I was living in New York when I made my first quilt, so I did my fabric shopping in the Garment District. I think that experience spoiled me a
bit lot, and it also led to some of my favorite quilting practices, such as using apparel fabrics in my work.
Although I live in St. Louis now (home to several amazing local quilt shops–I’m getting spoiled again), I thought it might be useful to list some of my favorite places to shop for fabric in NYC. This is by no means a comprehensive list, these are just the places I make sure to check out each time I visit. If you’re planning a trip to the city, you may want to check them out, too!
In the Garment District:
B and J Fabrics: 525 7th Avenue (at 38th Street), second floor
Amazing selection of all types of fabric for apparel and home decor, this is my go-to place for things like linen and velvet; they also carry a huge selection of quilting cottons, as well as an impressive array of lawns by Liberty of London
NY Elegant Fabrics: 222 West 40th Street (btw/7th and 8th Avenues)
Again, a huge selection of fabrics of all types. This is where I go for cotton shirtings, since they have a great selection and good prices. I made my first quilt with seersucker from this store. They’re also very generous about swatching.
Paron Fabrics: 257 West 39th Street (btw/7th and 8th Avenues)
Not as bewildering a collection as B & J or NY Elegant Fabrics, Paron stocks some beautiful apparel fabrics. I especially love their selection of wool suitings. Be sure to check out the Paron Annex next door for some incredible deals on designer fabrics.
Beckenstein Men’s Fabrics: 257 West 39th Street (btw/7th and 8th Avenues)
Specializing in fine men’s apparel fabrics, the offerings here will make you swoon. Pricier than the other fabric stores I’ve listed, they carry an enormous quantity of shirting and suiting fabrics, all of the highest quality.
M & J Trimming: 1008 6th Avenue (btw/37th and 38th Streets)
Whether you need ribbon, buttons, or any other type of trim, M & J probably has it. This was my favorite place to buy ribbon, which you can get by the yard or by the spool. They also have an extensive website that gives you a sense of the scope of their offerings.
Its also worth wandering around the rest of the garment district, which is home to more fabric stores than I can list here. They run the gamut from organized to chaotic, and specialize in various types of fabric and/or trim (if you want spandex, there’s a store just for you!) The Garment District runs from 34th Street to 42nd Street between 5th and 9th Avenues, although the fabric stores seem to be most concentrated between 7th and 9th (at least, they were when I lived in the city–this may have changed by now).
Elsewhere in Manhattan:
Purl Soho: 459 Broome Street (btw/Mercer and Greene)
It goes without saying that if you are a crafter visiting NYC you make the pilgrimage to this inspiring shop. I stop by every visit to fawn over the wall of wool crewel threads, but the yarn and fabric offerings are every bit as drool worthy, and they also offer an extensive collection of craft books. I like to stop in at Harney & Sons tea, a block and a half east on Broome (btw/Broadway and Crosby) whenever I’m in this area.
City Quilter: 133 West 25th Street (btw/6th and 7th avenues)
On my last visit to New York I was delighted to see that this shop had expanded. The only dedicated quilt shop when I lived in the city, they carry a great selection of modern designs, as well as batting, notions, and books and patterns. As at Purl Soho, the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful.
So those are my must-visit fabric shops in Manhattan. I’ll admit to compiling this list from memory, however, and things are always changing in NYC. If you’ve noticed any additional amazing places to shop for fabric, let me know in the comments–I’m always in search of new shops to visit!