My Shanghai stash: Shopping at Shi Liu Pu

Ladystitcher Shanghai stash

I brought very little fabric with me to Shanghai, so one of the first things I wanted to do here was to scope out the fabric markets. The more famous of the two biggest fabric sources in Shanghai is the South Bund market, but after some online research, I decided to check out its rival, the quieter and apparently less expensive Shi Liu Pu market, first. Both markets offer made-to-measure tailoring services and sell fabric by the metre.

There seem to be four floors at Shi Liu Pu, including the basement (the place is a bit of a labyrinth). There’s also a large area out the back of the second floor with a wider selection of wool and heavier fabrics. The market has an amazing range of silk, linen and cashmere, and there are several stalls which focus on denim and on jersey/knit fabrics, but there is very little cotton (that I could see).

Ladystitcher Shanghai stash 2

I tried to research prices online to get some idea what I should start from when haggling (I’m a terrible haggler) but the only notes I could find were on a 2011 forum post. So, I’ll include what I paid for the fabric in case anyone out there needs a more recent reference BUT bear in mind that I don’t speak Chinese yet and that really has a big impact on the price.

The plaid wool (medium weight, 40 yuan/Eur5 for 1m) shown in the top photo is destined to become a nice warm Delphine skirt, though I’ll have to source some lining first. The bow fabric beside it(2.5m for 80 yuan/Eur10) feels like a soft viscose/cotton blend and has a lovely drape, so could be good for another Myrtle, once I get a printer up and running for the ol’ pdfs.

The red jersey knit and the rose-patterned heavy ponte were each 90 yuan/Eur12 for 2m, and the floral viscose was 50 yuan/Eur6.50 for 3m.

On the one hand, I’m sure the prices will come down when I can actually negotiate in Mandarin and not just via a calculator app, but on the other hand, everything came in much lower than  I expected and at prices I was happy to pay.

I also made a quick trip to the notions market (one thing about shopping here is that so many stores and kiosks seem to be very specialised – so the fabric stalls generally only sold one or two types of fabric, and they didn’t sell any notions. In the notions market, generally the guys who sell zips only sell zips, or the button guys only sell buttons etc). At the notions market, the white lace and the wide black stretch lace in the photos above were each about 5 yuan a metre, and I bought a mixed bunch of a dozen invisible 22″, regular 22″ and short zips for 10 yuan.

To get to the markets:

Shi Liu Pu is on the corner of Dongmen Road and Renmin Road: take the metro to Yuyuan Garden, exit onto Fuyou Road and go east along that street until you hit Renmin Road. Go south on Renmin Road until you get to the junction of it and Dongmen Road (the market is a huge warehouse and it has a big sign on it at that corner with the name in English). It’s a 15-20 minute walk from the metro.

The notions market is on Renmin Lu: metro to Yuyuan Garden, take the exit for Renmin Road and head east along that road (it’s around 388 Renmin Lu, close to South Sichuan Road). It’s a 10 minute walk from the metro.


13 thoughts on “My Shanghai stash: Shopping at Shi Liu Pu

  1. The fabrics look lovely – all co-ordinated and not random. I still get a bit bamboozled in a suburban fabric chain store, so four floors of fabric would really give me pause for thought! Moving to Shanghai must be a great adventure and I look forward to seeing your future posts.

    • I had to do a quick first lap when I got there just to acclimatise to the scale! It helps that the stalls are so specialised – you can skip past the ones you don’t need – but I think the fact that I only brought a limited amount of money is what really kept me from losing the run of myself. It sounds like you have a good range of fabric to choose from at your local store?

      • As a new sewer, there’s more than enough to keep me going in our local chains! I’m trying not to accumulate a stash and instead sew as I go.

  2. welcome to china! I’ve been here for almost 7 years and buy a lot of fabric here. I try to avoid the cheapest stuff because the quality is questionable. However you can buy some really nice Korean or Japanese imported fabric…
    When you find a vendor you like I suggest to go to the same one over and over again. Show them your makes and when they recognize you they will give you a better price and you don’t need to bargain so much.

    I really like fabric shopping here. Just have to learn to control my fabric stash.

    • Thanks very much for the welcome, Ellen! 🙂 And thanks for those tips, they sound really useful. Ha, yes, I never really built up a stash before but I think I might have to watch myself now that I’ve found this market! Have you shopped much at the South Bund one?

  3. That purple floral is SO amazing! I have heard that there is all kinds of good fabric shopping in various areas of China although I’ve never been. Hope you settle in and have a great time.

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