Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In New York City for the holidays? Here are some exhibits to see!

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a textile exhibit, entitled "Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520-1620"  An extremely specific title, to be sure!  The Museum describes the exhibit:  
The practice of embroidery was seen as a virtuous endeavor, and textile pattern books, published with great frequency from the 1520s onward, were designed to inspire, instruct, and encourage "beautiful and virtuous women" in this esteemed practice. Straddling the disciplines of early printmaking, ornament design, and textile decoration, these works help shed light on the crucial period when the concept of fashion as a means of distinguishing individual identity became fixed in Western society.
As noted by a reader (see comments below), there is another exhibit at the MET to see, entitled  "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style", featuring this style icon whose originality and elegance established her as one of the most celebrated fashion personas of the 20th century. 
On view until January 10, this exhibit will excite the historians, artists and enthusiasts among you.  see this related article for more details. 

At the  Museum of the City of New York, you can see a grand exhibit that explores the history of this great city!

At Discovery Times Square, you can see the Star Wars Costume exhibit!
From the press release: 
Featuring 70 hand-crafted costumes from the first six blockbuster Star Wars films, this exhibition reveals the artists’ creative process—and uncovers the connection between character and costume. George Lucas imagined and created a fantastical world filled with dynamic characters who told the timeless story of the hero’s journey. The costumes shaped the identities of these now famous characters, from the menacing black mask of Darth Vader and the gilded suit of C-3PO, to the lavish royal gowns of Queen Amidala and a bikini worn by Princess Leia when enslaved by Jabba the Hutt. A special presentation for the showing at Discovery Times Square in New York will feature seven additional costumes from the highly anticipated film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

At the Cooper Hewitt Museum, The Making Design exhibit features objects

And seriously now, courtesy of the Cooper Hewitt, an online demonstration of a folding Miyake Dress!

Is there more to see?  Yes, plenty.  But if you need more, I suggest you move here, because even the most ambitious tourist/visitor will absolutely run of time!

Another victim of huge rent increases? Chic Fabrics is closing at the end of this month.

Things aren't looking good for Chic Fabric, but they are definitely still trying.  While this means steep discounts and sales for everyone inclined to shop there right now, it is another sad event for one of our beloved retailers.

A great stop for novelty and basic fabrics, an exploration of colors and prints, and a friendly helpful staff, this place will be missed.  There has been no progress on renegotiating the lease thus far, but as always, we are hopeful, as are they, that they will secure a new location.  As always, I will let you know when I have shareable news!

See previous posts on Chic Fabric here, here and here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Online fabric shopping survey results - updated!

As the holiday season is now in full swing, I am reviewing the best ideas for fabric lovers and sewists I have stumbled upon in the garment district and beyond.  Since many of you are not local, I am sharing what is most helpful here, with updated information where appropriate.

Updated From 11/30/12:

Boy, did you guys ever participate in the Online fabric shopping survey!  Here is a summary of the results, for your reading pleasure... I have only mentioned the most common responses here, but have shared detailed information with the vendors who have specifically  expressed to me that they are very interested in maximizing customer satisfaction.

There were 88 participants in the survey today.

93% of you who took the survey actually shop online.

What are your favorite online fabric stores?

The first three vendors (below) were mentioned by the most, by far!  Among the others mentioned, those with brick and mortar locations in NYC are clickable to link to their websites below:

Mood (Mood has implemented third party shipping!  See details here)

A special mention goes out from one of the survey participants to Metro Textiles, who does not have a website, but will personally send swatches and handle requests by email with a high level of personal attention and customer service.

There were quite a few more mentioned who are scattered across the USA (and a few beyond our nation's borders, actually), which are VERY useful as study aids for the vendors with whom I have shared the survey results, but giving the full list here would be information overload. It has been shared with those vendors who want to research the detailed info.

What are your concerns about shopping online?

Color, quality, drape and texture.  It seems that product-related issues were significantly riskier bets for many of you than shipping concerns, which was the next in line.

Now, describe the store of your dreams!

Free or low cost swatches, reasonable shipping, great photography, Pantone colors, better fabric descriptions, suggested uses and weight information. Great customer service, clear return policy, ability to speak with a live person during business hours, a search feature on a user-friendly site.  You also want fair return policies when items are not as described/pictured.  Much more detail was offered, and was shared with the vendors who asked for it!

Thank you to all who participated.  The stores are listening!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

About faux fur and real fur... I must have gone 10 places to find JUST the right thing...

As recently featured on the blog, I was making a jacket with  a solid dose of GLAMOUR, and I needed just the right trim.  I had already made a wrong purchase, and still needed something full,  warmer, and more lively.

I looked, and looked... Went upstairs, downstairs, and up and down the streets of the district, to find just the right faux fur trim for the jacket I was making.  I won't waste you time with needless information of the places that didn't have what I needed...

because I found the perfect thing upstairs at New York Elegant.

Yardage.  And I bought 1/2 yd. When it comes to faux fur there is so much to get right... The feel (or "teddybearishness", as I like to call it), the density, how securely the fibers stay in place, the pill, puff and shed factor, the smell (for me) the flexibility and weight of the backing... 

If you are looking for fur, (whether faux or real) here are some other good places to check:

Joyce Trimming (faux)
Lauren Trimming (faux)
Daytona Trimming (faux)
Leather, Suede, Skins (real)
M&J Trimming (faux and real)
Leather Impact (real)

Will you find amazing surprises in some other district stores?  Yes, you most certainly will.... but I could write a NOVEL on the subject.  Just try these first.  You'll be exhausted after that. 

Intimidated about sewing with faux fur?  Try the new DVD recently released by Kenneth King.  I was so bummed that I had to miss the recent launch event, but I'm sure it was fantastic!