39th Street Convert

by Charlotte

​Is there anything quite like losing a blogpost to really get the blood boiling?  Actually, yes, there probably is.  So, one more time for the cheap seats in the back, we have your humble host performing “relatively inconsequential prose that you could frankly live without. . .preposition check!”

I had rather long day.  It was fabulous.  My aunt is a chain store refugee and I don’t think she’s too keen on the District yet.  I have to explain to her than quilting cotton < garment cotton < Italian-made garment cotton < garment cotton of angels and saints (i.e. one Mr de la Renta, swoon).

The absolute worst thing about having a blog is that no matter how short your memory is, you’ve got a written record to back it up.  My mum treated me to a fabric splurge, so the two-cut promise was shot.  It was shot at Metro Textiles, home of the nicest man on the face of the planet, but shot nonetheless.  (More on that tomorrow, with photos and all that jazz.)​  For now, we have to talk about how I was absolutely, positively charmed by Chic Fabrics and Fabric/s for Less.  (Both of which are owned by the same super-nice man.  He has a mustache.  Need I say more?)  (Parentheses!)

It all started with a specific fabric.  Doesn’t it always?  Three or four months ago I stumbled across a lovely Ascher print online.  See, before I go into Paron, I stalk manhattanfabrics.com because, um, they are exactly the same place.  For serious.  The “warehouse” is in Paron’s basement.   Anyway, I found it, it found me, it was $16.50 a yard.  Ouch.  That’s pretty dear for cotton poplin.  Nice cotton poplin, but cotton poplin nonetheless.

Gertie made a dress out of the yellow colorway and another out of a kind of similar pink.  Each day, I would waffle back and forth between yellow and white.  Finally, today I woke up with the intention of buying three yards of the white and calling it quits.  Decisions, man.  They are empowering.​

So I was browsing the wares at Fabric/s for Less, trying not to die under an avalanche of linens, when my mum told me to come quickly because she found a fabric that she knew I would love.  You sense where this is going, don’t you?

(Huff.  Squarespace is being a beast tonight.  This image refused to resize.  Pretend it is of a dignified size, will you?  Also, see if you can spot my pajamas.  Banner day here at Seam Ripped Central.)

Anyhoo, you haven’t heard the best part.  I got them for $4/yd.  I got eight yards total for less than I would have paid for two at Paron.  I have spent my whole career biased against 39th Street because the racks at B&J are just so dignified and everyone at Paron is so friendly and Mood has such a gorgeous selection.  I feared I didn’t have the Turkish bazaar attitude required to dig and negotiate.  My mama does, as this fabric was originally $5 a yard.  (For the record, I am kind of anti-negotiating in the Garment District as the area is struggling.  For the other record, every single person who walked into Fabrics for Less negotiated.  The owner told me that he expects it.)​

Think about all the money you free up when you have savings so big.  Hell, I could make a dress and insert hand-picked RiRi zippers and line it in the finest batiste.  I could buy Rit dye and color said batiste to match or contrast or do whatever the heck I want it to do.  It would still clock in at less than I would have paid elsewhere.  Isn’t that something to think about?​

At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, I think that every store in the Garment District has its place and deserves our business.  Mood is like Macy’s, an egalitarian flagship.  B&J is like Bergdorf’s, hoity of the toit.  Paron I have a hard time categorizing.  Some of my most exquisite fabrics come from them.​  Were I not with the Ladies Who Hunt (for Bargains), I would have spent an hour ogling their chillingly beautiful silk prints.  Hmm.  I love them, but I obviously have to widen my net.

Anyway.  I have to be up early as I am moving next Thursday and am still in the throes of packing.  Everyone is pitching in.​

I give up on image resizing.  Squarespace can kiss my grits.​  Also, there is a better way to blur out my address, but I am plum ready to pass out.

(Okay, this one is totally post-Squarespace updated and from Labor Day weekend.  Whatever.  He’s in my suitcase for crying out loud.)  I have turned into one of those parents who constantly post updates on their children.  Lo siento.​  A muslin update is the horizon, does that compensate for it?  Not at all?  Fine.

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