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....


  1. To answer the question about hat-making classes, my friend took one at FIT last year. I think they offer in on a rotating semester basis, so I'd check their listings.

  2. Renting industrial sewing machines...Do you mean for going to a location and renting time to use them on site or renting as in having them brought out to your place for a period of time?

  3. For snaps/grommets you may also want to try Star Snaps located at 247 West 39th Street. They are open on Monday-Frida from 8:30 am - 6:30 am and on Saturday from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm.

  4. Hi Meg, can't believe the snow! And yes, I have full faith that spring will least to Chicago! I don't know what is happening on the east coast.
    I will check out the places. Thank you!

  5. The FIT Resource pamphlet lists Stanley Pleating for professional pleating.

    Your info may be more up-to-date than mine, but when I contacted Westphal about having my scissors sharpened, the service was not while-you-wait.

    FIT has hat-making, and shoe-making classes. They are part of their Accessories Department and I've never taken them. They look like fun. There's also a Jewelry Department.

    FIT offers evening and weekend Fashion Design classes. While not as demanding as the day classes, which are usually taken by full-time degree students, the Continuing Ed classes are rigorous and you learn a lot.

    You also have access to the Library, the Museum (you could make an appointment to see garments), the Computer Center, the workrooms, and some tutoring help. Access to the workrooms can be dicey, but most private schools don't offer you any additional time on the machines or at the tables, are much more expensive, and you learn far less.

    You also get a student ID that permits you to buy things like expensive software at a significant discount.

    Although I think tuition has gone up, it's still a very good deal, especially for a New York State resident.

    New York Sewer

  6. I noticed that City Sewing, which Lindsay once wrote about, has some kind of rental plan. I've never used it.

    Earlier, I was interested in finding out if there was a way to rent a machine and a table (even a corner of a table) in some workroom where business was slow. My biggest problem is no place to work.

    It's not the same thing, but City Quilter on West 26th Street, has open sessions at least a few times a month, where you can go in and use their machines and get some advice, although it's oriented towards quilters, of course.

    I can't recall the price for the sessions, but they were pretty reasonable. City Quilter also has a great notions department and although I've never taken a class there, the prices are reasonable, e.g., $40 for an intro to the sewing machine session, versus $70 or $80 elsewhere.

    If you sign up for the email list, they send updates.

    In addition, at times they sell the Bernina sewing machines they've been using for class at a big discount.

    New York Sewer

  7. I should add that the staff at City Quilter have always been very nice to me. I'm not a regular customer, either.

    I really appreciate nice. :-)

    New York Sewer

  8. One other thing:

    I adore Liberty of London, and have spent many hours drooling over the fabric on the B and J site, the Liberty UK site and some stockist sites in the UK and Belgium.

    But I often wonder what the prints look like when made into real clothes. I've found two sites that frequently feature Liberty of London.

    One is an Australian fabric store blog called Tessuti:

    The other is a French-language blog dedicated to people who like to make things out of Japanese Pattern Books, Japan Couture Addicts. Some of the projects are very homemade-looking, but the reason I continue to subscribe to their feed is because many of the contributors use Liberty of London fabric.

    Comme moi, elles sont passionées de Liberty.

    New York Sewer

  9. to new york sewer:

    Liberty cotton made into garments is, IMHO, a beautiful thing to see. It has a hand and a drape and a *sheen* that just makes you feel as though it was worth every penny.

    when i can get it, i make anything cotton i am working on almost exclusively from Liberty. of course, the danger of living 10 blocks from B&J is that i can almost *always* get it! very expensive habit to have.

    i've made many blouses and dresses out of Liberty cotton but only have one online, and it is not a great picture:

  10. Meg, an additional question if the question period isn't over - Can anyone recommend a place in the district where one can get a small piece of embroidery done? I.e., a small motif or a medium monogram for those of us without an embroidery machine and no inclination to do it by hand?

  11. A while back you read my mind when you posted info regarding sweater weight cashmere at Mood. You also posted the price which was very helpful in determining whether it is worth it to make one's own scarf now that they are all on sale.
    Today you read my mind with the info on Liberty of London, a fabric I love to touch and look at. Next time around could you give us some idea of cost per yard. I know it is very expensive. Thanks! Mimi

  12. Puu: Saw your dress. Very pretty.

    Fairmount: I've never done the math, but Shaukat, a UK stockist, and Stagaire (sp?), a Belgian stockist, have better prices than B and J and the Liberty of London site, although they tend to have classic Liberty prints, not the newest season. (I often prefer the classics.) I've considered buying from them if the VAT (assume that applies) and shipping charges aren't ridiculous.

    Even Liberty of London offers free shipping if you buy a certain amount of fabric, but, as we all agree, it's expensive stuff.

    Purlsoho also has Liberty, as does Tessuti, mentioned above.

    I love the B and J site, but I wish they'd provide the names of the fabrics, as do the other sites.

    New York Sewer

  13. Much more mundane question, but now that Greenberg and Hammer is closed, does anyone else sell those large sheets of wax transfer paper?

  14. I think SIL Thread has transfer paper, though I don't know if it's wax.

  15. Puu, there is a place on W.39th close to Eighth that does one-off embroidery, like monongrams. It's on the downtown side and they have a large sign in the window that says monogramming. Not cheap, but fairly standard prices, like $10-$15 per monogram. I haven't used them yet but probably will soon.

  16. Nancy K, there still are many places you can buy transfer paper: SIL Thread, Pacific, Steinlauf & Stoller, the FIT bookstore and the store across from the FIT bookstore.

  17. Mimi, the Liberty bolts I saw at Rosen & Chadick this week were $38.95 per yard. If I recall correctly, it's around $45/yard at B&J and NY Elegant. So somewhere in the $40-$50 range for the lightweight prints.

  18. NY ELegant Fabrics on 39th or 40th (next to Paron's) sells Liberty of London fabrics for $39/yd. That's the cheapest I've ever seen anywhere.

  19. Purl Soho does have Liberty prints, mostly the Tana lawn although I saw some courduroy last time I was there. They have a better selection in-store than online, I was really impressed (although B&J has a bigger selection). They charge $35/yard for the Tana lawn, which is the best price I've seen.


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