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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.