It’s time to be the girl I want to be. The girl that travels for art and inspiration and then writes about the adventure. The plan was to drive to New York City, see lots of art and keep the shopping minimal. This meant I would only buy fabric from people like me, small independent companies, that really appreciate the business. Going to New York City and staying in the Garment District without going crazy buying fabric was going to be a challenge. I wanted to fill my cart full of memories and inspiration, not cheap polyesters and knits.

New York City is the fabric shopping destination in the United States and for years we talked about our desire to visit. When my favorite artist had an exhibit come to Brooklyn we knew it was our time.

Brooklyn Museum

The first thing we did was practice riding and understanding the subway train. Uptown – Jamaica Queens versus Downtown – Crown Heights Brooklyn. The local or the express? And why does the exit sign make it look like I’m on the wrong platform? Once we knew how to get around we headed to my dream attraction, the Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

At the museum we met with Alexa, owner of Brooklyn Sewcial. I’ve followed her on Instagram since the Sew Dayton years and it was wonderful getting to meet her in person. We got to chat about business, sewing success and work.

There were no photos allowed in the exhibit rooms. I took notes on color combinations I loved and really studied all of the dresses while chatting it up with Alexa. Heads up, buy your tickets well in advance online because they sell out fast. Prepare to see three large rooms full of her things.

Alexa was so nice and she gave us a good list of indie owned fabric shops. The first stop, the Brooklyn General Store, had personality. Cathy, the shop assistant, was extremely helpful and friendly. I had an abundance of quality fabrics to choose from. By this time I had a winter bird’s eye view of NYC’s current clothing trends. The biggest trend was the color black. This prompted me to purchase a top shelf black cotton lawn as souvenir of our trip.

Walking about 20,000 steps a day in the city we also saw trends in outer wear such as fur trimmed hooded coats, sherpa style jackets and Canada Goose coats. Vintage faux fur coats were also a cool trend I loved seeing.

The next indie sew hop was Purl Soho.

Getting to see all the makers and the awesome people running shops was more than heart warming. I bought a good bit of small waffle knit here.

I wanted to see Mood Fabric! We visited them on a weekday morning as soon as they opened. I got to see everything up close and personal in an almost empty store. There were so many luxurious fine fabrics that I desperately wanted to take home with me. It helped that I knew I could buy the fabrics online if I wanted. I was grateful to see such an amazing place.

In the garment district the streets were lined with shops dedicated to sewing, trims, buttons, fabrics and tailors. It was wonderful!

Can you imagine loving to make swimwear and not shopping here?

Out last big adventure was visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We walked through almost all the exhibits because the textile exhibit I wanted to see didn’t open until 3pm and we got there at 10:30. I mindfully collected colors, shapes and patterns inspiration in our five hours. Honestly, it was so large you could spend a week visiting and still not see everything.

Textile artist Ilona Kesevu appears happy and cheerful, although, art can be deceiving.

The textile room was small but worth waiting for. I really enjoyed seeing and learning about weaves, lace and history.

To put a bow on this trip I left NYC with the feeling of gratitude and an overwhelming sense of who I am. I am confident being the girl I want to be. Giving back and shopping small feels really good and has a lot of benefits. I want my life to be full of experiences, good people, fun and giving back.

Behind the Scenes~

Still time to sign up for the mermaid tail class. Stay tuned, my spring classes will be listed soon.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream It! Sew It!