January 12, 2012

fabric shopping at souq wakif, and the first project of 2012

Souq Wakif.. it is a landmark tourist spot in Qatar. Every visitor who stays for a week will have seen at least a glimpse of it.  The area was developed to look like the really old souqs(markets) of arabia, with tiny shops and narrow alleyways, mostly shaded to escape the desert sun. (if you're the couch surfing type, here is a link to a gallery) It is a real market, selling everything from spices to shovels and everything in between.

I went there to buy fabric.  The labyrinth is amazingly confusing , especially if you're as directionally-challenged as I am, but I bravely marched in.  This corridor  leads to  the fabric-shop lane. 

Sadly, I am rather shy to take pictures of random strangers. so I   did not take any pics inside the shops, nor their owners. The majority of fabric shops there sell really shiny, sparkly  fabric, more satins and polyester and chiffon and sequins and embellished tulle.

If you have time to explore, you will find a few gems, shops that sell japanese cotton and indonesian rayon, korean satin and thai silk.  and many varieties.. cotton satin, charmeuse, poplin, lawn..(well. if you're not into fabric, these words are gibberish.) After browsing through at least ten or twenty shops, I make some purchases. I bargain on the price. I agree with random Arab ladies who say the price is too high in arabic, though I don't know any arabic, i get the gist of the conversation. bargain hunting transcends language barriers :) I let my little one play with the old men tending the shops.. i feel really sad for them.. living so far away from their families, making a living without a life.

then we go to explore the pet souq. where there are many varieties of birds, small animals like rabbits, puppies, kittens, hamsters, and lots of varieties of fish, turtles, lizards,  etc etc. she was enthralled by the rabbits, but were scared to go near.  she did have lots to say about them later :)

The souq authorities work hard to keep the old world feel of the place, as the covered ATMs suggest.  We saw the cavalry patrol through the souq. They were happy to pose for pictures.

I came back with my new purchases, drawing pictures in my head. Spring is in the air. The winter cold is gone. new clothes for the girls, new clothes as gifts.Today, the girls had holiday.  so I measured one, drafted, cut and sewed. Took a long time, but finished now.  The inspiration, Burda 9697. I am glad to say it turned out almost exactly the same. She wanted wider straps, she got.  The tulle peeking out is a separate underskirt, just like the pattern. She loves her new dress, extra points for twirl-ability.


  1. I love this dress!! Good job! Thanks for sharing at Oopsey Daisy!

  2. Your blog was nice to read. I want to buy tulle fabric to make a tutu dress for my daughter, will try shopping in the doha souk. Can i get crochet bands and elastic bands and ribbons in the souk? I am making the dress for the first time and i even don't know much about the fabrics and all.. But i want to give it a try..

    1. hello shwetha, it has been a long time since i posted on the blog, so was pleasantly surprised to see your comment.

      tulle fabric is plentiful in the fabric shops, just ask for "net".. better yet, take a sample with you and ask for that. i find that most shopkeepers converse well in hindi, english and arabic.. and if one shop does not have what you need, just step into another..

      yes, crochet headbands and other accessories are available in little shops that sell everything from shoes to hairpins.. and are far cheaper than the usual super- or hyper-markets.

    2. Thank you soo much Jaya.. I found you on FB too.. I hav sent you a frnd req.. I'll make a trip to souk this weekend.. :)

  3. I loved your trip to the souq and for sharing it! I kind of have an obsession with Doha and Dubai - I want to visit both so bad!


it is wonderful to hear a comment from someone reading what i write. Thank you!


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