Fabric Shopping in New York

I found a great fabric guide from Paula Nadelstern, a quilt New York artist. And went to explore.


I started with Mood and it’s appeared to be the best shop (in the world, I think, but come on, leave a miracle to chance).

I have no idea how I’ve turned 25 years old, visited New York 5 times before and never, never heard of Mood. Mood Shop is a fabric paradise, there are 2 floors of home textile and 4 floors of fashion fabrics. That day I’d planned visited 5 shops and lost myself in the first, Mood. I found plenty of great wool of $30, silk around $15–30 and cotton of $10–15. The shop is much more and I feel a traveler there, not a buyer.

I stocked up with some supplies for a few projects, got many swatches and came home crying like a child who is so amused and excited that isn’t able to hold on.

Warning! The story below is about a dog, but Mood experience wouldn’t be complete without it.

Exploring the shop I heard a dog barking downstairs. I’ve been living in New York for a month now and accustomed to the idea that everybody has a dog and take it wherever they want. So I didn’t come down to look up, that’s not me, really, I so love dogs that can speak of them unlimitedly and become unconscious when I see one. Then I got a discount card with a dog picture on it. But I didn’t ask why I was overwhelming by emotions probably.

When I came home and googled the shop I found out that they have a famous dog named Swatch living there. Swatch is a beloved pet of the Mood owner, Eric Sauma, he usually brings Swatch to the shop. Swatch the dog was appeared in the Project Runway — the Bravo-turned-Lifetime fashion design competition, where he wasn’t the main star but since that many people have a crush on him.

You can find articles about him, Pinterest board and youtube videos. Next time I will meet you, Swatch!

Fabric For Less

The name tells the idea of the shop. They sell really cheap fabrics including a good choice of wool (around $15), linen ($5–10) and silk ($10–15).

They organize the shop badly but it’s worth the price to dig around.

A K Fabric

That’s not the Mood size shop and you can’t be lost there, but it’s good. I shop only solid color fabrics and usually find there great choice of linen and wool.

Actually, the reason I love them is because it’s the place where I finally found the perfect red I’d been looking for a month. I’d needed some blend of wool & lycra or high quality viscose as it should drape nicely and feels comfortable.

Here is my trouble-making dress, hope it’s worth to make an effort.

The fabric should be thin to drap nicely and thick enough for a high collar.

I really love fabric shopping in New York. Almost all shops are located in one district — in Moscow I traveled through the city as Moscow is huge and everything is spread out, in New York I traveled inside the shops as they are so big and great.

I still have problems with inches as my mind is ruled by the metric system. Once I noticed that yard and meter are pretty similar I persuaded myself there wouldn’t be a problem. But then I went to buy 1.8 yards of silk (what’s 1.6 meters according to Google) and was screwed. The guy didn’t understand me, I showed him a google page converting meters to yards as I’d decided I’d been wrong to say one-point-eight. The guy was confused anyway. I asked him to divide yard to ten parts, take eight of them, plus one yard more and make me happy. Here he wanted to quit his job maybe 🙂 Americans don’t divide the length by ten! Yard may be divided into quarters or by 8, 12 and etc. The guy had been disappeared in a storage room for a while and then brought a metric rule. He found 1.6 meters in his metric rule, remeasured it by his inches rule and sold me the fabric. I’m European being totally fucked up, sorry, man.

I haven’t had enough time yet to enjoy shops specialised in ribbons, buttons, beads, laces and zippers stores. But I’ve visited couples of them and it’s truly amazing to be in a 2-leveles space full of just threads or only zippers! Magic, magic!