There is an art to picking your sewing shop. Sewing shops – the place you pick up spare buttons, neon thread you can’t find elsewhere, and a selection of ribbon that would get you from shul to mardi gras – can be expensive as all get-out. However, select sewing shops will under-sell the dollar store; those are the ones you want.
You can pick out a sewing shop as you walk right past it. This is what you need to look for:
Dim windows Glitzy window displays and bright lights means someone has too much money earned by gauging customers. You don’t need to be the next sap to add money to the till. Dirty windows are a bonus.
Everything is on display If the only objects in the window are hats and feathers, the only thing it will be good for is feathered-hats. Likewise a shop flashing BUTTONS BUTTONS BUTTONS will not have the thread you need. You should be able to see a few spools of thread, zippers, buttons, and some sequins. Because if a sewing shop has sequins, they’ve got everything. A really good store will display some things you don’t recognize, because that demonstrates just how all-encompassing a store it is.
In New York the best place to search for this sort of store is on – you guessed it – the Fashion District. When the city builds a giant statue of a needle and thread, it’s a homing signal for all sewing shoppers. You can walk up and down the streets from 7th to 6th Avenue from 40th to 35th, hunting for that perfect shop. Or you could go to the one Special Correspondent Ariella and I picked out:
109 West 38th Street