Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stashoholism Confessional: NYC Garment District

PS Fabrics 11-2013

I had a brief trip to New York for work November 14-15 and managed to sneak in a little bit of fabric shopping.  My poor shelves!

I found P&S Fabrics in Chinatown through a random Yelp search a few weeks before my trip and became obsessed with going there.  My train arrived at 4:45 and P&S is open until 7 and I thought I could just squeak in a visit.  There was so much traffic the cab took forever to get to my hotel (I had a suitcase and didn't feel like hauling it up and down the subway stairs).  But I thought I could still do it.

I took the subway to Canal St.  I found where the address should be.  But it wasn't there.  The street number was skipped.  After *much* puzzlement I realized I was on W Broadway rather than Broadway.  I figured if I walked long enough I would finish with the west part and get to the regular part, as that is how normal streets work.  I walked over a mile and I was still on W Broadway and showed no signs of getting to regular Broadway and at this point it was 6:50 so I had to pack it in.

I think I am finally ready to get a smartphone, because when I looked at a map on my computer back in the room I realized that Broadway and W Broadway run parallel to one another.  Dangit!  A smartphone would have told me that while I could still do something about it.  In the morning I returned.  Their Yelp listing says they open at 9:30 but in fact they opened after 10 and there was a line of people waiting to get in.  Oh, and I realized at that moment I'd forgotten my camera.  Boo!

In the end, the visit was worth it.  They have a great selection of high quality fabrics at reasonable prices.  I feel compelled to note that Kashi's prices at Metro are the same or a little lower for much of the same merchandise, though P&S is about 5 times the size of Metro.  The staff was friendly and efficient.  I picked up the silk to line a coat, and the red wool will be a dress.  They had the sequin appliques by the cutting table and I picked two of them up because, hey, they were $1 each.  I didn't even realize they were mirror image and it is pure luck that they had arranged them alternating on the peg--I just picked up the two top ones.

Paron 11-2013

My next stop was Paron.  They offered a Groupon shortly before my trip, $100 merchandise credit for $40.  I snapped that right up!  The new location doesn't have an annex per se, but there are some fabrics in the back priced at 50% off (you have to check each tag).

When I was there (and I confirmed this with a very quick visit last week) they had a large bin of silks at 50% off--the prices I give on the photo are the prices with the discount included.  I always want silk for lining so I picked up as much as my budget would hold.  I'd never really worked with anyone there, but Mercedes was my cutter and she was a hoot.  She had very strong opinions about what I should buy, a bit like Kashi in that way...  All told, my total came to $106, only $6 over my Groupon, and with the 50% off and my Groupon I paid about $5/yd for these silks.  Yes, you can hate me.

Kashi-Metro Textiles

My last stop was Metro.  Kashi was happy to see me, as usual.  Side story:  the boyfriend's hobby is records and there is a record store he always visits when he's in South Carolina.   He told me that one time he walked in and the proprietor, a guy about our age, was on the phone with someone regretfully saying he wouldn't be able to buy whatever item they were discussing...until the boyfriend walked in; his eyes lit up and he said, "Let me call you back--I may be able to find the money."  Ha!  I think that is how Kashi feels when I come to his store.

Tidied Store-Metro Textiles

Kashi recently recovered from a pretty serious health scare (his arteries were blocked and he had to have surgery to clear them).  In his absence, I think his staff tidied the store, because there was a lot more room to move than usual and it was quite well organized.

Wools-Metro Textiles

Since I clearly can't stop buying fabric, I am trying only to buy high quality fabric that I won't just end up giving away.  It was getting into colder weather and I was naturally drawn to the wools.  Kashi has some great stuff right now.  If you want to make a red coat or jacket he had the perfect red.

Silk-Metro Textiles

He also had a lot of silks, and kept trying to tempt me with this burnout silk, which he has in several colorways (though naturally I was drawn to the olive.  I had just stocked up on silks, though, so I had to resist.

Metro Textils 11-2013

Even leaving the silks behind, I ended up with quite a haul.  Wool knits were high on my list to look for in New York and Kashi had two I liked.  The gray wool sweaterknit is really lovely and super warm.  The rust is a wool jersey and I will make it into Vogue 1329 eventually, when I have the patience to face the extensive alterations I need to make to the pattern (the neck/yoke is too wide, the armscye too low, and the whole thing just too big overall).

I mentioned in my last post that I used up the last of my pant-weight black knit on my LBD, so replacing that fabric was a huge priority.  I found nothing(!) in Spandex House.  Everything they had that was an appropriate weight was incredibly shiny.  Kashi saved the day--this fabric is only a smidge lighter than my last batch and will be a flattering fabric for bottomweights.

I picked up the hot pink double knit because ponte is so great to sew with and I love the color.  On prewashing I realized it is rayon, rather than a rayon/poly blend.  I am interested to see the pilling situation.  Does anyone have any guidance on whether the smooth face or the more textured/weave visible face is likely to pill more?  It will be Vogue 1282 with long sleeves, assuming I have enough (I hope!).

My indulgence was the silk/wool on the left.  It doesn't look like much in the photo but it's a beautiful iced aqua color with incredible sheen.  The fabric is a little stiff so I need to experiment with pre-treated swatches to see if I can loosen it up without decimating the sheen.  It will be a nice sheath dress.

Since I had found P&S through Yelp I figured I should check out Metro's listing to see what people said.  It only has a couple of reviews and it had been categorized into general craft stores.  I fixed the categorization so now it's a fabric store, but there are only a few reviews.  If you Yelp, I'm sure Kashi would appreciate a review.


The cruelty of all this fabulous shopping is that I have had zero time to sew since I got home from that trip, due to the busy social season.  It makes me so sad.  My saving grace for all this buying is that the day I got home I managed to make the gray into a cute sweater to wear to a party that night.

But other than that, I have not completed a single thing.  This has to be the longest I've gone without sewing in years.  I have a top about half constructed that I hope to finish before flying to Texas for the holiday.  I am suffering major withdrawal.


For the sweater I used my TNT tee and the neckline and cowl from Simplicity 4539, which I have made many times before.  The cowl is just a rectangle piece and I think was not the best choice for this moderately thick fabric.  I added more drape by twisting the cowl, as shown here.

I *had* planned to wear this to our office holiday party (nothing fancy--a potluck in a conference room) but then they announced an Ugly Sweater Contest and I was afraid to wear it in case people were like, "Hey, that is an awesomely ugly sweater!  Ha ha ha, it's so hilariously bad!" and I would be like, "Um, I am wearing this sweater in earnest."  More photos of the sweater here.

Should Appliques

And those crazy appliques that I tossed in--apparently I really was drawn to them!  I thought they were the perfect way to dress up an otherwise tasteful gray sweater.  Tasteful is not my thing.  I loosely hand-basted them so they'll be easy to remove and reuse.


eBay Silk Twill 11-2013-1

I had planned for this to be the last of my fabric shopping for the year, but of course that didn't happen.  After using tie silk to line my Tweed Ride jacket I realized how much I love it and how little I have left.  So I went searching for sources and thought I'd check eBay.  This is scarf weight, not tie weight, but could still be used for lining and I love the mod print.  And the price!  I think the seller was a little frustrated that I was the only bidder and got the very low starting price, because it took them about a week to put my package in the mail...

DC Meetup 12-2013

And finally I picked up this knit at the DC PR meetup/swap last weekend, where Nikki kindly took the outdoor photos of my sweater.  I made Vogue 7898, a wrap dress with an asymmetric hem, several years ago.  I like the shape of the dress a lot but the hem is now way out of fashion.  And of course, the pattern doesn't have the option of a straight hem.  And it turned out not to be a simple matter at all to mark a straight hem because the front piece has gathers built in so it is oddly shaped and the grainline isn't perpendicular to the floor so I couldn't use it to judge.  Anyway, I need a striped knit to test whether my marked straight hemline is actually straight and this is perfect.


And is this really really the last fabric buying of 2013?  Well, um no.  I had to get this post in before my Fabric Mart order of merino wools shows up!


Sarah C said...

So jealous of your great finds! That sweater is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

SEWN said...

P&S Fabrics was my go to store in my hood!!! I'm so glad you finally found it. Love that store.

wendy said...

I am drooling over the gray wool sweaterknit & some of those silks. So jealous!

The appliques look really neat on the sweater, too. I have a grey DKNY tshirt that I bought at century 21 that has similar sequin appliques on it, in about the same place. So you're super trendy. ;)

Anonymous said...

Always ready to take confession!!! ;)
Great haul! Can't wait to see your merino wool!


badmomgoodmom said...

Oh, my! I can visualize your groaning shelves.

I've had some visits to the FIDM and odd-jobber stores in LA this year that have caused fabric overflow in my sewing room. I share your pain/excitement.

I also share your withdrawal. According to my notebook/spreadsheet, I didn't sew anything for myself between Aug and Dec!

I broke the dry spell by making this 2 days ago:
and my last project for myself was this same pattern in August:

Notice both used scraps and made hardly a dent in my fabric collection.
I broke the dry spell

LinB said...

Have a merry time in Texas over Christmas! Surely some relative or friend will have a sewing machine you can borrow whilst you are there, and possibly some odd scraps of delight that they'll donate to keep you from going stir-crazy, and to keep you from having to cram your suitcase full of yardage at the expense of actual clothing.

Nancy K said...

Quite a haul there! I need fabric for yoga pants. What is the fiber content and does Kashi know you by name so that I can call and order some?

Emily said...

I love your grey sweater and the sequined embellishments are really lovely for the holidays. I'm a sucker for a drapey cowl neck, and yours is perfect.

Jen L said...

I have been carefully avoiding those tempting merinos on fabricmart. Interesting that you found P&S- it's not an obvious choice. When I work downtown, this is my go-to fabric stop. I find it to be a kind of hit or miss place, but prices are reasonable and its one of the few places in the city that stocks notions.

Little Hunting Creek said...

So pretty- I would have bought all of it too! I love your sweater and the applique. It looks lovely on you.
I've been sewing for other people and I can hardly wait until the holidays are over and I can sew for myself again. I do feel withdrawal pains.

T. Sedai said...

That is some awesome fabric! I am super jealous of all the awesome silks - I never seem to be able to find prints I like when I am looking for them. And the prices are amazing. Oh, and the sweater looks awesome - I really like it with the appliques too.

Barbara at Cat Fur Studio said...

Congratulations on your fabulous haul! I like the grey sweater a lot - the trim looks really great on it, too.

Vicki said...

A very nice haul you have there! Enjoy making lots of fun things :)

Miasews said...

Jealousy! Jealousy! You and I together would be a deadly combination of shoppers....I don't know if you have ever tried Style Arc patterns (no connection with me) but it looks like they would fit you well...there is a thread over on Artisan's Square. And I'm sure on PR. Happy holidays!

June said...

Nice loot! Have fun!!!

The record store story is a hoot. And I get the Broadways angst. When I first moved to Minnesota, I saw that there was a major highway near the Twin Cities called 35E and 35W, except they ran north and south! (A native of the area explained they are called E and W because one goes east of the cities, and the other goes west... Ah, got it.)

Paola said...

Sigh. This post brings back great memories of my day spent in the Garment District in 2012, the highlight of 4 weeks in the US!

Kyle said...

OMG! Kashi!!! We must keep Kashi healthy! I'm so glad to hear he is still kicking!
Looks like you had a great time in NYC.

Kyle said...

p.s. yes, get thyself a smart phone. I finally got myself a low end android, pay as you go, in august 2012. it is so incredibly helpful!

Linda said...

Wow--great fabric haul!!! I have an iPhone but have not tried Yelp, will have to look that up. I understand the sewing withdrawal, experiencing that myself. Hope to change that soon. Enjoy your holiday trip to Texas, I love that state; lived in Corpus Christi for eight years.

Elizabeth Made This said...

Yay for appliques! I love the orange wool jersey--I think it'll be lovely with your coloring.

"I managed to make the gray into a cute sweater to wear to a party that night."... I love that about sweater knits. It's so instant gratification. I know there are people who knit and crochet beautiful things, but I can't get over being able to have a sweater in under 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

I wish you a Merry christmas and thank you for your lovely and inspirating realisations.
Olivia (from France)

catspec said...

What lovely fabrics.....oh my...they are just nice to feel, eh? ;)

Lisette M said...

Did the hate coming over your way knock you over? ;-)
I like the grey sweater and the rest of Kashi' s haul is making me want to get on a bus to NYC!

McVal said...

I'm so jealous of your fabric finds!!! I made pillow cases for a wedding gift and then a dress that my daughter hates. Can wait for things to calm down in January so I can sew for reals!!!
Happy New Year!