Speakeasy tour of the garment district

After having looked forward to this trip for quite a while, the day had finally arrived in all it's wet glory. Donning my rain jacket and an umbrella, I hopped on the train for grand central. I arrived with time to spare so I looked around the food and bought a magnolia cupcake. Holding my treat, I headed out to 42nd street and into a light drizzle. All was OK until I reached 7th avenue, then it started to come down. I saw the big button at 39th and ducked into the overhang of an office building. I still had time so i put my umbrella down and ate the cupcake. I decided I prefer crumbs. At about 10 to 10, people were gathering so I braved the rain, threw out my trash and joined the congregation.
We chatted for a bit as we waited for other people and got drenched by the rain. One person came all the way from Hawaii. We ended up being 12 in all with two guides and split up for the first two stores.

My groups first stop was metro textiles or 'Kashi's'. Bolts of fabric filled the shelves and a good portion of the floor. I meandered my way down the aisle glancing at the patterns and textures in the fabrics. Something near the back caught my eye and I pulled it out, a grayscale leopard velvet burnout. I fell in love and a possible dress was already floating at the back of my mind. When I went to take the picture, I noticed the burnout was in a floral pattern.

Near it standing up was another interesting fabric. A strange mesh that I should see as a jacket or something to pull on during the cooler weather.

I also discovered a navy blue stretch lace, most stretch laces being either black or red.

Now time to find some fabrics for patterns I already had. I found a medium weight burgundy knit for this outfit, the color doesn't show right in my photo, it's closer to the finished pattern:

And a light weight soft emerald green knit for this dress:

I continued to look but nothing else jumped out at me. It was almost time to move on to the next store so I paid (very reasonable prices, this was my largest purchase in terms of yardages and it wasn't the most expensive) and had my purchases shipped which was a good idea given the state of my bags later on.

We stepped outside and it seemed to have stopped raining. I rolled up my umbrella and stuck it in my purse as we walked a block to c&j.

This store had a much more business feel, nothing was on the floor and everything was neat. There was a depleted sale rack where I found another velvet burnout. I'll probably make a skirt from this.

I also came across this fabric. Corset anyone?

Not much else caught my eye here but apparently they will always keep a supply of fabrics of certain colors if you want to purchase their color cards.

The next store was Fabrics and Fabrics (formerly Lace Star). This place is huge. Aisles of fabrics, lots of silks, brocades and beadded laces. Cotton which seemed to be missing from the previous two stores was at the far end with the knits. There was a pretty white with red/pink floral design but I wasn't paying 49/yd for it. I found a solid purple to use for this dress:

I found two other knits as well. I thinking this dress for this dark blue fabric:

I'll figure something out for this one:

The next store was Rosen and Chadick. This store has two floors with the heavier (it seemed to me) fabrics upstairs. I found a leopard print silk I'm going to use for a top.

We took the subway downtown two stops to the last store, Manhattan Wardrobe Supply. Browsing the store, I came across everything from dyes to double sided tape, irons to colored Velcro. I picked up a pair of fabric scissors and a gross of hook and eyes.

Finally, it was time for lunch and we headed over to Mustang Sally's. We talked, ate, and asked where to find certain items. As this was the end of the guided portion of the tour, we parted ways. I headed back up to 38th street to visit Stretch House (218 W 37th St). They didn't have a fabric I had seen on their website, but I did find something else. Also picked up a nice black fabric. I can always use black and it will help tone down the pink zebra and orange tribal I have in my stash.

I walked up to 39th to Daytona Trimmings (251 West 39th Street) and picked up some lace pieces to use later on. They had the color fringe I was looking for but not the length. I then walked over to M&J Trimmings (1008 6th Avenue) and they did have the fringe, but not enough of it. At least I know where to get it. By this time my legs, arms, and shoulders were hurting from walking all day and carrying 26 yards of fabric. Good thing I had the first 13 shipped home.

Next time I go fabric shopping, I'm taking a rolling suitcase.


  1. That sounds like an amazing day! Congrats on your purchases, and definitely a suitcase sounds like a good idea.


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