Whilst travelling, people bring back souvenirs of shot glasses, spoons or keychains, the souvenir I bring back is fabric. In January, I was lucky enough to spend a week at a women’s retreat in Bali and then a few days exploring the gorgeous island after. During my free days, of course I went fabric shopping as I’d never had the chance to on my previous Bali visit and wanted to see what the island had to offer. Although Bali is quite compact, the island is full of little provinces and villages and I’m sure most of them have their own fabric areas which I wasn’t able to explore. As I was staying Legian (near Kuta), I wasn’t able to get time to explore too far out but I think I certainly found some great pieces which I’m excited to share with you.
I set aside half a day to go fabric shopping and gave myself a strict budget both moneywise and weightwise. As I was travelling on my own, I couldn’t sneak some pieces into my travel companions suitcase and whatever I bought during the day, I would have to carry on my own. This was kind of a good thing as I was very conscious about my selection. I started the morning by getting up nice and early and ordering a Grab (similar to Uber) to my first fabric store, I hopped onto the little Grab scooter and zipped through the empty streets of Bali toward Alta Moda.
I was rather excited about visiting Alta Moda as many fabric groups on Facebook have talked about it, it’s mentioned in all the blogs about fabric shopping and even my travel agent recommended it. Alta Moda is a multi-store building where upon entering, a sales assistant helps you find what you are looking for. My sales assistant wasn’t the most knowledgable about the fabrics and eventually admitted that she didn’t know much about fabric or sew so I had to figure stuff out on my own. This is fine as I just took my time looking around. The store was absolutely packed with fabric and it seemed that everything was just everywhere. There were some sections, for example floral cottons, which appeared in many other sections so you really had to go looking. I found this a little overwhelming as I had to look all over, dig through piles of fabric reams and dive into piles of fabric stacked up against the shelves and on the floor. This store certainly needs more space because it was a little overwhelming. The prices were pretty reasonable with some cottons ranging from $2 AUD way up to the hundreds depending on what was needed.
Alta Moda was sold to me as the ultimate fabric store in Bali and it just didn’t deliver for me personally. I’m not sure if it was between seasonal stock, if they were perhaps renovating or if the quality has gone down since the pandemic. In saying that, I managed to find myself two cottons for dress-making; one has a traditional Balinese artwork on it that I want to turn into. atop and skirt set, and the second was in hommage to a friend I made whilst travelling (I miss you Jo!). I loved the blue hibiscus print on the second fabric and it reminded me of a retro reproduction brand that had a similar fabric but I just cannot seem to remember who exactly they were. I purchased 4 meters of each for around $6 – $8 AUD.
The last two pieces of fabric I purchased were two men’s cotton shirt fabric styles both in navy blue but with different patterns on top. I plan on turning these into shirts for my hubby which I’ve never made before but figured, what’s the worse that can happen.
Before I left Alta Moda, I asked at the counter where I can find some wifi so I can order a Grab scooter back to the hotel (it was just a little too far for me to walk whilst battling cramps). I was told there’s no where near by and shown the door. When I left Alta Moda, I was planning to go slowly just walk back to the hotel and stop as many times as I needed. Right before I ventured off, I looked across the road and saw a sign saying Centra Moda Textiles. It looked to be another fabric store right across the road so I figured, just having a look might not hurt and I crossed over and entered.
Centra Moda should beat Alta Moda for the title of the best fabric store in Bali. Hands down no contest. The store was bright, open, clean and everything had it’s proper place to be. It seemed to be arrange in a logical order and there were many stunning designs, I’m so glad I decided to stop. I was left alone to explore the store until I wanted to get my first piece of fabric cut and then the sales assistant stayed with me the rest of the time I was there. This sales assistant was hands down one of the best I’ve had in a very long time and he had so much knowledge, never once pushed or try to upsale and was very happy to help me think out loud my projects and help me choose the best fabric. I wish I remembered his name.
Centra Moda also had multiple stories and on the bottom level, I found a great selection of eyelet cotton in a range of trendy colours so I grabbed a few meters of the white, dusty pink and sage. To go underneath these fabric, I matched some plain cottons. Centra Moda had a huge range of plain coloured fabrics and it depended on what fabric you wanted; I, of course, went for the cottons and linens and I loved the finish and sheen they had to offer. The cottons I purchased were all French and of very good quality; they felt soft, durable and I couldn’t wait to create something with them. I also bought some extra plain cotton in other colours so I can make some plainer dresses (if you remember back to my KL fabric haul, there was a lot of printed cotton so it was time to go plain).
On the second level of Centra Moda, there was a large selection of silks but also a range of stylized tulles and chiffons. As I’m trying to branch out in my sewing fabrics to reach some of my sewing goals for 2023, I chose a cute creamy brown tulle with a white floral pattern on it. I had the hardest time choosing what colour to get this fabric in and to decide between the floral or more galaxy printed fabrics. They also had some heavily embroidered tulle which would be stunning for unique prom dresses. To go underneath the brown tulle with flowers, I bought some matching cotton (pictured already underneath the tulle). The last pieces I got were a stunning champagne tones sparkle chiffon and some matching lining. I want to get better as sewing bustiers (all my attempts have failed so far) but I can see this dress being stunning and I want to see it come together. This will hopefully be a cute datenight dress and if I have spare fabric left over, maybe some gloves.
Centra Moda was a goldmine for my fabric shopping and I would definitely recommend it over Alta Moda. It just felt cleaner, better organised, the staff were more knowledgable and friendly and the range was amazing. I was given water and snacks whilst I waited for my purchases to be wrapped up and I was given a large bag to carry everything in. Before I the store, my sales assistant asked if I had far to travel (the large bag was awkward and heavy) and after saying I was walking to my hotel, he kindly ordered my a car to come pick me up and take me back to the hotel. I was floored by the service and will certainly return next time I visit Bali.
You may remember that recently, I posted a rather extensive fabric haul from Kuala Lumpur which was definitely quite excessive. As I don’t want to promote overconsumption, I will note and say that fabric hauls such as these do not happen often and all of last year I was on a fabric-buying ban. I am back on the ban this year so all the fabric I have purchased in these hauls, will be used in the next few years to come. Each item was chosen with a project in mind so I can train myself to buy fabric more mindfully. I do already have a fair amount of fabric at home but have found that through my constant sewing, the stash is ever so slowly going down which is exciting to see. If you are travelling and buying fabric, buy whatever fits your budget and lifestyle, please don’t ever feel that just because you only bought one of two things that you can’t be proud of your haul.
I’m really happy with my haul and I somehow managed to purchased the exact right amount of fabric without going over either y monetary budget or my weight allowance. I was exactly a few 100 grams under for both carry on and check in so I’m so glad I udgeted so well. Although not an overly exciting haul, it was a good first experience for fabric shopping in Bali. I’m hoping on my next visit I can explore a different area and perhaps start compiling a list of where to buy fabric in Bali that’s tried and tested. If you are travelling to Bali and looking for fabric, I hope this little review helps.
Address to help:
Centra Moda – Jalan Patih Jelantik No.2-3, Kuta, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Alta Moda – Jalan Patih Jelantik Blok Entrance 1 No. 03-06, Legian, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.