NYC Garment District and Wardrobe Architect 2015

Garment-DistrictI haven’t posted about Wardrobe Architect Since April. In my last Wardrobe Architect post I wrote about what I planned on making for my travel wardrobe. Since then I have been working on my capsule wardrobe sewing garments using fabric from my stash in order to make room for the shopping that I would do in the NYC Garment District (Spoiler alert! I didn’t make enough room.) I already posted a rundown of what I made to wear in NYC and DC and these garments will continue to popup on the blog over the next couple of weeks. In the mean time I wanted to discuss my color palate, the assignment for the May Wardrobe Architect, and give you a peek into my Garment District adventure, including all the beautiful fabric I bought.


The May Wardrobe Architect Challenge was about choosing your color palate. Kristen came up with a very scientific, somewhat complicated, way of choosing your palate using your photo, Photoshop, and the color values tool (you know, the little ink dropper thing). I am sure that this is a really great way to find colors that help you look your best, but I had already done, and enjoyed, Sarai’s version last year. Sarai’s system of choosing your color palette is much simpler and more organic. She inquires you too think about colors associated with the words chosen to describe yourself, your inspirations, your existing wardrobe, and your fabric stash. The colors I chose a year ago are in the picture above. I feel that these colors are still pretty spot on, I find myself gravitating toward them regularly without even thinking about it.


This fabric is 100% Spandex from Spandex World. I’ve already turned these into modified Manila leggings.

Although I didn’t review these colors before leaving to NYC I feel that they are represented in the fabrics that I brought back from the Garment District. Oh the, Garment District, a maze of fabric and notion stores taking up several city blocks in Manhattan just steps away form Times Square (seriously, I could see the lit up billboards from some streets). I knew that the Garment District can be overwhelming so I left myself ample time to explore its concrete streets. Luckily my wonderful husband was very understanding about my obsession.

I eased my way into the Garment District with a guided tour through Seek. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and thought my tour guide (I misplaced her name) was all informed and friendly. Unfortunately, the Garment District, like many places in NYC, is going through changes. These changes meant tons of construction, Parson’s was already on its way out, the sewing man statue was gone, and the needle and button info center was in the middle of a dusty construction zone. Fortunately, none of the stores were affected. The Seek tour talked more about the old department stores in the area then anything that was happening currently, but the guide pointed out many buildings that hosted active designers. After the tour I felt like a had a good sense of the area and was ready to wander around on my own.


These are all 1.5 yard cuts of 100% Cotton Jersey from Spandex World, just having on the line.

The first day was mostly about the three hour tour, but we popped into a few shops together, including M&J Trimmings, Pacific Trimmings, and Mood. I visited all of these stores again later, when I felt more comfortable and my wallet was a little freer. I went to NY Elegant Fabrics the first day, after the tour was over. It was a large store packed with fabrics, but I wasn’t really impressed with what I saw or the prices. They did have some really nice higher end fabrics that were reasonably priced, but I didn’t purchase any. However, I did buy my first piece of Liberty Lawn, a scant yard and a half, but still the softest cotton I’ve ever owned. The Liberty was expensive here, but I had a coupon from the tour and this was my favorite print that I saw out of the many stores that carried Liberty, including Mood.

After NY Elegant Fabrics I walked a couple blocks to Bryant Park. It was lovely, the day was sunny and warm and the large green lawn in the middle of the park was full of sunbathers and children playing. I rested on a park bench before heading to the open air restaurant that touches the back of the famous NY Central Library (I highly recommend stopping by) at the back of the park. I had a so so cocktail, but my $18 cobb salad was FANTASTIC. Over all I really enjoyed the experience and the serene break from the busy streets of Midtown Manhattan. If you go in the summer you should stop by the park, maybe bring a picnic from one of the near by delis.

I also went to Paron Fabrics, which I loved. Most of the store was 50% off (which could always be the case for all I know) and I bought some cotton jersey and some Anna Sui silk (for $10 a yd!). The first piece of jersey that was cut had a small stain so that cut me another piece and gave me both for the price of just one. I am positive I can work around the stain to turn the fabric into a garment. All in all I spent seven hours in the Garment District that day, but I was still hungry for more.


The red and green pieces on the left are 1 yard each of 100% Polyester Ponte, the electric blue is part of a total of 3 yards from Paron Fabrics. The printed knit is from B & J Fabrics, I had tried order it from several places online, but it was always sold out. I was stoked to find it. 

My second day was another long day, which felt even longer after a NYC night of cocktails and dancing. It was also raining, something I was not expecting to happen at all during my trip. I had only packed sundresses and sandals and was wandering around in my husbands oversized rain jacket, very stylish (insert eye roll here). The rain made it difficult to seek out the smaller treasures, but I had fun sticking to the bigger guys. I started at Spandex House, but ended up at Spandex World, which was cleaner and smelled better (not so musty). I really liked Spandex World and would consider ordering from them online. I also went pack to Pacific Trimming which was fun, but I didn’t really need any $20 RiRi zippers (maybe if I had had a plan) so I just bought some funky purse hardware. I returned to M&J trimming and bought some shiny sparkly appliqué pieces and a big blue rose flower pin.

Later I popped into B & J Trimming, which has a great set up for browsing fabrics. Sample yardage is hung on hangers so that you can flip threw them more like clothing. The fabric in this store was as expensive, but also as beautiful, as everyone says. I saw yards of stretch feather organza, beaded cut outs, and sequins upon sequins. I also went to Mood again where I spent several hours. Mood was awesome! The store may not have been dirt cheap, but it was reasonable and every one was SO helpful. The customer service was excellent and one cutter even gave my fabric a burn test (he decided it was a cotton Tencel, I didn’t know that they made such a thing). My second day was a slightly shorter five hours, but I only left in order to make it in time for a Broadway play (It’s Only a Play, a short run play starring Nathan Lane) and dinner on Restaurant Way.


Cottons galore! From left 2.5 yards cotton lawn and 3 yards cotton Tencel from Mood, 1.5 yards Liberty Lawn from NY Elegant Fabrics, and 2.5 yards cotton lawn from Mood.

Even though both days were long and exhausting, they were also exciting and inspiring. I bought a Fashionary at Mood that I have been designing outfits and planning for future sewing projects in. I saw thousands of yards of amazing fabrics. Got inspiration for so many new dresses and feel like I got to live a sewists dream. All said and done I bought 40.5 yards of fabric, so yeah, I am on a fabric fast, but I have lots material for future projects just waiting to be sewn and posted on Sarah Kate Creations.


Close up of my first piece of Liberty.


Part of my stash from Mood. 2 pieces of 2.5 yards cotton bottom weight (I know the yellow isn’t in my color palate, but it is destined for a Belladone), 3 yards of black chambray, and 2.5 yards of classic blue chambray (for an Archer, I know I’m late to the game).


The yellow bottom weight up close. It may not be in my original color palate, but I love the chevron texture. 


From right: 3 yards silk/cotton blend from Mood (I’m thinking it will be a Southport Dress without the buttons), 2.5 yards Anna Sui silk from Paron fabrics (not so much my color palate, but the pattern just screamed to be made into full button down skirt with novelty fruit buttons), and 1.5 yards silk chiffon (another first for me) from Mood.


A close up of the “roses in space” silk. I think this may end up being a True Bias Sutton blouse.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. gilliancrafts says:

    SWOON! I was thinking from the start of your post that your palette is quite similar to mine, and gauging by how much I want all your print choices, it is! That pic with the liberty, cotton tencel, and floral lawn – WANT! They are all beautiful. (And I’m oddly positive that someone just recently blogged something in that cotton tencel zigzag print. Who was it??) Happy sewing!

    1. You right! I forgot to mention that Sewaholic used that tencel print on one of the model garments for the rerelease of the Saltspring. I’ve thought the same thing about our color palettes in the past. I love your blog.

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