get postcards or shot glasses.. for me, it’s fabric or beads.
I mentioned recently how while in Toronto in February I picked up a bunch of beads. Well, shortly after Toronto I travelled to Hawaii, and while I was there I picked up fabric, scrapbook papers, and one, lone, little bead.
I was on the big island, and here was my shopping trip… (part one of three!)
If you imagine some small prairie town, half-forgotten in the rolling wheat fields, and some small sundry store in that town – you’ll probably be picturing Kimura’s. There are still magazines and patterns, sun-bleached from what looks like the 1980s. Certainly magazines long past their ‘pull from the shelf’ date, with big hair and shoulder pads. Buttons and other notions have the same tired look – however they’ve also got recent patterns, so it’s not a matter of being out of touch, just of having enough room to not need to discount items to get them out, or throw anything away I suppose.
The fabric selection feels a bit more current, but also strangely currated. There are lots of rolls of Hawaiian print fabrics (and at good prices too), and a decent selection of quilting fabrics. (I picked out two panels of an Asian print for $7.79 USD/panel) There are some dress fabrics, but mostly fancies – and these are wrapped in their plastic shipping wraps still. It makes it hard to just browse – though I presume the plastic might help with dust… There are also some home decorating fabrics, also mostly wrapped in plastic.
Kimura’s is easy to find, it is located right on the highway, and there are a few parking lots around the area – or you can also park on the street if there’s a spot.
Two colourways of a cotton quilt panel. The left (blue) panel is from Kimura’s while the right (red) panel is from Topstitch.
A stark contrast to Kimura’s is Topstitch. The shop is neat, tidy, clean, and organized, with a traditional quilt-shop feel. There is a small pattern section, but really the shop is mostly quilting fabrics, organized by theme and then colour. It’s really easy to find things here, and the service was low-key and helpful. (Low-key meaning no pushy salespeople… which I think is the general mantra of most shops in Hawaii…)
I picked up a panel of the SAME fabric I got at Kimura’s at Topstitch – an Asian panel. However, here the panel was $12.00 USD/panel. For the extra cost, I’d still suggest Topstitch for the ease of finding things, and the feeling as though cottons would be much less likely to suffer from sun damage.
Topstitch is reasonably easy to find; it’s located in a small shopping plaza near McDonald’s and a drug store. There’s an ample parking lot.
Discount Fabric Warehouse
Although you can see Discount Fabric Warehouse from the highway, there’s a bit of a round-about way to get there, but once there you’ll find a large store, well laid out, with a wide variety of fabrics. The Hawaiian prints are dominant in the store, along with a huge selection of quilting fabrics. There is also a dress fabric section, notions, and home decorating fabrics. I’d say that the selection is similar to a small Fabricland (not one of the big ones…) however I found the staff a little less helpful or attentive than I had hoped.
I’ve been to a Discount Fabric Warehouse on the island of Maui as well, where the staff were about the same.
I did fall in love with some gorgeous stretch-velvet… but as I’d already bought a number of awesome purses, and was considering the fuss of having to bring the velvet home (since I’d need about 2 meters… and its heavy stuff…) I left it behind.
Coming next… scrapbooking!