Monday, December 12, 2011

Gift Ideas From the Garment District

It's not too late to whip up a gift made with fabric from NYC's Garment District. Here are a few easy to sew ideas. Feel free to add your crafty gift ideas in the comments section.

 Just look at this display at Lord & Taylor and you know faux furs and faux fur collars are hot this holiday season. You can make one for a fraction of the retail price. Look for faux fur by the yard at Prime Fabrics on W. 35th, Mood on W. 37th and NY Elegant on W. 40th.

Your loved ones' fingers won't freeze as they text if you give them gloves that interact with touch screen devices. Sew your own tech gloves: Buy a pair of gloves that a sewing needle can penetrate, then stitch a little conductive padded area on the index finger and thumb pads. Reader QuiltB alerted me that you can buy "Conductive Sewing Thread" from Leader Thread Corp., 252 W. 37th (3rd Fl) for $9.95 a spool. (Tech Knit gloves available at Saks Fifth Avenue.)

 Now who wouldn't appreciate a vintage-style apron like this? Fancy fabrics abound in the Garment District. Try the shops on W. 39th St if you're looking for bargains. (Vogue vintage apron pattern.)

Know someone who's getting an iPad for Christmas or Hanukkah? Stitch them up an iPad sleeve like this one from Bertie's Closet. Try B&J Fabrics and Rosen & Chadick for interesting cotton prints.


  1. Have fun with the conductive thread. I would suggest taking the gloves off before playing Words With Friends on a plane, though. ;)

    As far as other quick or last-minute gifts, Gray Line Linen (I know...) on W. 39th has had, at least for the last 2 years, some unique 18" wide "burlap-look" striped linen from Russia, perfect for table runners. It comes with 2 selvage edges, so all you need to do is get it cut to length (plus shrinkage) and hem the 2 cut ends. I bought some that was $10 a yard & also some that was $6.50 a yard. They've had it with stripes in blue, green, red, multi-color, and maybe others. I use the green on a porch table, and I have some blue waiting to be made into a beach tote bag (with bamboo handles from Joyce Trim on 38th).

    I would recommend hand washing that linen before sewing, if using it for the table. It's very stiff off the roll, and it bleeds "tea" color when first wet.

    Lace Star and NY Elegant, almost across the street from each other on 40th, have beautiful brocades that would make very nice drawstring jewelry pouches, travel jewelry rolls, or zippered purse pouches & Kleenex covers.

    Also, check out MJ Trim's blog archives - they usually have crafty/gifty ideas posted for using their trims.

    Handmade ribbon rosettes for purses, hats, & lapels are another trendy idea, and the ribbon selection in the GD is the best anywhere.

    One of my handmade gifts this year will be hand-written copies of a favorite family recipe, transferred to fabric and made into bookmarks for cookbooks. I bought assorted vintage-look trims for these bookmarks in the GD last summer (MJ, Pacific, Daytona, Joyce), and charms from the bead stores on 6th & 38th/39th.

    If you don't have time to sew, stuff the stockings with fabulous fashion or crafting magazines from Around the World, Inc. on 40th across from Bryant Park & the NY Library, or on 37th between Broadway & 7th. Kinokuniya Bookstore on 6th, across from Bryant Park, has interesting Japanese needlework magazines.

    Happy Handmade Holidays to all! Santa needs me back at his workbench now...

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