Monday, June 15, 2009

Stashoholism Confessional: Garment District Edition

Cidell and I spent alllll day Friday loading up on fabrics in the Garment District. I pulled in quite a haul. But first, a thank you to Myra for some fantastic vintage patterns!

Vintage Patterns from Myra

She won my vintage children's patterns giveaway. When she received the package, she said she had some adult vintage patterns in my size and asked if I would want them. Yes, please! They are so cute. I especially love the 1940s shirtdress on the right side of the middle row. It is just sensational. I looked for the perfect fabric for it while I was in NYC, but alas didn't find anything quite right. I will be keeping my eye out for cotton prints until I succeed.


I am often asked by non-sewists whether I choose a project and then buy fabric for it, or if I find fabric and then figure out a project to use it in. Sewists rarely ask this question because I think for most of us it is a combination. I am more on the "buy fabric first, ask questions later" side; I'd say at least 80% of fabric I buy because I like it, and only 20% for planned projects (if that much). But given the size of my stash, I do have a guideline ("rule" is too strong a word) that I need to be able to envision a project for the fabric before I can buy it. I don't necessarily have to stick with that project in the end, but it least has to conceptually fit into my sewing style and wardrobe.

We first headed to Paron, but we hadn't yet had breakfast and it was past 11 so we didn't buy anything yet. I do not make smart decisions when my brain has inadequate fuel.

Hanging Out in the Garment DistrictInstead we met up with Elizabeth of eword10 for lunch at Garment District Chinese restaurant Ginger's. The decor is nice and their plates are gorgeous. I do not recommend the Shanghai Tofu.

Fortified, we were ready to do our shopping. First stop, Metro Textile, aka Kashi. He recognized me immediately as we were coming down the hall and remembered that the last time I was in New York it was for the Mermaid Parade. I was impressed! Clearly all that flattery swooned me into buying way too much fabric:

Metro Textiles 6-09

One of the few things that was actually on my list was red silk dupioni for another obi. This was the right color. Unfortunately, the minimum cut at Kashi's is one yard and I really only needed 1/4 yard. In the end, I decided it would be easier to get a full yard there than traipse around everywhere looking for the thing that was right in front of my face, so I will have plenty leftover for another project.

I am not a fan of sheers, but the yellow silk chiffon was so pretty I had to have it. The color is gorgeous and the quality is just amazing. It has the most incredible sheen. Kashi said it is Thai.

The purple knit print is to make a project for my mom, as purple is her favorite color. It wasn't until I got home that I realized it is almost identical to the fabric for my bubble sleeve dress. At least my taste is consistent. The blue is my color and my style (very similar to my pink empire waist dress) so I figured I needed it in stash.

The seersucker was actually on my list, and I am always wishing for swiss dot.


Next stop, Spandex House.

Spandex House 6-09

Cidell loves Spandex House but they just don't do much for me. Although they have hundreds of bolts of solid jersey, there are never any colors I like. There are lots of pinks, some blues but few in the turquoise family, pretty much no greens, and no yellows or oranges. It's amazing that the colors are so limited given the size of the inventory!

I was still bummed about missing out on the avocado bamboo jersey from Fabric Mart and hoped to find a replacement, but given their total lack of greens there was no chance. But then on the way out, we stopped downstairs to look at the prints by the stairs (the prints in the front of the store are an absolute horror, to my mind) and the print on the right jumped out at me. It has avocado in it, and I love the abstract style. I didn't think I wanted a print for Butterick 5130, but I think this will work.

The gingham is from the new room off to the right of the entrance and will be the CUTEST vintage style swimsuit ever.


From here, we were off to some trim stores.

Assorted Notions

The jewels are cheap quality, but also cheap price from Itrim, on LindsayT's recommendation after she got some for a top for her daughter. The black ones came in a bag of about 20 and were $3; the sparkly copperish ones were $6. The clear bra straps are also from there--$1.50/pair. I have sloping shoulders and wear a racerback bra whenever possible to avoid the annoyance of straps falling down. When I *have* to wear a bra with regular wide-set straps, I use clear straps because they stick in place. They are $6 from Joann ($3.60 with 40% off coupon). $1.50 per pair is a STEAL *and* they are better quality. The buckle was $2; assuming I can find some grosgrain ribbon I like someday it will be for a ribbon belt like Cidell's. The store also had lots of feathers for millinery.

From SIL Thread came the fold-over elastic ($2/yd) and the bias tape maker ($7). I've always made bias tape freehand without too much trouble, but the tape maker was so cute I impulsively threw it in. There was no price marked on it; had I known it was $7 I might not have gotten it. Now I need to find a project that uses bias tape.

The chalks are from Greenberg & Hammer. I got several colors when I was there at PR Weekend 2007. The white I have disappears under an iron which is AWESOME (though sometimes I forget and then have to re-mark everything), while my colors do not. I asked if they had any colors that disappear under the iron. Apparently, you have to choose wax for that and I guess the ones I have are clay. I haven't yet tested to see what happens, but if the colors do disappear under the iron I will be so pleased.

And finally, the trim! It is from Pacific Trimmings. At $9/yd the price is much higher than I would usually spend. Normally I can live without things that ar $9/yd. But having just bought my swiss dot (and how much do you love the selvage of it?) I really HAD to have it. See how RTW I am? Check out the Kaylee top by Cynthia Steffe at for a somewhat similar look with trim.

Swiss Dot and Rose TrimCynthia Steffe Kaylee Top

I am considering McCall 5708. I am picturing it with my thin black patent leather belt and my white pencil skirt and thinking it is very sexy secretary.


We were pretty beat by this point, but I wanted to go back to Paron and pick up the fabrics I had chosen when I we did our preview.

Paron 6-09

Obviously, I was in a green mood. The green silk/cotton twill is the only fabric that breaks my rule of "at least have a vague project idea to justify the purchase." I only bought two yards given the price and my lack of vision, and it is only 45" wide. I was thinking a pencil skirt and possibly a shrug. I know it's perfect for a jacket (the weight is fairly heavy) but I just don't like making jackets.

Dye Test SwatchThe lighting in Paron is far from natural so I wasn't sure how the yellow embroidered fabric would look on me. When I got it home I saw it was just way too pale. I tested a swatch in a "dye" bath of turmeric. Though the slight contrast tone of the embroidery was lost, I vastly preferred the brighter color so yesterday during my pre-treat mode I dyed the whole piece deeper yellow.

I also got the charcoal gray cotton I needed for my kimono dress from a little store near Paron for $5/yd, but I could not get an interesting picture of it and didn't want to be too boring (too late!, given the length of this post).


Are you tired yet? We were! All we had strength for was an ice cream appetizer at Baskin Robbins (we could not find a local ice cream shop!), dinner at Cookshop, and cupcakes from Billy's Bakery for dessert.


Little Hunting Creek said...

For your dotted swiss and roses( I covet those roses!) did you consider McCalls 5851? It would be perfect

wendy said...

that looks like too much fun :-)

There is kind of a dearth of ice cream directly around the garment district area... if you head up near the Met there's a sant ambroeus at 1000 Madison. Down in the West Village/Soho area, there are tons (including another sant ambroeus at West 4th and Perry). Grom (Carmine and Bleecker) is easily the best gelato in NYC. (It's also very close to Murray's Cheese Shop on Bleecker.) There's the van leeuwen ice cream truck- have to check their website, but they are usually around the area on hot days.

Myra said...

Yeah, what a fun day. We have nothing like that anywhere near to here. In Houston, the best was High Fashion, which I will try to visit next time I go in.

BConky said...

I hope to visit the garment district someday. Sounds like a very fun day. You got some beautiful pieces. Can't wait to see them made up.

Anne L said...

Ah, maaaan, I wanna go too. Keep it comming. :-)

Trudy Callan said...

Wowza! Great fabrics for such great prices. I wanna go! Can't wait to see what do with these.

Amy said...


Marita said...

Great stuff, I especially love those that you bougt from Parons, the rosetrim...oh! and the silks and the swiss dot from Metro, lovely stuff!!! and you really should be happy with those prices:-)

narcissaqtpie said...

Wow! Looks scrumptious!!! I need to get to NY.

Christina said...

Nice haul! I have never been fabric shopping in NY. I dream of the day I can visit Metro Textiles. I bought some of that swiss dot from Ann a while back, it's one of my favorite blouses now. That flower trim is perfect - very RTW!

Meg said...

Ya done good, girl.

Lori said...

Wow, what great fabrics, trims and notions you bought. How fun.

cidell said...

How can my aunt say I bought a lot when you compare?!?! You did far better than me. Much better vision :) said...

Love it! And the prices are fairly phenomenal!

One day I will visit NYC and I will shop the garment district. (And I will bring a separate suitcase just for my fabric haul.) One day.

Carol said...

I love all those shades of green, but I especially love the geo print from Spandex House. I want some of that. I told Cidell that I need to move to your side of the world because I miss out on all the fun.

Vicki said...

Ooh, nice goodies :)

Cennetta said...

What a great haul.

Claire S. said...

Wow ! Nice pieces ! I really, really wanna shop the garment district in NYC

Dana said...

What fun day! I can totally see you in that dotted swiss & trim. My faves are your picks from Paron's. Can't wait to see what you whip up!

Laura Lee said...

What a haul!!! Now you need to bring some of those fabrics to the DC Threads Sewing Lounge! Hope to see you back soon!

Uta said...

Wow, that sounds so much fun. Can you believe I didn't see a single fabric shop when DH and I went to New York City in 2000? That's not going to happen again! I love the greens you chose from Paron's - they're going to look great with your red hair!

Anonymous said...

It was awesome meeting you and Cidell last week. I feel like I met sewing royalty! ;) My faves of your purchases are the print from Spandex house and the trim you picked up from Pacific Trimmings. I wish I'd gone to that store with you too! You should plan to come up to NYC more often. Fabric shopping is much more fun with other sewing buddies.

Sherril said...

Thank you for sharing your shopping trip. It brought back wonderful memories of my trip in March. I'd better get on the ball and sew it up. I've only made one piece into a garment. I can't wait to see what you do with your haul.

LaKaribane said...

I think I need to go to NYC soon or sooner, LOL!

Of the Metro fabrics, I'm in love with the purple knit, the seersucker (in my Top 5 favorite fabrics) and the Swiss Dot. Too delicious.

Love both of the Spandex House knits.

Am now ADDICTED to my bias tape maker. I think 1/2" is the standard one, no?

And, while I'm not big on green, I think both the Paron Silks are TDF!!!

Oh, and I had a link for you but hurricane weather + internet make it impossible to go online so I'll send it later. It's a bit of one-should inspiration...

Shelley's Garden said...

Fun to read yours and Cidell's account of your great weekend. I enjoy seersucker -- wrinkle resistant summer wear. Do like your choice of the roses with the dots. Roses were worth the $9!

LaKaribane said...

Ok, had harsh words with my dial-up, to no avail.

So I'm posting this from work (I think the IT guy must be home sick or something).

Check it out:

I looked at the other stuff and there's a rose garland dress on there too. So you are on trend!

Not that I had any doubt...

Nancy K said...

Great fabric haul! I love all the greens and I saw that trim at Pacific the other day and thought it looked fabulous and a lot easier than making your own roses!