Field Trip: Taipei Yong-Le Textile Market [永樂市場尋寶之旅]

The longer I live in Taiwan, the more I discover the treasures that lie within the various nooks and crannies in each of the cities.   For instance, behind Taipei Main Station (the main transportation hub that connects all the train systems in Taiwan)  are a number of markets and streets that sell fabrics, arts  and crafts supplies, packaging materials, often times at wholesale prices.      For this field trip, I was interested in visiting one of the main fabric markets in Taipei.  However, being directionally challenged, I’ve never been able to find this market on my own, so I usually just take a short taxi ride between Taipei Main Station to Yong Le Market.

YONGLE Exterior

Yong-Le Market exterior

The market itself is located inside this building.  Be prepared to be absolutely surprised and overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of fabrics that are available in this one location.  It really is haberdashery heaven, or haberdashery hazard, depending on your perspective.  在台灣住的越久, 慢慢會發覺其實每個角落都是尋寶的好地方。 要買布料的時候, 最棒的地點就是迪化街的永樂市場了! 每次都是跟朋友去, 所以都只顧著聊天, 不認路。。。到了自己要去的時候, 我這個路痴就只好坐計程車了!

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Every corner you turn, there are a riot of colors and textures.  You can buy fabric by the meter, or spend countless hours sifting through the remnant piles.  In addition to fabrics, you can also find lace, ribbon, leather and feathers.  This is also a good location to buy souvenirs, I noticed that there were several stalls selling traditional Haaka prints, or oriental style cloths.

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Traditional Haaka designs

這次來是想找一些布 做成餐具墊 (placemat)  跟餐巾 (napkins) 的。 可是每次到永樂,抱著都是期待,開心的心情, 因為不知道會找到什麼。 我每次都是在市場裡面迷路, 碰運氣!  After running around in circles,  I kept coming across the same stall that sold Japanese fabrics.  My original intention for this field trip, was to select some fabrics to be made into placemats and napkins.  So I was quite happy to find some quirky cotton prints, and some soft, cheese-cloth type fabrics.  The shop owner is brisk, but well-informed.  Once you tell her what you will be using the fabrics for, she quickly points you in the right direction.

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 終於找到自己喜歡的布料! 是一家專門進口日本布料的店。 老闆娘人很 nice. 她會關心你想做什麼, 然後推薦適合的布 她後來也建議我把布帶到樓上去, 請師傅幫忙動變 (serge)  這樣我就不用花太多時間自己車了。

She also recommended that I take the fabrics upstairs to be finished, instead of trying to hem them myself.  I wandered up to the third floor of the building and found several different store fronts that offer finishing services.

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The third floor of Yong-Le Market
永樂市場 三樓

I came across this storefront completely by happenstance, because it was closest to the entryway.  An elderly tailor greeted me, asked me what I needed.  I showed him the fabrics I bought upstairs, and asked that they be cut into the correct sizes for two placemats and several napkin squares.

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The tailor said that he could finish my order in about a half an hour.  He offered me a chair and went straight to work.  在三樓可以找到很多師傅的店面。 我選了這家 ~ 是一位老師傅。他說半小時就可以全部做好~而且他說我可以坐著等。 我邊等,邊看著他工作。 老師傅很專心, 也沒太理我, 偶爾會跟我說幾句話 : “你看。就是要這樣邊才會直。 要這樣燙, 才會平。”  他的動作是非常的快, 但又不慌, 不忙的。 非常有效率。

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It was pretty mesmerizing to watch his efficient movements of ironing, measuring and finishing of each item.  He was totally absorbed in the task at hand, and completely undisturbed by the whirring noises of nearby machines and the chitchat of neighboring tailors and customers.

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All of the work was completed on this well-used surface covered in canvas, with frequently used measurements marked in colored chalk and pencil.

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In less than 10 minutes, my placemats were completed.  I wanted them in this particular size to fit some of the trays I already have at home.

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The neat edges and corners on my new placemats.  As each piece was completed, the tailor stacked them onto one pile to inspect each of the edges and corners.  “Beautiful!” he remarked, admiring his own handiwork (Indeed!)  完成的時候, 老師傅還會很仔細的檢查他的作品。 每個都看過的時候, 他滿意的說 ”水喔“ (真的!我也是這麼覺得!)

photo-8The tailor’s meticulous-ness didn’t end at after he finished my placemats and napkins.  After I paid, before he gave me my change, he ironed each of the bills flat and crisp.  He said “that way your money will be nice and neat in your wallet” 老師傅 從他口袋掏出一堆鈔票, 要找我零錢。 給我之前, 他把每一張鈔票用熨斗燙平。 看了我驚訝的表情, 他就說 :這樣你的錢放在錢包裡才會整齊啊。”

I now have a set of one of a kind placemats and napkins.  I use them pretty much everyday, especially during lunch. I find that quirky watermelon napkins make even simple meals a little bit more exciting.

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可能會有人覺得, 真的有必要那麼費心嗎?只是一些餐巾而已。 可是我覺得~就是每天用到,看到的東西才是更要注意細節! 雖然有時候忙到沒有時間做飯, 要吃便當, 但看到我美美,精選的餐巾, 想起老師傅仔細, 又堅持的工作態度, 我會覺得更加有能量!

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(Fabric store and tailor from this blog post)

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3 comments

  1. Pingback: Field Trip: Yong Le Fabric Market Part 2~ A Housewarming Gift for Peggy « Ciao desserts! 「 焦點心 」

  2. Pingback: Field Trip: ASW Teahouse 永樂市場最平靜的角落 « Ciao desserts! 「 焦點心 」


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