In my post about sewing supplies in Manila, I mentioned the great fabric finds in Divisoria along Ilaya St where we bought the tela/fabric for our godparents. This weekend, I was finally able to make a short but sweet trip to Divisoria to look for some sewing notions/supplies that I needed. We went on a Sunday because we thought (emphasis on thought) that there wouldn’t be any traffic and that there would be fewer people than usual. We headed to Binondo and we decided to drive through Juan Luna street (first big mistake) so that I could get to Ilaya street for the fabric and Tabora to look for some sewing supplies/notions.
It took my husband 2 hours to drive through Juan Luna street (this was insane since it was only around a 300 m stretch that we had to drive through). Traffic was crazy because of the rush of people and vendors that turned the supposedly 2 lane streets into almost pedestrian-only streets. We had fun though even during the crazy traffic part since we were able to people watch and snack on steamed white corn, boiled peanuts and ponkan oranges. Good thing my husband is so patient with my hobbies! Hehehe! But next time I would park in one of the nearby malls like 168, 999, or the newly opened Lucky Chinatown Mall and just walk from there since they are all just a few streets away.
Here’s a rough map I made for those of you who want to make the trip to Divisoria for sewing supplies, it really is worth it when you think about the variety available and how much you can save. I wish I had pictures but I wouldn’t feel safe walking around this area with an SLR camera…actually it would be smarter just to bring your cash and a cellphone to communicate with whoever you’re with. No jewelry please! You can park in one of the malls or near the church and just walk, it really isn’t that far and it will save you a lot of time. Plus there’s tons of street food and things to buy along the way so it’s not a boring walk at all.
I got down along Juan Luna and headed to Tabora street first and I was pleasantly surprised to find so many types of materials for sale even if the bigger stores (Wellmanson’s, Good Morning, Morning Glory) were closed since it was Sunday. Those bigger stores are partially hidden by all the vendors on the street…look up and you’ll see their signs if you want to find them.
I went into some of the smaller stores that were open even on Sunday, and I was able to find the following:
- Cotton twill tape which I’ve been searching for high and low since some of the patterns I have call for this to reinforce shoulder or side seams (like the Sewaholic patterns I’m excited to try)
- This only cost 100-120 Php or less than 3 USD for a roll depending on the thickness
- I bought black and off white, they have quite a selection of twill tape
- Pretty elastic in a good range of colors, with and without embellishments
- Bias tape in a whole lot of colors
- Assorted sewing thread, much much cheaper than Carolina’s
- Since I bought quite a bit of thread I was able to get a better price: 12 spools of thread (1000 m each) for 180 pesos (around 4 USD)
- Ultra cheap serger/zigzag/overlock machine thread that the saleslady informed me was usually purchased by local businesses or those who take orders for clothes, and better quality cones of thread that I still found very reasonably priced
- The better quality cones of thread are sold at 35 pesos for white thread and 38 pesos for all other colors. If you sew for yourself I think it would be better to get these instead.
- Black 1/4 inch elastic is 300 Php for 155 yards (around 7.5 USD)
- A pair of heavy duty dressmaking shears for 220 pesos (around 5 USD)
- These work way better than the expensive scissors I bought in Fabricland in Canada!
- Lace and other rickrack at 5-10 pesos (a dime) per yard versus 20 pesos up in the malls
- Buttons starting at 50 centavos per piece (a penny per button!!!) to 4 pesos for the nicer kinds
- Seam rippers for 15 pesos, tailors chalk at a fraction of the cost in bookstores/malls
- Bag closures
- Belt buckles
- Patches, clips
- Beads (175 Php for a big pack) and other jewelry making supplies – bangles, headbands, etc
What I didn’t find:
- Still no fusible interfacing or sewing patterns!
- Twin needles/stretch/ballpoint needles for sewing machines
It’s worth noting that I didn’t really take the time to haggle so much for the items that I just bought 1-2 pieces of, but I’m sure you could purchase the items I mentioned much much cheaper. I took so much time looking around the supplies/notions that I had to rush back to meet my husband and wasn’t able to spend much time in the fabric area. On the way back to Juan Luna, I passed by Ilaya street but they mostly had fabrics for curtains and crafts being sold on piles in the street. They had a whole lot of cheap fabric at 20-50 pesos per yard, perfect for making muslins, curtains, craft items and nice throw pillows, but probably not for garments. Printed cotton and canvas were at around 45 pesos per yard. They had lots of Gina silk everywhere. Finished curtains are available from 100/yard up. The other fabric stalls were closed since it was Sunday but I’ll definitely be back next time when I have a little more time on my hands. I was definitely a happy camper with my great finds last weekend! Hope this helps those of you who are thinking of making the trip to Divisoria to buy sewing supplies!