I have few regrets about our recent trip. Most involve things we didn't get the time to do or see, and one in particular is not spending more time and money at the great fabric shops in the Garment District of New York.
We started out that day with good intentions and even had our subway rides planned out. Visit the 9/11 Memorial in the morning. Go straight to Mood and the other shops after. Go home and relax before an evening performance of Wicked on Broadway. But as is typical for travellers, you get waylaid by other interesting things, and then you have to eat lunch, and then someone (not me) gets a bee in his bonnet about needing a burger from the Shake Shack, and it must be the one in Madison Square Park and it must be NOW.
It was worth it. The day was a beautiful one to be lunching outside under the trees, the burgers and root beer were great, and the bee-bonneted one was happy.
By the time we got to Mood it was mid afternoon and I was very tired and very footsore. In the back of my mind I knew I couldn't go crazy as I had limited luggage space, and limited patience to carry said luggage. So I decided to buy one really nice piece of fabric from Mood, as a memento, and then move on to another fabric store. The fabric wasn't cheap - not cheaper than most places in Australia, anyway and that surprised me. I easily could have spent all day browsing all three floors, and then I could have spent another half day going through their button collection. I spent an hour there in total, but it was an hour well spent. I had engaging conversations with both my cutter and the cashier, and I had a lot of fun being in a store I'd only ever dreamed about.
This is what I bought. It cost me $18 a yard. See? Pricey. But it's lovely printed cotton, and I plan to use it for this year's Christmas frock.
We then moved on to Paron Fabrics which is about a twentieth the size of Mood, but a little bit more personable and cheaper. I fell in love with a few fabrics there, but again decided to be sensible and limit myself to one piece. It's a cotton sateen with a crazy print on it, and I've never seen anything like it. I'm planning on making a skirt for work, maybe with a couple of little pleats. I haven't decided yet.
And then before we knew it we were too wiped to go anywhere else, so we walked past Parsons, found the nearest subway and headed back to Harlem. I was actually satisfied with what we'd seen and done and was on a massive high from it all. And to be honest it was only after I'd gotten home to Canberra that I realised I may have missed a few opportunities. I wish now I had planned to spend the whole day in the garment district. Not buying necessarily. But watching and browsing. I'll be back, I'm sure.
A couple of days later we found ourselves on the Upper East Side and Lexington Ave, and we visited Pins and Needles NYC. It's a fantastic little quilting shop and the lady there was so helpful and friendly, jotting down other addresses of places we needed to visit in San Francisco, and also websites I'd find interesting. And they had excellent husband chairs, which we all know is very important in any crafting store. I really wanted to buy something at the store as both a memento and to repay the kindness that had been shown to us, and my eyes eventually fell upon the collection of Liberty Lawns. At much cheaper prices than Australia. Finally.
This might be a Not Sorbetto, or some other summery top. I haven't decided yet.
But something I did decide when I got back home was that I have to use these fabrics before I sew with anything else. They are special, and mean something to me. They have stories. It is only fitting I do something special with them.
Until of course I went to the Spotlight sale yesterday morning and came home with arms full of lovely embroidered cottons.
Must. Not. Be. Seduced.