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Monday, June 15, 2015

How to fabric shop in New York City - Quilter, Artist, Home Sewer, Home Decor?

Unfinished quilt top in 2006

Some years ago, I made this quilt.  I made it entirely by hand, with no machine stitching anywhere at all. It is a quilted interpretation of a painting my sister made as a student in 1976.  We sleep under it, so I have learned (the hard way) why the right fabric and thread choices matter.  I have had to go into various areas


When shopping in the garment district, it seems the assumption is that you make garments or accessories.  Also, it seems that the stores are generally not set up for the home sewer/the weekend shopper/the artist.

What to do?

Retail: Nowadays, just about every store at street level in the district will sell to the retail customer.  Very few of the stores are wholesale only.

Shopping on weekends: Many garment district stores are closed or operate on abbreviated schedules on Saturday and Sunday. However, there are enough stores open on Saturdays now to make a full shopping day of it, without a problem, provided what you are looking for isn't too specific.

For quilters:  Because I am often asked this question, I have created a map with stores that would appeal to quilters specifically.  You may purchase one here.

For artists:  You can easily be overwhelmed by all of the choices in the district, and there is no easy path, since what you will love is likely something you didn't know existed before you went exploring in the district! I would say t is best to start with the smaller stores, and work your way up from there, since the smaller stores have carefully curated offerings, more likely to appeal to a person looking for something truly unique!

Home Dec: This can be a bit tricky, because flammability standards, strength, and colorfastness make it very important to choose your fabrics wisely according to your end use. With those things in mind, make sure you go to the right sources for what you need.  Mood Fabrics does a great job in this category, as do some other stores, which can be found on this map!


Curious Creative:  Now for you, the district is your oyster...  You may want to stumble into some of the lesser-known stores in the district, and explore all of the discoveries you come across in not only the fabrics stores, but the other bead, trim, novelty and hardware vendors sprinkled between them all.  The options are just endless!

As we move into the summer, which is typically a quieter timein the district, I encourage you to explore and create, with the bravery to experiment and innovate, amazing yourself and those you encounter in the process.  I'll be rooting for you!

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