Friday, October 26, 2012

NYC Fabric Store review: Guide Fabrics

Guide Fabrics is the store you didn't know you needed.

262 West 38th Street
NY, NY 10018

No website, but you can email order requests to

This post is in the "a fresh look at" category, since, in January of 2011, Meg wrote a post on Guide Fabrics.  Sure, I read the post, didn't store the info for use afterward, and have walked past this store close to a half million times since, never stopping inside.  It has a wholesale, industrial, intimidating look about it. But... just walk inside, engage a bit with Thomas (sales), and it will change your whole experience of this place!

Yesterday, while walking the district with my tour guide partner Cindy, we stepped inside on a whim, I sorta tentatively touched a few different linings, looked around at the overwhelming quantity of stuff inside, and got ready to turn away.  Sure, there were lots of linings inside.  Every color and weight you could dream up, but what to do with that information...? Okay, so that was it...

A kind voice said, "Can I help you find anything?"
"Just looking." we answered.

"I'm Thomas," he said, and extended his hand. "and we have lots of interfacings, muslins, tulle, nettings..." As he spoke, the list got longer and longer, and he had us intrigued by the range of things he had to offer.

Yes, they have minimums, but the minimums are so doable!  Silk tulle, for example, offered at HALF (or less) than the price you might pay elsewhere has a minimum of just 5 yards to purchase retail.  But hey, you probably need that much anyway, right?  You can buy muslin at a wonderfully affordable price if you can meet a 25 yard (half bolt) minimum.  That is doable for a dressmaker, costumer, designer, or serious hobbyist, I'm sure!

A card showing samples of the various muslins and interfacings they offer.

Here's the kicker.  Linings, interlinings, illusion (in many, many colors), interfacings, crinoline, buckram, can-can net... the color/sample cards tell the whole story.  And talk to Thomas.  He won't make you feel like you're wasting his time, and he'll explain what makes ordering from him doable. There is much more information on the cards than this representative sampling shows... but just to give you a taste:

Lots of colors, too! 

Order it online, get it shipped. If in New York City, get it delivered (you might have to wait a bit for hand delivery, depending on their workload that day).

So... to learn and see more, come along on a Speakeasy shopping tour!  A few more spaces for Friday, November 2, and a good number of spaces available for the spring!