Monday, October 20, 2014

New York City Fabric Shopping Guide, A Tourist's Point of View

The first weekend of October I got to take an awesome trip to NYC and shopping the garment district was our main goal. It really is a sewist's dream. Within two blocks there were more fabric stores than I have visited in my lifetime. I did a bit of researching before we went, and learned a lot while we were there, so I thought I'd share.

We stayed on the 37th floor of the ONE UN hotel (which is 38 stories tall) so we had a great view. The hotel felt like it was in a "safe" location, since we didn't really know our way around NYC. But it wasn't super close to a subway stop. So my advice would be to also factor that into your hotel choice. We bought a groupon for the hotel room and saved a lot of $$, but it was kinda a pain since the hotel "didn't receive the reservation from groupon" blah blah blah, eventually we got it straightened out. But the view made us forget about that....

So since we weren't super close to a subway stop, we used Uber quite a bit. if you haven't heard of it, it's a pretty smart idea and the process is super smooth with their App. Plus we each got a free ride when we signed up and another free ride for referring each other, so lots of free rides! And then we walked A LOT (wear comfy shoes).

On to the best part: Fabric stores. If you can, plan your trip to include a weekday, like a Friday or Monday because a few stores (including one of my favorites) are only open weekdays. Also take into consideration if your trip will be around a holiday. Think about other religious holidays as well, as some small family-owned shops may be closed. Here is my list of my favorite shops in order with all the pertinent details...

Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Closed Sundays
Address: 225 W 37th St, you will see the Mood Home Decor store from the street, for apparel fabrics go into the lobby to the right of the Mood Home Decor store, and take the elevator to the 3rd floor for Mood. 
Tips: Give yourself plenty of time! This store is HUGE. 3 stories, you'll want to look at and touch everything, excellent selection of knits on the bottom floor. Zippers for $1! Less crowded early in the day. Prices range, but everything was pretty well labeled. I can't imagine only having a very short amount of time to shop at Mood  (like the Project Runway contestants). I needed several hours, if not an entire day.

Metro Textiles
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Closed Saturdays & Sundays
Address: 265 West 37th. (between 7th & 8th Avenues) Suite 908. This one is a HIDDEN GEM! Go into the lobby area of 265 West 37th and take the elevator to the 9th floor. Then walk down the hallway toward the back til you get to Suite 908. It's basically just a long room full of bolts and bolts of fabric.
Tips: The owner Mr. Kashi is one of the Nicest people we met in NYC. Seriously. Awesome. Make friends with him because he's the best. It's a tight space and prices are not marked, so I was a little skeptical at first. But Mr. Kashi will happily tell you any prices, just ask him. And he gave us Excellent prices. Great quality and diverse selection. He also knows his stuff, so he was able to find fabrics when we told him what we were looking for and also pulled out some great silks that I might not have seen. This came close to being my favorite shop, but Mood edged it out simply because Mood is 3 stories. But seriously, make sure to plan for a weekday so you can visit Metro, although Mr. Kashi mentioned to call him to see if he'll be in on a weekend if you want to shop.

Hours: Mon-Thurs 8:30am-7pm, Fri 8:30am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm
Address: 257 W 39th St
Tips: Paron had some of the best prices. I think it was the only place that had a sale section. I scored several fabrics that were marked 50% off, so I was pretty excited about that since I shop on a budget.

Hours: M-Fri 8am-5:45pm, Sat 9am-4:45pm, Closed Sun
Address: 525 7th Avenue (near corner of 38th street, by the Starbucks) Go into the lobby and up the stairs and then there's an elevator to B&J 
Tips: B&J has some fancy fabric, so if nothing else, go there to look. If you have something very specific in mind, you'll probably be able to find it there. They have superb quality stuff and so it's priced accordingly. They also have a large selection of Liberty fabrics for all you Liberty fans. I just drooled at all the lovely fabrics (but not literally because I would've gotten in trouble.) There was a gorgeous floral fabric that I picked out for... $210 a yard. It cost as much as my plane ticket. Very fancy. No, I didn't buy it... I wish!

If you wander around the blocks where those fabric stores are, you will come across a million more: Chic Fabrics, Fabrics Garden, AK Fabric, M&J Trimmings... I can't even remember all the names! There were also quite a few shops that would be perfect if you were looking for sparkly sequins and fluffy feathers, perfect for your super sweet sixteen birthday dress or your next ice dancing costume...

But seriously, the selection at most of these fabric stores was amazing and I came home with a great haul:

The top three are silks and the rest are various knits. Super excited about these! I'm having a hard time deciding where to start. Idea overload.

Oh and one last highlight of the trip: meeting the adorable and famous Swatch


  1. Oh my goodness! I would love to visit there!!

    1. You should definitely make a trip sometime! And there's also wonderful shopping and food...

  2. I went to NYC in 2012 and spent a day fabric shopping. I found Mood seriously overwhelming to the point where I couldn't see the wood for the trees as it were. I only bought one thing there. On the other hand I bought a heap more at Parons. Much smaller but plenty of grist for the sewing mill. One day, I hope to return... (dreaming)

    1. Hope you make it back to NYC! I want to go again next year if plane tickets are still affordable... I agree, mood was a bit overwhelming, but we had a lot of time, so I walked down every aisle, touching everything and making a little mental list of my favorites that were within my budget... Then I only bought a few fabrics that I really loved and that I thought were unique or special.

  3. Looks like you had a great time! I am surprised you only came home with that small pile ;) I have only made it to Mood, but I will add the others to my list, so thanks for the info!

    1. Oh if my suitcase and budget would've allowed, I would've come home with sooo much more fabric! But I'm a pretty slow sewer so these will last me awhile :)

  4. We were just in New York. The only shop I made it to was Metro. I have one of the same silks you do. Fun stuff. g

    1. Yay fabric buddies! Can't wait to see what you make! I was thinking some sort of top but not sure... How did you like metro?


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