Monday, December 11, 2017

On pleating...


Latest update: A podcast from the man who "wrote the book" on pleating!

Re-posting (from 4/23/14... for the love of pleating...)  Note: I still wear the skirt.

I admit to having a healthy dose of chiffonophobia.  You know, large expanses of chiffon move freely when you try to cut them, bias can be an amorphous nightmare, so needle and thread choice, correct cutting, and careful sewing are paramount to success...

I also find it irresistible.

On this project, with some trepidation, I headed into unfamiliar territory.  I knew I wanted to make a sunburst pleated skirt, and I knew who would do the pleating for me, but I had NO IDEA how to plan and cut it.  Because the skirt pattern is a sophisticated circle,  I did not know how to get it to work for the skirt I wanted to make.

I had already scored some fabulous James-Bond-esque golden/black chiffon from Kashi at Metro Textiles, and embarked on the dream.  This is a project you cannot engineer on your own; you need a permanent pleating process to make this work, and I knew just who to call. 

So, I sat down with George of International Pleating.  To do what I did here, you do not need an appointment.  Nope.  All you need is this link, and you can cut it yourself, send or physically take the fabric to International Pleating, and have it pleated.

The wonderful team at International Pleating gave such perfect instructions (with a printable pattern), that this was just as easy as pie to do.  I know, because I've done it.

Oh... and the pattern is FREE.  Yes, I said FREE.

Pleated version, laying beneath the original (unpleated) chiffon.

And the end result is why I couldn't resist the step-by-step instructions for a sunburst pleated bias skirt, provided by International Pleating.

What did I do?

Step 1: I read the instructions.  Note the fabric recommendations, length of skirt, and waist sizes given. You can request help from International Pleating if you need to make something outside of the size/length range provided. The instructions I used can be found here.

Step 2: I printed and assembled the pattern.  Using an ordinary printer. No special equipment or paper required.  The pattern can be found here.

Step 3: I followed the cutting instructions.  Pay attention here - follow the instructions exactly as they are written, for the best possible results.

Pleated chiffon before sewing
Step 4:  I gave it to International Pleating to pleat the fabric.  This is an EXTREMELY affordable service, by the way. $14 per panel for pleating.

I cut my waist out after getting the fabric pleated (I thought I could hang the bias more easily this way) , but if you are at all uncomfortable with properly cutting your waist after the pleating is done, doing it first gives you better accuracy.

Step 5: I followed the rest of the written instructions to complete the skirt.

Step 6: I let the bias hang...

While letting the bias hang, I worried about a "twist" I was worried I couldn't fix at the side seam.

But then I let it hang... and hang...

and hang...

And, because of my busy schedule, it hung longer than I planned, and the side seam "twist" self-resolved!

Awaiting full bias "drooping"!

Step 7: I hemmed the skirt.

A bit of experimentation led me to a rolled hem done with a fine zigzag stitch.  Done here on a test piece on the straight grain,  it gives the hem a bit of a wiry feel, that I wanted to use on this bias hem to give the skirt some energy!  

Step 8: I fell in love with the "dancey" quality of the hem method I chose!

I will wear it over a fitted black stretchy mini-tank dress, that will create my "slip" beneath the skirt. 

Now... Shall we dance?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Currently at FIT Museum - EXPEDITION: Fashion from the Extreme


Let's be honest. I wasn't really jazzed to see this exhibit, because I really couldn't see a direct application of this topic in my life.  But... last weekend, since I was near FIT anyway, I stepped inside, casually walked downstairs (for this one), prepared to be unimpressed.

And yet again, I was WRONG!

Think of it this way: "Travel to extreme environments is a relatively modern phenomenon." This is the opening line of the exhibition pamphlet I held in my hand as I wandered into the space.

Think on that for a second.  Fine. Give it more than a second. Yeah... Safari, camouflage, ski parkas, scuba gear, space travel... actually... I do get it. Didn't think I did, but I do!

To really appreciate the variety and beauty of the pieces presented, you'll have to go in person. No spoilers here.  It really is a thinking person's exhibit, and you won't regret it.

On view until January 6, 2018

Can't go in person? Visit virtually here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

And then I looked up! New Fabric Store... Well, a year old...

Walking along 37th Street in the Garment District, I did something I have always done/always do... but not right there, apparently.  At least not recently.

A window sign beckoned to me from the second floor of 222 West 37th.  Inviting everyone to shop for French Couture Fabrics.

Yes, you heard me right.





So, up I went.

One of my very favorite songs was playing when I entered.  A huge plus!  While singing along, (the song is in French) I was greeted very warmly by a French speaking man (who, by the way, has an English speaking employee who is more than enthusiastic about helping you find what you are looking for!) and was invited to look around.  Lots of gorgeousness in this place.  The most spare and no-frills basic display of fabric you will ever see, but truly magical merchandise.

The prices are not low, but not particularly high, either. Don't look for bargains or haggling here. Just buy what you love.

This beautiful double faced fabric, folded back on itself... is just... heavenly.

French Couture Fabrics (click through for website)
222 West 37th Street
2nd Floor

Instagram: frenchcouturefabrics

My advice?  Go.

Just go.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


In B&J last week, I heard a woman in the next aisle lament to her friend, "Man, things are really changing around here.  I mean... I was in a store, asked for a business card, the man handed it to me, shrugged and said... 'We're moving soon.  Don't know where to, but you can use the info on this card in the meantime.' Pivot.  End of conversation!"

Her light humor and gestures illustrating her point made it a funny moment, until... I felt it for myself first-hand a few hours later...

At Steinlauf and Stoler.

So yeah, they don't owe me details or an explanation, but wow, they have a somber email list you can sign to get info when they move.  Call me crazy, but their tone feels more like "if" than "when".

No longer in its heyday, but fantastic for a variety of needed items for the serious professional or hobbyist, this place, in exactly this location will be missed.  Or, maybe it will move, refresh itself, and bet better than ever...?  Let's see!

And... remember Chic Fabric?  After they closed, their inventory went down the street to another store, and we breathed a sigh of relief... but now, there's a sign that the Chic alliance is ending (maybe sold all inventory?) and so, that is also a "wrap".

So, okay, we can deal...  There are still plenty of great places to go, and the bigger ones are still great... and I strolled past what was once... ummmm.... Leather Impact.

It was gone.  Empty.  No forwarding details. But wait!  Look their website!  They simply moved!  Look at their Instagram.  Whew. We're good.

Life goes on...

Friday, September 15, 2017


I never noticed how I keep returning to rectangles until recently.  I love making things so simple that only 1-3 rectangles are required, and are so simple to sew, that it even becomes hard to explain how it was done.  I think these things are specific to my taste, but I love how duplicable they are, because of their simplicity.  How well it turns out is only a measure of how "right" a fabric choice was made...

Examples of same garments that were nothing buy rectangles are below:

The grommet laced shoulder...

The ever-changing cradle bag

A panel print just the right size to become a shirt

Rectangular scarf that became a vest by folding to the middle (back neck), and tying a knot

Beautiful pleats by International pleating, suspended from two rectangles of lace

A rectangle cotton knit t-shirt dress, with a vertical "scarf"

So, there were quite a few other photos I was about to share, and then stopped short, thinking, "Oh yeah, it STARTED out as a/some rectangle(s), but then I decided to..."

So... yes...  I often start with rectangles, and end up... well... wherever that sends me.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

David Kelley, IDEO, Creative Confidence (and a welcome bear hug from someone I'd never met before)

Below, are examples of two projects that could have pushed me away from designing, or deeper into something that agreed with what the client was seeking, depending on how I chose to interpret their reactions...

I created this feathered duster for a client, inspired by burlesque dancers.  I loved it.  The client?  Not so much at first.  This was version #1 of quite a few tries.
Add caption

Recently, I shared a blog post about this bolero, the process of designing and making it, and what happened next.  This story fits within the context of a talk I attended recently.  Read on, and go back to that blog post, if you're curious.

In many cities around the world, there are events where very interesting/influential/smart speakers talk to an intimate crowd at gathering events hosted by Creative Mornings.  In New York City, these events are EXTREMELY popular, and registering for any of them  (free!) requires amazingly fast fingers.

The last one I attended was a wonderful talk, given by Seth Godin last year, which was fabulous.

With the help of a close friend, who knew to try multiple browsers to increase our chance of attending, we were able to score 2 of the 600 tickets to the talk given by David Kelley last Friday (May 16th).  

Who is David Kelley?  Well, think Steve Jobs.  You know who that is, right?  Follow the highlighted text for an explanation.  I can't force it down into a quick sentence.

Okay, so... Why should I care?  Again, I ask you to click, unless you already get it, and don't need further explanation.

I arrived 30 minutes early, grabbed some lovely pastries and coffee in the waiting area, and lingered with the quiet crowd, talking to a few interesting creatives, mere steps away from David Kelley, who hung out among us, but whose attention seemed to be fully absorbed in one particularly intense conversation. I wanted to compliment his boldly unusual choice of shoelaces (a shock of an orangey-neutral accent that presented the perfect surprise against an otherwise sedate outfit), but it just didn't seem the time. With an ENORMOUS wait list crowd that packed the sidewalk outside of the school amphitheater, we all took our seats, and listened to his talk. You might want to check out his TED talk, which was quite similar to the talk he gave to us in that space last week, but a bit less of a lecture, and more like a conversation.

You know how people say "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt?"  Well, had there been a T-shirt for sale at the event, I would have bought one. At this point, I have attended the Creative Morning event, watched the TED talk, and bought the book.  Frankly,  if there had been Kool-Aid served at the event, I might have taken a sip. Reading the book now, I can see that the ideas he presents are applicable in just about all professions and circumstances. 

So, what's my point here?

The book, his school, and his mission are all about Creative Confidence, which is basically "design thinking" as a tool for innovation.  I'd have to write a book of my own to explain it all here in a few sentences, so I'll send you to the source:

Seriously, you'd be better off reading the book to get where I'm going with this, but here's how it applies to your own (our our collective) creative journey.

  • Involve your (or someone else's!) kids

  • Practice empathy in design.  Understand what the challenges are, seek to resolve or minimize them.

  • Get other people involved.

  • Think outside of the box.

After the talk, did I stay to talk to David Kelley?  No, I did not.  I stopped to talk to the NY organizer of these events to give her a personal "thank you" for achieving the Herculean task of organizing events like these, which she reciprocated with a big, warm, impromptu bear hug. (This was a particularly sweet gesture on a day that happened to also be my birthday!)

Monday, August 28, 2017

How I won the lottery (and asked about buttonholes)

** Originally posted 5/12/13 - updated because I'm thinking about buttonholes now again...

Seth Godin, currently the world's most successful blogger, gave a talk at The New School's Creative Mornings Series on Friday, and, geek that I am, I was BEYOND eager to attend.  Not only that, but I knew that I would be eligible to register for free tickets last Monday at 11AM, so I logged in at 3 seconds before 11, and dove in.  Did I get a ticket?  Yes.  And so did my best friend (who was equally psyched about it).  The event "sold" out in 45 seconds.

45 seconds! As an audience, we were praised for our "skill", but I think we were just the people who cared the most.


So, my friend and I sat in the front row, listened with focused attention to his talk, and only one burning question stayed in my mind from start to finish.  Yes, I listened to the challenges of the new economy, creative thinking strategies, workplace philosophy, and all of the other pithy insights he had to share, but...

Creatives, you know what that question is, don't you?

"Where'd ya get that jacket????"

So, did it come from a store that way, did he find a pretty sedate suit jacket and commission someone to jazz up the lapel, change the lining, and create a bold rainbow of multicolored buttonholes of which any web designer would approve?  Not only were the buttonholes cool, the color combination was particularly good.

There was a brief Q&A, when all questions were about business, and then an informal, seated-on-the-edge-of-the-stage Q&A, when I  scurried up to ask my question.

"There's a little store in the East Village," he said, "where they take these jackets from somewhere that are going to be thrown out, and do things like this to them.  I just saw it, and liked it."

Perfect. Nice upcycle, Seth.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Side notes: Shoemaking - More action... less talk

I am posting less often.  With fewer words.  Doing the work, instead of spending so much time talking about it. I'm entering a different season of my work life.  It continues to unfold.

So, here's today's point. We don't have to rely on factories.  Of course you can choose to rely on factory made anything, from your clothes to your dinner... or... you can choose NOT to. Your choice.  Roam wherever your creativity takes you.  

After experimenting, I have found that the best shoe glue for my purposes comes from Home Depot, which is a very short and convenient drive for me. Yay!

More and more these days, I'm seeing that supplies are both findable and affordable, if you know (or get creative, and think out of the box a bit) where to look.

Below, find a weird list of links and things that have nourished my creative brain on my shoemaking journey thus far...

For inspiration, take a look at these websites:

Other tips (based on my own experience):

Consider the heel and sole carefully - they do the work when walking.

Consider the technique - stitching has to be done properly to stay strong and to do it's job!

Consider safety and closures.  After all, there is nothing more vain than fashion-related injuries.

Enjoy the journey, if you're on it!  If not, decorate a pair you already own!  If not, love the ones you've got, and don't concern yourself with my weird obsession!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How long did it take you to make that dress?

Reposting (March 27, 2017)

A day.  





Fell in love with this silk from NY Elegant in 2012...

But... add all components together, and it took just about all my adult life so far...

Blogging has let me keep track of so many tiny details over the years, that I can now share them with you, and marvel at/share the ACTUAL timeline, which is kinda crazy.

I loved this pattern, and grabbed a copy when I was a Butterick/Vogue employee in 1999. Always wanted to, but never made it for myself.  Worries that it was costumey, and maybe a bit too youthful for my age. Nowadays, you can still purchase it online, if so inclined. It was the inspiration for the very similar dress I made... (with quite a few changes)

These fabrics above were purchased (and some of the silvery-grey 4 ply silk was wasted.. until now!) for the creation of a client's Waterfall Dress (2013)

The jacket, hanging off the shoulder, to give an idea of the translucency...

A fabric I was so excited about when I bought it, I made it a little video! (October 2010)

This is a killer silk from Rosen & Chadick that has lingered in my stash, too pretty to cut, for years.  People really loved the kimono-inspired jacket-thing I made with it to wear with the dress.
The waist of the dress...

I made my dress close with a wide strip of the organza I used to make the jacket.
Silver/grey silk peeks out as front skirt inner layer. (this pic taken during dress construction - before finishing edges)

So now that I have danced and celebrated at my dear friend's wedding in it, I've taken some pictures of the (already partied in, above) dress on the floor and form before posting this!

I like that this dress has no closures, has a shape that is great for dancing/twirling, and is fairly simple in design.  The pattern is actually designed for cottons, but my choices were silk, which required some changes in finishing techniques and handling.  I naturally subscribe to an anatomical design/construction method, so my own patterns never have straight lines in any of the fitting elements (dart, seams that need to conform to the body's contours). I had to change that.  My version of this dress has only one closure point, which is at the waist, so I needed my under layer to encircle the body at the hips for modesty. This, I just did with a wide/strip band of fabric that is at hip/rear end level.

How long will it take you to make your next project?  Who knows? 

Well, you can always look at it this way... you may not realize it, but you've already begun!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

For the social activists among you... Food for thought.

This is a TED talk given some time ago (2014), by a woman I admire (who also happens to be a personal friend). It is great food for thought.

Has anything changed since then?  If so, how?

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's all feelin' so sales-y...

I've been lookin' at the blogs lately, and I just can't relate.  Who is all of this for, if not ourselves and the people we love, right?

Right now, I just crave the real.  I'm knee deep in some projects, and will continue to doggie paddle my way to completion.

I'm making some things that mean a lot to me, and to some truly beloved clients, and that's what will continue to matter right now.

Taking a breather, taking a minute, will show pics, but might not say too much... we'll see!

You know me... I'll definitely say somethin'... eventually.

Friday, July 7, 2017

All action, no talk...

Last steps - professional shoe guy will adhere topsole/insole to heel, I will finish black edges (join), and gold cushion piece for elastic at back heel.

I'll answer your questions, if you have any...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017



Please update your records to access this blog via 

The old domain name was tangled in a tech problem we can't resolve, so I'll just be using this new domain name from now on.

As always, stay tuned for all relevant garment district fabulousness!

Friday, June 30, 2017

On UFOs (Unfinished Objects) - This stuff matters... often more than we realize.

Reposted from 1/14/13

Since then, years have passed, my daughter has grown older, and she now maintains an Instagram of her own artwork!

Update: City Quilter will be closing its brick and mortar store on 10/26/16.)

A full decade (and lots of hand-stitching) after I began this project, I took a picture of a quilt I have completed. I took this picture at Christmas, looking up at the front porch, outside, while visiting my in-laws home (in the background), since, where the heck do you hang and photograph a 6'x6' quilt in New York City apartment?  At the time of this photograph, the quilting was finished, and only binding remained to be done. Completely hand-pieced, hand-sewn, and hand-quilted, I often questioned my own sanity, but ultimately, I feel the satisfaction of really calling it "finished".  

With this post, I specifically want to highlight the incredible difficulty of finding just the right fabrics and colors to make this quilt.  I spent a solid two months looking for the right fabrics back then, venturing out to many stores to get the combination of colors I needed.  Nowadays, there is a much closer option... City Quilter.  While not in the garment district, it is energetically walkable, taxiable... subwayable.  For my next quilt... and yes, there will be a next... that will be my destination.

This quilt is a fabric interpretation of a painting my sister created when I was little (1976).  It is called "Family".  My goal was to make a quilt with no machine stitching anywhere at all.  I envision "speaking" to the great-granchildren I may never meet through my own hand-stiching. Please feel more than free to love it, hate it, not understand it.  It's not for display, sale, or art... just love. Our family will be sleeping under it.

Hanging kinda crooked - I was cold and impatient while taking this picture!

My 11 year-old daughter wrote many test essays during her test practice sessions for an entrance exam she just took for a specialized school.  This particular topic in her prep notebook:  "Someone Who Makes a Difference in My Life".  I happened to take a look at it one day, and saw this...

Stash Management

Reposting (originally published 6/28/12)

Oh the stash... it just grows and grows, doesn't it?

Okay, here is an exercise for all of us. ALL OF US... Yes, ALL of us...

You know that fabric stash that is stuffed in your closets, drawers, boxes, rubbermaid tins, cedar chests... wherever? I know you've got piles of fabric waiting for your next project soon someday. Okay... today we're gonna decide that's okay. Part of the creative process is collecting hoarding curating a fabric supply. That's what keeps the creative juices flowing.

I'm being serious here. I have yet to visit the workspace of any creative person, fully immersed in the art of making things, who doesn't have a big ol' pile of creative madness going on. Embrace it.

Why do I bring this up?

History has taught me that when I wander in and out of fabric stores, I see all kinds of great things that I would love to use, if only I had a project going for which I could use it. If I decide I want those things six months later, I may never find them again. Here's the thing... buy it, and you may be surprised by what it inspires later on! I made some covered buttons about 6 years ago and never finished the project for which they were intended. Time marched on, the design idea lost its luster, and my daughter asked for the buttons instead. She made use of one in a fabulous necklace made for my birthday! Creative karma...

Another reason to curate a healthy stash? When the fabric is considered before your creation/design decisions or pattern purchases, you can build a wardrobe of planned items that are interchangeable and/or coordinating, rather than a one-at-atime approach, that keeps you buying new shoes accessories and bags to complement each piece. A time/money saver! See...? Not so crazy, huh?

So, feed your stash, people. Organize it to the best of your ability, but understand that it is part of the process.

Now, cue some sad bugle playing taps, while you scroll through the swatches of fabulous fabrics I regret not buying, or not buying enough of...

Some sorta leather-like wool animal-printed fabric I found at Paron. Just weird enough to intrigue me, but not creating a sharp enough creative vision in my head to coax any money out of my wallet that day. NOW, I can see the winter vest it should have been.

I am almost embarrased to share how long this crinkled denim (above) lived in my stash. In an appetizing color I affectionately call "Pepto", I always knew it needed to be a pair of pants, but there was never quite enough of it to become a pair. So it became a jumper. And a hasty one at that. One I have never, ever, ever worn...

I need a tissue.

And quite possibly a hug.

Learn from my mistakes, folks. I share because I care...

The best stores for stash shopping are the ones where you find wonderful surprises in limited quantity or quick/limited seasonal availability. Bring your wallet with some "mad" money, because these are a few of the places to find the fabrics you weren't looking for:

Mood225 W. 37th St., 3rd floor (mid-block, office building, go into the lobby and take the elevator to the 3rd floor)

257 West 39th st (bet. 7th 8th ave) New York, NY 10018

Metro Textiles
265 West 37th Street Suite 908 New York, NY 10018
More info about this store can be found here.

Enjoy yourself, take deep breaths, and embrace the stash...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Whew! Spilling the details on the "Speakeasy" tour...

Reposting (from 9/29/12) - for those of you who don't know what the Speakeasy idea is/was, and what I would love to duplicate, if there is enough interest!

Now that the tour is over, and I've had a good sleep, lemme tell you all about it! This was the first Speakeasy tour I've done, and since no two will be exactly the same, I can dish here without spoiling it for those who will come in the future. Our tour was scheduled to meet at 10 AM at the "Big Button", and I arrived quite early. The rain was TORRENTIAL when I got there, so I ducked beneath a shelter for a time, and reemerged when the rain lightened to a steady drizzle. Cindy (my great tour guide partner) and I met the participants as they arrived, just when the sky ABSOLUTELY OPENED UP.

I'm not sure when I've seen it rain so hard.

I briefly wondered if one could build an ark of canvas and boning, since I do know where to get that...

Thankfully, we were all dressed for the occasion, and they were all really good sports about the relentless downpour. We quickly scrambled off to our first destinations.

Because these were smaller stores, Cindy took half of the group to C&J Textiles, while I took the other half to Metro Textiles. Cindy's part of the group absolutely RAVAGED the $6 sale rack. Yes, I said $6. Really, I did say $6. Why do you keep asking me that? (That's why I call it a "Speakeasy"... see?) And good luck going there now. They practically cleaned it out. No, I'm not kidding. When its gone, its gone, until they restock it. You would have had to see it with your own eyes. At Metro, Kashi was, as always, an incredibly gracious host, whose selection is just overwhelming. While there, a serendipitous visit from George of International Pleating, holding THE MOST MAGICAL pleated fabric you ever did see, allowed me the opportunity to introduce him to my part of the group. Truly, the way that pleats can give a new personality to such a tame and classic print... We couldn't even imagine what it must have looked like before pleating until Kashi showed it to us in its original state.

Really, you hold up its pleated version, and you dance with it. Just because you have to.

So, when you're in Kashi's place, you just keep looking at his vast selection of fabrics until things jump out at you. I can be easily distracted by shopping for myself, so I promised myself I wouldn't buy a SINGLE thing. However, I do now have a list in my head that I will need to satisfy shortly. Thanks, alot, Kashi... Kashi has three fabrics I MUST have, and will go to pick up this week. Mostly because I can barely sleep without them. That's just true. On another note, you will feel the need to call the place "Kashi's" instead of Metro Textiles after going there. That's just what happens.

Okay, so then I tried to minimize my excitement as the entire group met up at Fabrics and Fabrics (formerly Lace Star). I just wanted to let them get off the elevator, and GASP as it unfolded before them. I'm not even sure why I mention the name Lace Star when I talk about them now, since this version of that store BLOWS what was known as Lace Star away. This place is VAST, and I can assure you, the sale racks will amaze you. But bigger than that, there are AISLES and AISLES of brocades (and plenty of other things, too) in lots and lots of colors. Fabric-selling industry veterans have told me that a wide variety of brocades are amazingly hard to find. They found them, somehow. The antique French laces, the wild, unusual fabrics...

As I walked around, I kept hearing purrs, shouts and "Come look at this!" from corners and aisles all around this store. And the layout of this store is absolutely stellar. The organization and labeling of goods is just so perfect, I don't think it could be improved upon. I am so serious about that. And it just keeps going, and going, and going! Rahman is just a great, welcoming personality, and I know there are other staff members, but I just gravitate to him specifically, because he is always first to smile!

Understandably, people were reluctant to get things shipped home rather than carry them, because it takes away from their fabric budget (and can be pricey, especially for our Hawaiian!), but arms were getting weary!

From there, we moved on to Rosen & Chadick. David, Ellen and the assistants were wonderfully helpful, and the group was astounded by the quality of the goods they carry. The beautiful heavenly beaded net fabric and velvet combo bought by one member of our group nearly brought tears to my eyes. The printed cottons are also just TO DIE for. The silks, oh, and the silk tie fabrics are just glorious! The cotton twills for pants, the UPSTAIRS... oh yes, there's an upstairs... you mean you didn't know? "Speakeasy"... see?

And here's the deal... you see stuff there you won't find in other stores. The pinwale corduroys in particular are so beautiful, and inspire ideas in so many directions. The layout and lighting are awesome, and the wonderful, warm personalities of David and Ellen are even awesomer... yes, that's a word...

So, from there, we took a quick little subway ride to 28th Street on the 1 train, where I discovered that I could not swipe a whole pile of people with a pay-per-ride fare card... and seriously MTA, why not???? After a few people, the machine tells you that you have exceeded your "transfer limit". Why? Someone explain to me what transfers have to do with this? And the absence of subway personnel makes it especially frustrating. Random venting.  I digress.

So, I just bought more fares, and we moved on. No big deal.

Anyway, our next stop was Manhattan Wardrobe Supply, which offers more stuff than you ever knew you needed. We discussed the joys of waxed hand sewing thread, various glues and adhesives, types of elastic, all sorts of bust fixes and fitting solutions, garment shields, shoe concerns, fabric care supplies, and just soooo much more.

That place was a ball, and everyone was about to keel over, so we all rested out tootsies (and other parts) for lunch. It all worked out fine, but for the next trip, I will make sure to plan lunch better! We all ate well, though! Over lunch, we answered all of the "where can I find" questions they had for us, and got feedback on their favorite stores. Surprisingly enough, the favorites were pretty evenly spread out among the group! Everyone said they had an awesome time, and they were really happy they came! I am so glad!

After the tour, I did a follow up with a few of the store owners, and they had some great feedback for us, too! One of the major points I stress on this tour is that this is meant to be a MUTUALLY beneficial trip.  You get access to gorgeous and fun stuff, discounts, bargains, and relationships I already have with vendors.  They get business from people who probably don't otherwise even know they exist.

The folks at Rosen and Chadick thought the groups was really nice, fun, and interesting to talk to! They were pretty amazed at how far some were willing to travel to come on the tour, and so was I!

Side note: I had NO idea you could drive from elsewhere, park your RV at the marina, and save yourself a hotel bill! Makes coming here crazy affordable!

Kashi really enjoyed the group as well, and was happy to have been able to show them fabrics they found exciting! He has such great prints! 

C&J can really look intimidating, but don't be intimidated. Yes, there is a receptionist, but don't feel put off by the feeling of being asked to state your business. They just wanna help you find what you need... and of course, they want your business!

Manhattan Wardrobe Supply is better explored than explained. Also nice people, in a very businesslike environment.

My request to all of you:

After reading this post, when shopping in the Garment District, make sure to tell anyone who will listen, that you came because you saw the business mentioned on the blog. I can't guarantee that it will always help you at the register, if I'm not there with you... but sometimes it will!

In a nutshell,  conversation flowed, I am really happy that the blog is entertaining for so many, and was happy to meet those who hadn't really followed the blog, but were just excited for the real-life opportunity to go on the guided trip! I was especially excited to have learned so much from those who came on the trip, too!

Oh... and... sorry for no pictures... I was having too much fun to think about photo ops! And vain truth be told, I got drenched, and wasn't much of a fashion plate after the rain! Can you say "hot mess"?

The next garment district tour will be...

September 22, 2017.  Click here for more info.

Today, I saw a sobering post from Seek LLC tours, stating that they will no longer offer fashion tours in NYC.  As businesses disappear, I wonder what the future holds...

While I understand Seek's choice, I do feel that there is still a glorious fabric shopping experience to be had here, and I will continue to lead you through it.  Since I have not been a competitor of SEEK for the same type of service, I have recommended SEEK tours to some of you who have a greater interest in fashion shopping than in the process/exploration of making things. I hope someone will fill that void.

I can agree that there are fewer people interested in group tours, and I have found that I lead far more private and small group tours than the larger crowd tours these days.

Keep in mind, there are always maps, too!

You'd be amazed at what creative pursuits, exhibits, fabrics and notions you can explore in the district.  


I'll still be here to show you.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Friday in the district...

Man, it NEVER gets old...

Saw such beautiful things on a private tour I led on Friday...

Really floored by the beauty of it all.

Heavenly adornments.

Suede - really.

I haven't been able to express just how wonderful it has been in the district lately.  The beauty is overwhelming. It truly is just THAT amazing, and you need to come see for yourself!