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New York Diary: Fabric Buying + Fun

Small Bites Out of the Big Apple

Just back from a fabric buying trip to New York, one of the best parts of my job, where I found so many great fabrics my head is reeling. The shipments have started arriving, so I am photographing what is already in the photo studio/warehouse to make room for the new. Right now our NEW FABRICS section is full of a fresh selection of things to sew to wear right now and for the warmer weather ahead.

Thanks to those of you who responded to my Facebook request for the kinds of fabrics and colors on your wish list.

Among the things I found: more organics, stunning French and Italian prints, a collection of digital linen prints, new Indian fabrics and lots of wonderful basics like solid color stretch wovens for pants and a range of colors in different fibers for knit tops and t-shirts. Together with my nieces Madeline and Jessica Tilton, we assembled groupings of blue and white for a future Imari collection, see the video below. Black and whites are easy, many more of these available, so we scooped these up too, and found a very nice selection of greens from pale to stem to olive.

On day one I found this fun Italian stretch denim digital panel. Panels are a designer favorite right now, so more are finding their way to us in the sewing community. The uses are many, can be as simple as stretching and hanging, cutting the panel in one large piece for a coat or jacket, or playing with the design and cutting it up.

A preview of things to come in these two quick videos:

The tip of the iceberg

I bought a record breaking amount of fabric this time, but got SO immersed in the choosing process that I neglected to take more photos. Here are a few, with others coming soon.

Left to right, top to bottom:

  • rayon and linen prints
  • embroidered cottons
  • organic cotton printed lawn and organic cotton knit.

Visit to Vogue Patterns

Madeline is a full time student at FIT with a passion for patternmaking, so we dropped by the Vogue Patterns office for a visit, and received a full tour of the sample rooms, pattern making rooms, fabric library archives, photo studio and had a chance to visit with colleagues. In the photo below Madeline is passing by the collection of mannikins. The dress form front and center is the Vogue size 10, which is quite small, really about a size 6 in ready to wear.

Cooper Hewitt Museum Exhibition

Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Re-use: presents the work of three designers who put sustainability at the heart of the design process: Luisa Cevese, founder of Riedzioni in Milan; Christina Kim, founder of dosa, inc., in Los Angeles; and Reiko Sudo, managing director at NUNO in Tokyo.

Wonderful, don't miss this if you are in NYC, a small but choice exhibition that inspires me to think about uses for my own scraps. Here, just a glimpse....

Stacks of sari fabrics. First used to cut out garments, just like you'd cut a dress out of yardage. These are the 'first dresses'. The leftovers are saved and used for other things. Nothing is wasted. Every scrap is saved.

These skirts are the 'second and third garments', the one on the right has been overdyed. It was satisfying to see this in a museum as I had just bought overdyed Indian textiles as yardage. We've been offering these fabrics recently and our customers snap them up quickly - more are coming soon.

Window covering uses pieced over dyed sari fabrics with hand appliqued dots. These were used like window shades so the light comes through the semi sheer fabrics with the effect of stained glass.

Finally, the tiniest bits are stitched into amulets with a prayer tucked inside. Small and very appealing; for sale in the museum shop at $25. each.

At the end of days of buying fabric, for fun and relaxation I like to explore with Jessica and Madeline, walk, take photos, have a good meal, and discover a certain kind of shop that I am always on the lookout for....

2 cool NYC shopping discoveries:


12 West 29th Street
New York, NY 10001

Tucked away on E.29th street, just steps from my hotel is a wonderful designer owned and operated shop featuring clothes with a modern Asian flair. Yeohlee herself has been in NYC since the '80's. Her aesthetic is classic, wearable, right for all ages and has a flattering sculptural quality that reminds me a bit of Issey Miyake. She came out to say hello, and her assistant Michael found this incredible coat he thought I'd like.

Loved it, it fit, it was 60% off, but, does not really fit my lifestyle. Had a lovely visit with Michael, so returned later in the afternoon with Madeline, and learned that the coat was going to another good home. Good!

I did buy this fantastic book by Yeohlee, highly recommended, a retrospective of her work and includes schematic for her patterns. She has an upcoming show at the museum in Phoenix, so if you are in the area, watch for it.

I'm devouring the book and will make her shop a stop in future NYC visits.

Dear Rivington

NY, NY 10012

Wandering along Great Jones Street, we came upon this marvelous store. Almost late for dinner, at Vic's down the block, I had to stop. Couldn't tell if it was vintage or new. A mix of both, an intriguing mix as it turns out, and the owners arrived to tell us more. Upstairs are clothes, downstairs home items. Hey, the wife/owner, is an artist and designer. I fell in love with her dolls which are renditions of famous fashion designers clothed in vintage fabrics in the mood of their collections. The shop is like being in a beautifully curated museum show or shop.

This shot, with Hey, the owner/designer in the background, gives a feeling for this very personalized/curated shop.

The Ace Hotel

Home away from home.....

Where to stay in NYC has been a conundrum. I've tried out a couple of places that were fine, but not great, want to be able to walk to the garment district, to have good restaurants close by and to be in an interesting neighborhood, and have been wanting to find a hotel I want to return to on future visits. I travel alone sometimes, so prefer a hotel to AirB&B. Last summer I took a photography workshop that was based out of the Ace Hotel, liked it, so that is where I booked for this trip.

The lobby looks like a nerdy library, always full of people on devices. Raucous noise from the bar in the back, sometimes deafening music in the evening - still blasting/rocking out when I checked out at 3:30AM! It is full of lively energy, and just off the lobby is The Breslin, a 1 star Michelin restaurant, an oyster bar, a bar-bar, and a Stumptown coffee shop. Food at The Breslin is fantastic, I ate there for breakfast, dinner and evening snacks. The people watching and photo ops at The Ace is world class, the staff very helpful, and I'll go back again.

I really liked the contrast between the Ace and where I live!

My room

Asked for a bath tub and quiet, got both. This mural is painted on the wall, and the decor kind of like an upscale boy's dorm room, complete with plaid blankets wool blankets and plywood furniture that looks like it was made in a high school woodshop class by the A students. Other amenities included a Smeg frig (loaded with drinks and snacks), and a Martin guitar the corner. The tub was tiny, but the room big, bed comfortable, very quiet and I was a happy Ace camper!

Settling back in at home, hoping to get some creative sewing time in the studio, have my eye on my new hoodie pattern in something cozy.

Happy Sewing and Creating from my studio to yours,


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© Marcy Tilton