I’ve recently gotten into the habit of picking up the paper on my to work in the mornings, but as there is not enough space for it in my current bag, I always ended up carrying it under my arm. I designed this one more with traveling in mind. It’s large enough for a guidebook, notebook, some pens, travel documents, wallet, small digital camera, iPod and cell phone. It is not big enough to carry around teacher’s files, test papers, or, the newspaper.

I began working on a design for a new shoulder bag, the first of my more ambitious assignments for my new sewing machine. I’ve also been promising Alexander a bag since forever, so this past weekend we decided to go fabric shopping.

As a child I often went with my mother to fabric stores, either at Cape Town’s Parade or the Oriental in Johannesburg. I was in love with the smell of rolls upon rolls of textiles, and although I did not know the names of everything I saw and touched and smelled it left a lasting impression on me. When I moved to Bangkok, I wondered where I would be able to recreate a similar experience. Mostly I’ve only seen tailor’s stores stocking suiting and silk fabrics. Not exactly what I was looking for.

After sleeping in on Saturday morning, we headed toward Pahurat, a street in the mainly Indian neighborhood just east of Chinatown. We first stopped for some terribly satisfying iced caramel macchiatos at the really cute little Fine Time Cafe on the way, and then hopped on the bus.

A couple of fabric and wedding paraphernalia stores lined both sides of Pahurat Street. None of them seemed too enticing, until we crossed the street and walked into one that was a little bigger than the others. Entering the store I noticed that at the back it opened up into another fabric store, and on closer investigation I discovered that we had stepped into a labyrinth of fabric stores. One after the other they were crammed into the tiny spaces that made up almost half of the city block. Everywhere I turned, mountains of fabric in every imaginable color, design, and texture surrounded me.

Soon I was feeling out of breath with excitement and we decided to go for Indian food before shopping for materials. In a small alley, just off Chakraphet Street, we found the Royal India restaurant where we had one of the best naan ever. I highly recommend a trip there to anyone ever in the neighborhood.

Walking back to the Pahurat fabric labyrinth we discovered a cramped but very well stocked bakeshop where I will surely be returning to once we have an oven.

After browsing around for a bit, Alexander settled on a brilliant piece of Berber-inspired fabric for the lining of his bag, and some textured gray suiting for the exterior. As usual, I had a hard time picking something out, being presented with so many options. In the end I selected a funky polka dotted piece for the lining, and a very dark brown bordering on plum for the exterior of my bag. I also noted some very retro looking fabric with orange and green floral prints, which I picked up on a whim with a tote in mind.

Now we only needed to find a haberdashery store. After asking around and not getting anywhere, I marched up to some ladies behind sewing machines. With a questioning expression I pointed to the tins of sewing thread in front of them and soon everybody around joined in to give directions.

I do not understand Thai, but I did follow the hand gestures, and within seconds we were in the most incredible haberdashery store I have seen in a really long time. The store itself was not enormous, but it was stocked from top to bottom and everywhere in between with thread, buttons, clasps, zippers, rolls of interfacing, elastic, and just about any other sewing necessity. I had to really control myself not to buy anything that I did not need right now.

Exhausted, but exceptionally content with our discovery and purchases, we returned home, all set to turn the contents of Alexander’s big shopping bag into fun new accessories.

Most of the images in this entry was taken by Alexander.