Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fabric Shopping in Jackson Heights, Queens

I know we all know about "The Garment District" in midtown Manhattan but fabric shopping spots exist in other places in New York too. I know Sheila, who authors the blog, Sheilaz-CTK, regularly shops in Brooklyn for fabric. There also use to be quite a few fabric stores in downtown Manhattan. I honestly don't know how many of those still exist so if someone knows please feel free to drop a note in the comments section.

The trip to Jackson Heights came about through a discussion at the first Sewcialists Last Tuesday of Every Month Meet-up. Kristen (blog: JinxandGunner and IG: jinxandgunner) and I were sitting next to each other and she told me that she buys most of her fabric locally in Queens. I was intrigued as she described several stores in a 4-5 block radius that she walks to and purchases beautiful fabric.

So Syreeta (IG: Syreeta Briana) and I begged her to take us fabric shopping in Queens and the #jacksonheightsfabriccrawl was born.

I have to tell you fabric shopping in Queens was something I really wanted to do because it was a 3 hour trip each way on public transportation! But it was a beautiful day and there were some amazing sewists who turned out to shop.

L-R:  Syreeta, Grace, Amanda, Carol and Kristen our amazing hostess!

Our Itinerary ~

First we visited two Sari shops. The fabric offerings in both shops were vivid, colorful pieces purchased in either matched sets or 6 yard pieces similar to the lengths offered in the African fabric stores. I will admit that I was overwhelmed with color and choice in both of these stores. I think you have to go into these stores with something specific in mind because there is a little of everything. However, I will remember it for the next trip (yes I'm going again) and be better prepared.

Next up was M&J Fabrics ~
7917 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.426.2181

In my mind, this was Kristen's favorite store. This is also where I bought the majority of my fabric because the proprietor 

had amazing rolls of challis fabric and some great rayon crepes.  I also bought a couple of border prints from him and now I'm regretting now buying the black floral border print...*sigh* The rayon challis were $4 a yard. Yeah, $4 a yard. I bought one lone rayon crepe for $2 a yard.

This is where we spent the most time. I would have dropped alot more money than I did at this store because the selection was that good. BTW, I had a few guidelines for this trip ~ I couldn't spend more than a set amount of money and I had to be able to cart it home on public transportation. It really helped rein in my inner fabric piggy.

Since I checked out first, I had time to take pictures, so a few shots of my fabric shopping sistahs...

Liz Discount Fabrics was the second fabric shop stop ~
8323 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Phone:  718.426.2121

This shop is tiny and crammed to the brim with fabrics, laces and sewing supplies. I loved that you could find everything you needed to complete a garment in one place. Thread - check. Lining fabric - check. Sewing notions - check...all stuffed into a small space.

Syreeta and Carol sporting her Morgan Jeans

Loved the laces hanging from the ceiling reminded me of some of the trim stores that have disappeared from The Garment District

I bought this fabric here.

It's a navy & white striped ponte with a bonded (interfaced) back. I love to collect these types of fabrics and this one already has an idea attached to it. So it will probably not stay in the collection long, cause Fall is coming!

Value Fabrics third on the fabric store tour ~
8413 37th Avenue 
(but it's moving so check the store window for new location)
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.457.9488

This one was as small as the prior store and while I didn't buy anything here, Grace and Kristen found some cute pieces. Again beautiful pieces of fabric, sewing notions and sewing laces, another wonderful neighborhood resource. 

I took no pictures at this stop or the next one probably because I was shopped out at this point!

Jackson Fabrics NY Inc was the last stop.
84-30 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.424.6989

We kinda breezed in and out of this one.  Our fabric bags were heavy and we were ready to sit, eat and talk. Well talk more!!! I don't even have a good impression of this store, which is sad, but it is another local resource so that's a good thing.

The great thing about neighborhood fabric shopping is that the restaurant was one block down the street. I am not a foodie and when Kristen first said "Peruvian" I was like what? She was like give it a try you will like it and she was right.  It was the perfect stop after a long day.

8620 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.672.2224

photo credit: newyork.seriouseats.com

The food was fantastic.  The conversation was great and as the group shot below shows, we had a wonderful day together.

We headed back to the subway after that and three hours later I walked into my home...tired but very satisfied from an amazing day. It was worth the trip and I will definitely do it again!

Here is the rest of my fabric haul ~

Black 'n White Midweight Rayon Crepe 
$2 a yard - bought 4 yards

Ltwt. Rayon Challis - $4 a yard - bought 4 yards

Large rayon sateen border print
$4 a yard bought 4 yards

Floral rayon challis - $4 a yard bought 4 yards
When I got home I realized that I have a rayon crepe knit 
in this exact print from Fabric Mart

Ltwt. rayon challis border print
This was the first thing I touched & it started the rayon challis spree
$4 a yard - 3 yards

Conclusion ~
Most of what I added to the fabric collection was rayon challis. I don't have much on hand and loved what I found. They will be great for next summer's garments and are worth stashing because they were purchased at an amazing price!

I just want to give one more shout out to Kristen for arranging the day. It was well thought out and fun! I'm sure she will announce the next one on Instagram, so look for it there if you're interested in attending.

...as always more later!


  1. Very pretty fabric. I love the black and white print and the border prints especially.

  2. Oh wow! I used to shop with my grandmother in Kew Gardens for fabric . . . back in the '70s there still were fabric shops in every neighborhood. But the big shopping trips were always to Orchard Street. I wonder if any of those shops still exist. Love seeing such a wonderful sewist gathering. I am going fabric shopping in Nairobi this Friday with a few friends. I will put some photos on Instagram. Thanks for such a great vicarious thrill!

  3. I was born in Queens and my grandparents lived in Jackson Heights (on 81st St across from the back side of La Guardia) so I've been there many, many times. Just not to fabric stores. My grandmother was an extremely talented seamstress/tailor. She'd always go into the city for fabric shopping. My last trip to the Garment District was for my own wedding dress supplies (which she sewed) 30+ (cough:cough) years ago. My grandmother knew everyone there and they knew her. I wasn't sewing then so it wasn't as big a thrill to me then as it would've been now but I was still impressed with her knowledge and contacts. Anyway ... sidetracking. LOL Looks like you all had a great time!

    1. Hi Debbie, My grandparents lived on 118th Street between 84th and 85th avenues. Small world! I grew up mostly in NJ after we left Queens, but still feel very connected to it. My grandmother was also a talented seamstress and made beautiful clothes for me and my siblings. She's been gone almost 30 years now, but she is still a vivid presence in my life, especially when I sew.

  4. Ok, those rayons have me drooling on my screen. Thanks so much for the tour, Carolyn. Must get there!!!

  5. That border print sateen is GLORIOUS!!!! What a fun time!

  6. I'm salivating over the "Fabric: Up Close and Personal" Tour. I've never seen anything like it in my neck of the woods. OOOhhhh--so jealous. Ok--I'll get over it. Love the rayon challis and border prints--my fave warm weather fabrics. Glad you ladies had a great time. Can't wait to see the new creations!

  7. Thanks so much for this! I live in Astoria and never knew about all these stores. I usually go to Broadway Silk in my hood. I'm going to bookmark this entry!

    1. I'm so thrilled that this gave you some new fabric resources! I had a ball shopping there and I'm sure you will too!

  8. Wow, those prices are great. So glad there are fabric stores outside the garment district that are hanging on!

  9. What a helpful post! Especially since I've been dying to go to Queens for some years now -- it's awesome that I'll know where to get fabric whenever I finally make it there. :) Thank you for sharing!!!

  10. I love this post! I'm so jealous of all your fabric stores throughout the area. This post makes me want to get right into my sewing room, so thanks for the motivation!

  11. Fabric shopping and Peruvian food sounds like a pretty perfect day out to me! You got some great fabrics, I especially love that watercolour border print one.

  12. It's fun to see your pictures of these shopping get togethers. I'm so glad you share them. Living out west in the far-from-anywhere sometimes means living vicariously through your eyes and experiences, and they're fun experiences! Thank you for the photos. :-)

  13. Been a fan for years! This post came at a perfect time for me. Dropping my daughter off at college in Brooklyn, 5 yrs since last time I had been home. Wasn't sure if I should drive out to old neighborhood to fabric shop with time being so limited. But then you posted this and I knew it was fate. A belated thank you!


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