Friday, March 8, 2013

Fabric store binge!

Yesterday, I took a client on a private tour of the garment district, showing her the best places for the kinds of things she loves.  While we could have spent a week visiting stores that would have delighted her, we settled on a specifically curated (by me) selection of stores, which she adored.  I, for one, felt like a fabricaholic in a sea of temptation... but I resisted the urge to splurge, just deciding on a few things I will be picking up after the snowy weekend passes... Yeah, I know... stop it - you're not the boss of me!

I've had quite a bit of coffee today... can you tell?

First off, I have to tell you that B&J Fabrics (reviewed not once, but TWICE on this blog, but could use an even FRESHER take now) has a KILLER assortment of printed cottons going on right now.  The colors will make you swoon.  As always, some will really challenge you bank account, but there is also a healthy amount of affordable goodness there, too.  Just dig in, and you'll see! (Note: Don't start on the walls and hangers.)

B&J Fabrics - March 7, 2013

B&J Fabrics March 7, 2013

B&J Fabrics, March 7, 2013

We also stopped into Royal Fabrics.  While not one of my usual haunts, we were lured in by the windows, featuring a beautiful  cotton lacey 1960's inspired... I dunno what you'd call it. Very cool though.  Cue Goldie Hawn and some go-go boots, and we're on! All kidding aside, they really do have some very pretty things.

Spandex House.  Need I say more?  If you want to make a swimsuit, this is where you go for your fabric. The colors, variety, prices and quality are fantastic, so that one was a no-brainer.

DIY Fabrics for home dec fabulousness.  I am almost certain the sign on the store read "DIY", and I've even called it "DIY" myself, but I think their business card or something may have read "Day to Day"  In any case.  This post, and the one it is linked to, will still get you to the proper place on the planet.

Mokuba Ribbon.  A deep sigh.  I have written an article in the current Vogue Patterns Magazine about this land of wonder.  An audible sigh was heard from my client as she explored the beauty of their offerings.  Don't just look.  Touch.  You'll be a believer.

SIL Thread.  Because they have plenty of what you need when it comes to thread, among other things.

Panda - Because they have lots of supplies and tools people need.

Daytona Trimming - Because I've been going there since I was little, and it feels like home to me. I love their old-fashioned approach to business, and that they've got all the swim cup sizes, and crazy-wide elastic!

Steinlauf & Stoler - Because they have quite a range of interfacing types.  I buy my muslin and pattern paper there, too.

Joyce - Because they are all kinds of awesome! And they have all of the handbag stuff, swimwear D-rings and cool closures, feathers, and leather trims.

Metro fabrics - with a deep sigh.  Right now... and I mean RIGHT NOW. The texture and sheen of some of the new fabrics he's got are awesome.  Ask Kashi to show you the new turquoise silk... He'll know what you mean.  Heaven... Also, look at the dotted/spotted pearl shade of silk that looks like a home dec fabric or a jacket.  Absolutely to die!

Fabrics & Fabrics (formerly Lace Star) - Psst... Just take  a gander at the printed silks right now. Oh, and EVERYTHING ELSE!

So, yes.  We squeezed that into ONE day, and it was a FLOOD of information and inspiration.  We both loved every minute of it, though.

I haven't been pushing the Speakeasy tours lately, since both are nearly at capacity now, but you may still inquire, or ask to be notified about any trips to be planned for later dates.


  1. Hi Mimi, I do hope you'll include at least some of these stops on the Speakeasy in March - I can't wait!! I seem to have misplaced your confirming email to me, and I wanted to know where exactly we should meet you on the 22nd. My friend and I will be arriving into Grand Central early on Friday. Please send me a note to tinalou dot ellison at gmail dot com. Thanks so much; look forward to meeting you! Tina

    1. Only two will be repeated that day, but you'll love the others! Promise!

  2. Thanks for the first spring fabric update! You visited a lot of "old friends." Good to know they're still around. Can't wait to hit the streets this year and buy. Your shopping spree sounds like it was fun, and yes, you can march thru the Garment District like that in a day if you keep moving! I've eaten a peanut butter sandwich from my tote bag between stores so I wouldn't have to stop for lunch. I do have my priorities, lol!

    I walked & mapped 39th St. last fall but must have missed Royal -- didn't have it on my list. That street is so jam-packed with stores, some trips I spend a whole day there!

    Love the cottons & especially the polka-dots -- so spring-y!

  3. Used your suggestion for Steinlauf & Stoler. They saved my friend's leather pants with a brand new snap. Perfect! Also, any input on acquiring a dress form for my own use? Good idea? Expensive? Fantastic blog.

    1. Thank you, Carol!!! A dress form is a good move if you use it correctly, and often. Hard to say if it is a worthwhile investment for most; if sewing for yourself, can you get one close enough to your size to make good use of it? This is a tool that does not have it's own value separate from the skill of the user, so how often do you find yourself thinking, "If I only had a dress form, this would be so much easier!" Then yes. If not, I'd think a bit before buying one. They can be expensive or inexpensive, depending on quality, age, and circumstances of the sale. Lots to consider on that one. Sorry I don't have a direct "yes" or "no" for you there.

    2. I've been intrigued for ages with those do-it-yourself duct tape dress forms (instruction videos online everywhere). With a few glasses of wine & a loved one to help, they may be 50 shades of fun to make! If they don't work, you're out an old T-shirt & a few rolls of duct tape. Or you just honed your skills for being on Project Runway last week...

    3. Well, yes. The DIY dress form is one way to go, but the fundamental problem for me is that it is not made of the same durable materials as a factory-made one, it doesn't have a stand (unless you make one), and you only get to see the clothing on a realistic representation of your own body, which can be a problem if you also sew for others. I'd rather work from a standard, and adjust for my differences, since I'm never looking to mimic my shape exactly, but rather skim it gracefully, while creating a smoother, fitter illusion. I design the ideal, then adjust, based on my (or my client's) needs.


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