Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NYC Notions Store Review: Steinlauf & Stoller

Address: 239 West 39th Street, New York, NYC
Phone: 212-869-0321
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., closed weekends.
Online site: yes, but it's not set up for online ordering. Click here.
Best for: Interfacing, tailoring supplies, and for getting snaps and grommets installed

[Apologies for not posting this review a long time ago. Somehow I thought I had already reviewed S&S.]

Steinlauf & Stoller has been around since 1947 and the W. 39th Street store looks like it probably hasn't changed much in the last 65 years. But you know what? That's a good thing. I want a Garment District store that looks like it's still sells the same notions my grandmother used. Classic tailoring supplies haven't changed much over the years; they've just become harder to find, especially beyond the Garment District. Here's hoping S&S is in business another 65 years.

Ok, let's talk specifics. Personally, I have no allegiance to any one notions supplier in the Garment District. I get some of this here, some of that there. If I want to save money on notions, I head to Chelsea for Fashion Design Books on the FIT campus, which seems to have the best prices around. But Steinlauf & Stoller is my go-to place for interfacing (especially now that Mood Fabrics is carrying less interfacing than in the past) and for having snaps and grommets installed by long-time employee Nancy.

S&S has fusible 2-inch wiggan, which I love to bolster hems in garments. (You may have to ask for this as it's not always on display.) Here's what my friend Mimi, of Find a Dressmaker, likes about S&S:
"I love shopping there because they have a great selection of bust cups, shoulder pads, different types of boning, they'll cut your zippers to size, sharpen your scissors, they have care labels that are very affordable (but sold in FAR too large of a quantity for the small business or individual dressmaker)… and there is a RIDICULOUS amount of knowledge that comes with that. I love their interfacing, sample/pattern paper by the roll, and dress weights. They also have hoops for hoop skirts! They have great closures for swim suits, and lots of good quality tools for marking (pencils, chalk and stuff). I always buy my pins there, too.… I also find them particularly affordable. The big drawback is their business hours."
Have you been to Steinlauf & Stoller? What do you buy there?

Bolts of the many kinds of interfacing S&S stocks (right foreground).

A decent selection of standard notions. Prices for packaged notions run a little on the high side here, but sometimes I'm willing to pay a little more here rather than traipsing all around the Garment District.

Excellent selection of all kinds of thread.

Here's Nancy working with a customer who wanted to add snaps to a garment. S&S asks that customers not take advantage of Nancy's pleasant personality by making unreasonable demands on her time.


  1. Love this store, get my boning and pre-made boning channels there, tailoring supplies, weft-weight interfacing...the list goes on and on. The hours aren't so bad (if you can get there during the work week, of course).

  2. S&S is where I stumbled across Mundial buttonhole scissors a few years ago. I may have bought some hook & eye tape there, too.

  3. I love this place, too. However, aside from the front area of general notions, I don't feel like it's the kind of place that's great for browsing. (Maybe others disagree?)

    But if you need something specific or you are trying to figure out exactly what you need and want some guidance, this is the place. I've bought hair canvas (they have several different weights and I think some fusible too), boning and boning channels, bust cups, shoulder pads, bra hook tape by the yard... basically whenever I say to myself "I have no idea where the heck I am going to find (fill in the blank)", I generally find it there.

  4. I've been going for years. They have many things that are difficult to find elsewhere, which is the only reason I keep returning. With the exception of Nancy and the blond woman sales clerk, the staff can be extraordinarily nasty and unhelpful, and I know I'm not the only person to have had this experience.

    I once called in advance to see if they had a particular item, they confirmed they did, and then they didn't care that I was upset to find out they did not in fact have it. I'd waited in one of their long lines, and it was too late to go anywhere else.

    If you want to buy a small amount of something, you must have cash because they won't take a card.

    New York Sewer

    1. Steinlauf and Stoller is the only store I'm aware of that has boxes of dressmakers and tailors (open-ended) thimbles in graduated sizes. They're from England and very reasonably priced.

      I've also left scissors to be sharpened there.

      New York Sewer

  5. I buy hangers here too! I know that I can buy them online but who needs 100 hangers which is the S&S I can get 6 or 10 or however many I feel like carting home that day! I also buy shoulder pads from them when I'm running low...unlike you I do have favorites. S&S is one of my top three go to!

  6. Tried to go to S&S yesterday just after 5pm (but definitely before 5:30) and they were closed with the metal door locked down over the entrance. Just tried calling the store today at 2:20pm and nobody is picking up the phone. Have they closed down for good? This would make me very very unhappy!

    1. Were you there on Rosh Hashanah? If so, they were likely closed for the holiday.


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