April 28, 2015
There are a number of blog posts about searching for the holy grail at The labyrinth of fabric booths at Dongdaemun Market in Seoul: cotton quilting fabric. Most of the bloggers have staggered from the hot, crowded vendor tunnels after miles and miles of toile, feather boas, satin scarves and little girl hair accessories only to conclude that the quilter’s prize is simply not buried here.
Wrong! The best cotton quilt fabrics can be found at the Happy Quilt booth on the fifth floor (section B) of one of the MANY fabric buildings. The trick is to get the right building and then search for this booth (near a set of elevators).
Here are the numbers- the secret code that opens a world of stunning fabrics at only $4 (4,000 won) per yard.
Happy Quilt also has a huge warehouse at the Jije Subway Station outside of Seoul (see my blog posts about Happy Quilt https://goschott.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/return-to-happy-quilt-and-my-new-sewing-machine/), but if you are in Seoul and don’t have time to get out of town, this booth at Dongdaemun has a nice selection and the prices are the same.
How to find the Happy Quilt Booth:
Take the metro to the Dongdaemun Station and take exit 2 or 8 which comes up in front of the JW Marriott.
There are a number of buildings that look the same, all fabric stores with multiple floors, so it’s very important that you get the right building. Trust me; I dragged John through a number of them.
Go into the fabric building that is to the left of the entrance to the JW Marriott. (Same side of the street.) Then go to the 5th floor (which is huge with hundreds of booths) and look for section B and ask someone to direct you to the booth numbers above.
People generally don’t speak English. But they will be able to direct you to these numbers.
In addition to quilt fabric, the Dongdaemun Fabric Market PROBABLY has good upholstery fabric. We never found it, after hours of asking, gesturing, showing pictures of our dining room chairs, and dragging up and down sweaty stairways. If any of you quilting bloggers can direct me to upholstery fabric in Dongdaemun, please give me the secret code.
The only way to recover from the failed search for upholstery fabric in Dongdaemun was a beer in the charming garden tavern overlooking the East Gate from the fortress walls of the old city of Seoul, built in 1398. Perfect setting for the legendary quest for just the right fabric.