I’ve recently gone to New York for the first time and the thing I was the most excited about was the opportunity to go to the garment district! I’d heard so much about it from watching Angela Clayton’s fabric hauls that I couldn’t wait to find it for myself. I often complain about the fabrics in London because there’s not really a fabric district. The closest is a street called Goldhawk Road, but it’s quite far away from where I live and the nicest stuff is not affordable. So I was excited for the lower prices in NYC! And I was not disappointed.
My favourite thing about the garment district wasn’t even the prices, it was the variety. I feel like in London there’s a good variety in the type of fabric, so you can get silk chiffon and taffeta and this and that, but they’re in all in solid, boring colours (maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong places – if you know otherwise, please let me know!). So I went shopping in NYC without any particular projects in mind, I just wanted to buy something different. So whatever caught my eye that I thought I wouldn’t be able to buy in London ended up in my suitcase.
I used this video as a reference of which shops to go into. I went into quite a few, pretty much all that she mentions. So on to what I bought!
Because of where I was at the time I headed to the NYC garment district, I ended up and MJ Trimmings first and maaaan was I in love. So many options, so many colours! All of the shelves dazzled me. Though it seemed like all the trims that I liked and picked up where the most expensive. I left behind one burgundy embroidered trim that was $15 a yard that still haunts my dreams. But I did buy this gorgeous blue trim for $7 something and this nice red one for about $4 a yard. I got three yards of each, and I can’t wait to figure out what I’ll use them for.
The shop also had this warehouse clearance section, where I found three that I bought. I thought these were really good deals, as they cost between $7 and $10 and they all came with more than 9 yards. I bought a nice simple broderie anglaise lace, that I thought would be good for petticoats. I bought a leafy looking pale blue – the colour of this is amazing. And embroidered soft grey and green trim.
I went to the garment district in a few different trips. The first shop where I bought something was called Ayazmoon Fabric. This fabric has a really nice colour that refused to photograph properly – though it’s shiny, it’s a lot softer and more like lavender than the purple that shows up here. It’s 60” wide and very drapey. However, this was my least favourite shop of the ones I went into. Though the staff was very nice at first and I haggled down the price of this, they cheated me on the total value and I only noticed after paying. Since the owner had quite a forward personality, I was too shy to dispute and instead just swiftly walked out.
I loved the next shop. I went into Hamed Fabrics, which was recommended by Angela in her video. There I met a really nice lady who told me she’d been shopping in the NYC garment district for 30 years and this was the best shop. They had a huge selection of different fabrics for $5 a yard. The only fabric I was determined to find on this trip was something satin-y and pale green/mint for an 1860s ball gown and I found it! It’s a lot greener than this photo shows (damn lighting), and it was only $5 a yard. I think I got around 6 yards, which might be a bit short… but I was confused by shopping in yards rather than meters at the time!
This fabric was also only $5 a yard only. I’m not really sure what sort of fabric it is – it’s very light and feels a bit linen-y. But! It’s wonderfully two toned, purple on one side and this wonderful gold on the other. It’s also 60” wide and I thought it’d make really nice trim or something on a gown, so I bought one yard.
And just as I was about to leave, I spotted this wonderful silk hiding in a corner. I’m not sure I got the best price for this – it ended up being $8 a yard – because it is silk, but it’s also quite flimsy. Nevertheless, I loved the colour, so I got two yards of it which hopefully will be enough to make the top of something. Maybe a jacket or a coat.
The next shop was also a hit! I went into Amin Fabrics and made my favourite purchase of the trip. It’s this lovely stiff… something, but it’s stripey and a lovely shade of blue with some golden highlights. Wonderful! I thought it’d look lovely as a robe à l’Anglaise or something (is it too soon to make another?). I think I bought 5 yards of it for $6 or something? Can’t quite recall!
In the same shop, I found this lovely (I think) chiffon. It’s pale cream with a gold shimmer and I love it to bits. I bought a yard at $8 a yard, I think. My memory is fading fast on these prices.
My next purchase was a lovely golden brocade, but unfortunately the shop didn’t give me a card so I don’t remember the name. It was on 39th street and 8th avenue, one of the first on the right side of pavement. This brocade is gorgeous and it really surprised me because I’d seen in before, when I went fabric shopping in Alicante, Spain! I remember leaving it behind at the time because it was a bit expensive, but compared to the asking price of $25 a yard in NYC, it was cheap in Europe. I managed to get the price down to $15 for a yard and a half, which should be enough for a lovely bodice for a dress.
My last purchase was the last two yards and a half of this golden stripey upholstery fabric. It’s 60” wide. I wanted to get more, so that it would be enough for a big skirt, but this was the last of the bold so I’m not sure what it’s enough for yet. It was a total of $12 and I also don’t remember the shop name, as I didn’t get a card.
And that is it! I loved the garment district so much, I wish it could be my regular shopping place. Thanks for reading!
Bonus photos: I went to the MET and saw the costume institute exhibit! You can read more about the exhibit here. Here are some of my personal favourites: