It happened because of the red-eye flight. We had several hours to fill with non-sandy, dry activities and no place to go. While cruising near the back harbor, we saw a fabric store. I exclaimed with delight and Explorer Husband panicked. But, he realized how much fun I would have, so we compromised: He dropped me off at the store and went to see a movie.
Since that first discovery a few years ago, I have visited Fabric Mart on Maui every time we visit. Just walking into the store is a visual treat, with it’s extensive assortment of Hawaiian fabrics. (It is now located on a main road, much easier to find) Rolls and rolls of Hawaiian prints in every color. The printed patterns range from bold exotic borders to winding sideways designs. You are only limited by how much space you have left to fill in your luggage… 😉
Two years ago, I made a fun dress from my fabric. This year, I am beginning to think of things like pajamas and summer robes. Or maybe a long sleeve blouse to help keep me warm in the winter. I think those colors generate heat! Wearing clothing made from these purchases brings back memories of the trip for very little cost. You can only look at pictures so often, but you can wear something all day. Even if you don’t currently have any plans to travel there, the fabric can cheer you up or you can consider it as part of your long term travel plans.
Fabric Mart has stores listed as located on several of the Hawaiian islands, but I have only been to the one on Maui. Judging by the friendly service I receive there, I would think their other stores would be good places to visit. I have never ordered from their website (which sometimes takes a bit long to load, due to moving graphics, I think), but if I run out of Hawaiian fabric, I know where to look.
The traditional Hawaiian fabrics are 100% cotton and somewhat stiff when straight off the roll. They wash up nicely, though, keeping a bit of crispness, but still drape well. I wear my dress a lot during the warm summer months, particularly for dancing, finding it quite comfortable. The store also carries some newer designs that are still very Hawaiian (although I’m not claiming to know what was worn on the Islands before Captain Cook showed up), but could be described as “hip.” The walls display many Hawaiian quilt wall hangings which are fun to look at.
I have browsed, slowly…, many a fabric store, and I have not seen a variety of Hawaiian fabrics like this anywhere in my travels. If you like to sew or want to bring home a gift to someone who does, this is an inexpensive, non-fragile way to do it.