Japanese Sewing Book Heaven

Yesterday I blogged about my day-trip to NYC.  After a visit to the Fashion District and Times Square, I circled around to Rockefeller Square (and by chance, ran into two friends from Philly).  A holiday visit to NYC wasn’t complete without seeing the Christmas tree and skating rink at Rockefeller Center.


One of my favorite things to do when vacationing is to photograph a bride and groom.  This was hardly what one could call a vacation but seeing a couple who had just said their vows captured my interest;  I nudged in and snapped a photo.  To the GI, thank you for serving our country.

As the darkness of a winter evening set in, I walked to Bryant Park, the location of yet another skating rink and Christmas Village.  This is such a lovely setting.  Across the street from the park is Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore.  While it’s not possible for me to read most of the books in the store, I can look at the photos.  They have a coffee shop which overlooks Bryant Park and a  huge stock of Japanese sewing books.  What a joy it was to page through the beautifully designed patterns.


On the way out, I noticed the window and needed to share it with you.  This bookstore has twice as many models as most fabric stores.

What a great day it was.  For those of you who live or work in NYC, this is old hat. For those who don’t regularly experience  this incredible city, it is great fun to visit and equally as pleasurable to leave the fast pace, the mobs of people and the temptation to return home with an empty wallet.

NY Fabric District Visit

This week I made a last-minute decision to take a vacation day in the NY Fashion District.  Early this morning (well it wasn’t really earlier than the time I’d go to work) I put on my best walking shoes and hopped on a bus from Philly to NY.  Fashion was being created for hours before the bus dropped us off on the edge of the Fashion District, so I jumped right in.

Most fascinating for me was how different this area is on a weekday compared to a weekend day.  My previous visits have all been on Saturdays.  During the week there are visible signs of what is occurring in this area of Manhattan; men were walking the streets, shuttling plastic wrapped fabric bolts from one location to another.  One man was rolling an industrial sewing machine and table.  Pattern templates and a rolling manikin were some of the other items I saw being moved on foot.

Not surprisingly, one of the other big differences from a Saturday visit was the sheer number of stores open on a weekday.  For the most part, I’m only talking about the ones you can see from the street – I can’t imagine how many are tucked away on the 8th or 9th floor of those tall buildings.

As a fabric lover, it’s difficult for me to be overwhelmed by fabric and notion stores, but by 3pm I was DONE shopping for fabric.  Walking out of the district, this bar caught my attention.  How appropriate.

You may ask, “How did I fare?”;  after all I don’t visit NY that often.  Admittedly I came home with more fabric than usual,  I tend to not count, but about 10 pieces of fabric.  None of this is for the stash – there’s a plan for each piece of fabric.  Maybe not time to sew (for now), but the plan does exist.  Checking out at Mood, I chuckled at the sign for NYC taxes.

I’m not sure who wrote this legislation but that’s the craziest system I’ve ever heard of.  On the positive side, NYC is no longer the USA city with the highest city sales tax (honestly I’m not sure it was the highest in the country but it surely felt that way, especially compared to a state that doesn’t tax clothing).  Yes for the purchases I made the taxes fell into the 8.875% category.

I Heart NYC

Having a few hours before my bus, I planned to go walk through Times Square, Rockefeller Square and Bryant Park.   When I turned the corner to Times Square, I honestly thought I’d entered another city.  The square was filled with tourists, entertainers from the Broadway shows, street vendors and advertisers.

The dichotomy of this city hit me  – on the streets of Manhattan you can buy a $2.00 T-shirt, only blocks from stores where you can buy a pair of boots for $1850 or more.

What a city.  It was a great day but I will post a few more photos tomorrow night as I need to go to bed because my body is tired from carrying all of those bags all over the city.