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Fabric shopping in NYC

markenmac2 | Posted in General Discussion on

I am headed to New York City next week and would like any recommendations from sewers who have shopped NYC fabric stores.  I’m not interested in decorator fabric and don’t have time to sift through that to find fashion fabric.  Does anyone have a suggestion?  Wasn’t there a Threads article about this?   Does anyone know what issue it was in? Thanks for your help.  I live in the land of the great fabric shop void (upper East Tennessee) and am excited about this. 



  1. markenmac2 | | #1

    Whoops!  Should have looked on down before posting my first message.  There is some good info on Paula Nadelstern's site.  Thanks!

    1. Lynnelle | | #2

      AAaah, NYC.  My home away from home.  I used to live in NYC and miss it dearly.  Fabric shops?!  Heavens, where can you not find a fabric shop?!  The Fashion District is in the area of Times Square (40s - 50s streets) between 7th and 8th Avenue.  My personal favourites are Paron, B&J, and AKFabrics.

      There are so many choices at reasonable prices.  There is a notions store that sold regular zippers 12/$1 or something like that.  I was last in NYC in June 2006, so the price certainly may have changed.

      Good luck and enjoy!!

      Lynnelle (Brooklyn 4-Ever!)

      1. fabricholic | | #4

        Wow, it sounds like I need to change my vacation spots. I can't imagine having so many fabric stores to choose from.Marcy

        1. Lynnelle | | #5

          Personally, I believe NYC is the fashion capitol of this country.  B&J has such beautiful fabrics from 100% cashmere, to silks, wools, etc.  I saw a bolt of fabric for $125/yd. (ouch).  I need to have MANY TIMES more skills before I even consider thinking about dropping that kind of cash on fabric!

          There are so many shops that you'll need a couple of days to visit them all.  I found a store with the most wonderful assortment of trims.  I remember prices ranging from $2/yd to $20/yd.  The stuff was just beautiful!

          I'm sure there are other equally fine fabric shops in other boroughs.  I used to live in Brooklyn, so I know about some of the fabric shops there.   

          I recommend every sewer at least take one trip to NYC. =)

          I hear Toronto, Ontario has some quality goods as well.  I think I will take a tirp there this summer!


          1. fabricholic | | #6

            I hear stories about New York that make feel I would be unsafe, not knowing what places to avoid, but you are the second person that has said to me that everyone should visit New York at least once. I will have to check into this further.Marcy

          2. dotty | | #7

            Go for it. You'll have a blast. There's tons to see besides the fabric stores. I live about 45 min. away from the city. I wish I was closer. On Sunday I went to the subversive lace and knitting show. I wasn't impressed, but its great to have the chance to see for yourself.

          3. Lynnelle | | #10

            Originally I am from a major Midwest City and I lived in NYC.  I hear people tell stories about both places and most of it just isn't true.  Every place (big city or small town) is a potential unsafe place.   You just have to be aware of your surroundings at all times.

            My best advice for first time visitors is to not look like a visitor.  Even if you don't know where you are going, don't look like it.  There are people who make a life out of pickpocketing.  Don't make yourself an easy target.  If you need to refer to a map, do so in a store or something.  Don't pull out the big AAA map and camera. =)  Admire the tall buildings from a distance.  Tourists are dead giveaways if they look straight up.  See, New Yorkers already know the buildings are tall - there's no need to look up. =)

            Aside from that, you'll be fine.  The Fashion District is pretty heavily populated during the day.  The Subways are safe as well.  I went to school in Brooklyn and traveled quite often by myself.  Again, you just have to keep totally aware of your surroundings - whether you are in NYC or Smalltown, USA.

            I will probably go back later in June.  Perhaps we can coordinate a trip!


          4. fabricholic | | #12

            Where would be the best spot to start from if you wanted to see fabric stores?

          5. zuwena | | #13

            If you can, do a search for new york fabric stores.  Someone posted a wonderful link about a month or so ago that lists all the stores with addresses, places to eat, etc. and all you have to decide is which stores you want to visit. Z

          6. Lynnelle | | #14

            Best place?  Anywhere in the Fashion District:  30th - 50th street between 7th and 8th Avenues.  Some shops close early (6 pm) so you want to get a start in the morning.  Times Square is at 7th and Broadway.  Believe me, it will be busy.

            Just start in the general area and walk.  You can also start at some of the shops suggested and go from there.


          7. fabricholic | | #15

            Thanks, Lynelle.Marcy

          8. sarahkayla | | #16

            New York WAS a much more dangerous place twenty and thrity years ago. Economically, it is just a much healthier city than it was in the bad old days. There have been lots of serious work on the part of the city to make it a safer place to be. This work has paid off.

            I have been living in Manhattan since 1982. I had a near brush with a mugging in 1983. This past year a group of kids jumped my 15 year old..but it was mostly a case of adolescents being stupid ( really stupid because this took place on the same block as a police station--no harm done except to my son's ego.) This has been the extent with my family's brushes with random violence aside from 9-11, which oddly brought the city together in a sweet, sweet way. ( you have to love it when taxi drivers ask you if you and "your people" are safe, when the supermarket clerk does a bit of grief counseling while ringing up your groceries)

            In general, use your head. Don't go counting big bills out in public.Keep your purse shut and close to your body. Don't just place your purse on the back of your chair when you are eating in a restaurant.. But folks on the subway , particularly women will tell you if your bag is open.


            As for the subway...Most of the folks on the subway are just getting from here to there. Is there the occasional bum or crazy? certainly. Stay away from the stinky bums. it is not rude to get up and move if someone makes you uncomfortable. If someone is being truly odd...make eye contact with your fellow riders.. it will help you guage if the situation you are in is merely amusing or dangerous. You will be surprised to see how quickly folks form themselves into groups and are ready to help eacho other out..

            What I have seen more often than unpleasant or rude locals in the past few years, is tourists behaving badly on the subways. Yelling is not is not ok. Pretending the subway is a roller coaster and screaming at every curve is not ok. If your child is claustraphobic, and you know it, it may make more sense to take a bus rather than subjecting  a car full of people to your child's screaming.The subways may be loud, but most conversations take place in what day care teachers call an inside voice. people usually make room for each other rather than blocking the asiles. Behaving like ones fellow passengers are deaf lepers is not polite. Pointing at people is impolite even in New York.


            You don't really need addresses of specific fabric stores, you can wander from store to store once you hafve the basic parameters on the district in hand.Yes, it is often worthwhile to visit the sample sales that you get flyers for on the street. Wearing comfy shoes is a must.

            I probably would not go wandering in the parks alone at night..but attending one of the wonderful concerts in the parks at night is fine. Probably most of the places that you would want to go to would be  very safe.  I would not say this if you were on a trip to buy illegal drugs..but since you are coming to new york to buy fabric and take in the culture...you are totally safe.

          9. fabricholic | | #17

            Thanks for the information. It sounds like the same caution I take in Birmingham, is what you use in New York. I asked my husband last night, if he would like to go and when he found out why I wanted to go, he didn't want to go. I will work on that.

          10. AmberE | | #18

            I live in NYC and would echo that you need the same reasonable caution, just as you would in any city--but the benefit of NYC is that there are always lots and lots of people around!

            I wholeheartedly endorse all of the stores mentioned, but didn't see one of my faves in my quick scan---New York Elegant Fabrics, which is located next to Paron.



            Edited 3/26/2007 9:12 am ET by AmberE

          11. SewNancy | | #19

            I live on LI so I have shopped in the garment district for years. Only quilt fabrics and lots of embroidery thread out here! I have never had an incedent, I go in by train and use the subway, which is cleaner than its ever been. There are so many people on the streets that a mugging would be hard to pull off! Pickpockets rhrive in any crowded city but, as everyone has said, be aware of your surroundings and don't walk around looking up! You do need to have some addresses, because some of the best stores are no longer at street level. Mood, Metro Textiles and B&J are all upstairs. You can google all of them. You can also go to Patternreview.com and search for their very excellent list of stores from their pr trip this winter. I find that having a plan about what I want is the best way not to get overwhelmed, you can still buy that fabulous piece that catches your eye! Try and buy in outfits so that you can actually have a wardrobe when you finish! I have learned this the hard way. Most of all, have fun! Go to the costume institute at the Metropolitan, go to the gallery at FIT go to MOMA just to see fabulous art. I have shopped for fabric in other countries and cities and there is just no place like NYC.

          12. marg | | #20

            The Ct American Sewing Guild is going to NYC  to shop for fabric on June 9th if you are interested let me know.

          13. AmberE | | #21

            Great advice! Especially about buying in wardrobes!

          14. dressed2atee | | #24

            I went to NY twice last year to see The Color Purple and you must go there!!!! There is no describing the place.  Everything is virtually 24/7. 

          15. fabricholic | | #25

            I have to find something that my husband would like to do there and then maybe, I can talk him into it.Marcy

  2. SewNancy | | #3

    Go to 265 W. 37th street for Mood fabrics and upstairs, Kashi from Metro Textiles just relocated. These two places have the best prices, Metro being cheaper and Kashi is a delight. Across the street is Spandex House. Plan on spending the day! Paron is also great, they are the retail outlet for Manhattanfabrics.com They have a half price store a few doors west of the main store. Try out Patternreview.com and look for their listings of stores from the PR NYC weekend. They also have lists of notions and button stores and other fabric stores. Kashi is not open on Saturday, and most of the notions places aren't open then either. MOod closes at 4 on Saturday as do others.
    Pacific Trimmings on 218 W 38th street has Riri zippers that they will shorten while you wait. Have a great time. And remember they will send things ups for you if you find that you have way to much to carry. I never realized how heavy fabric is until I was carting my loot down to Penn Station and took a cab to go 3 blocks!

  3. tanusa | | #8

    I just moved from NYC a few months ago and agree with all the posters... B&J, Mood, Paron are the best in my opinion. If you only have time for one store, I'd go to B&J (525 7th Avenue b/w 37th & 38th St on the second floor. It's in an office building, so don't let that confuse you). They're pricey though. Paron has an outlet (it used to be next door, although they've combined it with the "regular" store on 40th St. near 7th Ave.) Along 39th & 40th St. b/w 7th & 8th Ave are other less $$ but less organized stores. You also have to be careful about what you're buying. Often things are marked 100% wool or cotton, etc., but they're not. At Mood and B&J, you can be a little more certain you're buying what you think you're buying. Also, there is a lot of construction in the garment district right now. A huge high-rise building is going up and has forced a lot of shops to move/close. There is still a lot there though. Also, don't forget the trim and button stores. I like M&J Trimming and M&J Buttons on 6th Ave in the 30ths. Check online to find their address. Oh, and Steinlauf and Stoller on 39th b/w 7th & 8th ave is a great place for thread, bulk elastic, pattern paper rolls (big rolls), etc. If you don't see what you want, ask someone. They keep a lot behind the counter.Have a great time in NYC!

    1. dionna | | #9


      1. Lynnelle | | #11

        You can do a search online for NYC fabric stores.  B&J, Paron, etc. are really popular and will show up as links.


  4. kalypsew | | #22

    last summer I spent four days in fabric heaven in Nyc.  There are so many stores, so much fabric.  I was overwhelmed.  Most of the stores are located in a two block area around 37 and 39th streets about 6th to 7th avenues.  I was so totally overwhelmed.  I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO BUY!  Luckily, I am only 2 1/2 hours away.  It's fabulous and really affordable.  The fabric is not really cheap....but good....and you can haggle.  Really.  I did.  Feign non chalonce.  They'll make you an offer.  Have fun.

  5. cpdesigns | | #23

    There is GREAT shopping on 39th street and 40th street between 7th and 8th avenue. Mood fabrics is a great store, that's the one that Project runway shopped at. I believe their website is http://www.moodfabrics.com or http://www.mood.com something like that. You can see their floor plan on their site.
    Google fashion fabric shops in NYC and I am sure you will get lots of info. NYC sites will also give info on Fabric district. You will have a great great time. I love shopping in nyc. Can't wait to go back.
    Happy shopping. Corinne

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