Monday, August 03, 2009

WOO HOO A Field Trip :)

Today LW and I went on a little field trip. We didn't really take the Magic School Bus but for some a trip to the fabric store here can be a bit "other worldly" :) There are two large companies that sell fabric in country. Parisina and Modatelas. However except for the names the stores sell exactly the same things. We have 4 fabric stores and they are all four on the 4 blocks that surround the large central market. There is one large store and one small store for each company. The different type of materials are divided up between the large and small store of each company.

So far so good this isn't all that different then up in the Northernlands. :) Once you get into the store you quickly notice a few differences. All the fabrics are rolled onto tall tubes like designer fabric up north. So once you step in you are suddenly lost in a forest of brightly colored "trees" Woo sensory over load. Unlike up in the Northernlands, many people still sew all their own and family's clothes. Many women also supplement the family income by mending or seamstressing (some how I think I made that word up??) Therefore the fabric stores look like they did when we were kids and clothes were still sewn at home. The prices reflect this fact also. There is no wall or walls of cotton calicos or prints used for quilting or crafts. That's not done here. Most women who sew don't have the time. But oh my goodness the fabrics, it's like being a kid in a candy store!! :) Cottons of all kinds, linens, rayons, and TONS of polyesters. One of the cool things is a lot of the cottons, linens, poplins rayons ect. are blended with just a bit of stretch. Just like the off the rack clothes.
Prices are posted on the little red and white signs at the top of a round rack or grouping, not on the bolts. In the picture below there is one with $24.00 & one with $16.00 per meter. That would make them less then $2.00 & $1.60 US /meter!!!! In the picture below this one the materials are marked around $7.00/ meter less the 70cents in the States. Because sewing is a necessity to many here. Fabric and normal notions are very inexpensive.

Now there is a little routine one MUST follow when purchasing materials and notions. First you identify the bolts of material you want. Noticed I didn't say you go pick out a pattern??? That's because there are no pattern books or patterns in the store. Patterns are bought at magazine stands. They are in pattern books like the knitting books up north. So a magazine might have 30 different garments instructions. In the center of the mag are 4 pages with ALL the patterns and sizes drawn on them. As my friend Luci says it's absolutely insane trying to figure them out. She works from 3-4 basic patterns she has created from store bought clothes. Okay you found the material, the next thing is.... no,no,no you do not touch that bolt or try to pick it up!!!! We are the customers here we don't take the material to the counter the sales clerk comes out to us. They all have little uniform tops so you can spot them. Then you lead them from bolt to bolt. In their hand they always have a vintage darkly patina wooden meter stick. You tell them how much you want they unroll the bolt measure it out with their trusty meter stick, cut alittle notch in the material, then fold the material in half giving you one side while they hold the other. You each back up until the material is straight, then the clerk whips out her scissors and cuts it off the bolt, folds it, hands you a written receipt with total yardage and price, and walks away with your material.
If you need notions you walk over to the notions counter find a notions clerk who will help you find thread, buttons and trim, which she (most of the times it's a she) places in a basket, writes up another receipt and hands it to you. when you are all done you take all your hand written receipts to the cashiers booth, get into line (hopefully it's not at the same time all of the city is lined up in front of you :), they ring them all up and you pay them. Then you are handed your copy of the hand written receipts and the cash registers receipt. You head over to the pickup booth all the time praying to the patron saint of short lines to look favorably on you!! When it's your turn you hand over your receipts and watch as the clerks walk by you fabrics 3 times trying to match your receipt to the mounds of bags, fabrics and what nots all piled on the counters. :) Success everyone says thank you and have a good day and off you go. You of course are doing the silent happy dance because you have bought a whole wardrobe of material for the price of one cheap outfit up in the Northlands.

Sooooo LW and I did a bit of power shopping today. It's not antiques, junk, or beads but it's one damn good score let me tell ya. I bought 2 meters (for the metric challenge just remember a meter is just a skosh more then a yard) of blue linen and 2 meters of brown stretch knit with lycra

Three meters of green, with a thin brown stripe cotton with a touch of stretch, 2 meters of green stretch cotton terry and 2 meters of olive stretch cotton

And last 2 meters of a stretch cotton/rayon that has been "wrinkled" in light blue. I'm not to sure about this piece the permanent wrinkles are really getting out of my usual comfort zone. But who knows, I don't mind in fact I enjoy wearing wrinkled linen these days :) Okay now as my father Charlie would have said and what was the damage??? Huuuummmm that would be 13 meters for DAdadada..... $364.00 (pesos) at today's exchange rate that's about $27.00 (US)!!!!!

I also bought 7 spools of thread that cost me $33.00 (pesos) about $2.30 (US)

We also bought 10 meters of a light open weaved cotton tablecloth material. Mette wanted to have "beach-shopping" bags as wedding party-thankyou gifts. So of course the Mom (that's me)will be making them :) all 20 of them :). This material should be perfect, but the best part is the salvage edges are already hemmed!!!!!! Is that cool or what I don't have to hem the tops of the bags WOOOOO HOOOOO! When the clerk cut it she said she thought it was $10 pesos but when they rang it up it was $9pesos less then 80cents a meter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SCORE!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay everybody before we all pile back in the bus I want to mention one thing. Yes in Mexico it's still very inexpensive to purchase some things but and this is a HUGE BUT it is not dirt cheap to live here. If there ever was a time when you could live "like a King" here on $600US a month, you can not now!!!!! In fact in order to live in the lifestyle of the Northernlands it will cost you more to live here then it does there. :( But Bloglandians that's a whole "nother" field trip of it's own!!
Have a most audacious today or tomorrow depending on where in the world you are


Coastal Sisters said...

I can't wait to see how the bags turn out!

I am in my splendid frock you sent me this morning because I am already puttering around and up to my arseskamatablet in 50 faux cupcakes for a wedding shower! Ohhhhh if I could only lick the bowl!

When is Jackie going home again? Your box of goodies should arrive on her doorstep by tomorrow. I sent it Priority Mail. It's heavy as lead. I hope the housekeeper can lift it!!!!

Love to you, LW and the fur babies,

Charmingdesigns said...

I love your visual writing! What a way with words! Laurie

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Gosh, how different down there! Now with Walmart deciding to end their fabric department in all of its stores, perhaps our fabric stores will improve...but I rather doubt it...I like that system they have in Mexico, it's heck to wrangle those bolts myself and it never fails, I run off to get another bolt and some other shopper has taken my first few selections and is pawing through them...argh...

Stephanie said...

So fun to read about the 'correct' way to make your purchases. Was there any oilcloth? I know that in Guadalajara there are entire oilcloth stores with tons and tons of patterns.

Narrative jewelry said...

Hi Pattie,

Happy to see that you find nice fabrics on low cost. And waiting to see what will happen with them...

Just to say you that i translate myself (and not with Google translator, which is not a really good one for french, i think...)the last post on my blog for my necklace "Aliette". If you want to take a look at it.



Miss Muggins said...

thanks for the virtual field trip!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin