Friday, June 27, 2008

Sewing in NYC

Note: Pictureless post!

Ola asked me what my favorite fabric and notion stores are in NYC. Here is my answer. Understand this is only my opinion and is in no way meant to disparage any store in any way.

NYC's fashion world is centered in the Garment District. This is the area of Manhattan from 5th Ave to 9th Ave (east to west) and 41st St to 35th st (north to south). There are other stores south of 35th all the way down to 26th St, near FIT, but the majority are concentrated in the above mentioned block.


There are a ton of fabric stores but it is vital to know which you can rely on for your different needs.

The Big 4
These are the majors. The ones that have everything but nothing comes cheap. Don't go here expecting JoAnns type prices because you will be very upset. Cottons start at $9/yd, wools $18, etc.

Paron Fabrics
260 W. 40th St., Ground fl. M-F 9-5:45, Th 9-7, Sat 9-5 212.768.3266

This place has charm. The place and staff have that "old-school" feel but they are still hip when it comes to their fabrics and fashion. The bolts are stacked but there is usually a swatch attached at the end of the bolts so you can see the fabric. They value quality and clearly mark the fabrics with content info and what designer used the fabric. The reason this store is probably my favorite is because of the people and because the back room is the 50% off room. Tons of great fabrics at great prices. 2 doors down they also have an "outlet". Even more fabrics at low prices.

225 W. 37th St., 2nd-4th fl. M-F 9-7, Sat 10-4 212.730.5003

3 floors of fabrics. The one notable difference is that they have home furnishing fabrics. Everything in this place is on the roll and stacked on top of each other. You have to have time to look and it may be hard to get a good sense of the fabrics because of the way things are stacked.
They have a great selection of every fabric imaginable.
The downside for me is that this place is a definite tourist attraction due to it's Project Runway fame.

525 7th Ave., 2nd fl. M-F 8-5:45, Sat 9-4:45 212.354.8150

Probably the best when it comes to organization. Fabric samples are hung by the windows so that you don't have to deal with the bolts to see the fabric. They don't have the widest variety of printed jersey/knits but other than that the fabric selection is stellar. The other thing is that if you like it then buy it because it may not be there when you come back.

Elegant Fabrics
222 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018 212.302.4980

This is located a few doors down from Paron. It's a large store with a great selection of everything. They also place swatches at the end of the bolt so it's easier to see and sample. I think they may have the better selection of cotton and cotton stretch prints. My only problem with this place is that it is always hot inside but I endure for a look at the good fabrics.

Price Conscious Fabric shopping (Honorable Mentions)

Don't get me wrong, my Big 4 are definitely tops all around but that does not mean you won't find good fabrics elsewhere. All along 39th, 38th, and 37th street, (between 7th & 8th aves) are a variety of shops. The key to these is to realize that they can be hit or miss and you need to understand fabric qualities in order to recognize a good buy.

G&R Fabrics 239 W. 39th St.
Fabrics For Less 239 W. 39th St.

Check out the Fashion Center's website for a full list of stores. There are many other specializing in stretch fabrics, lace, etc. I don't have much to say on them because I don't frequent them.


Pacific Trimmings
218 W. 38th St., Ground fl. M-F 8:30-6, Sat 10-6 212.279.9310 or 212.268.3333

This is my favorite place to buy buttons, zippers, and trims. The first trip to this store can be a little overwhelming because at first glance there appears to be no real system of how things work but there in lies the charm. The staff floats around. If you need a trim you can bring it to the front or have someone come cut it if it can't be removed from it's spot. You can get zippers cut to size and it's done within minutes (if it's not too busy). They have a vast variety of buttons, snaps, grommets, closures, etc. They lack on notions like thread, sewing needles, etc so it's not one stop shopping but nothing in NYC is.

Sil Thread
257 W. 38th St., Ground fl. M-F 8-6, Sat 9-3 212.997.8949

This is the place for a larger variety of the basic sewing notions. This is where I go for sewing machine needles and thread. They have the greatest variety of threads. They sell buttons, zippers, interfacing, etc. as well.

Steinlauf & Stoller
239 W. 39th St., Ground fl. M-F 8-5:30 212.869.0321

Similar to Sil Thread but they will do buttonhole and grommet installations on your garments.

Johnathan's Embroidery
256 W 38th St Frnt ,New York, NY 10018

They do custom embroidery and they are the only place in Manhattan to sell Vogue/McCall/Butterick patterns that I know of.

Garment Center Sewing Supplies
252 W. 37th St., Ground fl. M-F 8-6 212.279.8774

This is a good place to get sewing machine supplies i.e. machine feet, needles, serger knives, etc.

If you're ever in NYC and plan to do some shopping be sure to call and check the hours. Bring a large shopping bag and comfortable shoes and schedule your time accordingly. You can get lost in these stores and forget about time completely. I hope this was helpful. Happy shopping.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Calla Is Available in PDF

The Calla pattern is now available in pdf form

Download Here

or on the sidebar ---->

Monday, June 16, 2008

Deliriously magically

Have you ever had one of those weeks that was just kinda off...not bad...but off in a way that when the good things happen they seem sort of magical/mystical in nature? This was one of those weeks for me.

I was approached to help with costume design and wardrobe for a short film for an NYU film student. It was a good script so I decided to give it a go. Last week I spent time with the other wardrobe person figuring out last minute details, accessories, etc. Nothing bad there. The shoot started last Sunday....the same day the hell-ishly intense heatwave decided to visit NYC. And the one thing about movies is that for sound purposes you cannot have an A/C or fan going. 95 with a 105 degree heat index outside means 110+ degrees indoors with 20+ people and lights crammed into a tiny apartment. The odd thing is despite the heat it was fun. 2 of the actors had done parts on Law and Order so it was cool to talk to them about my favorite show. Then add all the other cool people on set and that made for Magical Moment #1

Magical Moment #2
Saturday was WWKIPD so I got a chance to go to Central Park for SitNKnit's meetup.

Meeting more knitters is always magical. There was a great raffle but I didn't win anything. Tawana, however, won 3 prizes.
After our time in the park we migrated to a bar on the Upper West Side and then to Knitty City.

After that Shameka and I headed to the subway where I was saw this guy
leaving the station and then this guy.... who played in this...

getting on the same train. If you know nothing else about me, know that The Last Dragon is my favorite movie of all time. He's definitely not my favorite actor but he is definitely the lead actor in my most favorite film. Magically moment 3 & 4.

Magical moment #5
While going to housewarming party for one of the crew members of the movie, I took a train to Brooklyn and had the fortune of seeing a fireworks display as we crossed the bridge into Brooklyn.

Magical moment #6
Sunday, as I was meeting up with my student for her knitting lesson, she points out that Agyness Deyn is standing right there on the street.

I've never had a favorite model until her. This picture was the inspiration for my haircut back in March. I really dig Agyness.

And to complete the day with Magical Moment #7.... After leaving the The Renegade Craft Fair (which is really just a bunch of hand-sewn bags, skirts, and silk-screened t-shirts by the way) I saw a man walking a horse down the sidewalk just like it was his pet dog. Seeing that made it clear that this was definitely a surreal week for me.

I got a request in my last post to do a review of some of the fabric/notion shops in NYC so that will be my next post.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Honestly, life has been an emotional roller coaster as of late. The world has presented a lot of change in such a short amount of time. The climate is devastatingly unpredictable**, the economy sucks, my personal economy sucks, and now there's not enough fish in the water because we humans are eating them into non-existence. ( I already don't eat beef/pork and hardly chicken...I guess I should just go vegetarian...)

As I contemplate how to cut back I am glad that I , like a woodland creature storing up for the winter, have a vast stash of yarn and fabrics. Thankfully this will get me through the lean times and keep me sane and happy in the process.

Thanks to my stash I was able to create Jasmine .

Pattern: Jasmine by Kim Hargreaves
Yarn: Jaeger Siena - 6 balls
Size: Medium
Needles: Addi Turbo US1 & US2
Start: May 15
Finish: June 4

One thing that will not change is Kim Hargreaves' impeccable taste and style. I can always rely on her for a good design.
This was an easy knit. I worked on it during my trip to Minneapolis for the Memorial Day weekend and then set it down while my sister came to visit me the following week. I finished the sleeves on Sunday/Monday and did the yoke and buttons on Monday.

Despite all the doom and gloom in the beginning of this post, I do believe it will be the creative, imaginative, inventive people that will make out the best in these changing times. You know how to do more with less and expand upon your talents to get what you need.

** Question: Shouldn't one be frightened when you hear tornado sirens?

While in North Minneapolis I heard what I thought were sirens. When I interrupted my friend who was watching tv and doing some work to ask, she didn't seem to care and went back to her work. Now I don't know about you but I don't do well in natural disaster situations. After I turned on another tv, saw the tornado warning, had my panic attack (literally), heard the weather man say something about wall clouds 5 miles from my current location, and have another panic attack while on the phone with my sister because the townhome has no good interior rooms or a basement, I proceed to grab a bag, hop in my rental car and drive south towards clear skies. Did I forget to mention I just left my friend in her house cause she didn't seem phased at all. I sought solace in a nice Jo-Ann's etc where I purchased the buttons for Jasmine. Oh...and a tornado did eventually touch down about 15 miles away from her house.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Meme time

I was tagged by Shameka with a meme. I'll give this a go while I try to finish up Jasmine for my next post.

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

Let's see 10 years ago around this time I was finishing up my last year of college at Ohio State. I was so ready to graduate that I was taking 18-21 credits against the advice of my advisor. It was probably some of the best grades I ever got in undergrad. I was so focused. I was a teaching assistant for the pre-freshman summer engineering program and my sister was one of my students. Other than that it was typical college stuff... friends & parties. Oh the parties....oh the memories.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

A nap (my sister was in town this weekend and I'm so worn out )
Finish and email a knit submission
Finish the sleeve on Jasmine
Wash my dishes
Buy pattern paper to make patterns for summer dresses and skirts

3) Snacks I enjoy
Ice cream
French fries
Pastries,Cakes & Pie
Dan-dee Cheese twistees (an Ohio thing)
Barbeque potato chips

4)Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Drop out of sight to an undisclosed location
Pay off my bills
Send family and friends money
Set up trust funds for my younger family members and godson
Give money to my home church in Cleveland, The Boys & Girls Club, and Cancer Research
Start a non-profit arts program in underserved communities/schools
Buy houses in Miami, New York, California
Buy an island
Travel everywhere

5) Places I have lived.
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Rochester, NY
Atlanta, GA
Rochester, MN
Raleigh, NC
New York, NY


1. Knitting at Helios 2, 2. day 63: french fries, 3. Cleveland Heights High School, 4. ♫ YO Yo yo, there's no place like a green penthouse... so i told the genie i wanted to be well hung. ^o^ ♫ nah... wildlife from singapore♫, 5. andre-3000, 6. Chill.NeSs, 7. Rio de Janiero Favela, 8. 7th Course: Tasting of Ice Creams, 9. No I do not work for the National Geographic., 10. Family Portrait, 11. Eclectic, 12. mirage

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name? - Sauniell
2. What is your favorite food? - French Fries
3. What high school did you go to? - Cleveland Heights High
4. What is your favorite color? - Green
5. Who is your celebrity crush? - Andre Benjamin
6. Favorite drink? - Iced Tea
7. Dream vacation? - Rio De Janiero
8. Favorite dessert? - Ice Cream
9. What you want to be when you grow up? - World Traveler
10. What do you love most in life? - My Family
11. One Word to describe you. - Eclectic
12. Your flickr name - Saunshine