Let me begin by saying that is is so exciting to see Meg start her new venture, and equally exciting for me to add a new layer to this already wonderfully conceived blog. I am passionate about and fascinated by the garment industry, the actual work and art of creating things, and this wonderfully vast collection of businesses who help us all to make the things we have been dreaming of!
I am Mimi Jackson, a New York dressmaker, owner of www.findadressmaker.com
, and have been absolutely obsessed with the NYC garment district since I was a child. Many of the old stores are gone, but I have discovered so many new places in recent years, that I am truly excited to share.
For my first post, I will let you all in on a garment district secret I've recently discovered; knowing the right terminology is KEY in this city. No one, and I mean NO ONE will take the time to explain things to you. And that is one reason why this blog is so important. When you ask the right questions, sometimes the answer comes back in a whisper, a wink, and a nudge. No, I'm not kidding... After all of these years shopping here, I still don't know why. The garment district is FULL of secrets, and those secrets can lead you on unexpected adventures. To make my posts more search friendly, when I offer a secret, I will name the post "Psssst..." followed by the relevant topic in parentheses. Now you know.
Months ago, I was making a soft jacket for a fabulous client who fell in love with a beautiful, silvery silk velvet she had found. The catch: she wanted covered buttons. Now I don't know if you've ever covered your own buttons with one of those Dritz kits, but when your fabric is cooperative, you can achieve a very respectable result. With some additional work, you can even make it kinda classy, but it never quite has the feel and quality of an industrial, factory-made covered button.
Below, is an example of covered button I made with a kit, that turned out well enough...
Well, that's fine, until you want to cover with a fabric that is thick or slippery, like velvet, which moves and contorts, distorting the flimsy metal button base, and making you cry, scream, and pull every hair from your head... one by one....
Knowing this, I ventured into the garment district, and asked my favorite businesses who could/would make covered buttons for me. The first two had no idea. The third, looked both ways, leaned in very close to me, and whispered an address. Weirded out by this speak-easy vibe, I went directly to the address she gave me. Factory-like atmosphere, squeaky, old elevator... got wrong directions from security, which gave me a long labyrinth-like wander through a series of small production shops, ending with a handwritten sign telling me the business had moved downstairs.
When I arrived there, I knocked on the huge industrial door, uncertain if they were open to the public. No one heard me over the clang of machinery. Slowly, I opened the door. Inside? Button-covering wonderland. Industrial equipment, knowledgeable staff. Note: To do this, you must have your fabric ready, and know what size button you need. They will not let you waste their time. AT ALL. Have cash. If you need lots of buttons (1000 or more, you can certainly place an order). If you need only a few, again, HAVE CASH, and trust them to know what they are doing. The results will be perfect.
So great! Why the secrecy? If, after posting this, I disappear from the face of the earth, you can always show this blog post to the detectives...
Note: BT Button sis now closed. (4/18)
327 West 36th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues)
NY, NY 10018