Never been to a fabric store? NYC’s fashion students and arts-and-craft types who love to make their own threads know that there are plenty of shops in NYC where you can get textiles with as much personality as you have. However, figuring out where to buy can be a bit of a daunting process—and you can’t always tell the quality from online clothing stores. Visit one of these places to get a feel for which fabrics you like best and pick up a new pattern or two while you’re there. If you’re already a pro at accessorizing with home decor, now’s the time to take it a step further by personalizing your closet.
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Best fabric stores in NYC
Founded in 1988, this reasonably priced shop has been supplying New Yorkers who love to sew with fabric for 28 years, first specializing in couture-quality lace and expanding to silk, beaded and sequin-embellished patterns. Though it’s easiest to see the variety if you stop by their shop in person—the third-floor space has aisles of fabrics organized by color and pattern—don’t let that stop you from placing orders online: The two-day shipping policy ensures you’ll get your order ASAP.
Co-owners Catherine Clark and Katie Metzger based the concept for their Park Slope shop on Oleson’s Mercantile from Little House on the Prairie, a general store stocking everything from fabrics to candy. The exterior has an Old West vibe, and everyone from quilting to knitting enthusiasts will find the materials needed to create beautiful custom items from scratch. Customers love the classes (including embroidery and crochet) and the sense of community the shop provides.
Looking to create your next pair of curtains or finally reupholster that hand-me-down couch? This giant retailer should be your first stop: It has a huge selection of fabrics, including specialty ones like leather, vinyl and Lycra, and it’s supplied contractors and set designers for hit shows like Boardwalk Empire and The Good Wife. Also, it’s been family-owned and -operated since 1979: The owner, Eric, will gladly guide you to the style that matches your budget and taste.
This high-end shop has been supplying designers in Los Angeles, Chicago and beyond with colorful and stylish fabrics for 50 years, sourcing wares from France and Italy. Its website offers swatch ordering and samples—great to check out before you commit—so you can sample Chanel, Versace and Hugo Boss prints before creating a runway-inspired blouse, skirt or scarf that’s as beautiful as one you’d find in any store.
This three-floor warehouse has been in business since 1936, hawking millions of yards of discount fabric to city residents, set designers and aspiring seamstresses, earning repeat customers through the strength of knowledgeable customer service: They’ve supplied material for 30 Rock, Gossip Girl and The Real Housewives of New York City. Whether you’re in the market for plush velvet, classic cotton or specialty outdoor fabrics, they’ll cut your selections to order and help you select exactly what you need to make the selection process less overwhelming.
In the market for some tweed, seersucker or other seasonal threads? Head to Rosen & Chadick, a two-story, family-owned garment district shop that’s been in the business for more than 60 years. It has the most longstanding reputation with the theater and entertainment industry, and don’t hesitate to ask for exactly what you need—the selection changes daily, and it helps to have expert assistance. If you find something you like, they’ll happily reorder it for you, a plus if you’re working on long-term projects.
Attention, brides-to-be: Since 1975, Sposabella has been the place to go to for fabric and accessories to create the dress no one can find anywhere else—whether it’s for your actual big day or you’re just pretending for stage or screen (the store’s been featured on Say Yes to the Dress). In addition to vintage lace, French lace, veils and tiaras, it also handles wedding dress alterations, a lifesaver if you need last-minute adjustments to your gown.
This fabric mecca has the largest selection of spandex in the city, great for ‘80s music lovers, the Burning Man crowd and festival attendees looking for Insta-worthy outfits. The variety here is truly astounding: It has cracked ice, pleather and metallic fabrics as well as suede and trippy hologram prints in hot pink and gold tie-dye. Come prepared to describe the outfit you’re envisioning: Not much is labeled, so you’ll probably need help finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Have you always wanted to knit your own quilt but been too intimidated to get a proper start? Head to the City Quilter to get hooked up with the fabrics that will have you stitching an heirloom in the making, featuring quality brands like Andover, Blend and Benartex. The Chelsea shop features sewing essentials like needles, tuffet kits and fun patterns like NYC subway curves, foxes and hedgehogs, so you can personalize your work of art accordingly.
The founder of Mood Fabrics made his first sale as a designer for H&M, later sewing for big-name designers like Michael Kors and Pierre Cardin. Since then, the shop has been featured as a supplier on Project Runway, making it perfect for aspiring designers looking to create their own pieces out of fashionable satins, denim and wool that would rival those featured on television. Need a few pointers first? Take one of the six-week classes or short workshops, perfect for turning your casual hobby into something more profitable.
As a supplier to 500 of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world, NY Fashion Center Fabrics has countless styles of imported silk, nylon, polyester and chiffon as well as fun accents like braid and beaded trim, faux and metallic leather, and four different types of lace. It also supplies home fabrics for upholstery and curtains, so you can save the hard-earned cash you’d normally spend at Bed Bath & Beyond on something more exciting.