The Polka-Dot Motherland

by Erin on June 1, 2007

fabric in spain

… is, as Mary Fran tells me, in Seville (that's Spain, not Ohio.) Turns out flamenco dancers need/wear/love polka dots. Another reason, as if you needed a reason to 1) go to Spain 2) take up the heartbreak and passion that is … FLAMENCO! 3) wear polka dots.

I am in high-covetousness-gear right now. I want, in no particular order, the coffee-colored dots the third shelf down on the left; the multi-sized green on the bottom right (and oddly, that horrible dotless pea green right next to it——I always latch on to the runt of any litter); and the orange and chartreuse on the third shelf down in the middle.

So, if anyone's going to Spain … in my head, of course, these are all lovely fine cottons, but I'm betting they're actually poly, so as to wear longer.

Also, I just found out I will have less than 24 hours in Tokyo in late July, probably Monday the 30th. Does anyone have fabric-store recs for Tokyo? Preferably near Narita airport?

Sorry I missed yesterday — I don't know where the day went. Although I assume that the occasional postless day just adds to my general air of intrigue and mystery.

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie J June 1, 2007 at 8:32 am

Ooo! Polka dots! I love the choices, and I’m oddly drawn to the pea green too. I also like the small polka dot that’s the 4th shelf down in the middle and it’s on the left side of the shelf by the green fabric. Blurry…but I see potential! Also, the top far right shelf, there’s a red/green/white pd near the top left corner of the shelf that I love!

Reply

Anonymous June 1, 2007 at 8:50 am

I would fight anyone here for the brown and tan unevenly-space one on the third shelf down.**LOVE**–Lydia

Reply

twollin June 1, 2007 at 9:06 am

I’m a polkadot catholic – any polkadots will do, any size, any shape, any color, any background color esp. if it is not white. I will remind myself never, ever to go to Spain unless I have a) an empty suitcase and b) an unlimited chargecard for just such a selection..I might not be able to ever leave.

Reply

dawn June 1, 2007 at 9:08 am

I want them ALL. But if I have to pick, I’ll take the kiwi green with the big white polka dots.

Reply

Nora June 1, 2007 at 9:16 am

Oh, my goodness. Polka dots make me so very happy, especially on dresses. Maybe flamenco dancers like the lighthearted contrast they provide to the heartbreak and passion. Hey, and it just occurs to me, why “polka” dots – do polka dancers like them too? Maybe they just make people want to dance.

Reply

Heather Outside Boston June 1, 2007 at 9:26 am

That looks like heaven — in my mind some of them are even silk. :-)Actually, the movie in my mind goes like this: we all walk in, there’s a little bickering over who gets what (for dramatic tension) we make up and are friends again, and as we walk out through the door with our bolts, they become our perfect dresses so we start singing through the streets, meet gorgeous men who can dance, and live happily ever after. Such a sweet movie in my mind. hee!hee!And the truth is that I covet the pink and yellow dots in the top center and the delicate red on white in the bottom center.

Reply

Anonymous June 1, 2007 at 9:30 am

I have 32 hours in Tokyo the week after that and have been hunting fabrics too. I am not holding my breath though on my last trip they were all so beautiful, but very expensive.Do check out Kiddy Land in Harajuku too, wonderful accessories and novelities.Jocelyn

Reply

India June 1, 2007 at 9:46 am

Eeeeee!Since all y’all have bought up the brown dots already, I would like a dress with the bodice of the grass-green dots on white ground, and the skirt of the white dots on grass-green ground. (Both are in the cell to the right of the one containing the brown dots.)I would also happily rock the white-on-orange, and of course the orange-on-green that’s just peeking out in the middle of that cell.

Reply

the_lazymilliner June 1, 2007 at 9:50 am

Erin, brilliant minds must think alike because I was looking at the latest issue of National Geographic Traveler and I thought of you. There’s a story on 48 hours in Seville, Spain. What’s the main picture? A close-up of made-to-order and ready-to-wear polka-dot flamenco dresses at Maria Rosa boutique (address is Calle Cuna 13).

Reply

rainkatt June 1, 2007 at 11:06 am

Lydia, you’re on! I love that tan and brown one!I also love the white with the huge black dots. I’d need twice the yardage so I could space the dots properly, I bet, but that would make an awesome dress for work.

Reply

Missy June 1, 2007 at 11:27 am

ahhhh…so many dots so little time. I’m especially drawn to the red/navy dots in the top middle cell. Very retro!Heather ~ sign me up for the movie!!! Missy

Reply

xstpenguin June 1, 2007 at 12:10 pm

You know, I’ve never really thought of myself as a polka dot liking sort of a person. But seeing so many different kinds, I think I might be a convert! (I’m getting sucked into DressADay World!!!)I think (heresy that this is) that the regularly spaced ones are a bit boring. So although I like the turquoise w/white and the green below it – 2nd column, 2nd row – the ones I’d actually lay down money for are the irregular ones, especially the multi colour ones. (Ok, so we *all* like the coffee dots!)Do my eyes deceive me or is that Striped Dots – very bottom, 2nd column, 4th row – wow, that one I want!You are probably right they will be poly/cotton blends, but I dare say silk exists also. Where is this shop exactly – just in case I hop on a passing pig and go to Spain?AJ

Reply

xstpenguin June 1, 2007 at 12:32 pm

Somebody really needs to Edit thishttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polka-dots entry on polka dots, they are being very po-faced about it, childrens wear and bathing costumes!? I’m not the ultimate dot-fan, so I don’t think I’m up to the task, but given the enthusiasm today’s posting has already stirred up, someone here is!AJPS My apologies if this has already appeared in previous comments.

Reply

Anna June 1, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Oh! How I wish this shop actually was in Seville, OH. I only live about 20 minutes from there :-)

Reply

phoenix June 1, 2007 at 1:20 pm

They are soooo happy! Since y’all seem to have laid claim to the coffee-dots, my favourite is the the bolt on the bottom middle shelf, just below the pink on white – the random-ish multi-sized red polka dots on white that almost looks floral, ooh, and (same shelf) the one just below the black on white that looks like concentric circles in pink and green.Incidentally, I just signed up for flamenco lessons yesterday. They start in a few weeks. :)

Reply

Beth June 1, 2007 at 1:20 pm

I’m sort of partial to the multi-colored, unevenly spaced polka dot (would this be “the bubble?”).The wikipedia entry is a bit condescending–”playful attire” tossed off as if unimportant! Like they don’t know the whole point is to have fun…

Reply

Beth June 1, 2007 at 1:45 pm

I like multicolored polka dots that are not spaced in even rows. Would these be more “bubbles” than “polka dots”The Wikipedia entry is a bit condescending–”playful attire” just tossed off as if the playful garment would not be the mainstay of someone’s wardrobe.The “bubble” doesn’t even rate an entry. Boo hoo, sob!

Reply

Beth June 1, 2007 at 2:01 pm

Ooops! My bad! Double comment…

Reply

Anonymous June 1, 2007 at 2:18 pm

This is off-topic, I know, but I have to tell someone. Do you KNOW what I SAW at my sorta-local fabric store today? It was sock monkey quilting fabric. There were sock monkeys on a tan background, sock monkeys on a baby blue background, and one fabric that was brown, printed all over with the sock pattern (does that make sense? Like one big sock!) I didn’t buy any, because it was $8.50 a yard, which is not in my budget until I figure out exactly how I would use it. I’m thinking a brown sock print skirt with the monkeys as either a contrasting patch pocket or a trim along the bottom.

Reply

Anonymous June 1, 2007 at 4:19 pm

The polka dot store is in the main shopping center off Plaza Neuva,in Sevilla, pretty much right near the H & M store. There were even more….I want to be in the happy dream too where we all go out dancing in our polka dot dresses. Some of the flamenca dresses I saw had solid color bodies with polka dot godets in the skirt — cool and totally possible for everyday wear, don’t you think?Mary Fran

Reply

Pamela June 1, 2007 at 6:23 pm

For discount fabric shopping in Madrid go to Calle de Atocha. Not near the Atocha train station, but one block up Calle de las Carretas from Puerta del Sol, make a left onto Atocha. There you will find several excellent fabric stores with great prices. These are large 2 story shops and you will be sure to find polka dots, as well as lovely wools, silks, beautiful men’s shirtings and other cottons. Spanish women dress very well. Their clothes are always altered to fit perfectly. You will pass a Zara outlet(!!!) store on the left while on Calle de las Carretas. Zara is an addiction with my daughters and myself, whenever we are near one. This is the only outlet store I know of. We spent 3 years living in Madrid. It’s a great city.Fabrics at Corte Ingles, the only big department store in Spain, are lovely, but 3 times the price.

Reply

The Fashionable Kiffen June 1, 2007 at 6:29 pm

I love Seville! I spent a summer in there and it was all I could not to return with a suitcase full of flamenco costumes. They’re so much fun! I think the bright colors and polka dots provide a nice contrast to the serious themes of flamenco. However, I did get a dotted fuschia ruffled circle skirt that I do wear as an everyday piece – I have a feeling that Dress A Day readers would approve!

Reply

Cathy June 1, 2007 at 8:26 pm

I’m still waiting to see the recommendations for Tokyo, not that I’ll be there soon. I remember going in a fabric store in Kyoto – fun. (I’m a sucker for paper stores, myself, but you can get interesting paper even at the 100-yen stores.)

Reply

Jenn June 1, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Polka Dots!!!I’ll actually be headed off to Spain in December/January…perhaps I’ll try to find it in Seville…

Reply

M-A June 1, 2007 at 9:37 pm

The best place I’ve found so far in Tokyo (where I live) is near Nippori station. It’s actually called “Nippori Textile Town” on maps! It’s a street of practically nothing but fabric shops and is about 1 1/2 hours by train from Narita, in metropolitan Tokyo. Another place is Yuzawaya (a chain of fabric/craft shops) by Kamata station, but that’s a bit farther out of town. They have Liberty fabrics, but they’re expensive.Let me know if I can be of help! :)

Reply

Val June 1, 2007 at 11:40 pm

These would be just wonderful for a Roy Lichtenstein-inspired dress. Or better yet, a quilt. I love the chartreuse/magenta behind the brown dots mentioned. So graphic!

Reply

J for Joyce June 2, 2007 at 5:55 am

What can i say? I just LOVE the polka dot! :) http://mrschocolate.blogspot.com/

Reply

Tamsin June 2, 2007 at 10:43 am

My mum used to live in Tokyo and bought me the most wonderful gold / cream polka dot silk fabric which I used to make my wedding dress . . . I shall email her forthwith for her fabric shop recommendations!

Reply

Lauren June 2, 2007 at 10:55 am

I dance flamenco but am not a huge fan of entirely polka dotted costumes (they get sort of trite after a while, especially when most are variations of black/red). But I would kill (okay, maybe not kill, but maim? bite? scratch?) for a novelty polka dotted skirt, or even a solid skirt with polka dotted gores or ruffles.My pick? On the top two shelves, the last two cubbies on the right-I’d go for either the pink crowded example in the 2nd to last cubby and would want a better/closer look at all in the last cubby. Or maybe the med/dark green background with multi-sized dots thats on the bottom right shelf.One thing that is a burning question for me, and something I feel I SHOULD know, as a flamenco dancer is WHY the dots in the first place? Why not stripes? Why not triangles? Why not other fun shapes or patterns? Hm…

Reply

Anonymous June 2, 2007 at 3:20 pm

Am I the only one who doesn’t like polka dots? Polka dots on a shelf are beautiful and that is fine with me but I am really afraid of wearing polka dots and I don’t go near them, none in my stash!Maybe I was killed by polka dots or by a polka dot in my first life!!LOL.I used to live in Kobe and if the fabric street, yes street, is anything like that in Kobe then it would be beneath the train tracks somewhere in the older shopping area and it will be miles and miles of fabric shops one next to the other. The one in Kobe was situated next to Mori Kitamachi.Good luck on finding them. There was also a store in Tokyo where one could purchase older Issey Miyake fabric. The clothes designed from them had to be a few years old before they allowed the fabrics to be sold. Fabrics from which dreams are made….don’t know if this place still exists though.In Osaka there was a street where one could purchase kimono fabrics by the roll as well as obis, silks.Perhaps there are similar places in Tokyo.Good luck!

Reply

Becky O June 2, 2007 at 6:03 pm

This is a day late, but.. I made my own eight gored famenco skirt out of the softest cotton lycra in a pumpkin orange. The bottom ruffle was an exquisite deep purple in the same material with white polka dots.I found someone to handmake me orange suede shoes to go with…That is love.~Becky

Reply

Karen June 3, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Beware, Erin, fabric can be almost prohibitively expensive in Japan, but luckily, Japanese women are really, really into crafting and quilting and all that, so there is some hope. The one great traditional Japanese fabric store I know of has now closed–I can only second finding a Yuzawaya (here is their fabrics website, in Japanese), because it’s like a giant forest of little fabulous toys and fabric and lovely things. I’ve sadly never been to Nippori Textile Town–it sounds AWESOME.If you need a quickie tour guide/interpreter, I’ll be in Tokyo working this summer!

Reply

jessicajlee June 3, 2007 at 10:17 pm

I took flamenco for a while, and the shoes seem to be one of the best indulgences! Check out the polka dot shoes at http://www.esflamenco.com/scripts/list/enlist.asp?frmIdList=174

Reply

Ruth June 4, 2007 at 7:22 am

was only just admiring some polka dot fabric here in Gran Canaria the other day.I didnt connect the flamenco polka dot theme. Maybe they should be called Flamenco dots.

Reply

Claire June 4, 2007 at 8:22 am

hey there,NOTHING is close to Narita. Its a couple of hours out of town. I would second Nippori Textile Town, there is a big long street filled with tiny speciality stores (the pelts store is an eye opener!) but the big pull for me is a multi-story shop there called Tomato. It is the cheapest place i have found to buy fabric here, and has the best range, it has most of what is availible anywhere. Things start cheap on the first floor, from less than a dollar a metre, but get really exciting up on the cotton floor. Mind-blowingly cute! Prices start from around 6 dollars a metre, up to, well, quite a lot really. Also, this will be your closest bet, there is a direct train to Nippori from the airport. If you are willing to travel further, there is a very good fabric store in Shibuya, and Kichijoji is a great town, with an obscene amount of craft shops, but on your schedule that may be tricky!! Let me know if you need anymore help or more detailed directions!

Reply

H. June 5, 2007 at 11:33 am

I’m with Lauren on this one… I like to make dresses, like to dance flamenco, but hate the polka dot flamenco dresses and would never wear one if I could help it!But I can see those fabrics in a great summer skirt, without ruffles…

Reply

Anonymous June 5, 2007 at 12:09 pm

And my bf thinks it’s a long drive to JoAnn Fabrics searching for Polka Dot Fabric (and of course they only had tiny vs teeny tiny dots to choose from!).. I think a nice road (+sea) trip to Spain will be in order. Suzie @ PinupDresses

Reply

gilda June 6, 2007 at 12:34 pm

i love my polka-dots too. i make a lot of my own clothes and polka-dots seem to creep their way into my choices each time. i had a friend in school in japan, who wore polka dots from head to toe everyday! instead of calling her by name, my teacher called her miss polka-dot…

Reply

Anonymous June 6, 2007 at 11:29 pm

I seriously VANT the bright green with different sizes of polka dot on a dress. yum

Reply

beangirl June 10, 2007 at 8:34 am

From now on I only call them “the Flamenco Dots”.Hmmm… “The Flamenco Dots”… didn’t they open at a Lallapalooza in 1992?

Reply

Anonymous July 26, 2007 at 5:47 pm

I am planning my wedding and really need black with fucia polka dots, alot of it. I want to do my isle runner chair covers and all sorts of stuff, it will look like the 80′s threw up on my wedding. My e mail is hoffmannaprincess@hotmail.com if anyone can help me out.

Reply

Nada July 29, 2007 at 1:33 pm

I only had 24 hrs in Tokyo in January, ad went directly to Tomato in Nippori Textile Town. as soon as you walk in on the 1st floor, on the rt, is the 100 yen table, which works out to less than a dollar a yarde-mail me if you want specific step by step directions from Narita to Tomato, including going to the postt officea couple of blocks over (I had to mail my stuff back)nada at everyvoice dot net

Reply

aussie quilter September 14, 2007 at 2:00 am

We are going to Japan on a family holiday. Does anybody know adresses for quilting shops in Toyko and Kyoto. Cotton is my preference and any old kimonos for my daughter. I dont really want to take the two teenage boys and husband on alonger than necessary search for material. Any help will be fantastic

Reply

Erin September 14, 2007 at 8:16 am

Aussie Quilter,I don’t know about Kyoto, but in Tokyo there is Nippori Textile Town. I went to the TOMATO shop, which was five floors of wonderful.http://www.dressaday.com/labels/japan.html

Reply

Anonymous October 23, 2009 at 6:14 am

did all these The Polka-Dot Motherland have stock in malaysia? i really love all the polka dots dress.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: