Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My New York Shopping Trip

I finally made it to NYC to shop for fabric. In spite of the heat, it was an absolutely terrific day! I met my sister, who lives in Duchess County, at Penn Station. The woman who made my sister’s wedding dress is also her friend and co-worker. She attended FIT and was going to serve as our expert guide , but she couldn’t make it at the last minute. Sis was familiar enough with Manhattan so we got along well without the expert guide.

Our first order of business was to proceed up 7th Avenue to the Fashion Center Information Kiosk. We were so busy talking, I almost forgot about the Fashion Walk of Fame. When I remembered, I happened to be standing on Willi Smith’s circle. He was one of the first African-American designers to gain worldwide acclaim and the first designer whose work I "followed".

At the Kiosk, we got a list of 45 – count ‘em, 45 – retail fabric stores in the district. The garment worker sculpture is right next to the kiosk and I had to have a picture. It looks like I’m as tall as the sculpture. People were sitting on the base of the statue. I didn’t want them in the picture; they didn’t move and I didn’t ask them to. So, I climbed up on the base of the statue to pose. I’m sure my sister and I looked like rank tourists, but I didn’t care. I was having a great time and New York is full of tourists, anyway.

We decided to start at 40th St. and zigzag between 7th and 8th Avenues as we headed south. I had three must-see places on my list: Paron, Mood and Metro Textiles. I didn't find anything at Paron. The store at 206 W. 40th St. had more clothes and purses than fabric, but a man came in and led us to a store next door (I’m guessing it was the Annex.) My sister warned me I’d wouldn’t know which way was up after going into so many fabric stores and she was absolutely right. We went into so many stores and I forgot where I made my first purchase. I bought the orange print (see below) in one of the stores we randomly wandered into.

The most memorable experiences were Mood and Metro Fabrics. Mood is HUGE! Unless you know what you want, you could get lost in there and never be seen or heard from again! Fortunately, fabrics are arranged in categories (i.e. wools, cottons, silks) and you can find what you want. The only problem was the shortage of sales staff. My sister and I wrestled a roll of fabric from the shelf by ourselves and that was no easy task! Sis said pulling out that huge roll was like giving birth and with all the groaning we did, it certainly sounded like it. I bought the rust piece (to coordinate with the orange print) at Mood. Mood’s prices were reasonable, but not great. It reminded me of G-Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD.

Our last stop was Metro Textiles. As soon as I entered, I identified myself as a member of Pattern Review and shamelessly dropped Carolyn’s (Sewing Fanatic) and Ann’s (Gorgeous Things) names. Kashi is a great salesman and really knows his inventory. I bought the most from Metro Textiles. I fell in love with tropical wool because it feels so soft. My sister found a tropical looking print that coordinated with the tropical wool so I bought them. I saw a boucle at one of the random anonymous stores and wanted to find something black to coordinate with that. At Metro, I found the black and Kashi showed me a piece of boucle that I liked better and at a better price. So I bought them. Sis found a roll of knit fabric that reminded her of the empire waist tops everyone is wearing these days. So she bought it – and she hasn’t sewn anything in years! Kashi offered to ship my purchases back to Pennsylvania for me. At first I said no because I wanted to go home and play with them. But after walking 3 feet out the door, I realized how much of a PITA it would be to schlep the heavy bags back to Pennsylvania on two commuter trains and a trolley. I let Kashi ship them.

The whole experience was wonderful and memorable because:
  • My sister and I spent "sister time" together without our children.
  • I got fabric I really love
  • I learned enough about the Fashion District so I can get around by myself if I have to.
  • I stayed within my budget (if I don't count lunch and train fare).
It was a perfect “I’m so glad I sew” day.

Here are my purchases:
Solid wool purchased at Mood
Print at random store I don't remember.
These fabrics will be either pants or skirt and blouse

Tropical Wool and poly print purchased at Metro Textiles.
The wool has a tweedy appearance with darker threads and a herringbone weave.
This will be pants and shirt.

Boucle and sateen from Metro will be a jacket and skirt.


  1. Honey, you can drop my name any time! I'm so glad you had fun. And your haul is TDF!

  2. Sounds like you had a GREAT DAY!!!!

  3. What a great trip. I have to do the same, one of these days.

  4. You lucky, lucky, woman! What a great time you had and gorgeous fabric, too. One of these days, I *will* get to NYC for fabric.

  5. Ditto! Lucky lucky. Someday my sis and I will get time together in NYC... someday! Your haul is envious - you did great.

  6. Wow! that fabric looks so beautiful and luxurious.

  7. Oh Elaray, it sounds like a great time! And I love the fabrics you chose. I am sure Kashi loooooves his loyal fans!

  8. Ditto to Ann's comment about the name dropping - do it anytime and whenever necessary! *LOL* Glad you had fun at Kashi's and most days that would be enough of a trip without going anywhere else! You got some amazing pieces ~ enjoy them!