I went to the garment district yesterday for the first time. It was interesting...in the first shop I went to, the owners were smoking. Inside. Seriously, is there anything the smell of smoke sticks to more than fabric?? I couldn't belive it. In several other shops people were also smoking, albiet by the open front door -- in 33 degree weather! Priorities, I guess.
Anyway, I found some amazing things. One store was stocked entirely with wool. It was presumably geared towards mens' suiting, as almost all the colors were fairly subdued, but it was incredible. I walked around for a very long time just feeling everything. I'm trying to hone my skills at identifying fiber content of fabric, but right now I'm still practicing identifying "wool" vs. "polyester." Pretty basic. I spent a long time in the cashmere section, especially because there are these vendors all over NYC right now, selling $5 cashmere scarves that they all swear are real cashmere -- I'm sure they're not, but they do feel mighty convincing.... So I spent a long time feeling all the cashmere. Finally I brought a muted plaid up to the front, thinking maybe I could get 1 yard and make an extra luxurious scarf. Hmm.. at $120.00/yd. the potentially faux scarves seem to fit my lifestyle a little better.
There were so many specialty stores. There was one little 1/2 block that was full of spandex fabric stores. Others sold only european fabrics. There were a lot of trim and button stores as well, which are my weakness...I found some big brass military buttons to replace some more generic buttons on a wool melton coat, and drooled over all the glitzy buttons that would make fabulous earrings with a little glue and some post findings...and then I had to leave to protect my already very tiny bank account.
I was originally on a mission to find some plain black cotton for a project I'm about to embark on. I'm making a bag with braided handles. The braids will be made out of tubes of black cotton, stuffed taute with some sort of filling. Hard to describe, but I want it to have an almost down jacket puffyness, while maintaining its shape in your hand. Originally I thought of stuffing the tubes with polar fleece -- light and bulky -- or maybe quilt batting - but that might be hard to pull through the tubes -- if anyone has any suggestions, let me know. As soon as I'm done, I'll post some pictures. (This may be months away...)