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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Feeding A Fabric Addiction, Garment District Style

I have a few weaknesses.
(Stop laughing, Howard.)
Among them:  fresh blank notebooks, good pens, yarn,
china, books, other people's old furniture, and . . . fabric.
(I left out chocolate, and onion dip.
Umm... not together. Unless there are anchovies.)

Having a daughter whose livelihood involves fabric means that I sometimes get a fascinating glimpse into her world -- a world of narrow, packed fabric shops and specialty stores that feed the fashion and costume industry in New York City, and beyond.

Below, Anne, in her natural habitat, in a fabric shop on West 39th Street in Manhattan's Garment District.
Not all the shops are this overwhelming.  Some are more so.  And some are more spare.

Anne lives and works in Washington, DC, now.
A benighted city without a garment or fabric district.

(You have to watch where you walk; fabrics at your feet!)
Can you spot Anne?
(And more material overhead.)

(With walls and walls lined with bolts of endless color and texture.)

Good fabric stores are like crack to me; I want ALL the fabrics.
I want to bring them home with me and gaze upon them.  So much potential.

Anne is a theatrical costume designer, and after two post-grad-school years
of freelance designing in and around NYC,
recently accepted a full-time job as a costume designer and teacher in DC.

Currently designing and building costumes for a production of Moliere,
meaning 1660s clothing, she could not find all of the fabric she needed locally.
So Columbus Day weekend, she Amtrak'd it home to Jersey, and her familiar city fabric shops.

(Need buttons? Some shops have aisles and aisles of them.)

On hearing of her plans . . . "Please, may I come with you?"
And I did.  And it was glorious and such fun!
5 days later, I am still basking in the glow of whole blocks of specialty shops.

(Got trim?)

(Need a little bling?)

Anne found the specialty fabrics she wanted, as she knew she would.
New York City always comes through; you can find anything.

The little specialty shops have not changed much in generations.  The names of the owners have changed, but the shops are still catering to a niche clientele that knows what it wants.

You may be offered a better price to seal a deal,
it is wise to be an informed consumer,
and ... something that I find charming ...   receipts are still written out by hand.

Okay, once more . . . Where's Waldo?  Oops, I mean Annie!

And, no, we did not go to Mood.  

But W.38th, W.39th, W.40th Streets, and 7th Avenue?  Oh yeah.  Oh yeah ....
I even got a bag full of $1 and $3 necklaces at a place on 7th.  
Cheaper than Goodwill.  :-)

Bonus:  It was lovely having Anne back home for a few days.
And, she made gluten-free, grain-free pizza for dinner on Sunday.
Yum.  I do miss that child's cooking!

I hope your Thursday isn't as wet and blustery as ours!  -- Cass

And now, a Linky Party!
Treasure Hunt Thursday
It's Treasure Hunt Thursday, at From My Front Porch To Yours.
Click here, my pretties!


  1. Oh what fun. I cannot go to places like that..... I have found fabric while packing that I have no recollection of buying....Glad you had such a wonderful time.


  2. Cass- Oh-what fun. There is nothing in the world that starts my heart pounding like being turned loose in a fabric shop. I love the ones that are stuffed to the rafters because you never know WHAT you will find.

    I have done costuming on a much lesser level here in our local theaters. SO much fun and we head to Milwaukee when we needed specialty fabrics. We have a warehouse FULL of costumes that we use and/or rent out.

    Have a wonderful day and I am glad you got to enjoy your girl for a few days. xo Diana

  3. I, too, have done a little costuming in my life ;>)
    but nothing on such an ambitious scale.
    Your daughter sounds like a delight to know,
    and I wish I did.

  4. Sounds like you had an enjoyable shopping trip with your daughter. Post some pics of the necklaces you got at such a bargain.
    I have to admit I would probably get claustrophobic in some of those shops with all that fabric and narrow isles. LOL

  5. OMG, I would have gone crazy. Your daughters job sounds terrific and what fun. To be working doing something that you really love. I am a fabric hoarder also. I finally had to start giving away a lot of it because it was everywhere - in closets, under beds, in the garage. My friend lives across the street and she makes lap quilts for cancer patients in wheel chairs, children and for the VETS all in wheel chairs - so I gave her lots and lots of fabric. So at least it went to a good cause. Shame on me still have lots. Would love to see the necklaces and fabric you bought. So glad that you were able to spend time with your daughter.
    Have a fun weekend.

  6. I can imagine that would be heaven to one that sews...unfortunately, that doesn't include me. I could have fun just looking at beautiful fabric, though. I would like to find a place like that, that just has dishes!
    Have a wonderful weekend, Cass!

  7. I would be in HEAVEN!
    I bet the two of you had a great time.

    M : )


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