I spent 4 days last week in New York, and I spent most of it at NYPL doing research on my robe à la polonaise/turque/circassienne research project — found some interesting sources!
But even better was that I went shopping for the first time ever in the NYC garment district! Whoa, so many outstanding options — I tried not to break the bank, but it was tough. Luckily I had Leia to show me around and she helped me bargain for some good deals. I’m super excited about what I bought, and it’s making me excited about costuming again — YAY!
I was TRAUMATIZED to find out that Swatch, the Boston Terrier who works at Mood Fabrics, wasn’t in on Sunday. SUCH SADNESS!!!! I have two Boston Terriers myself, and I spend all of the shopping-at-Mood segments of Project Runway trying to spot Swatch (not enough Swatch in the recent All Stars season, btw). I had a tiny consolation in that I got a Mood rewards card with a picture of Swatch on it, but that really wasn’t enough. At all.
But on to the good news! I found some FABULOUS fabric/trim for my Ultra Sekrit CoCo Gala dress — which is sekrit, so you don’t get to hear about it. Luckily, I also found some other fabulous things which I can tell you about!
I went to C&J Fabrics as I knew they are one of the best sources for silk duchesse satin. Their’s is a blend with rayon, but that’s okay with me (rayon breathes and isn’t icky looking/feeling) — it makes it semi-affordable! I had a hard time choosing, but finally bought this white and orchid duchesse satin to make a robe à la turque. There’s a specific portrait that I’ve been eyeing for a while, but you’ll have to wait through some other projects to hear more about this! I’m hoping I got enough — I was trying to be conservative because that stuff isn’t cheap — luckily I can always order more if I need to, because I grabbed some updated swatch cards (including silk faille – drool!).
Next I went to Hyman Hendler, which I knew would have vintage ribbons. What I didn’t know was that it was where amazing vintage ribbons go to not-die — WHOA. I literally could have bought one of everything. It’s one of those stores that’s been around since ca. 1900 and is just stocked floor to ceiling with vintage ribbons. Mostly rayon, some synthetics — didn’t see a lot of silk. I splurged and bought 4 yards of vintage ribbon — the brown floral will be for a hat to go with the turque, the black & white I’m not sure, but how can you go wrong with black and white stripes? You don’t want to know what this cost me — let’s say we’re in the $20-30/yd range here.
Leia and I did a bunch of hole-in-the-wall store shopping, where we found my fabulous Sekrit Gala Project fabric. Near the end of the day, we went over to Tinsel Trading. I assumed everything there would be 1) fabulous 2) incredibly expensive 3) vintage. I was right, but they also had some STUNNING modern trims that were a STEAL. I’ve never put too much trim on my green Venetian because I’ve been waiting to find something I loved. I bought 6 yards of the green and gold trim — I was about to buy 3 yards, but Leia pointed out it was only $1.50/yd, and was I crazy? I also bought the narrow gold lace on the right for my upcoming 1550s Venetian (in blue, you’ve all convinced me!).
Tragically, I also bought 2 pieces of fabric at Mood — a sheer white on white stripe for an 18th c. Turkish outfit, and a pretty blue and white floral for a 1930s dress. I say tragically, because somewhere between Tinsel Trading, Starbucks, and the Campbell Apartment bar, I left the bag somewhere. I’ve tried calling all 3 places and none have found it, so apparently some random person has run off with my bag o’ cotton. Luckily it was the bag filled with about $60 worth of fabric, not the one with about $300 worth of fabric, so I’m consoling myself with that. Bastards.
Not NYC-related, but shopping-related: I’ve also meant to post a picture of this for forever, but I have been lazy. I’ve been thinking about making one of those fancy stomachers that you sometimes see on Venetian Renaissance gowns. Many of them look embroidered, but some look like lace laid on fabric (I’ll post some sources when I get organized). I stalked Ebay for a while and finally found this gold metal thread lace, which I think will be perfect. Not sure whether I’ll piece it so I can turn the motifs right side up. Either way, I think this will work perfectly once I figure out what fabric to lay it on (right now it’s on my blue cutting mat).