Fabric Shopping in Hong Kong

Wander into the pretty Edwardian-style Western Market in Sheung Wan and you'll find the entire second floor bursting with pure silk shantung, cotton-piqué shirting, French lace, silk brocade, velvet, damask, and printed crepe de chine—just some of the exquisite, reasonably priced fabrics available in Hong Kong. Although professional sourcing agents spend most of their time in Sham Shui Po on the Kowloon side, Western Market's vast selection is more than adequate. Thai silk costs a bit more here than in Bangkok but is still much cheaper than in the United States or Europe.

Chinese Arts & Crafts and Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium have great selections of Chinese brocades and other fabrics. Look also for Chinese hand-embroidered and -appliquéd linen and cotton in Stanley Market. When buying a hand-embroidered item, check that the edges are properly overcast; if not, it's probably machine made. You'll be looking for reasons to buy lots of the blue-and-white, patterned Chinese country fabrics at Mountain Folkcraft. Just check to see that you can bring your bolts on the plane; shipping costs may cancel out any discount.

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