How To Shop For Fabric In New York

Karen and Oonaballoona

Phew, boy. Someone, please scrape me off the ceiling.

I’d thrown down the gauntlet to my readers. Did I go back to Mood for the fabric or not? You came good on me. Almost without exception, you ordered me to get on the plane back to London with three metres of wool check/glitter polka dot. Who was I to deny you?

As it happened, Oonaballoona had a free couple of hours to steer me around Mood and be on hand to give me the kiss of life if I fainted. She was really lucky; I didn’t pass out. Though I considered faking it. You need to understand. EVERYONE falls in love with Oonaballoona. You don’t have a choice. I pretty much constantly wanted to ask her, ‘How does Ruggie live with you and not weep with joy every single time he opens his eyes on waking?’

So, there I was. Wandering down the street to meet her at Mood. Doing my usual gormless, eye-glazed wandering. When suddenly I did a double take that almost gave me whiplash. This had just walked past me…

Kenneth KingObviously, I had to accost him in the street:

Kenneth King and Didyoumakethat

Kenneth King is a true gent, utterly gracious and polite in the face of my startling approach. During our conversation, he specifically asked me to say hello to you all. That’s how nice he is. Plus, whatever moisturiser he’s using, I want some.

Too soon, I had to send Kenneth on his way. I was running late for my appointment to meet Oonaballoona. We rode the escalator up to Mood. As the doors opened, it felt like stepping into the Cheers bar – where everyone knows your name. Within minutes the legend in her own lifetime, Meg, was there to greet me.

Meg and Karen of Didyoumakethat

Meg’s hot. I’m more Vicar of Dibley.

The staff had me eating out of the palms of their various hands. ‘I like your polka dots!’ one of them crooned. I blushed. ‘I hope you’ve had chance to be naughty in New York,’ another handsome young man commented. ‘Not naughty enough,’ I came back, in a manner most staggeringly out of character for me. The flirtatious mood of, um, Mood was catching! Of course, everyone was best friends with Oonaballoona. I rode on her popularity coat tails with a glorious lack of shame.

Eventually, we caught the elevator back down to street level and visited a few more shops. I carried on shopping, Oonaballoona carried on enabling. Then, it was time to go and re-pack my suitcase with fabric and get to the airport. I bid my new best friend farewell, and wandered down E37th street, behind these guys…

Sailors in New York

Seeing as I was now totally without shame, it felt the right time to introduce myself to my future husband…

Didyoumakethat's Wedding Photo

The Happy Couple

And that, my friends, is how to shop for fabric in New York.

With special thanks to Oonaballoona, for her exceeding kindness.

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85 Responses to How To Shop For Fabric In New York

  1. Miss Celie says:

    Sister, that guy is *hot*. Was it Fleet Week? You’re making me want to take a bus and roll around on a fabric store floor, lol!

    • I have no idea! All I know is that I was suddenly wandering down a New York street behind half a dozen amazingly handsome sailors. My only regret is that I didn’t make them all pick me up a la Marilyn Monroe. You would have been in heaven!

      • oonaballoona says:

        OH i wish you would’ve done it, they would have gladly swept you off your feet! and listen, you just let me know if you need kissin’ next time you’re in town. i’m sure ruggy won’t mind.

  2. Hilarious and sounds so fun. I think you have the makings of a screenplay, “My Whirlwind Week in NYC”. A nice rom-com about fabric shopping. I would get in line for the premiere!

  3. Robin says:

    I wish you would have shown us the contents of Kenneth King’s bags of Mood awesomeness. Your post makes me want to hop on a plane and wander the streets of NYC. With Oonaballoona. and Meg.

  4. Evelyn says:

    Sounds so fun. Wish I was there!

  5. Carolyn says:

    Karen isn’t Miss Oona just amazing?! Every time I hit Mood without her someone asks me where she is. She just casts a spell of loveliness over everyone! Glad you went back and got the fabric and had the opportunity to check out a couple more spots in the garment district. I’m so sorry I missed you but next time!!!

  6. nessahux says:

    Ha HAA! What a laugh!
    So that’s me now, done.
    I am now officially living vicariously through You.

  7. Rachel says:

    Sounds like an amazing, perfect, new york adventure. Next time I’m in new york I’m SOOO heading over to Mood, too! Maybe I’ll meet another amazing sewing blogger and fabulous cuties as well! Don’t forget to show us what you make with your Mood finds!

  8. Danielle says:

    Sounds like a fun adventure! Color me jealous πŸ™‚

  9. Susie says:

    Glad you went back for fabric! The King has the best jackets, doesn’t he?

  10. Karen, you’ve totally been turning my brown eyes a luminous shade of green with envy at the fun you’re having! Very clearly the Big Apple has put you in a great Mood indeed (sewing-pun intended LOL) :)!

  11. lloubb says:

    KDK is everywhere!!

  12. Jen (NY) says:

    Not fleet week, but my guess is that the gentleman and his friends may have wandered away from Times Square (with good reason). As for Mood, if you got out with just one piece, that’s pretty good!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds like a super fun time. So glad you got to meet Meg. Isn’t she gorgeous and so nice!

  14. Far says:

    Looks like you had a blast!!! Look what you making with the glorious check fabric πŸ™‚

  15. Susan says:

    I can’t believe you ran into Kenneth King. That’s AMAZING. Lucky Lucky You !

  16. Charlotte says:

    Minas and Oona and Kenneth King and Meg and cute sailor men—I think you have experienced New York fabric shopping at its very, very best.

  17. sue christian-rodriguez says:

    Good choice in husbands….Was that Pendleton Fabric on that coat…go to the pendleton blanket website…they also sell fabric…


  18. redsilvia says:

    Cute guy with a job, that’s a keeper in my world…

    Glad you went back and got a smattering of fabric – you kind of had to. Can’t wait to see what you make with what you bought. I’m sure the lovely Ms. Ooo helped you out with some ideas. Happy landings back home.

  19. I also cannot believe you met Kenneth King – on the STREET – that’s AMAZING! It sounds like you had an overall glorious time!

  20. poppykettle says:

    hahahahahaha! I LOVE IT!!!
    And the words kenneth king slipped into my mind before I even scrolled down the page to have my suspicions confirmed. You lucky thang you πŸ˜‰

  21. kristonlion says:

    πŸ™‚ so much fun! good looking hubs too πŸ˜‰

  22. Does everybody who visits New York just happen to come across Kenneth King on the street?!
    And a whole fleet of handsome sailors!! It’s just like ‘On the Town’, the only thing that could have bettered this is if they’d all started furiously dancing! So glad you had such a wonderful time. X

  23. Fabulous!! So pleased you bought your dotties.

  24. sylkotwist says:

    Brilliant post Karen, I’m smiling so much, it’s set me up for the day!

  25. HAHAHAHA so jealous!! Those sailors! Looks like you were a little bit naughty in New York πŸ˜‰

    And I can’t stop staring at Kenneth King’s coat. It’s incredible!

  26. Roobeedoo says:

    Scandalous! πŸ˜€
    But really, your trip won’t be complete until you get papped with Tim Gunn!

  27. Melody says:

    “I lost my innocence at Mood”

    Is that basically what happened? It turned you to a life of heavy drinking and walks-of-shame, where you stare in the mirror and say “I only wanted dome fabric!”

    Or, you know. Probably not.
    Either way, it’s great reading about your trip!

  28. Fwaire says:

    Wow it sounds like you had so much fun and met so many nice people! I’m so happy you got that amazing fabric! πŸ˜€

  29. Lisette says:

    What the heck? Everyone else who has gone to NYC this past week has met Kenneth King except me. I would have stolen that fabulous coat right off his back! That is exactly the kind of fabric I was looking for at mood and couldn’t find. Please tell me you asked him where he got it?!

  30. Your future husband is indeed quite handsome. I have never been to Mood, but I live only two hours away, by train. Planning a field trip! Love your blog – thanks for the inspiration!

  31. I really envy you. It’s been a long time since I shop;ed for fabric in New York. I think you made the right choice with the gray fabric and I’m glad you bought it. It’s nice to live vicariously. I get just as much pleasure from other people buying fabric as I get when I buy it for myself.

  32. your trip sounds amazing! can’t wait to see what that fabric becomes.
    i love kk’s advice in the link you chose: “If you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to ruin some fabric, or afraid to waste some time, you won’t ever get really good at this craft. It’s the dues you pay for becoming proficient.” words to live by, whether we’re talking fabric or life in general.

  33. Becky says:

    OH, I am so jealous! I think there are many KDKs, maybe he cloned himself. He is everywhere! I am so glad you had such a great time, and that the people of NY were so gracious to you. Since you are so lovely, how could they not?

  34. puu says:

    where were the sailors when i was there on saturday, is what i want to know as i sit here weeping! glad you bought the wool because it is beautiful, and i know that feeling that oona exudes. it is a thing of charm and beauty.

  35. Tanya says:

    Yes. What a lovely way to round off your return trip to Mood Fabrics!! There is nothing more gorgeous than a bloke in uniform. That man is absolutely delish!! I wonder if he has a twin brother somewhere???!!!

  36. valerie says:

    That looks lovely! And how fortunate to run into kdk! Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  37. sallie says:

    Aww!! You two are going to be so happy together!! But seriously… did the stars align for you or what?! What an amazing end to your trip! Escorted by Oona, close range oogling of Kenneth King, The Mood Royal Treatment, and the freaking icing on the cake! Fleet week in NYC and you happen to run into possibly the most handsome sailor that ever did live!! What a trip!

  38. Joanne says:

    How many fabulous gorgeous men can one woman meet in an afternoon?? You lucky lucky thing you! I’m quite come over… Fetch my smelling salts!

  39. Sabs says:

    You mean you didn’t stow your future husband away wrapped up in fabric as extra luggage and bring him home? Oh well, suppose that means you must go back to NY to find him again. Can I please come with you? I’ll pretend to be single for the duration of the trip and we can chat up more sailors. My hubby need never know…

  40. Lou says:

    Tut tut, Karen. “More Vicar of Dibley”?! You do yourself down, madam, in an extraordinary manner, considering you have hundreds, nay thousands, nay millions of readers in love with you via the means of your blog. You’re rock ‘n roll! Now say it to yourself in the mirror fifty times! “I’m all kinds of East London ROCK ‘n ROLL!”
    (Ps, well jells of your cool trip)

  41. LLADYBIRD says:

    Ohhh, I’m so happy that you got to go back to Mood with the lovely Oona (she really is everything I’ve ever loved wrapped up in one single person), run into Kenneth King (isn’t he so freaking charming?!) and meet Meg (who is totally gorgeous). Not to mention you got your amazing fabric and ended the trip surrounded by hot sailors. Be still, my heart!

  42. Simona says:

    Looks like you have a great trip. I envy you for that ;)! Also I wanted to let you know that you are in sew mag no 46. If you don’t want to buy covy for yourself, I can scan the page in my ne and email it to you ;). You are an inspiration. Love reading your posts. :)))

  43. Tilly says:

    Oh Karen… why oh why didn’t you take me with you??? The only good thing about being as little as I am is that I can fit in a suitcase. I may as well use this talent… x

  44. Rosie says:

    Karen – I’m so happy that you had a great time here in NYC. LOL you stumbled on to a hottie sailor, now didn’t you? Yay baby! Hope you come back soon!! Cheers!

  45. Looks like you had a great time! I’m sure we are all looking forward to seeing what you make with that fabric. (And we would all like a piece of wedding cake too πŸ˜‰ )

  46. Hello, All!

    To answer the Burning Questions:

    Where did I get the fabric? Pendleton’s web site–it’s the Eagle Rock blanket fabric, turquoise color way.

    And my moisturizer? Chanel’s Sublimage La Creme Supreme.

    I was forwarded this link from Stephani Miller at Threads Magazine–hello to you all out there!

  47. Rose in SV says:

    I’m so glad that you are having a great time in NY. I feel very badly that we did not meet up when you were in San Francisco nor when I was in London. I will have to make a greater effort the next time opportunity arises….

  48. Bold Sewist says:

    What a fabulous day! And what an honour to have my comment below Kenneth King’s, I hardly feel worthy.
    And totally approve of your future husband – if you need help with your wedding dress, you know where to come πŸ˜‰

  49. Bold Sewist says:

    Boohoo Rose slipped in there. Oh well.

  50. gingermakes says:

    What what what what WHAT?!?!?! You had a perfect, amazing day! So glad to hear you went back to Mood, and, OH, the sailors!!! And Kenneth King! Wow!

  51. Rachel says:

    Tourism NYC should employ you, as whilst reading this I was totting up my savings to see when I could go for a visit. You two make a handsome couple – to borrow something else I associate with New York “make it work” πŸ˜‰ So glad you had a whale of a time

  52. says:

    Without words wowwwwww

  53. That is indeed “How to shop for fabric in New York”!!
    Amazing! Surely makes the work you had to do there fade into insignificance?! πŸ˜‰

  54. Karen Shaw-Jones says:

    What an amazing trip! How lucky are you? Can’t wait to see what you make with the wool from Mood.

  55. liza jane says:

    I just love your photos with people you meet. Love it! Glad you had a good time in NY.

  56. sewmanju says:

    Very jealous of your trip to NYC and mood. More important, did you get the cute guys number?!

  57. Cherie says:

    In my yet future trip to NY, I will never live up to yours. So maybe I have to time the trip with your next one! Love your blog, your humor and style! Cherie in Phoenix AZ

  58. Molly says:

    You were evidently destined to go back to Mood for that fabric – look at what came of the trip?! And even better, whenever you wear the creation from that fabric, it will bring you happy memories of your trip and the people you met. If that’s not worth the price tag, I know not what is πŸ™‚

    And as mentioned above, pleasant surprise to see you in Sew Mag this month. I tend to only scan read it and you had prime position by the corner where I was turning pages.

  59. kbenco says:

    Your impeccable photographic evidence is the only thing that makes such an incredible day believable!

  60. Portia says:

    I’m officially speechless! (and just a bit jealous! πŸ˜‰

  61. That pic is making me think of Marty in Grease. When she chucks open the photo wallet and yells maaaaarrriiinnnees! Hehe πŸ™‚ Nice work lovely you have my full respect and I now love Kenneth King even more xxx

  62. quiltyknitwit says:

    You are just so clever & creative & funny! Enjoyed all of your adventures in fabric shopping.

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  64. Such a wonderful post. A trip to NYC just made it to the top of my to do list πŸ˜‰

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  66. jillybe says:

    Hilariously wonderful post! Thank you for starting my blog-reading out today with a huge grin on my face πŸ˜€

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