Tearing through the garment district at breakneck speed the other day, I went on an inadvertent shopping spree. I tend to visit the stores through the eyes of a traveler, noticing small changes when stores rearrange, brighten their palettes, change their focus, etc. I touch things, I interact, I talk to owners and employees, and all of this opens the doors to wonderful discoveries. When I consider what my purchases from that day will (hopefully) yield, my shopping trip was actually an outrageous bargain of an excursion. When I think about how I deviated from my simple plan of just stopping into one store with a very focused mission (a plan I failed to achieve), my wallet cries a little, but I will survive!
Having said that, what I want to share with you, is that this adventure led me to a few stores where I found a variety of things I have either never noticed before, or simply didn't realize were available to be found.
Once inside, I felt the creative vibration. I walked to the back, peeked just to the right of the button area, just before the "Employees ONLY!" sign, and saw impeccably neat folded stacks of resilient, crisp, ribbed knit cuffs and edges. No, not the tatty factory overrun pieces you've seen in other stores, offered from a tattered box in piles of dingy mini-ziplock bags... these, by contrast, are precisely the pieces you would actually want to finish the edges of your own sweaters, hats, soft pants and jackets. These are the kind of pieces you can use to breathe new life into old things that need a structural rescue. New ideas abound.
Then... I saw bra cups attached to a band. I didn't know you could actually buy what is best described as the front half of of strapless molded bra, categorized by cup size. Oh, the time that could save!
Unique closures. If you can relax your brain enough to do it, look at all of the wild closures they have. From things that look like suitcase locks, to padlocks, to things you push, squeeze or slide, there are amazing ways to close, hook, dangle, and connect things. Full of ideas after seeing so many things in there.
Oh yeah... I had gone in for buttons, and forgot to get them. Whoops.
Steinlauf & Stoler
Maybe they always had them, but I noticed mastectomy pads for sale in a bin above the thread. I have designed garments for people who wear mastectomy bras so many times, I forget that we are not limited to always designing around it, since we can build the pads into the actual garment, if needed.
Oh, and they had the buttons I needed. No problem.
Fashion Design books
The little touch knife Olfa tool they offer is outrageously inexpensive and just adorable. I'm sure that will come in handy every now and then...
Bonded leather sheets in different weights. The "hot dog" of leather products, really, bonded leather is a pressed pulp made from leather waste. A professional sewing friend has long lamented the loss of "stay papers" sold in various weights to give structure to handbags, and these bonded leather sheets felt like a suitable, flexible, substitute. She assured me that there are no "rules" for making handbags, so it is essential that you use your own ability to think like a sculptor/architect when looking for suitable support for the handbag's shape. Another friend of hers had looked at art supply stores, trying matte board and heavy drawing paper for support in some areas. Always experimenting, this bonded leather product is next on my agenda.
Handbag cord. Probably offered in other stores elsewhere in the district, I particularly liked the weight, shape, and feel of what this store had to offer, and will be excited to make some wrapped handles using this product.
So, all in all, a good haul. Working steadily, and I have accomplished a great deal on my "Working Title" blouse. The amount of hours this particular work has absorbed is just incredible, but it wouldn't be what it is becoming without it!