Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fabric Shopping in NYC

So I was in New York over the weekend for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade (of which more later, but you can get a sneak peek at the pics if you're dying to see). This of course meant fabric shopping!

I took the Chinatown bus for the first time, about which I was oddly nervous. I don't know why. But I bought my ticket in advance beforehand and showed up on time and gained admittance and rode the wheels on the bus going round and round for a long long time and then arrived near Penn Station. Two hours later than scheduled, leaving me only a short time in the garment district.

I started with Kashi at Metro Textiles. First, a word on that. You may want to cover your ears and say la la la. But I have to say, it's not my favorite fabric shopping experience. Yes, he has an uncanny ability if you describe a fabric to magically produce it in the manner of pulling a rabbit out of a hat. That's a skill not to be undervalued. But then he goes on to the hard sell. I do not like and do not respond to the hard sell as a matter of principal, because I don't want to encourage that behavior. If you show me something and insist that I buy it, even if I want it very much I won't buy it. He kept pulling out fabrics I didn't like and insisted they were perfect for me. I don't wear navy blue, or brown (except for my recent shirtdress, which I like very much), or purple made of too-wide stripes of various laces and fabrics. I am very particular about what I wear and that's how it is. When I rejected the third or so fabric he brought to me, he asked in exasperation, "But what do you wear?" I said a lot of pink and blue. He scoffed and said I was wearing the wrong colors for me. As much as I don't respond to the hard sell, I definitely do not respond to insults of my personal style. Insult my hairstyle, my (highly insultable) housekeeping, my legal profession...but don't *even* talk about my clothes. I also think his prices, while good, are not all that. He has some GREAT bargains, like the $4 shirting, but I know I could have gotten a better price on the silk charmeuse ($8).

OK, rant over, you can uncover your ears. And now that the rant is over I can rave about the wonderful fabrics I did get. I hereby Flash My Metro Pass.

Clockwise from left: a sand/taupe silk charmeuse (which is exactly what I said to him and he pulled it out before I was even done speaking) to make a skirt out of some silk scarves inherited from my beloved grandmother, a red swiss dot for a shirtdress with wide pleats/tucks, a blue and white striped shirting with a little silver line running through for a Patrones blouse with giant sleeves (the aforementioned $4/yd bargain), a cotton batiste (so soft!) to line the swiss dot (it's white, the lighting is just bad), and a beautiful wide white crochet trim because it was only $1/yd. Now that was a bargain. Total damage: $60. And not only did I get some great fabric, I got to meet some PR folks who also happened to be there! It was Mardel, who has a fun picture on her blog of us in the store, Carolyn, Diane E., and their friend Joanna. It was so fun to have other people to fabric shop with!



Next I was off to Paron. Their annex is a treasure trove of excellent fabric at excellent prices. I was trying to be selective so I ended up only with this gorgeous wool suiting (only 1 1/2 yards left, unfortunately) and some rayon/acetate lining for it. Even at half price, the suiting was $11/yd, but a really excellent quality. Total was only $20.




I stopped into Daytona to get some a trim for Cidell, of which I did not take a picture before sending it off but you will see it on one of her projects eventually.

My last stop was at a store going out of business. It appeared to actually be going out of business, rather than having a big sale called a going out of business sale. It was already picked over, but there was plenty of good stuff left. I restrained myself to 3 yards of the seersucker (which he said was $3/yd), 4 yards of the stretch cotton print (sign said $2.50/yd), and 3 yards of this wacky satin/matte ice blue thin fabric that is probably something for curtains for $1/yd. However, when I got to the register my total was...$10. The cutting guy seemed to like me, but no wonder they're going out of business! 10 yards of fabric for $10. I wish I had gotten more. And of course I can't tell you where it is or what it was called because I paid in cash (so no checking my credit card statement) and lost the receipt. I'm very sorry about that. It's somewhere in the garment district. It's the one with the fabric. There's a sign outside that says Going Out of Business and Silk for $1/yd (which for the record was a hideous upholstery looking fabric).

Very satisfying, though I am getting nervous about fabric actually taking over my house. It could happen. I live on the third floor, too. I wonder how much fabric my place can hold before the floor falls in on my neighbors. At least there will be plenty of cushion when I fall.

11 comments:

Sew4Fun said...

I'm loving your blog! I am such a perfectionist, reading about your slapdash methods is very refreshing. Maybe some of it will rub off on me. :)

Hannah said...

My boyfriend has banned me from more fabric, he says when ones enough clothes to not *need* to wash clothes for weeks at a time it's too much ... so now I just hide it (heh)

Looks like you got some great bargins, I hate pushy sales people too and have the same reaction.

Janimé said...

I don't much care for the hard sale either. I shut down and just say "no" if I feel I'm being pushed to hard.

That said, if I ever make it to NYC, you know I'll have to stop at MT. The potentials are just to great not to :)

Gigi said...

Gosh, I've been buying fabric from Kashi for years and have never found him to be pushy. In fact, he's so in tune with what I like/what looks good on me that I routinely buy from him over the telephone sight unseen. He really is a darling man, I hope you'll give him another try.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I'll certainly be back to Metro Textile. I think it's just a personality thing with us. Both of us are major Type As (despite my slapdash sewing I am definitely a typical Type A lawyer) and we therefore hate for anyone else to be dominant. He doesn't want someone else to be dominant in his store, and I don't want someone else to be dominant with my money.

cidell said...

I think that you forgot to mail me the red and black print too. Surely that was meant for me.

cidell said...

Now that I've opened my package, I have to say THANKS again. You may keep the red and black print.

Marji said...

cushion when you fall, I love it!
You got some wonderful fabrics. And best thing is, I know you'll turn them into something 3 dimensional in fairly short order ;)

Vicki said...

Thanks goodness Kashi is not perfect.....cos I probably will never get to Metro Textiles and now I don't feel life will be incomplete if I don't...hehe

Julia said...

I had the same reaction to Kashi! I am a bit more susceptible to the hard sell, though, and just end up feeling a little put upon afterwards. However, I love the fabric I got there and I think the prices are very good (where do you get silk charmeuse for less than $8?!) so I will probably go there again before I move away from the NE.

McVal said...

What beautiful mermaids!!
Jealous of your fabric stash...