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Despite reports of its imminent demise due to clothing designers and manufacturers moving production overseas, New York City’s Garment District is still the best place in the world to shop for fabric, trims, notions and everything else sewing- and craft-related. I shop there two to three times a week and write about it for my web site Shop the Garment District, but I still manage to discover something new and exciting every time I’m there. BurdaStyle asked me to share my Garment District store recommendations with you, so I’ve put together three shopping itineraries that can be accomplished in an afternoon or a day. Addresses, store hours and a map are all available on Shop the Garment District.

Shopping Trip #1 – for Aspiring Designers/Fashionistas

Mood Fabrics: Because you’ve seen it on Project Runway and because they have everything; it’s like the anchor department store of the Garment District. Celebrity sightings entirely possible.

B&J Fabrics: Come here to expand your fabric knowledge and fantasize about the gown you’ll make to wear when you walk the red carpet. You can spend $1,000 a yard on feather-trimmed, embroidered organza, though there are plenty of fabrics within most budgets.

Paron Fabrics: A smaller, well-edited store that’s a Garment District mainstay. Helpful and friendly staff is generous with their time and their fabric cuts. Not so overwhelming as Mood or B&J, plus you can get great deals in their sale section. Burda patterns and BurdaStyle magazine sold here.

M&J Trimming: Visit this store to embellish your garments like a designer. All kinds of trims, ribbons, buttons, appliqués and more. An inspirational fantasy of a store.

Pacific Trimmings: It gets a little crazy at times, but if you’re looking for fabric-covered jumbo snaps, petersham ribbon, Riri zippers or hard-to-find hardware you’ll put up with designers’ assistants negotiating deals for grosses of brass snaps and other things.

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Shopping Trip #2 – for Frugal Fabricaholics

W. 39th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues: If it’s bargains you want, then concentrate on this block, where FIT professors have been known to direct their cash-strapped students. Helpful traits for shopping here: a sense of adventure and the ability to maneuver through narrow aisles of fabric bolts likely to fall on you. If you’re willing to overlook all the tacky-sparkly fabric, you can walk away with some amazing finds, like silk velvet for $10 a yard or wool doublecloth for $12 a yard. Chic Fabrics, Fabrics For Less, Weaver’s and G&R Fabrics are the stores where you’re bound to have the best luck. Daytona Braids & Trims has excellent prices on embellishments, and though you aren’t likely to score any deals here you can pick up all the dressmaking supplies and notions you need at Steinlauf & Stoller.

Shopping Trip #3 – for Chain Store Refugees

The Whole Garment District: If you live in an area where your only option for buying fabric, trims and craft supplies is the local chain store, then you need to devote an entire day to the Garment District. Wear your most comfortable flats, take a wheeled shopping bag, and be at Mood Fabrics on W. 37th when it opens at 9 a.m. Next, staying between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, hit the stores on W. 38th, W. 39th and W. 40th Streets. Head east to M&J Trimming, and circle back and visit the stores I recommend on W. 36th and W. 35th. Collapse happily from exhaustion and fabric overload.

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Meg McDonald has been sewing ever since she made a peasant blouse at age 12. She writes about the wonderful fabrics, trims and notions NYC’s Garment District has to offer at Shop the Garment District, an online guide for sewists and crafters. Meg shares her personal adventures in fashion sewing on her blog, Lindsay T Sews, where she readily admits she still has “what was I thinking?” moments when it comes to some of the things she makes.

31 Comments

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    Apr 2, 2011, 10.43 PMby Tameka Matae

    This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for! I just discovered last week that the Metrobus runs from PGH to NY for as little as $20! I can’t wait to go!

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

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    Feb 3, 2011, 06.47 AMby HollyGoltly

    My mom joined me for my wedding in NYC, Stop #1? Garment District. It did not disappoint. In Dallas, Golden D’Or is the place. The area it is in has more stores as well, and all the local fashion students and sewing fanatics shop there.

  • Dazy_large

    Jan 26, 2011, 10.02 AMby Tere Rampolla

    I recently moved out of NYC to the Netherlands and of all the things to miss about the city, the garment district seems like my biggest loss. I used to work on 7th Av. and instead of spending my lunch money on actual food, I would spend it and my lunch hour perusing through the wonderland of stores in the district. Luckily I was able to accumulate a nice stash that I brought over with me, so until I go back to NYC this will be my main source of material and inspiration. Any tips on similar districts in NL would be most welcome.

  • Missing

    Jan 25, 2011, 09.41 PMby spanetta

    I’m grateful I live in Queens where I can find the true hidden gems. $10 a yard is a bargain?? Try $2 a yard. No thank you, Manhattan! Let the tourists get overcharged.

    1 Reply
    • Missing

      Jan 26, 2011, 12.18 AMby aisy

      where in queens do you get $2 a yard cloth? i live in the city but dont know of any places in queens

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    Jan 23, 2011, 12.48 PMby tonierenee

    This summer my daughter and I drove from MA (for our first mom/daughter trip) to shop at Mood in NY. I would have loved to have this information then. I will copy it and print for next summer. Funny thing: We were told to leave Mood for an hour so the Project Runway crew could shoot. As I was leaving the elevator I quickly turned to photograph the guys carrying the cameras. Then I rushed out the door to catch up with my daughter. We went next door to get a mani-pedi done to use up the time. All the while we kept saying how we wished we could have seen Tim or Heidi from the show. Two days later back we were at home looking through the photos – I see Tim Gun clear as day – standing at the elevator not even two feet from where I was getting off!! You can imagine the laughter (and other assorted noises) we made when we saw him there. It still cracks me up just remembering our reaction.

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    Jan 22, 2011, 11.49 PMby LindsayTNYC

    I’m so glad you guys like this article! I just wanted to add that due to article length restrictions I couldn’t mention all the stores I would have liked to include. But if you go to Shopthegarmentdistrict.com you’ll find reviews and information about many more stores you’ll definitely want to check out. —Meg

  • Missing

    Jan 22, 2011, 12.03 AMby Barbara Moss

    My favorite “small” fabric store in the garment district is Metro Textiles. It’s on the 9th floor in an office building at 265 W 37th St., just down the street from Mood. It’s a small shop with good prices. The quality of all of their fabrics is excellent, great selection of wools, knits, cottons, silks and linens plus others. They’re open 8-6 Monday through Fridays. Their website is: http://metrotextile.blogspot.com/

  • Richie_and_ian_051_large

    Jan 21, 2011, 06.27 PMby assets

    Thank you for this guide I wish I had it when I visited NYC NOV 2009 for Thanksgiving. I found Mood and loved it so much. The streets were overwhelming and hard to find other fabric shops. Thank you!! Your guide will follow me on my next trip in the future.

  • Mekidsmountain_large

    Jan 21, 2011, 05.56 PMby Lucha Suarez

    This shopping trip is totally on my bucket list!

  • Avatar-cupcake_large

    Jan 21, 2011, 01.20 PMby frkbustad

    Excellent! I’m going to NYC in February, and need a good way of discovering the Garment District! Thanks!

  • Me2_large

    Jan 20, 2011, 05.37 PMby missjanee

    Burda, you should host a fabric meet-up and tour of the garment district! I live near New York but still have no idea where the best places are and would love to meet other Burda members! Great article!

  • Momooo_large

    Jan 20, 2011, 05.19 PMby variantvi

    i can’t even get to the fabric district in philly and I live 20 mins away! By the time i’m off work and get there the store lose at 5 . I have to make a day trip just to go to nyc.

    1 Reply
    • Me_large

      Jan 21, 2011, 06.00 PMby helen-ethel

      I have the same problem. I just can’t seem to make it in time afterwork. Some are open late on Wednesdays I believe. Also, have you been to Jomar in South Philly? A-MAZ-ING and open late!

  • Logo4957b_large

    Jan 20, 2011, 04.40 PMby jen .ss1

    It would be great to have some information on, for example, the custom zipper makers. Really great for replacing special zippers on coats, etc.

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    Jan 20, 2011, 04.10 PMby FabricUiPhoneApp

    Meg, wonderful list…I don’t have silk velvet in my Fabric IPhone app yet, but i will soon. I love a burn out leave pattern on silk velvet.

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    Jan 20, 2011, 12.11 PMby mariefur

    So jealous not to live in NYC anymore…

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    Jan 20, 2011, 11.14 AMby kkhb

    I would so love to do one of these itineraries but I’m in Portugal. Last night I was just planning a similar trip into Lisbon, mapping out shops to hit!

  • Missing

    Jan 19, 2011, 11.35 PMby lauramlee

    Trust me — you can’t go wrong with Meg’s advice – the only problem is that you come home with an EMPTY wallet!!!! I have shopped at several of Meg’s suggested spots and ALWAYS find some treasure to add to my ever growing stash!!

    Many thanks to Meg for taking time from a very busy work and family life to share with us this amazing information!!!

    KUDOS!

    Laura Lee

  • Missing

    Jan 19, 2011, 11.34 PMby Kumiko Mei

    OMG this is so helful to me! I’m so glad that I live in New York, Fashion Ave its amazing. Anyway, thank you!

  • Orp_1769_large

    Jan 19, 2011, 10.40 PMby loyl8

    soo excited thank you for this im going to ny this year and was just wondering this myself. thank you :)

  • Dsc02324_2_large

    Jan 19, 2011, 09.49 PMby reneebies

    AHHH! Someday I’m going to NYC to fabric shop and stop by to bother everyone at burdastyle! :)

  • Burda_large

    Jan 19, 2011, 09.14 PMby suzanneallen

    Great article. Any info on LA Garment District?

  • Feisty_girl_large

    Jan 19, 2011, 08.32 PMby ashleyraine

    Thanks for this. I am always so intimidated and overwhelmed when I try to shop that area.

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    Jan 19, 2011, 08.31 PMby wzrdreams

    Excellent summation of my favorite neighborhood. Chic Fabrics is my #1 fabric shop.

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    Jan 19, 2011, 08.29 PMby simone272

    I wish I was going to New York :) This is so great, it would be nice with something like with some European cities like London or Berlin..

  • Hs_square_large

    Jan 19, 2011, 08.01 PMby cooi

    Good guide, but definitely missing a few hidden gems. ;)

    1 Reply
    • Me2_large

      Jan 20, 2011, 05.35 PMby missjanee

      Please, do tell! (Though I respect if you don’t want to give up your favorite places, I’m like that with vintage shops :p)

  • Missing

    Jan 19, 2011, 07.50 PMby stickman34

    I love, love, love shopping in NYC! Forget the wheeled shopping bag, I bring an extra suitcase on wheels. Most stores are happy to stash it behind the counter for you while you shop. It’s New York, no one will think you are weird.

  • Avatar3_large

    Jan 19, 2011, 07.43 PMby carottesauvage

    Thanks for such a cool post! I hope you extend the concept to other cities?It will come handy for a NY trip!

    • This is a question
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