Japan Hobby Show Part 5: fabrics

We already showed you the Kokka fabric booth at the Japan Hobby Show last week. But as sewing was a major theme at the trade show in Tokyo we also visited lots of other fabric booths. In fact is was a real fabric wonderland. Everywhere there were piles of fat quartes, fabric swatches and bolts, it would have taken days to look at every single fabric. Plus all the manufacturers had lots of lovely clothes, bags, home decor and more sewn with their textiles, so that you could see what to do with them. It was a great inspiration.

Wonderful fabrics with lots of examples what to sew with them

Wonderful fabrics with lots of examples what to sew with them

Boxes full of fabrics

Boxes full of fabrics

We discovered this adorable owl fabric

We discovered this adorable owl fabric

Wonderful Sentimental Circus fabrics

Wonderful Sentimental Circus fabrics

This is fabric heaven!

This is fabric heaven!

Lots of different manufacturers presented theif fabrics

Lots of different manufacturers presented their fabrics

Every booth had so much to look at

Every booth had so much to look at

An inspiration board with examples of what to sew

An inspiration board with examples of what to sew

The fabric booths looked very colourful and cute

The fabric booths looked very colourful and cute

We loved these bags

We loved these bags

Here people are using fabric paint to stamp on tote bags

Here people are using fabric paint to stamp on tote bags

Fabrics as far as the eye can see

Fabrics as far as the eye can see

Another fabric booth from the Japan Hobby Show

Another fabric booth from the Japan Hobby Show

A lot of manufacturers were totally new to us

A lot of manufacturers were totally new to us

At some booths you could also buy accessories

At some booths you could also buy accessories

What a pretty bunting at this booth

What a pretty bunting at this booth

Japan Hobby Show Part 4: Kokka fabrics booth

While visiting the Japan Hobby Show in Tokyo we also visited some of our suppliers who had booths on the tradeshow. As fabrics and sewing played an important role there, the Japanese fabric manufacturer Kokka couldn’t be missing of course. We really enjoyed the Kokka booth, they had lots of different sections with designer fabrics by Etsuko Furuya, Melody Miller or Ellen Lucket Baker. You could see lots and lots of beautiful things made with the fabrics, mainly bags and clothes. But boy, they surely looked amazing.

Beautiful items with Kokka fabrics designed by Melody Miller

Beautiful items with Kokka fabrics designed by Melody Miller

Some pretty bags and cloths made with Kokka fabrics from the Folk Modern collection

Some pretty bags and cloths made with Kokka fabrics from the Folk Modern collection

The Kokka fabrics designed by Ellen Lucket Baker are perfect for sewing bags

The Kokka fabrics designed by Ellen Lucket Baker are perfect for sewing bags

Super cute Kokka characters on fabric

Super cute Kokka characters on fabric

Of course echino could not be missing on the Kokka booth

Of course echino could not be missing on the Kokka booth

People loved the echino section of the Kokka booth at the trade show

People loved the echino section of the Kokka booth at the trade show

What customers make with our fabrics: furniture covers & bags

In the past weeks quite a few customers showed us on our Facebook wall what they did with fabrics they ordered from our shop. We always love to see these projects, as they are a great source of inspiration. So we collected a few pictures to show you on our blog.

Our German customer Anita made a summer dress for her little daughter with the lovely Michael Miller Nicht Fairies fabrics. It looks wonderful and immediately makes us think of warm summer nights with starry skies. Les Bêtes de Céline from France sewed another great bag with our laminate fabrics. She combined two black and white fabrics from Michael Miller with an Eiffel Tower and zebra design. The combinations works perfectly and as the fabrics are laminated, they are also waterproof and great for outdoor use.

For the first time we also saw our fabrics being used in furniture projects. The blog Sew Much Ado used the laminated echino frame fabric in pale pink to reupholster four chairs in her dining room. She did a very detailed tutorial, so you can copy that project. It’s a great idea to use laminates, as it happens quite often that food or drinks are spilled on chairs, especially when you have children.

Our customer Alicia from California reupholstered a stool with a kawaii Cosmo animal fabric. It looks awesome and gives a whole new look to this piece of furniture.

Feel free to post pictures of your projects on our Facebook wall, we’re looking forward to it.

Our customer Nicole from Germany sew this wonderful summer dress for her daughter

Our customer Nicole from Germany sew this wonderful summer dress for her daughter

Michael Miller fabric Night Fairies starry sky

Michael Miller fabric Night Fairies starry sky

Les Bêtes de Céline made a waterproof bag with two of our laminate fabrics

Les Bêtes de Céline made a waterproof bag with two of our laminate fabrics

black Michael Miller premium laminate fabric Eiffel Tower

black Michael Miller premium laminate fabric Eiffel Tower

black-white Michael Miller premium laminate fabric zebra

black-white Michael Miller premium laminate fabric zebra

A great project: Sew Much Ado reupholstered chairs with laminate fabric

A great project: Sew Much Ado reupholstered chairs with laminate fabric

old rose echino laminate fabric Frame owl giraffe deer

old rose echino laminate fabric Frame owl giraffe deer

Our customer Alicia from the USA reupholstered a stool with our fabric - great job!

Our customer Alicia from the USA reupholstered a stool with our fabric – great job!

white kawaii fabric desserts animals by Cosmo from Japan

white kawaii fabric desserts animals by Cosmo from Japan

New fabric materials in our shop

In our latest fabric delivery from the Japanese manufacturer Cosmo we received many new designs, but also a couple of new material that you might like.

1. Toweling Fabric

We got two very cute terry cloth fabrics with flogs and panda bears. The fabric absorbs water very well therefore it is great to make home textiles such as towels, washrag, bathrobes, bathing utensils, plush toys etc.

turquoise panda bear toweling fabric Cosmo Japan

turquoise panda bear toweling fabric Cosmo Japan

off-white frog toweling fabric Cosmo Japan

off-white frog toweling fabric Cosmo Japan

2. Cotton Satin Fabric

This flower fabric is the first and only cotton satin fabric we have in our shop so far. It is a bit shiny and very smooth. Also the wholoe fabric is stuctured, so it feels very exciting and special.

black structured cotton satin flower fabric Cosmo

black structured cotton satin flower fabric Cosmo

3. Seersucker Fabric

This funny hedgehog seersucker fabric is structured and super light. Seersuckers are very suitable for summer clothes like shirts, robes and shorts, because the fabric barely touches the skin due to the speacial weaving technique and allows lots of air circulation. It’s also great for summer bed linen etc.

white hedgehog seersucker Poplin fabric Cosmo Japan

white hedgehog seersucker Poplin fabric Cosmo Japan

Sunshine City in Tokyo Part 3: fabrics and fashion

Today we show you lots of cute fabrics and fashion accessories that we discovered when visiting Sunshine City during one of our last business trips to Tokyo. Japan is the home of kawaii, so of course we saw lots of super cute outfits in the shops. Everything from head to toe is super cute, there were tons of adorable socks for example.

If you like to sew yourself Sunshine City is the place for you too, because you can get lovely fabrics, buttons, ribbons and all the accessories you need there. We spotted lots of echino fabrics that we also sell in our online shop.

Even the mannequins are kawaii: Bunnies wearing romantic outfits

Even the mannequins are kawaii: Bunnies wearing romantic outfits

A paradise for fabric lovers

A paradise for fabric lovers

You can also buy lots of fabric bundles

You can also buy lots of fabric bundles

Everything you need for quilting!

Everything you need for quilting!

A very wild mixture of different styles and patterns

A very wild mixture of different styles and patterns

Very pretty Asia fabrics

Very pretty Asia fabrics

Lots of sewing accessories

Lots of sewing accessories

Fat quarters are really handy if you don't need a big piece of fabric

Fat quarters are really handy if you don’t need a big piece of fabric

The most adorable socks

The most adorable socks

kawaii baby socks

kawaii baby socks

One of the many fashion outlets in Sunshine City

One of the many fashion outlets in Sunshine City

Welcome spring

Today spring starts – at least meteorologically and in the Northern Hemisphere. So let’s welcome the warm season with lots of pretty spring items from our shop that you can currently find in our Easter category.

white flower Washi Masking Tape deco tape

white flower Washi Masking Tape deco tape

green ladybird fabric with dots by Robert Kaufman

green ladybird fabric with dots by Robert Kaufman

animal fabric with rabbit lamb mouse by Riley Blake USA

animal fabric with rabbit lamb mouse by Riley Blake USA

echino canvas fabric Wish green birds flowers

echino canvas fabric Wish green birds flowers

Paper Tape set flower ladybird cloverleaf

Paper Tape set flower ladybird cloverleaf

red ladybird eraser by Iwako from Japan

red ladybird eraser by Iwako from Japan

Michael Miller fabric flower shop by Patty Young

Michael Miller fabric flower shop by Patty Young

cute flower Sticky tape from Japan

cute flower Sticky tape from Japan

Kerori frog A4 plastic file folder with flowers

Kerori frog A4 plastic file folder with flowers

What customers make with our fabrics: echino bags

Again we spotted wonderful things that some of our customers made with our fabrics. After we already introduced you to the cute boy’s shirt Caroline from the Sew Can She blog sewed, she now also made a beautiful handbag from our echino fabric. The combination with the real leather handle is perfect, it is an absolute astonishing piece.

The French designer Les Bêtes de Céline showed us a couple of weeks ago a picture of how she was working on a shoulder bag with our echino laminate fabrics. Now she finished the bag and we totally love it. She combined two echino laminates by Kokka, so the bag is waterproof. It’s absolutely lovely!

We are in love with the echino handbag made by Sew Can She

We are in love with the echino handbag made by Sew Can She

Here Les Bêtes de Céline is still working on this echino laminate shoulder bag

Here Les Bêtes de Céline is still working on this echino laminate shoulder bag

By now the waterproof bag is finished and absolutely beautiful

By now the waterproof bag is finished and absolutely beautiful

echino canvas fabric birds stripes turquoise from Japan

echino canvas fabric birds stripes turquoise from Japan

echino laminate stripes fabric kikka yellow-red-blue

echino laminate stripes fabric kikka yellow-red-blue

green echino birds and berries laminate fabric cherry

green echino birds and berries laminate fabric cherry

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Sandra

This will be a long interview, but she just has so much to tell. Why? Because she started the company many years ago. Meet the boss: Sandra!

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Sandra, 31 years old. I am the Managing Director and founder of modes4u. My hometown is Bregenz in Austria, but I have been living in Hong Kong for more than eight years now. After I finished my Masters degree in Computer Science I was invited to join a summer university program in Hong Kong and Beijing. I liked it so much that I decided to stay. I moved to Hong Kong and studied Business Management.  During that time I met my husband Alan and after graduating we started modes4u.com together.

What is your job at modes4u?
At the beginning I did everything from A to Z as there was only Alan and I. I looked for suppliers, ordered products, wrote product descriptions, packed and shipped orders, blogged, organised partnerships, answered customer emails etc. Meanwhile my tasks have changed, because now I have a great team that supports me a lot.

I am still responsible for purchasing, so I order products, look for new suppliers and do everything that is connected to that. I also visit trade shows all around the world several times a year to check out the newest products and trends and to meet business partners.

I frequently start new projects, as I have so many ideas for improving and simplifying the shop. Despite that I am still pretty active in the day-to-day business: I answer lots of emails every day and do paper work and administrative tasks. But when we have lots of orders I still help packing.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I like everything we have, otherwise I would not have ordered it. But personally I like our fabrics the most. I have done quite a bit of sewing with our echino fabrics, but I also like to use cute designs with matryoshkas, owls, deer etc.
Washi Tapes are on second position in my personal priority list. We have a very big variety now and I really like the beautiful prints.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I am in the very special situation that I have founded this company, therefore I have to say: everything! It is a very special feeling for me to see the shop grow each year and get more and more professional opportunities.
Also I like the work attitude in Hong Kong. Everybody is working eagerly and without complaining. Our team is really great and I appreciate that a lot.

I feel like you can try lots of new projects here. In Europe many things would not be possible that easily and without a lot of bureaucracy. There is an innovative atmosphere, the people are not afraid of experimenting and also willing to take a risk.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
I like to craft very much if I have a good occasion. Like when I sewed curtains with our echino fabrics for our whole house, because we needed some. It took super long until I was done, but even though it was lots of work, I totally enjoyed it.

For my little nieces I sewed bibs with our fabrics, as a mother can never have enough of those. And I also like to use fabrics as decoration, e.g. by just framing them.
I have also used Washi Tape to decorate vases and glasses or used them as name tags for glasses at parties and BBQs.

Big Rilakkuma is asking Sandra lots of questions at our lunch table

Big Rilakkuma is asking Sandra lots of questions at our lunch table

Sandra sewed these bibs for her little nieces

Sandra sewed these bibs for her little nieces

Not yet finished, but already very pretty. A Little bag sewed with our fabrics

Not yet finished, but already very pretty. A Little bag sewed with our fabrics

Sandra used different echino fabrics to sew curtains for her whole house. Seen here: Living room curtains

Sandra used different echino fabrics to sew curtains for her whole house. Shown here: Living room curtains

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A “shop” in Hong Kong where Sandra bought fleece for sewing.

Her cat Miu also liked the big sewing project. So comfy!

Her cat Miu also liked the big sewing project. So comfy!

Sandra crafted a pinboard by stapling fabric onto cork coasters

Sandra crafted a pinboard by stapling fabric onto cork coasters

A whole new vase design made with a couple of stripes of Washi Tape

A whole new vase design made with a couple of stripes of Washi Tape

New: Asia fabrics category

We have so many fabrics with Asian designs or typical symbols that we wanted to group them in a new fabric category in our shop. From now on you can select the category “Asia Fabrics” in our online shop and find lots of fabrics with Chinese characters, geishas, Kokeshi dolls, lucky cats and other Asian designs. Lots of fabrics in this section are from the Japanese labels Kokka and Cosmo, but you can also find brands like Alexander Henry, Timeless Treasures or Robert Kaufman from the USA.

Visit our new product category Asia Fabrics

Visit our new product category Asia Fabrics

black Japanese ninja characters fabric by Robert Kaufman USA

black Japanese ninja characters fabric by Robert Kaufman USA

purple-violet Japanese flower fabric with gold by Kokka

purple-violet Japanese flower fabric with gold by Kokka

grey Alexander Henry fabric Japanese woman and skulls

grey Alexander Henry fabric Japanese woman and skulls

ecru structured Lucky Cats fabric from Japan

ecru structured Lucky Cats fabric from Japan

black Kokeshi cat dolls fabric by Alexander Henry

black Kokeshi cat dolls fabric by Alexander Henry

Japanese scenery fabric tree flower Timeless Treasures

Japanese scenery fabric tree flower Timeless Treasures

Customer sews incredible shirt for boys

What a great outfit! Our customer Caroline from the Blog Sew Can She showed us what wonderful boys’ clothes you can make from our fabrics. She took two of our cars fabrics from Kokka and sewed an incredible shirt for her son. He seems to like it as much as we do, at least he looks quite happy, very comfortable and active wearing the shirt. Great Job, Caroline.

It’s such a pleasure to see what customers make from our products, so keep showing us the results of your creativity.

What a great shirt for boys! SewCanShe made it from our Kokka fabrics.

What a great shirt for boys! SewCanShe made it from our Kokka fabrics.

funny white cars fabric for boys by Kokka Japan

funny white cars fabric for boys by Kokka Japan

dark blue cars fabric for boys by Kokka Japan

dark blue cars fabric for boys by Kokka Japan