Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Shopping the Garment District in NYC

I've been back from New York almost three weeks now, time has flown by and it already seems like forever ago! Of course my case returned a lot fuller than when I left...and mainly full of fabric! For sewing addicts like us what trip to the Big Apple is complete without an afternoon in the garment district?

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC
Thanks to my sister for the excellent action shots in Mood!

I was travelling with my sister and Dad, neither of whom sew so rather than bore them to death following indecisive me from store to store I peeled off one afternoon to focus on the task at hand. There are so many stores in the district that it's kind of impossible to do it properly in an afternoon. The main stretch is around about 37th-39th streets between 7th and 8th avenues and that's where I concentrated my time. I knew I was going to need a fair bit of time to spend my MSN allowance in Mood Fabrics but didn't want that to end up taking the whole afternoon so headed there last with a good hour and a half to spare!

I'd met Devra, Jennifer and Sonja for a cocktail or two the night before (thanks so much for an awesome evening guys! Marcy...next time we WILL make it happen!) and they gave me some great tips. I think my favourite place was SIL Thread. I don't think I would ever have ventured in if I hadn't been told about it as it's quite a discrete little sign and window but it's a treasure trove inside. I wish there was somewhere like that in London. There's similar haberdashery and wholesale shops that I visit for work but NOWHERE over here can you get such a wide selection of quality zips for such good prices. If I'd known about it before I left so I could have made a plan of what would have been really useful for upcoming projects/what I use a lot of. I did come away with some YKK metal jeans zips though...for $1.15 each when they would be around £6.00 a zip here in the UK. That's how good it is! They also stock all the Clover tools.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC

I knew the choice was going to be overwhelming and my suitcase space was limited so I restricted myself to only buying things which I wouldn't be able to get hold of in the UK or that was a lot cheaper out in the States. So despite popping in and out of numerous shops I only picked up one other piece of fabric...some watermelon print swimwear lycra from Spandex House! It's got Named Beverley Bikini written all over it. There seemed to be quite a few different stores specialising in stretch fabrics and spandex but this was definitely my fave. Even if you have no intention of buying stretch fabric it's worth it for the experience! Never have I seen so much colour, sequin and crazy print in one place.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC

I've been to the garment district before but that was a few years ago when I'd only been sewing a short while. My knowledge of what fabrics would be good for what and what's a good find was no where near what it is now and I found the whole thing quite overwhelming! I still had a great time but this experience I enjoyed a lot more as I felt at home and like I knew what I was looking at. On that visit I really loved Paron Fabrics and I enjoyed a mooch around there again this time. I like how well organised it is and the fabrics appear to be top quality for good prices. I very nearly bought a piece of super soft striped french terry in there but decided against it at the last minute as I didn't know what I'd use it for. The one place that I didn't make it to but wish I had as a visiting Kashi came highly recommended was Metro Textiles. I didn't spot it on the street and it slipped my mind to look for it but that's top priority for the next visit!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC
I'm wearing the Rosari Skirt from Pauline Alice in the pics which is my new favourite handmade garment but has yet to officially make it onto the blog!

One of the best things about our hotel was that it was on the same street as Mood! Just about a four block walk away. In exactly the same fashion as last trip I ended up making two trips as the first time I was paralysed by choice and couldn't make a decision! Seriously that place is huge. I'd seen it before but nothing prepares you for it. My Dad and sister accompanied me on the first trip and were gutted not to get to meet Swatch despite some serious hunting. Dad did get very involved in helping to find me some options though...I might even go so far as to say he enjoyed it!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC

So what did I buy in the end you may ask?! I had no plan...which may have been a mistake when faced with that much choice but I really wanted to buy things that leapt out at me as being special so that's what I did! The cotton eyelet on the right was my first choice and was the one piece that remained on my list from the first visit! I really like the small repeat in it and am hoping to use it for something which makes the most of the lovely scalloped edge. On the left is a beautiful linen knit from Rag & Bone. I've never come across anything like it in the UK and it's got a gorgeous drape. In the centre is a lightweight cotton twill which is exactly the colour I was looking for to make myself a classic spring coat/jacket in the style of Papercut Pattern's Waver.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC

The silks are what always really grab me over in the US and I always think Mood's are really reasonably priced for the quality if you think about what you might pay in store on Berwick Street over here. Both of the silks below are an absolutely delicious heavy weight, somewhat like a silk morocain. They have such a gorgeous hand and drape. The paper chain print jumped out at me straight away as a fun design for spring. I'm planning to make a boxy little top with it, maybe the Inari Tee? The green was a special treat which pushed me way over my allowance but I fell in love with the colour and feel of the fabric. My stepsister is getting married early next year and I'm planning to use it to make a special occasion dress for that. Perhaps it's time for me to delve into the world of bias cut garments!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC

Despite working like a mad woman since I got back I have managed to squeeze in a bit of time to sew up one of these luscious bits of fabric already. Which one do you think it is? I wore it literally straight of the machine and haven't stopped since! You may have spotted it over on Instagram already but full details will be up on the blog next week.

I'll leave you with a few more pictures from my trip. Such a brilliant week packed with amazing experiences!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Shopping the Garment District in NYC

11 comments:

  1. wow - your fabric haul is amazing! i love love love the eyelet. why is good eyelet so hard to find in the uk?

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    1. Isn't it a stunner?! I can't wait to sew with it. What do you think I should use it for? I just love the proportions of it. I am yet to find any eyelet that I really want to sew with or wear in the UK

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  2. Great choices, really lovely! That green silk is definitely worthy of a bias cut number, it's beautiful. Also very excited to see the Rosari skirt made up in (if I'm not mistaken) some mustard corduroy. I'm planning one just like this, and the fabric is on the drying rack from its prewash as I type! Thinking I will go for a knee length, shortening the midi by about 3inches, as the short really is too short for me, but looks great on you! Glad my pattern-fabric idea translates so well, thanks!

    Can't wait to see your makes!

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    1. It is indeed some mustard corduroy! It's such a great pattern for those kind of winter weight fabrics; corduroy, denim, suede... Looking forward to seeing yours. The mini is very short yes, just right fro wandering around the shops and standing very much upright but not a practical one!

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  3. Looks like a great trip - I love those silks, now I'm wishing I had a proper look at the silks when I visited Mood recently! I definitely did get overwhelmed as I only came away with 1 metre of fabric from the garment district.

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    1. It is SO overwhelming! It takes some serious focus I think and I wish I had gone with more of a plan of what to look for! The silks are amazing in Mood, such a huge section at very reasonable prices. I hope you enjoyed your trip!

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  4. Looks like a fantastic trip. My family and I are going to be in NY in the summer and I have already warned them that a prolonged period of time will be spent in the garment district! I love the look of the linen knit.

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    1. If you've given them warning they can't complain! Haha! You're going to love it, I hope you have an amazing time

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  5. It was so fun meeting you! I'm glad you found some great stuff- awesome choices!

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  6. It was so great to finally get to meet you too Sonja! I had such fun that afternoon, thanks for the tips!

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