Saturday, April 24, 2010

What is Japanese Fabric?

Japanese famous brand KOKKA fabric

What is Japanese fabric?
Japanese fabric design is so cute, whimsical, fairy tale-like, happy, colourful and famous for multi-colour printed cotton and linen fabric.
There is also kimono fabric, which is also very rich with colours and floral design but what I offer in my shop are craft fabric, with cuteness and zakka feeling.

What is the standard measurement for fabric?
Fabric is usually measured in yard for US metrics.
Malaysian is not very familiar with yard because we always use meter.
Actually 1 yard = 0.91meter.
A fat quarter is 1/4 yard. Refer the below chart for better understanding.

Fabric international measurement

Where can I buy Japanese cotton and what is the standard price for Japanese cotton?
If you google Japanese cotton, you will find a lot of shops selling those beautiful fabric.
And the standard price is around : USD3-5 for one fat quarter.
You can try to find for more variety and price range at Etsy and Ebay.
You can also buy them from several Chinese website (from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong) but you will need a Chinese bank to deal with them and they usually do not accept Paypal payment. Unless you know a middle person who can order those fabric for you. A middle person is willing to do a transaction on your behalf by charging a commission fees of 10-20%
Easier choice is buy from my local blogshop. Here's my shop :
I accept local bank transfer and also Paypal (credit card).

Price for authentic Japanese cotton are more expensive than normal cotton fabric because of the cute and rare printed design on cotton and linen material.
I have check at our local largest fabric shop Kamdar and Nagoya, but they do have a very limited choice of Japanese fabric, price at minimum RM18/meter. Design are mainly floral, very similar to normal cotton fabric. I could not find any cute or 'zakka' design fabric.
If you are staying around Klang Valley, you can also stop by Craft World at SS2, they are selling a looooot of beautiful imported cotton and linen fabric, English, American and Japanese fabric. And their price starts from RM17 per fat quarter. Cut from bolt (what is bolt? refer pic below) is a minimum 0.5 yard.

In Malaysia, so far, I only found cute printed Japanese fabric at craft shop (Craft World) and other blogshop selling them. But unfortunately, many of the blogshops are Work At Home Moms (WAHMs) who does not play by the rules and sell them for overly cheap. Yayyy for the buyers but sad for other sellers who are trying to stay on the business ethic side by maintaining the standard price. But buyers be cautious, some might not be authentic Japanese fabric.

What is the difference between cotton and linen fabric?
As you can from the picture below, linen has rough grain and texture. It is also thicker (medium to heavyweight fabric). Linen is not suitable for making clothes but most suitable for making bag because of the sturdy thickness, it does not need to add another layer of inner lining fabric for protection. Other ideas on using linen fabric : purse, wallet, apron, table cloth, home decor craft, pencil case, laptop casing, tote, brooch, hairpin.

Printed Linen

100% cotton is very soft and lightweight fabric, suitable for almost all sorts of fabric craft. It is suitable for making clothes/dress too. But I would not recommend for making baju kurung, because in my opinion, for making baju kurung, silk+cotton fabric blend is still the best material because of more comfortable (not too hot while wearing).

Printed cotton

fabric in bolt

To buyers:
I hope this will help a little on fabric knowledge and also choosing the right fabric for your lovely hobby. Happy crafting!

To sellers:
I hope you know what you are selling and please don't spoil the market by simply labelling it as Japanese cotton. And if it's authentic Japanese cotton, please follow the standard international price and do not spoil the image and authenticity of Japanese cotton. Let's compete in a healthy market.


  1. brief n compact knowledge sharing ... good work .. ^_^

  2. It's not control price, a standard is just that, it's a free market, if what they're selling is real thing at cheaper price, i'll also buy, btw I'm not one of the sellers i was searching for japanese cotton and got me here.

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  8. Will japanese cotton shrink after d 1st wash?

  9. Japanese cotton Fabric is the most authentic fabric in the world.
    Check out some beautiful Japanese cotton Fabrics

  10. Japanese cotton fabric is slighly thicker then fabric I find in the US. I prefer the Japanese cotton for this reason. US cotton fabric is very thin. Only Japanesae Cotton has this nice opaque quality, or I can find it in American cotton fabrics as well?