Saturday, October 12, 2013

New York City Garment District Tour

Last weekend, Joannie, Marion, Carol, and I went to NYC for a tour of the Garment District. The tour was run by Mimi Jackson who writes the blog, Shop the Garment District. The SpeakEasy Tour is offered several times a year. This is not a historical tour, it is a shopping trip (aka, my kind of tour). Marion and I have wanted to go shopping in NYC for several years, and we finally took the plunge. Once I signed up with Marion, it was easy to convince Carol and Joannie to join us.

New York City: So much fabric to love!


Marion had the great idea of driving to Stamford, CT, and then taking the train into NYC. It made a lot of sense. Although Joannie, our designated driver, is fearless and volunteered to drive us right into the Big Apple, we thought staying overnight in CT was a better plan. NYC is very expensive, so we feared that the cost of the hotel, the parking, and the meals would be astronomical. Our other option was driving or taking the train from MA in the morning. However, we had to meet the tour at 10am, so we would have needed to leave by 6 am or earlier. Ironically the high-speed Acela train was out of service, so I'm glad that we hadn't planned on taking it!

Thursday afternoon, we left Boston around 3pm. We stopped in Vernon, CT around 5pm to eat dinner at Rein's Deli and visit Quilting By The Yard. To our delight, we also found a lovely yarn shop and a used book store in the same shopping plaza.

At Rein's for dinner, from left, Marion, Joannie and Carol
I couldn't decide between rice pudding or chocolate
pudding, so the waitress gave me a scoop of each!

I had never been to Quilting By The Yard before. Mike and I had eaten at Rein's Deli once before, but it was late at night and the quilt shop was closed. The quilt store was lovely. It was filled to the brim with beautiful fabric, patterns, and notions. Samples were hanging everywhere. Joannie and I were particularly taken by the shopping cart full of remnants right at the front of the store. If you bought three fabrics, your fourth one was free!

Trying to convince Joannie to sneak the entire cart out of the store...

These little beauties came home with me. Joannie got a pretty batik remnant.

We spent the night at the Holiday Inn in Stamford. The hotel was lovely. It has just been renovated. In the morning, we got free breakfast and free shuttle service to the train station.

On the train. It took about an hour to get into NYC.

Ready to go on the tour!
There were a total of 12 ladies on the tour. It was a really nice group. We thought that we were adventuresome, having come in from Boston, but one lady had flown in from Miami! The tour is geared toward garment sewing. We spent the morning going to three different shops that had an amazing variety of dressmaking fabrics. These shops were off the beaten path, located in the upper floors of office buildings, with no signage from the street. Carol found a lovely piece of white matelasse and Joannie found a nice piece of red cotton that she is going to use for her ever-growing collection of place mats. We also went to Pacific Trimming, which had an enormous variety of notions, trims, and zippers. After a group lunch at Ben's Deli (two delis in two days), we were released into the streets of NYC with a list of additional fabric stores and a flurry of good-byes.

There are a zillion stores at street level to enjoy. We also picked up a free map of the fabric stores at the Garment Center Information Booth. Many of the stores specialized in a particular type of fabric. We visited Spandex World (everything you would ever need to make anything with stretch, from lingerie, to a bathing suit, to a skating costume). We also went in a lovely store that specialized in silk, they had an entire wall of the most gorgeous dupioni silks in every color of the rainbow, and an amazing leather shop. The leather store had a beautiful piece of gold leather embossed with Egyptian designs in the window, but it was $125, so I didn't buy it. What is wonderful about the Garment District is the enormous variety and the availability of custom services such as pleating, adding grommets or snaps, and zippers cut to any custom length you choose (done while you wait).

As a devoted Project Runway fan, I insisted on taking my friends to Mood. We also went to The City Quilter, which is a great quilt shop, located outside of the Garment District. I had visited both of these shops before, so I knew the girls would enjoy them.

Inside The City Quilter

My NYC purchases

In the end, I didn't buy too much. First because it was a little overwhelming, and second because we were on a walking tour and we had to carry everything back. I also picked up business cards because most of the shops we visited have websites, so I can order things at a later date. I did finally get a Thank You Mood t-shirt, four zippers cut to size to make more zippered totes, an awl, and a funny piece of fabric that has all fifty United States on it. I saw this fabric in a shop window, across the street from Mood. I will probably make my nephew Ben a pillowcase with it.

By the end of the day we were very tired. I wish that I had worn my pedometer to see how many steps I had walked. Joannie hailed her first cab (ever) and we started our journey home. We all had a great time.

On Monday, Carol e-mailed me to ask when I would plan our next sewing adventure!

Pugs and kisses,

1 comment:

  1. We chose the six hour tour which took us to all the highlights of NYC and a circle cruise around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The group of 24 and a small bus was a great size that allowed us to get on/off bus for short walking tours.
    city tours new york