My friend Paula recently visited New York City and made a trip to the Garment District while she was there. I thought you might like to hear about her visit. So here’s Paula…
I went to New York City with my husband who was on a business trip. We were lucky enough to stay at the historic Waldorf-Astoria. This is the lobby and we were on the 27th floor.
My room had a doorbell, go figure. My doorbell at home doesn’t even work.
Here’s a view from on of the windows.
Here’s a view of Park Avenue from our room. While my husband was in meetings, I explored the city on foot. My main goal was to visit the Garment District for fabric to nuno felt.
My first planned stop was Habu Textiles. I took a cab so I wouldn’t get lost but the cabbie didn’t even know where it was. He dropped me off and told me I would have to ask how to get there but it should be in this block. I could tell I was in a garment district because of this really ugly bridal supply store so I went and asked. After giving the woman the address she said “Oh that’s three blocks south.” I walked down three blocks and a very helpful man showed me where the building was. I had to get into a really old elevator to the second floor and then off to take this escalator to the next floor. The escalator is made out of wood! When I saw the entrance to Habu Textiles, it didn’t even really look like a retail business but I bravely forged ahead.
I opened the door to this feast for the eyes. I ended up on my hands and knees looking through all the baskets at all the various yarns and threads.
And there was more on the walls. Most of the work that Habu produces is for yarns and knitting. They use all natural fibers such silk, bamboo, hemp, linen and more and blend them together to make wonderful yarn. They use all natural dyes and produce one of a kind fabric.
They even combine metals such as bronze and stainless steel into their yarns.
I wish I had a better photo of these little squares on the wall. They were 3-4″ squares of fabric that were layered and stitched with sashiko. They were really beautiful.
This cloth is made from bamboo.
Here’s my entire purchase. It includes the bamboo fabric, silk wrapped cotton, Kasumi (polyester), linen paper, cotton paper, bronze buttons and French safety pins.
These are pieces of the yarns that are bundled in the photo above that I bought to use for embellishing felt. I can’t wait to try them out. I spent an hour and a half at Habu and it was time well spent. The next planned stop was B&J Fabrics which was only two blocks away.
Luckily, I found the building right away and could see the fabric in the window five floors up. There weren’t any signs but I went into the building concierge and he directed me to the right place.
There were piles and piles of fabric none of which you could reach. If you wanted to buy something, you had to take a sample to the desk and then they would find the bolt of matching fabric and cut your requested fabric. I was looking for silk chiffon to use in nuno felting and they had wonderful printed chiffon. They had all kinds of “fabric” there including fox, skunk, coyote and even an entire alligator skin. The store is used by designers, design students and Broadway costume design.
I chose about 15 different printed silk fabrics and wanted a half yard of each. It took a long time to choose and I have to avoid those beautiful ones that were $89 per yard.
Once I had chosen, I took the samples up to the desk and then I waited on the couch for an hour. I had asked only for silk chiffon although some of the print samples were on silk charmeuse.
When the woman brought out my pieces, I noticed that not all of them were chiffon and that she had cut some in charmeuse. The manager was very nice about it and went to see if he could find the same patterns in chiffon. After another hour, I finally had my purchases.
I spent over 5 hours at B&J Fabrics.
My husband even called to find out where I was and came and found me.
I had plans to go to more fabric stores and a yarn store but never made it out of B&J. That was day one. The second day I went to Purl Soho which is a knitting store and spent all day there. I was so exhausted after those two days that I never made it back to the garment district. If you decide to go, make sure that you have good directions and your walking shoes.