We had two free days out of a twelve day tour and had a number of options of places to go and things to do. On our first free day four of us went to Dongdaemun Market, a huge shopping district comprised of several buildings. One building has nothing but shoes, another clothing, and a third fabric, embellishments, and thread. Not hard to say which one was our target destination. What can I say but a-a-amazing and overwhelming. There were three floors filled with more fiber-related goods than I ever imagined in a single place. Row upon row of goods.
I had to see Happy Quilt, the only quilt shop in Seoul. Although I had the booth number, it wasn’t easy to track down. Each booth or stall is an individual business, and they are chock-a-block next to one another. You find the shop you want via the combination of the floor followed by a section letter, followed by the stall or business number. And none of it seems to be in numerical order. Fortunately, when we asked for directions, people were very good about helping us.
Here’s the shopkeeper at Happy Quilt measuring fabric. No cutting tables or rotary cutters. The fabric, folded in bolts, is opened out, measured with a yardstick, and cut as you see below.
This photo shows you the size of Happy Quilt.
There was a small display of taupes.
Happy Quilt appeared to be one of the few shops selling cotton. Nor did I see any wool. Rather there were many shops selling a variety of silks, which two of my companions were looking for. We saw some great bags at several places.Surprisingly, none were for sale nor were there patterns. The bags appeared to be for inspiration.
Beyond fabrics, there were more embellishments that I ever thought existed. I would have loved to buy some but having no idea what I would do with them, it was impossible to know how many, color, kind, etc. Kind of frustrating, especially knowing I wouldn’t be ever be back. The photos below are just a miniscule amount of what I saw.
The tiniest tassels I have ever seen, maybe 1/4″ in size. I really wanted to buy some of these.
Popular cartoon characters–preprinted on fabric for stuffing and stitching.
Piles of sewing supplies and notions.
I loved the display in this booth. It was the most creative one I saw, in English, no less.
Examples of children’s Hanbok at a business selling fabric for this traditional clothing.
Food stalls surround the building outside.
Conclusion: If you can’t find what you want at Dongdaemun Market, it doesn’t exist!