Friday, October 21, 2016

Fashion Design Books - Update

Update:  This store is closing, but there is currently a big 50% off sale going on!

Fashion Design Books (click the link for pictures of the store and their offerings) is a great bookstore, nestled within the campus of Fashion Institute of Technology on West 27th Street.  Open to the public, whether you are a student or not!

With both a website, and their brick and mortar location, they offer much more than simply books.

Fashion Design Books
250 W 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 633-9646

Store Hours:

    Monday: 8:30AM - 7:00PM 
    Tuesday: 8:30AM - 7:00PM 
    Wednesday: 8:30AM - 7:00PM 
    Thursday: 8:30AM - 7:00PM 
    Friday: 9:00AM - 6:00PM 
    Saturday: 10:00AM - 4:00PM 
    Sunday: CLOSED

    One of the beautiful things about this store, (and there are many), is that the names of the products they offer are clearly labeled, letting you know exactly what they are for. In many garment district stores, mystery products abound, but here, you know what you're looking at.

    Walk over to the notions area and you will find shirring thread for example, and plastic bags offering 100 zippers for $4.99 (not a typo), quality sewing scissors, screen printing kits, oversized waxed carbon paper and yarn. Aimed at the person who wants to create small quantities with high-quality results, you can get good bang for your buck here.

    In addition to that, let's say you want some books. Some of the books they offer are also used for classes taught at FIT. But ANYONE Can buy them, and no, you don't have to be enrolled in a course to do so!

    Need drawing supplies? Portfolios? Fashion Art supplies? Books to help you become a better illustrator? It's all here, in a quieter, less hustley-bustley environment (depending on when you choose to go, of course).

    They also have a nicely curated selection of high end fashion magazines, from which I had to rip myself away... since I have often wondered if there was a rehab for magazine addicts I could attend in the past. Now I abstain almost entirely!

    Anyway... if you've never been to this store, or actually, even if you have, it is worth a second (or ten thousandth) look!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Once upon a time... at City Quilter...

The lonely City Quilter sign, amid the constant construction/destruction on the block.

I wrote this post to tell you that the beloved City Quilter is closing (10/26/16).  They will still maintain an online presence, but we will miss the brick and mortar store!

I visited the store yesterday, stopping in to see if they were still carrying the umbrella kits I've always loved, but never quite committed to... (Note: they only had one left... I still haven't committed to that project).  The store was busy and happy, with lots of hustle-bustle... and they still have plenty of lovely quilting cottons and tools available for purchase.

But... their looming departure makes me feel sad.

Why? This is sad news for the sewing community, especially since there are so few stores who really approach the more crafty, non-professional, artistic and skilled sewer in such a respectful way. Community is vital to inspiration, motivation, and creativity. Unless you are a relatively rare breed of creative energy, what inspires you to make the things you make?  Generally speaking, what others have made/are making/what supplies there are to use - right? The layout and inventory of this particular store has always been warm and inviting, the staff has always been particularly helpful and welcoming, and they did not hesitate to answer questions in a patient, professional way.

But, it also sad for another reason.  What will replace City Quilter for the the people who love this store?  That is the question.  I have heard a few suggestions, and, while I will research them and put them here on the blog, I fear that there is no true substitute for this place.

Once upon a time, I wrote this post...

Even if you don't specifically care about "quilts" in general, I sincerely urge you to visit this particular show.  The New York Historical Society Museum, located on scenic Central Park West at 78th Street, is one of our city's fabulous visits of the moment.  On view until August 24th, this exhibit lets you get up close and personal with the beautiful quilted specimens on display.  While it is truly about our American history, it is also a very interesting textile study.  The fabric used to make quilts made two centuries ago have stood the test of time, and hold the same beauty today as when they were made.

At first glance, this exhibition might seem a bit quaint, its subject — textiles and the Civil War — evoking Americana more than American history. But this show, “Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War,” which opened last month at the New-York Historical Society after originating at the American Textile History Museumin Lowell, Mass., does much more: It turns Americana back into history.

-  a quote from the article "King Cotton and His Bloody Surrogates" - New York Times

“Reconciliation Quilt,” 1867. Made by Lucinda Ward Honstain (1820-1904) of Brooklyn, New York. Cotton; appliqu├ęd.

Examples of wools and cottons of the time are shown in the display cases throughout the exhibit, and examples of items made using these fabrics reveal their quality, durability, and beauty. The stitches in the quilts really spoke to me as I examined them, feeling the patient skill of quilt makers who worked thousands of careful hand stitches into those pieces, with no idea of how they would one day be displayed, and what they would mean in the context of our nation's history.  Truly, what a beautiful exhibit...

Also note on the plan your visit page of the museum's website, the museum also offers a "pay what you wish" admission on Friday evenings, and children under age 5 are free.

If you love quilting?

Try City Quilter or Purl for great quilting cottons.  Try Rosen and Chadick, and B&J for great cotton prints in general.

If you would like to know more about this blog, obtain a map of the garment district stores, or upcoming Speakeasy tours, just follow the links for more information!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion" This fall at the MET

Mark your calendars now... this one looks like it will be another beautiful masterpiece of an exhibit!

From the Metropolitan Museum's website:

The Costume Institute's fall 2016 exhibition will feature significant acquisitions of the past 10 years and explore how the department has honed its collecting strategy to amass masterworks of the highest aesthetic and technical quality, including iconic works by designers who have changed fashion history and advanced fashion as an art form. During the seven decades since The Costume Institute became part of The Met in 1946, that collecting strategy has shifted from creating a collection of Western high fashion that is encyclopedic in breadth to one focused on acquiring masterworks.
The exhibition, in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, will highlight approximately 60 of these masterworks from the early 18th century to the present. The Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery will be organized chronologically with ensembles shown in packing crates and on palettes, as though they have just arrived at The Met. Each object—primarily women's wear, as well as some men's wear ensembles and a selection of accessories—will be accompanied by an in-depth explanation of its significance within the canon of fashion history.
The Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery will feature some of the ensembles donated by designers in honor of Harold Koda upon his retirement as curator in charge of The Costume Institute in January 2016.