10 Years of Blog Archive

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Making Clothes vs. Buying Clothes in Cuenca Ecuador

A reader asks...
I am hoping someone already there in Cuenca has some info about fabric stores, fabric availability, fabric content, patterns, accessories, sewing machines, prices, brands. I know I can have clothes made dirt cheap. I just want to be able to do it myself a lot of the time. I have weighed my sewing machine. Too much for checked and it would get too bounced around. So--anyone with any info? Whatever you have to share will be most appreciated. Nancy H

We love being frugal and industrious and we want to help Nancy come to Cuenca and be frugal and industrious too, and do what she loves, which is sewing, designing, and creating her own clothes. If you know how to sew than it is probably much better on the budget to make your own clothes. So here is what we found out about fabrics and sewing machines. Click on the photos to enlarge.

Fabric Stores in Cuenca

Nancy, we have good news for you. Yes, fabric stores are numerous here. We have discovered the biggest fabric store I have ever seen located in downtown Cuenca. I’ve been in some pretty big fabric stores in the U.S but this store (2 floors) is amazing! Not only that but it was packed with women who sew!

We took some photos that we hope will be helpful. Prices at this huge fabric store start at $2.50 to around $3.50 a meter for very light, thin fabric, to more of a durable and elegant looking fabric from $5 on up to about $12 a meter. Average price was around $5 per meter of fabric. They had every kind of texture/linen/design fabric. And there are some beautiful designs too. You’ll be amazed when you see this fabric shop.

Fabric Palace
Domestic and imported Fabric/Linens
El Palacio De Las Telas
Tejidos Nationales y Extranjeros
Address: Gran Columbia and Residente Borrello
across the street from “Hotel Cuenca”.

Sewing Machines in Cuenca

We found four different sewing machines for sale at Coral (Wal-Mart type store) and they seemed like pretty decent prices. Here are the photos and prices. The bigger “Singer” (far left) is $398 and the smaller “Singer” is $318. The other sewing machine is around $400 and some odd dollars (sorry can’t remember exactly) They also had a non-electric sewing machine for $131. Here are the photos. The zippers in the photos are like $0.05 each!

Manual Sewing Machine (non-electric)$131


  1. Oh my goodness, you have saved me hundreds of dollars! I sew all my clothing. I was concerned about fabric stores. I can now use all that space for more important things I will bring. Your pictures and machine information was fabulous. I think you did me a great service.


  2. Hi Denise,

    Glad you found the post useful and informative. There are many more fabric stores here plus they sell more professional type sewing machines as well. Lots of women sew here. I'm learning to sew as well. :-)


  3. I make hand sewn clothing,, if you look at the site Alabama Chanin, I make them in this style.
    Maybe when we get there, we can join forces and do some of it together.

    We are also looking for a house, are you and your husband available to help. We will need it before we get there.. as we have pets.
    I have been using a realtor, but they keep giving me an attached furnished house with an American attached. Not that it is not okay, but we would prefer to live separately and out side the city a little.

    Please let me know if you are available for helping, we would love to use your services.


  4. Hi Denise.
    Please contact us off list.

  5. we are hoping to visit next spring when my husband retires. I love that there are fabric stores...how about sewing machine stores. I have large sew/embroidery machines, a serger, an embellisher which I would hate to be without. are there any Babylock, Phaff, Brother, Singer or something that has these kinds of machines that you found? Thanks-you so much.

  6. Hi Grandmafrog,

    Ah yes,,,,they have sewing machines here. they have machines for the beginner (like me) and then they have some super duper professional machines. Lot of women sew here and the sewing tailoring business is alive and well. Many fabric stores too.

  7. I realize this information was posted long ago. Still, I want to let you know that it has been useful to me today. I have recently begun to sew my own clothes again after many years and my curiosity regarding whether and what quality of fabric is available in Cuenca was masterfully addressed here. Thank you!

  8. Hello,

    I am looking for traditional aztec printed fabric to be imported in Belgium to furnish a restaurant.
    Is this something you could help me with?
    Thank you!

  9. Would it be feasible to bring my own sewing machine to Ecuador? Also could a person supplement an income doing freelance sewing work?

  10. Would it be feasible to bring my sewing machine to Cuenca and could I supplement my income doing freelance sewing?

  11. There are lots of sew shops here already.


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