As soon as I knew we were going to New York, I made a mental note to visit this one magical place I'd heard so many stories about: the garment district. Gertie and Peter have talked about it and its many shops countless of times, and I have to say I mainly relied on their judgment when it came to choosing what stores to visit. For those who don't know: there are a few streets in Manhattan loaded with fabric and notion stores. You'll find the Mood store there, well-known from Project Runway, and many more amazing fabric shops.
The first store I went to was B&J Fabrics, and being used to a large but slightly underwhelming source for fabric if you're looking for unusual things, my jaw dropped. It took me a while before I was confident enough to really browse all the gorgeous stuff they had to offer, but I did manage to select two pretty cotton Ikats:
The blue one has already been turned into a dress, which I'll post about later. The black and white fabric will probably become another dress, perhaps something slightly smarter for the upcoming holiday season. I really enjoyed sewing the blue Ikat dress: the fabric barely shifted and pressed beautifully.
After this visit I took off to Paron Fabrics, who are supposedly well-known for their wool. The store surely didn't disappoint, and I left with a few yards of this beauty:
The wool has a gorgeous drape, and I'll probably turn it into a wide and flowy winter skirt (it would work as a dress as well but I'm just a bit too sensitive to wool to want it so close to my skin on my upper body...). The sales assistant was very friendly, he seemed genuinely interested in what I was going to make and even gave me a small discount!
After this I went to a store called Fabrics for Less (they don't seem to have a website) which was cluttered and very cheap. I bought some of this:
This is going to become a longer-sleeved dress, with rather simple lines. I didn't want anything to bread up the scenery too much. The fabric looks like it's meant for upholstery, but it's definitely not as heavy as the fabric I used for my All over the World dress. Again, the owner was very friendly, even though I almost knocked over half of the store.
On a different day I returned with my boyfriend and visited AK Fabrics, because a little bird once told me they sold really good cotton flannel and I'm supposed to make my man a shirt. We had to do some digging but it really paid off, he found something we both liked and there was just enough left on the bolt. We kept petting the flannel during the rest of the day, it felt so amazing!
Also pictured: a lightweight chambray I got at B&J that same day. I think I have enough for a shirtwaist dress and a shirt for me. It's so soft, I just can't wait to wear it!
I also got a few pieces of silk to use as a lining in two big projects I'm planning. (Does anyone know a good source for cheaper silks suitable for coat and jacket linings in Belgium? I can only find the cheap poly stuff or ridiculously expensive fabrics meant for evening wear). The upper one is a navy silk twill I got at Mood, the bottom one a dark blue silk charmeuse I bought at Fabrics for Less. I'm a bit scared of using the charmeuse, since it's so slippery! It feels like trying to fold water.
I also visited a few of the notions stores to stock up on seam binding and interfacing, and just spent a whole lot of money in general. But it was great fun, and I already miss all those stores...