Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meh Fabrics

It's great that Project Runway seems to have ignited new interest in both fashion design and home sewing. But even as this interest rises, the stuff we need to make it happen — quality fashion fabric — is getting impossible to find unless you travel to large cities to hunt for it.

So, as every PR viewer knows, Mood Fabrics in New York is where the designers shop for all their fabric and notions on the show. You can even buy a T-shirt with the words, "Thank you, Mood," (puts the soothing sound of Tim Gunn's voice right in your head, doesn't it?). On TV, the place seems massive, daunting, and chock-a-block with textile treasures — so unlike the seedy chain stores the majority of American sewists must shop. We see the contestants hop excitedly around the store's three floors, scouring the ceiling-high shelves for the fabric in which they've imagined their design. How we would like to go there someday ourselves!

But I was a little disappointed. You know how the PR designers will softly lament, "I couldn't find what I was looking for"? And we, the viewers think, "Why not? The place is jammed!" Well, the fact that the place is jammed is what makes it impossible to find things! If indeed, the desired item is there at all.

There is actually a view into the street from Mood. It isn't quite as windowless and claustrophobic as it looks on TV.

The Mood staff is efficient, jokey, and a little gruff. Perhaps this is the point, to shoo away tourists. Oh, but they are there, anyway! Retirees in Teva sandals and shorts, I kid you not, moms and kids, and all manner of looky loos who don't sew at all, and as they aver, aren't about to start. Do they really think they're going to see Tim Gunn lounging around in there and just chat him up?

Me, I was looking for striped cotton jersey, black and white, or black and grey. Three-quarter to one inch wide stripes. I was looking for cotton or cotton blend fleece (lightweight), and medium-scale cotton prints. No luck. I came back the next day, however, in a better mood for Mood and found the place less filled with rubberneckers, which put the Mood staff in a better mood, too.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I've been to Mood a lot and have very mixed feelings about it. It is not so good if you are looking for something in particular because although they have a lot of stuff, it is not particularly consistent, since they mostly seem to be jobbers who pick up what is available. It is hard to see the fabric and it is overwhelming. So although I have gotten some good pieces there, it is not a must-see, and whole categories of fabric are under-represented.

    I have had people complain that the prices vary widely depending on who you are, or who you know, which may be the case as I always seek out the same person when I shop there as he knows what I like and will steer me toward it.

    If I am looking for something for a particular project, or I have something definite in my head though I go elsewhere.

    I always figured I was just difficult, since everyone I know loves the place.