Toto, I don't think we're in JoAnn's anymore
I got to spend a few fun days walking around NYC last week! Although we lived in the city for four years, I was a busy young mom then and didn’t find myself on too many fabric shopping trips—other than the now defunct Sew Brooklyn where I learned how to hand quilt.
During my last trip to NY in October, I found a few moments to pound the pavement in the Fashion District, but became easily overwhelmed. It took me a long time to find the stores I thought I wanted to visit, and some were closed or had moved. When I finally found Mood, I saw the floor to ceiling fabric and almost hyperventilated. Tim Gunn never showed up to calm me down and tell me politely to get a grip on myself. After circling the store in a daze, I left, not sure how one would ever actually buy anything there, even though other people were obviously doing so. I found some notion stores and bought some buttons and trim and called it a day.
For this excursion, I did my homework. I checked out some posts on patternreview.com, and scoured some of my favorite NY sewing blogs, like SEWN and Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, for tips on successfully navigating the Fashion District. These were some of my favorite stops this past week:
Metro Textiles – 265 W. 37th St., Suite 908 This was a great find, and I’ll definitely be making this my first stop the next time I go to the Fashion District again. Kashi was so nice and, once he knew what I was looking for, pulled out several options while I poked around. I got over my fear of being a nuisance for asking for something to be pulled out so I could take a better look at it here. The prices were fantastic. I actually left here and then came back for one piece later when I figured out that this store was a gem.
Paron Fabrics and Annex – New address: 257 W. 39th Street I didn’t understand the clerk who first spoke to me when I came in. I thought she said everything was 50% off the tag price here. It wasn’t until after I was at the cutting table that I realized that wasn’t so. It should have been obvious that only the bolts with the special 50% off tag (tricky, huh?) were 1/2 off, but I was on my own and like a deer caught in headlights for most of the day, so I’ll let myself off the hook for not picking up on this blatant clue. I ultimately decided to get all of my choices here, anyway. I would never find anything like those fabrics around here at the local craft store, and they were good prices.
SIL Thread – 257 W. 38th Street A little bit of googling will let you know that this store gets a pretty bad rap for poor customer service, so I went in expecting none at all, and had a fine time. I found the rare and endangered large waxed tracing paper sheets needed for the Craftsy Couture Dress and Bombshell Dress courses. Single sheets—yay! I also found plenty of marking tools here that I’d been wanting to try, thread and zippers. I didn’t need any cut, but they will cut them to size for you here.
I also popped into many random button and trim stores, browsed at the FIT bookstore on 27th Street (have to check out the museum next time!), found the elusive DCx1F serger needles I needed and all in all walked myself into the ground and had a great time.
It’s funny, I’ve been thinking that I live in a fabric shop desert, and I do. At home, I clutch my JoAnn’s sales flyer optimistically when I stop in for fabric—there has to be something in here that will work, right?—and 9 times out of 10 I end up disappointed. Truly, I’m often alarmed at the hideous fabric for sale, complete with the escalating prices of it. I don’t understand who the buyers are, and they obviously don’t understand me. The button selection as well is deplorable. I try to make the best of it. What I didn’t realize, however, was that I was lucky to have those 99-cent pattern sales at my fingertips! In New York, surrounded by store after store of gorgeous fabric, one- and two-dollar patterns are not to be had. That never occurred to me and makes me feel slightly less destitute…