It’s always event season in Riyadh. Birthdays, weddings, parties, get-togethers… ah the events to go to are endless and sometimes, it’s getting tiring looking for dresses and gowns in the malls because sometimes, you want something of your own design or something that you saw in television or online. Well, why don’t you just buy the fabric and give it to your seasmstress or tailor to sew? Recently, I discovered this street filled with fabric shops where Filipino seamstresses go to or suggest to their clients because the fabrics are more affordable than the ones in Olaya. It’s simply called Al Khassan. It might be called other names depending on who you’re talking to. It’s official street name is Imam Faisal bin Turki Street and it’s not that hard to find because it’s just a walk from Four Points by Sheraton.
Al-Khassan is an unassuming street just before you reach Four Points by Sheraton. The street opens to a row of stores that sells Indian fabric, the kind that is vibrant, embellished and colorful. We Filipinos go further straight and come upon rows of stores that sell fabric and textiles that are not as embellished, not as colorful. It was my first time in the place and I was eyeing the fabric like it’s the first time I saw them in my life. You know I never imagined that fabric can already be bought beaded and embroidered. You just have to sew them to your desired gown style and voila! I thought those beads and gems and lace are painstakingly sewn first. In these shops, they’re readily available. Just tell the vendor how many meters you need.
It’s interesting to know the different kinds of fabric and textile: tulle, chiffon, gibon, lace, organza, satin, velvet… OMG my eyes are swimming in all that fabric and my brain is swimming in all the information I’m getting. The seamstress that was with us in this hunt for the best fabric said that Al Khassan is where you’ll find the cheapest fabrics in Riyadh. It’s a tailor’s and a seamstress’ paradise. Because I’m a newbie when it comes to fabric, I don’t know how much they are in other areas or other souks.
We got good quality satin for SR 15 per meter. Some are SR 20 per meter and some are as low as SR 10! Some thick laced fabric we got are SR 70 per meter. One of the embellished cloth that we got was SR 300 per meter but through pleading and begging (aka haggling), we got it down to SR 150 per meter. The seamstress with us said those kinds of fabrics are twice the price in Olaya. I inquired about fabrics with beads too, great for wedding gowns and they don’t come cheap compared to the usual ones. However, at SR 200 per meter I think they’re worth it. They’re already sewn with beads and pearls. Embroidered too. And if you buy a lot, they throw in the fabric for your petticoat for free! Lining fabric is at SR 10 per meter. Thicker ones at SR 15. So it’s a good bargain.
I’m just so amazed at the amount of fabric in each store. I wish I can sew! Haha!