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Quilting in Paradise posted: 4/27/2003
by Bonnie Ouellette Printable Page
Category: Reviews Method: All Series: On the Road
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Sitting on a white pearly sand beach, sipping a cold drink, watching the whales frolic and the palms sway, reading a long awaited novel; what more could one ask for! Well, a fabric shop in paradise, of course! Sew Special is that and much, much more. Sew Special is a large shop located in the Queen Kaahumanu shopping mall in Kahului, the county seat of the island of Maui, Hawaii. Kahului is an interesting historic town with a busy port where the cruise ships come in, a lovely botanical garden and park system and a fabulous swap meet (a flea market to some of you).

Sew Special, managed by Roy Huntley, has a friendly and helpful staff and the most wonderful collection of batiks and unusual tropical motif fabrics not seen anywhere else. This is a full service fabric store with a complete line of garment patterns, notions, everyday garment textiles, evening and bridal fabric and trims, and a full line of contemporary quilting fabric and patterns. What makes Sew Special unique to the mainland traveler is the wide selection of unusual items with a tropical and Asian flair. They have a large array of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian quilt patterns as well as many handsome pieces displayed throughout the store. There is quite a large selection of Asian cottons, loads of Shashiko design books and a limited line of Chirimen, which is a gorgeous 29" wide rayon for kimonos, as well as patterns for traditional Hawaiian garment patterns for muumuus, both formal and casual. Another unusual aspect of this shop is the gift corner where items made by local artists are displayed. There are many unique patterns for wonderful gift items.

Sew Special also is a dealer of Bernina sewing machines but repair all makes and models. Classes are offered in all aspects of home sewing and quilt making. I met one of the teachers the day of my tour; she was teaching a class that evening on cathedral window which was to be used to decorate the front of a skirt. The sample she showed me was gorgeous. Whether you are on vacation or a resident of Hawaii, Sew Special is a treasure.

If you happen to be in Kahului on a Saturday, don't miss the weekly swap meet on the fairgrounds (can be found on any rental car map). Here you will be treated to a large flea market Hawaiian style. Available are fresh fruits and vegetables (some you may not have ever seen before) and wonderful protea flowers, which grow on the slopes of Haleakala volcano. Unfortunately, for visitors, you cannot take the produce or plants home, as they have not passed agricultural inspection. The same is true of the wonderful orchid plants that are sometimes only a few dollars. Also on display at the swap meet are many booths offering local handicrafts, which are not available at the usual tourist shops.

While on Maui these places are a real treat to visit.

2003 Bonnie Ouellette

Sew Special
Queen Kaahumanu Center
275 Kaahumanu Avenue
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii 96732
(808) 877-6128

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