Hot! Visiting New York

I'm going to be traveling to New York and, although I been there many times, have never spent time looking for sewing resources. Does anyone have any recommendations for stores that sell vintage supplies? Fabrics, notions, patterns? Are there any stores I just have to visit? Any other sort of vintage resources? I'm definitely hitting the Met's Costume Institute but would love additional suggestions.

Also, would any readers out there be interested in doing a meet-up of sorts?


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. Too much fear. You must be careful about random meet-ups with readers. We have had bad experiences.

  2. Jealous of the thought of a meetup (scary random readers and all)! I only know where to buy the non-vintage fabric in NYC, but I do have one recommendation: in addition to Met Costume Institute, you should check out the FIT Museum, if you’ve never been.

  3. I’ve really only just started getting into both vintage clothing and sewing and NYC, so unfortunately don’t have any recommendations for where they all intersect. Still, I’d love to meet up–perhaps if you do have some destination suggestions the meetup could be a group shopping trip? Fairly non-threatening, hopefully :)

  4. The Costume Institute is CONSTANTLY closed, so be ready for that. I’ve been to New York 9 times as an adult and still have not been able to go.
    Not aware of good vintage stores, but the Garment District is a great place for fabrics. I love love love Spandex House and Spandex World. They have great swimwear fabric, and cotton knits for t-shirts too. Basically just walk up and down 36th to 39th Streets (between 6th and 8th Avenues) and you’re bound to come across some gems.

  5. You should check out the museum at FIT on 27th and 7th. It’s free, and always amazing. Here is the link to their current exhibition, through May 11th. Check out their website for more details (hours, exhibitions, etc.) Also, do check out the Brooklyn Museum of Art for their fashion exhibit, American High Style (May 7- Aug 1), designed to complement the exhibit at the Met. AND, with all of the suggested donation museums in NY, DON’T feel like you have to pay the full amount. New Yorkers pay what they feel like (a couple of bucks, whatever you think is fair), and no one even bats an eye. I’m firmly convinced it’s only tourists who pay the full amount. (And honestly, why should you if you’re only gonna be there for one hour looking at 1 or 2 exhibits?)
    My favorite place to buy vintage is Beacon’s Closet ( Both locations are nice, but I’ve had better luck (and it’s a more interesting neighborhood) at the Williamsburg location.
    Have fun!

  6. I’ve bought some great vintage buttons at The Family Jewels in the Garment District.
    Thrift stores here can be hit or miss when it comes to fabric and notions. You might have better luck with checking craigslist for stoop sales, sidewalks sales and estate sales.
    Brooklyn General sells new and vintage fabric. I’ve never been, but I’d be up for a visit.
    Don’t worry about meeting up with strangers, as long as it’s in public. The worst that can happen is awkward pauses in conversation. Plus, you can always fake an illness.
    The costume institute should be open for a while now–they’ve just had their gala, so they’ve debuted a new collection.

  7. Tender Buttons, on 62nd between 3rd and Lex (closer to Lex, on the north side of the street), has a great selection of vintage buttons. They can be expensive, but is definitely worth a trip. And there’s a nice little French cafe on the SE corner of 62nd and Lex that’s a good place to get a snack after button shopping.

  8. Tinsel Trading Co. in the garment district is a wonderful little shop. They have new and vintage accessories and millinery items.

  9. I echo Cindy’s suggestion – Tinsel Trading Co! I’ve never been there myself, but I saw it profiled on Martha Stewart Living many years ago and it looks divine!

  10. Meet up with Male Pattern Boldness! He’s in NYC.

  11. You may want to check out a blog I read. She lives around New York or at least the outskirts and works in NY… anyway here is her blog site she does meniton different places to go… not sure if it’s what you will want… but it sure sounds fun!
    Enjoy your trip!

  12. So, probably not as vintage as preferred, but I’ve never been to this shop and I read the blog and it just looks beautiful so I just recommend everyone else who gets to go to New York to go there! – I have had friends that have visited and loved it!

  13. You should definitely hit the garment district — between 7th and 8th avenue and 35th st to 40th st or so. There are tons of little stores there that sell lots of fabric.
    Some of my favourite stores: Mood Fabrics, Paron’s fabrics, lots of other little stores along 39th St b/w 7th and 8th Ave.

  14. Hi Mena, thanks so much for your beautiful contributions to MMM! Not sure if you’re into this sort of thing, but I’d like to present you with this award!:
    Zoe x

  15. Ooo, have an amazing time in New York, I would love to visit there sometime!
    In the meantime though, I’ve featured your blog on my blog and thought you might like to check it out (and obviously tell me off if you’re not happy with it!)
    I’m really enjoying reading your blog and wanted to share it with the few folk who read mine :-)

  16. I live in NJ about 20 minutes from the garment district. As a resource, I go to the blog: . From her blog you can go to links to get spread sheets with all the names, addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, etc. I print out these spread sheets and carry them in my purse. You are going to love this trip! Shopping for fabric & notions is by far my favorite part of sewing. Have a great time.