Nov 12, 2013

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's (with the doorman)...then on to a day of fabric shopping in New York's Garment District.

This district is also now referred to as the Fashion District, since the days of clothing racks being rolled down the street are a thing of the past.  It's simply to costly to compete with Asian knockoffs.

This information kiosk, with the giant-sized needle and button on top, welcomes you and provides maps and listings of what fabric stores are where.  And though I didn't take this photo because the entire corner where this is situated is currently under scaffolding (which much of NY seemed to be), here's what it looks like.

Just beside this kiosk, is this bronze statue - treadle sewing machine (you get just a hint of the scaffolding around it too).  Yes, I'd already completed my first stop at Paron Fabrics.  It's a small store, but fabric was well displayed.

Then on to the Spandex House.  For anyone sewing swimwear or dance costumes, this would be a must-do stop.  And though I didn't purchase anything that first day, I did go back for some stretch leather.  R-T-W is showing all kinds of diagonal zipped jackets like the one below.  My intention is to make a downloadable Fashion Leaflet for a design similar to this one.

Ah yes...did I say that it was October 31st?  Next stop Mood Fabrics with everyone dressed in costume.

Many of you know Mood Fabrics and Project Runway.  Here's what a couple of the aisles look like.  Thousands of bolts of fabric, and though the staff were helpful, you really needed to know what you wanted as I didn't think they were that well displayed.  And what I wanted wasn't

Then on to B & J Fabrics.  I found this store much easier to browse and shop in.  They carry thousands of fabrics, carefully organized by type (like silk, cottons, wool), then by print theme and finally by color.  All are well swatched, clearly labeled as to fiber content, and priced.  They may be a little more spendy than some of the other stores, but it was easy to browse because it wasn't cluttered and chaotic.  I was too busy shopping to take any photos, but I did end up with a great piece of Italian 'denim' with an interesting fiber mix of silk, cotton, nylon and lycra.  Sorry I can't photograph it - it's on its way home via UPS - my carry-on was too full already!

And if you can't find your specialty trim in M&J Trims, it's likely not made!  Walls of trims, ribbons, sequined appliques, buttons and closures could be found here.  Their window display is shown below - a tiered, rotating 8 ft. high trim 'cake'.

No NY trip would be complete without browsing the high-end stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Lord & Taylor, Eileen Fisher...and the list goes on.  Believe it or not, we saw countless jumpsuits - now called rompers.  Remember, they used to be popular in the mid-80's?  The only problem for women is they need a trap door!  If you're so inclined, you'll find jumpsuit instructions in the SFD Children's Kit The concept is the same for women - just join your pants to your bodice and leave some lengthwise ease for movement.  Here's a photo, and I can assure you, we saw lots of them.

You might be interested to see how one designer, Kiya Tomlin, used SFD to design and sew a couple of stunning jumpsuits.  They are featured in the SFD Photo Gallery, but I'll also drop the photos in here too.

Though our sewing business (SFD) has taken us to many international countries where the fabric shopping was fabulous, I'd not been to NY before.  It was a great trip!


  1. I would be so overwhelmed in mood I wouldn't know where to begin!! A trip to NY is on my to-do list, but it will be some time before it becomes a reality. I like to live vicariously through those who can get there.

  2. Yes, it's very easy to experience what I call 'choice overload'. A sewing friend suggested going with projects in mind, so at least I had a semi-solid idea of what I was looking for. There were some extremely tempting pieces and some that were really easy to walk away from. It was definitely right up there in my trips to remember!

  3. I've been to NYC twice, many years ago, for quick day trips. It would be nice to go back with time to explore - especially the Fashion District. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  4. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I would be VERY interested in the fashion leaflet for the diagonal zipped jacket.

  5. The diagonal zipped jacket will be a little time in the making - but it will be made available as a Fashion Leaflet. Currently I'm working on the SFD Master Collar Collection and updated Fifth Edition Dress Kit Instruction Book. Expect information on these items within 4 - 6 weeks.

  6. Have no interest in going to NY, but enjoyed looking at your pics and hearing about your trip. I wouldn't know where to start at Mood either. Looks like you'd have to be Hercules to move everything out of the way. Fabric is HEAVY!
    Hugs, Joy

  7. Thoroughly enjoyed your travel notes. I too think it might be sensory overload for me. Taking specific projects to shop for is a great idea. Love the diagonal zippered jacket idea. Will put NYC Fashion district on my bucket list.