Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reader Question Time

Herald Square Thursday morning

Let's take some reader questions on this snowy day, shall we?

Cindy actually thinks spring will come this year and would like to make dresses for her daughters out of Liberty of London fabrics. She wants to know here to get Liberty fabrics... 
Well, Cindy, as reader Puu pointed out, you can buy Liberty prints at B&J Fabrics and NY Elegant Fabrics. I also found a couple of bolts this week at Rosen & Chadick. Occasionally you can find a bolt of Liberty here or there at random stores throughout the Garment District.

Cidell had a whole barrage of questions, but that's not surprising because she's been sewing like crazy lately. First, she asks where to get belts made out of fabric... 
Botani Buttons makes fabric belts, but that's the only place I know of off the top of my head. Readers, have you had fabric belts made in the garment district?

...Snaps and grommets installed? 
Steinlauf & Stoller. Judy [I think that's her name? Correct me if I'm wrong] will install snaps and grommets while you wait.

...Where to have fabrics professionally pleated? Regal Originals, 247 W. 37th St # 3, (212) 921-0270. I met the owner of this custom finishing supplier at a Save the Garment Center rally and he agreed to an interview, which I plan on doing soon.

...Where to have scissors sharpened while you wait? Martha Stewart says have your scissors sharpened by NYC's Henry Westpfal, 115 West 25th St, even if you have to mail them to the shop. I don't think you can get while-you-wait service there but you can probably pick your scissors up the next day. I have seen some service shops on W. 38th between 8th and 9th that advertise they sharpen scissors, but I can't vouch for them or guarantee they can sharpen on the spot.

Now here are some of Cidell's questions I have no clue about. Please reply here if you know the answer:
...Where to rent industrial sewing machines?
...Where to take a class in sewing machine repair?
...Where to take hat-making class?

That's all for now. The streets of the Garment District are empty as I post this--now's time to finagle some bargains for yourselves....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Garment District, You Know I Love You...

...but it's only 14 degrees F right now and it always feels colder in Midtown anyway, so I am staying inside on my lunch hour for now.

When I do eventually leave the comfort of my warm office, is there anything you STGD readers would like me to check out?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Garment District Dressmaker

Jenni Avins/Thread NY

Ari Magallanes, a dressmaker from Ecuador who has worked in the Garment District for 35 years:

"I am rushing, rushing, working on a special dress for this lady. I don’t know where she’s going to wear it, but they need it tonight. It’s Prabal Gurung’s, Spring 2011. This one is black, but the production is white. This order came to me this week and we rushed to get it together. It came Tuesday, but the cutting table was busy. I got it started yesterday, and today has to be finished. Oh my god. It’s 6:00 already. They’re going to call me at 6:30 to see if it’s ready, but it’s not going to be." —from Dispatches from the Garment District, NBC New York

Read the entire feature here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Free Shipping on Sewing Supplies and Dressmaking Notions

Here's an online merchant you should know about: Sew True, a sewing notions and dressmaking supply online store which happens to be located in the Garment District. I bought my pattern weight and my presser/clapper from them. I can't say that Sew True has the lowest prices around, but when they throw in things like free shipping you can get some pretty good deals. (Use code 11H11F between now and 1/17/11 for free shipping.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And the Muslin Giveaway Goes to...

Becky of Seattle! Her name was picked in my totally random and highly unscientific drawing: I printed all the comments, cut them up, and then drew one out of a plastic bag. I will be mailing her three yards of super-nice muslin donated to Shop the Garment District by Guide Fabrics on W. 38th Street. Becky, email me your address, ok? And remember to patronize Guide Fabrics as a way of thanking them for making this giveaway possible.

I hope to have more Garment District giveaways in the future. Larry of Guide Fabrics told me he appreciated all the attention it drew to his store. Other than quality muslin, what are some other notions and supplies you have a hard time finding in your immediate area? Store owners may be willing to donate merchandise for giveaways in exchange for the publicity it brings them. I can always ask, right?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Spotted at Mood Fabrics: Gretchen of Project Runway

Gretchen Jones, Project Runway Season 8 winner

I ran into Gretchen Jones of Project Runway today at Mood Fabrics in the Garment District. She seemed relaxed and friendly so I chatted with her while she had some fabric cut (linens and silks in earthy tones). She has relocated to NYC and is busy putting a collection together. "I want to be a designer and not just a famous person," she told me, admitting she is amazed at all the backlash she received for winning Project Runway. But she still is a polarizing persona: When I went back to my office and told two coworkers I had met Gretchen, one gushed and said "ooh, I love her!" while the other launched into an anti-Gretchen tirade. Where do you stand on Gretchen, readers?

Tip: Mondays are the best day of the week to shop at Mood Fabrics in New York. The store tends to be quiet and the sales staff is rested and readily available to help customers.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Book on Anna Sui, Cool Designer and Ardent Garment District Supporter

By Andrew Bolton. Preface by Jack White, foreword by Anna Sui and introduction by Steven Meisel

You know Anna Sui: Leading American designer whose clothes have a rock-and-roll bent. But you may not know that she is also an outspoken advocate of NYC's Garment District. I saw her at the Save the Garment Center rally in October, and she is featured on Made in Midtown's web site. From a recent interview in The Wall Street Journal:

"[Anna is] a passionate supporter of the midtown neighborhood that was the heart of fashion when she first came to Parsons the New School of Design in the '70s, when she first met [Steven] Meisel. She has seen local resources dwindle and full globalization of an industry that she worries can seem impersonal. Impersonal just isn't her way.

'I have to see everything I make, touch it, feel it. I love the draping of the fabric, the muslin, to see how a sleeve flutters,' she says."
You can bet I will checking out the new book on Anna Sui by Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Published by Chronicle Books, you can read more about it here. I've never sewn one of her Vogue Patterns yet but I always want to—they're just so unique. What about you, readers? Do you have any Anna Sui pieces in your closet or sewn any of her patterns?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Attention, Aspiring Handbag Designers

Rebecca Minkoff MAC Clutch
If you're in the NYC area next Tuesday night you can meet designer Rebecca Minkoff and learn how she got her start and built a successful brand. All the event information is here. I covet a Rebecca Minkoff bag, especially one of her nifty crossbody bags…. (Thank you, Fashion Center, for posting the heads-up about this event on Facebook.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's Giveaway Time for STGD Readers, Thanks to Guide Fabrics

Guide Fabrics at 262 W. 38th Street is a great source for linings and interlinings.

On my way to getting some buttonholes made at Jonathan Embroidery, I stopped in at Guide Fabrics in the Garment District recently. If you're looking for linings, interlinings or muslin, this store is an excellent wholesale and retail source. They have a huge assortment of all kinds of linings in all colors--bemberg, silks, acetates, twills, organzas, cottons, quilted linings and more. Interlinings include Thinsulate, hymo, batting, fusible and non-fusible tricots; specialty fabrics Guide stocks include twill pocketing, bonded leather, canvas, etc. Their retail prices are very reasonable, and the more you buy the more you can negotiate the price. The sales staff is helpful and will bring out color cards to get you that perfect match. (Tip: Go in with a friend or two and divvy up a bolt of muslin; you could end up getting the firmer grade of muslin for just $1.50 to $2.00 a yard, depending on the type of muslin.)

To celebrate Guide Fabrics' fifty years of business in the Garment District, owner Thomas Loverdi gave Shop the Garment District three yards of muslin to give away to one lucky reader. Readers, this is the good stuff, in a weight perfect to muslin-up a jacket, coat or structured dress. To enter this giveaway, all you need to do is 1) become a Google Follower of this web site, and 2) leave a comment on this post by Jan. 9, 2011, 12 pm EST indicating you'd like to be entered. One winner will be chosen at random; the winner will be announced here next week. Good luck, and congratulations to Guide Fabrics on celebrating fifty years of business!