Every time I have purchased my plane/train ticket to New York, I have belted out, "Start spreadin' the news, I'm leavin' today. I want to be a part of it..." Yeah yeah, you get the picture. When I bought my ticket in July, I did this in my office, except no one was on third floor when I started singing, thank goodness. I really do treat my life like a musical, though oddly enough, the music doesn't come on when I start singing.
After the tickets are purchased, the giddy anticipation sets in. For this trip in particular, my friend S. and I were setting out to make our mark on the Garment District. I'd say it's more appropriate to say that it left its mark on us. Obviously, I had Project Runway on my mind, as we wanted to go to the famous Mood. Since we're on the subject of the runway, while planning this trip, I listened to David Morales' song, "Here I Am," from The Devil Wears Prada several times. That song makes me want to cut a rug and strut down a runway somewhere; therefore, you can imagine how many clothes and shoes I packed (because you never know when you'll need those 4" heels in New York).
We took a train from Charlottesville to New York (Penn Station) via Amtrak on a Thursday morning. We had a great ride; I always feel...vintage (Is that weird?) when I take a train somewhere. When we got to New York, we hit up our hostess' apartment, aka S.'s wonderful friend, apartment to freshen up a bit before meeting her down in Soho for dinner at Boqueria Tapas Bar and Restaurant. One of our main objectives in going to the City was to pay homage to one of the crafterdinner crew's favorite online hot spots for knitting supplies. When we arrived in Soho, we had a little while to meander before dinner and before you know it, we ended up a mere two blocks away from, you guessed it, Purl Soho...20 minutes before they closed (Yikes!)! Obviously, this was the perfect time for individual photo opps:
We designated Friday as our Garment District Day, and after a cup of Earl Grey and a giant chocolate chip muffin from a little corner joint, we were ready to hit it up. I had printed a list of stores from this super helpful guide prior to the trip (because let's face it, my crackberry doesn't hold a light to the screen of an iPhone), but we decided to wander around on our own before consulting with the list.
First, we stumbled upon Paron Fabrics,which is two rooms (aka Paron West: regular price and Paron Annex: half price). This place had the best prices of all the places we went. Immediately, I fell in love with some black silk with cream polka dots, but I didn't buy it yet because we were scoping things out. I later returned to purchase the silk.
We went in NY Elegant Fabrics, which had some gorgeous textiles, and we wandered around to some other random notions stores, such as, a store that sold almost exclusively zippers! What?! When we decided to consult the aforementioned list, we went to B & J Fabrics, where both S. and I went weak in the knees. That place was organized with white walls and white floors, and it was filled with bolts from floor to ceiling. Just beautiful. I felt super touristy taking pictures inside fabric stores, so I put an end to that after my first trip to Paron's. Here is a sneak peak outside the door of B & J's.
Enter Mood. Mood had loads of wonderful fabrics, but I did not enjoy the experience as much as I did over at B & J's. I guess I had set some pretty high expectations for the place, it being a major character in Project Runway. It's not like I wanted to see Heidi, just Tim... We quickly glanced in B & J's, quickly glanced in Mood, walked back to B & J's and then finally ended up back at Mood. It was exhausting. Both S. and I had compiled a list of projects we were working on and how much materials we would need for each one. What I learned from the Garment District is that this approach is not enough. Here's the thing about Mood and most fabric stores in the garment district, if you go looking for some beautiful fabric, you are going to find it. I knew what I wanted in general for certain projects, but I wanted to glean inspiration from the selection. The next time I go to the garment district (and believe me, there will be a next time), I want to have something more specific picked out, such as a color or a texture along with my project. I did buy some gorgeous ribbons (very organized ribbon section) and a few yards of some shirting cottons from Mood and some luxurious green shirting from B & J's.
When we walked out of Mood for the second and final visit, we probably looked like we'd gotten ruled by a few bolts of fabric, which is halfway true (you should have seen us trying to tote our bolts to the cutting table). Worn out, we both looked at each other and S. said, "Dude, I need to be honest. I'm fabric-stored-out." That was some serious music to my ears, people. That's when we decided to head back down to Purl Soho.
All the awesome projects that we've read about on their blog Purl Bee were in the store for lots of petting and oogling. One project in particular that we swooned over on the blog was the Pixie Dust Lap Blanket. I'll just tell you, friends, it's even better in person; S. wanted to snuggle up with it in the store and go to sleep:
After our last visit to Purl Soho, we needed a place to sit down and chill for a while. S. and I were reflecting on our successful yet tiring day in the garment district when we decided to shoot a little video about our experience. I will have to post again about the remainder of the trip, but for now enjoy the video and know that I did not need those 4" heels after all.