Rising rents and encroaching gentrification have forced many of Manhattan’s neighborhood haberdashers and fabric merchants out of business, as their premises are snapped up by trendy boutiques and bars. But there are a few survivors in the Lower East Side, which remains a good destination for excellent, keenly priced furnishing textiles.
For the best selection of upholstery and drapery fabric in the city, head to Harry Zarin Fabric Warehouse (pictured above). The cavernous building is filled with fabric and notions. They buy directly from mills and manufacturers, so can offer steep discounts on luxurious designer fabrics. The company is known for supplying set designers on major TV shows shooting in the New York area, including 30 Rock, Law & Order, and Sex and the City.
An equally impressive array of domestic and imported fabrics and trimmings can be found at Joe’s Fabric Warehouse.
The Fashion District has the best choice of apparel fabric shops (see box), but there are a couple of noteworthy outlets round here: Mendel Goldberg Fabrics, which also sells quilting and needlepoint supplies, and Belraf Fabrics, a narrow shop with a wide selection.
Midtown fabric shops
While the East Village is known for upholstery fabric, the best selection of outlets for clothing fabric is in the Midtown Fashion District. At Mood (225 W. 37th St), professionals and amateur seamstresses spend hours poking through the huge and well-priced fabric selection.
Made famous by the hit TV series Project Runway, B&J Fabrics (525 Seventh Ave) stocks only beautiful, quality fabrics and is slightly pricier. The best selection of buttons and trimmings in the city is at M&J Trimming (1008 Sixth Ave).