I’ve been a little off the blogging map lately, but it’s for good reason! I spent a week in NYC visiting with friends, then had a good friend visiting here in SF for a week and my honeymoon trip to Borneo is imminent!!! Sometimes too busy to sew is a good thing.
One thing I really wanted to do in NYC, which has become one of my favorite (LOL, the first time I wrote this I typed “fabric” instead of “favorite”) ways to explore a new place, was to explore the fabric shops! One of the friends I was visiting in NYC was my Maid of Honor from my wedding. She and I met at a “Women Who Like Beer” meetup when she was living in San Francisco, we immediately bonded over our shared love of beer and crafts and she eventually became my room mate before she moved back to New York and I moved in with my husband. Who better to accompany me on my fabric shopping tour of NYC???
We actually started the day in Soho because that’s where my hotel was. And what else do you do in Soho but check out Purl Soho on Broome St? I’ve pinned many a lovely project from their blog (including this quilt that I’ve been dying to make forever but never seem to get around to) so I was really excited to check out their store.
Their store was exactly what you’d expect from their blog. Full of soft neutrals punctuated with electric yellow and neon pink. Soft knit sweaters and scarves that you want to gather into a huge pile and snuggle. The shop has such a clear identity and shows off their inviting folksy, modern country style. If you’re a fan of Liberty fabrics, I think this is one of the few places to find them in the US. They’re expensive, but you save yourself the huge shipping fees from the UK.
Sandy giving into the Liberty temptation
After touching pretty much every skein of yarn I settled on a super soft and snuggly but surprisingly neutral (compared to my usual choices) yarn. My friend bought a pre-cut half yard of Liberty fabric that she plans to use to make coffee cup cozies for her and her friends. Isn’t she the sweetest?
The decidedly UN-informative Information Booth in the Garment District.
Next we headed to the Garment District. Onward and upward!
A few weeks ago I sent out a request for fabric shopping hints in NYC and got great advice from Oona and Ginger (thanks ladies!!). I had a great time in NYC and especially loved my afternoon spent in the Garment District gawking at beautiful fabrics! I even made a route map with a few intended stops (because that’s the kind of go-with-the-flow lady I am)!
I started at Rosen and Chaddick Fabrics and was quickly overwhelmed by their huge stock of suiting fabrics. I spent most of my time there petting a $300/yd bolt of cashmere blend, but didn’t find anything that really captured my imagination.
Next I hit up Steinlauf & Stoller, thanks to Ginger’s suggestion, to check out what a store full of old school tailoring supplies looks like. I don’t do enough tailoring to have much use for many of the things but I could appreciate what a fantastic supply they had. For those of you that are into lingerie sewing they had the largest selection of bra bits that I’ve ever seen!
Our final stop, as it turned out, was Chic Fabrics. This store is paaaaaaaaaaaaaaacked. And the dude who runs it is kinda on you the whole time, but he seems to know exactly what he’s got packed in there. Two or three people came in while we were browsing and asked if they had this or that fabric and the dude would immediately reply “Nope” or “Yup, over there”. I ended up buying a surprisingly tame fabric as a souvenir – 2.5 yd of a soft wool blend grey suiting. I’ve had it in my head for a while that I’d like to try a pair of trousers and now I have the perfect fabric at a nice price.
My very responsible and restrained purchases in NYC
I had really wanted to check out H&M fabrics, on Oona’s suggestion, but a funny thing happened on the way to the fabric store…. Random fact about San Francisco: they just don’t do Irish Pubs properly here. I spent my grad school days in Halifax, Nova Scotia and spent a significant number of my evenings in the pubs around town. I miss my Irish pubs! Oh, there’s a few here and there in SF, and the best are in the Richmond District, but I haven’t found one that’s exactly right. Long story short, Sandy and I found an Irish pub with a happy hour and that was the end of our fabric shopping!
In fact, it was somewhere around beer number three or four that inspiration suddenly struck! “We must go dance on a light-up disco floor!!!”
Ok, this decision requires a bit of back story. I have a bucket list with items ranging from relatively easy to knock off (like “Eat Turducken”, or “Ride in a limo sippin’ on gin and juice”) to more exotic things (like “Hike the Inca Trail”, or “See the Northern Lights”). One of the items that you’d think would be easy to cross off was “Dance on a light up disco floor” (like the one in Saturday Night Fever). These disco floors are surprisingly hard to find! Sandy, being the good friend she is remembered that the Culture Club, not too far from the Garment District, has a disco floor. Suddenly fabric shopping had been bumped down the priority list!
Bucket List Item: Dance on a light up disco floor……CHECK!!!!
What a fun way to wrap up an awesome day of my favorite things – friends, crafts and beer!
Turns out my friend’s office is just a couple blocks from Bryant Park, so the next day after work we wandered by to check it out. Apparently, when it’s not busy hosting Fashion Week, Bryant Park is a pretty cute and functional little space! There was a cafe to grab a drink, a carousel for the kiddos and, my favorite part, tables set out with free board games to play!! Sandy and I sat down and played Guess Who? for an hour or so while waiting for the rest of our gang to finish up with their work tasks.
I find it hilarious that after FIVE full days in Manhattan, these are all the pictures that I took!! Not a single one of me with my husband or my other friend that I stayed with for the last few days of my trip. Nope, just fabric shopping and board games! Well, that’s not quite true. I also have one phone picture of a dinosaur and a picture of deep fried pickles (because I love them and they don’t seem to be a “thing” in California). Oh what the heck, might as well share those photos too!
Yay New York! Can’t wait to see you again and to finish up my fabric store hit list!!