Category Archives: Fabric stash

Fabric shopping in NYC

NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping

I’ve just got back from a wonderful week in New York. We stayed in Brooklyn and made the trip over to Manhattan a couple of times for shopping and eating. I confess, a large part of my wanting to visit NYC was for the fabric shops, and the Garment District sure did not disappoint.

NYC fabric shopping

Of course, top of everyone’s dream fabric shop wishlist must be a visit to the famous Mood. On the walk there, my anticipation rose as I spotted all the Project Runway landmarks along the way: there’s the Atlas Apartments! The Refinery Hotel! Lord & Taylor of Accessory Wall fame! Squeeeeee.

NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping

Mood is huuuge and absolutely packed to the rafters as you can see! I found it particularly strong in knits, wools, coatings and print jerseys. Mmm, my favourites.

NYC fabric shopping

I even spotted Swatch the pooch waddling about, but sadly no Tim Gunn to be seen.

NYC fabric shopping

Here I am outside it with my haul, looking appropriately fabric-dazed. It took us two walks around the block to find it in the first place: surprisingly it’s not marked at all at street level, but look up and you see the window signs as it’s on the third floor. We actually visited twice during our stay – I got a bit overwhelmed on the first trip, took a day to digest all that I saw then went back for round two. (Don’t worry, patient boyfriend got to visit lots of beer shops to make up for it.)

NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping

After Mood we visited nearby B&J Fabrics, which isn’t quite as overwhelming but still has a great range of fabrics, from pricey premium coatings to nice denims and cotton prints. (Kicking myself a bit for not buying some of that adorable anchor chambray, wah.)

NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping

Also in the garment district we visited M&J Trimmings, an absolute heaven of notions with a ridiculously comprehensive range of buttons, buckles (should have waited to finish my coat!), cords, lace, bindings, ribbons and also a great range of helpful tools and trinkets.

NYC fabric shopping
NYC fabric shopping

Finally further downtown, Purl Soho is a little jewelbox of a store with a very good range of fabrics in addition to the knitting yarns it’s famed for. Lots of Japanese linens, pretty cotton prints, Liberty fabrics and also a few specialty coatings and denims.

NYC fabric shopping

I missed out of loads more, including Spandex House, but budget and suitcase-space constraints meant I was pretty much spent after all of those.

NYC fabric shopping

So what was in my haul? I went a little overboard, but I think I basically have everything I need to sew up a capsule winter wardrobe so I’m feeling good about my investments. From Mood: a beautiful sea-blue Marc Jacobs denim and black flecked wool tweed, which will become a shirt dress and slacks respectively. Plus a lovely slubby reversible jersey knit for a raglan sweater. They photograph boringly but trust me, they are all just gorgeous IRL.

NYC fabric shopping

From my second Mood trip: Blue and grey feather-print jersey for a dress, and Oscar de la Renta silk crepe for a blouse. These were all $14-18 a yard.

NYC fabric shopping

From M&J: super sweet little pewter anchor buttons and a cute toggle (for coat #2?), and some Stitch Witchery tape.

NYC fabric shopping

From Purl, a nice yarn-dyed Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer, much cheaper than in the UK at $10/yd. Can’t decide if this should be a shirt or skirt – another Kelly maybe as my first one doesn’t fit great anymore. I also picked up Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing at 40% off, which is a fantastic read even though vintage style isn’t really my thing. Phew! Better get sewing.

Rolls and Rems, Holloway

Huge thanks go to Emilie for introducing me to this awesome fabric shop in my North London neck of the woods. Rolls and Rems, located at the Holloway end of Seven Sisters Road, may not look like much from the outside but it’s a real little treasure trove inside.

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I was immediately drawn, as always, to the huge remnants bin inside the door. This ain’t no straggly bolt ends kinda bin: there were some serious hunks of yardage to be had in here for much less than the per-metre price. More about the fruits of my rummaging later…

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Along the left wall are loads of cotton prints and solids, including some voiles and sateens ideal for dressmaking. By the till in the middle is an expansive range of zips, buttons, bias bindings, threads and accessories. Persevere to the back for the jersey section: there’s every solid colour you could want plus some cute stripe and polkadot prints, and even a good range of ponte and sweatshirt knits. The prices are fabulous: most tags I glanced at across the store were in the £6/m region and zips start at just 40p.

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So what did I come away with? I’m a little ashamed to say it was all from the remnants bin but I’m delighted with my finds. Firstly a small piece of printed viscose which for 50p I couldn’t resist. I think there’s enough for a little tee/blouse. In the middle, a fabulous Aztec-style heavy jacquard knit: three metres for £4.99. The print reminds me of a favourite Topshop dress and I think it will make a great autumnal frock, possibly an Elisalex. Finally a massive piece of dark grey-marl ponte knit very similar – if not the same – as the one I made my Victoria from. This five metre piece was priced at just £7.99 – I paid £10.99/m for my first lot! I have grand jacket-shaped plans for this stuff. I also grabbed some zips and thread, the grand total coming to just 15 quid.

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(See that grey and turquoise ikat print, 4th up on the top right shelf? Got my eye on that for next time.)

Rolls and Rems will definitely become my go-to fabric shop now before hitting the Internet! Visit their website here (opening hours can be found here) and find the shop at 21 Seven Sisters Road. Take your rummaging elbows and strong arms to haul your loot home.