Exploring sewing in Manhattan and looking for decent selections of quality sewing tools, supplies, and notions without having to go to 15 different stores just to overpay has been like the quest for the holy grail. Sadly, New Yorkers are relegated to high-end boutiques like Purl Soho or the grimy Garment District where its dinginess doesn’t at all equate to value. Overrated and underwhelming sums it up quite nicely. While I have yet to find my sewing mecca, here are the best ones I’ve found so far in NYC and online! Here’s my list of Beginner Sewing Tools too. See also a short list of where to find Trim and Notions.

Note: Brooklyn has a nice cache of fiber arts boutiques as well but I have yet to venture down there to check out the situation. So for now they will go unsung.

In Manhattan
Fashion Design Bookstore @ FIT
250 W27th St. (7th & 8th Ave.)
New York, NY 10001
(212) 633-9646

So what’s so great about this university bookstore? The densely packed sewing “annex” that is an emporium of sewing supplies and tools for home sewers like me. To me it’s a veritable gold mine of sewing stuff. I can go to one spot to find a great selection of zippers, elastic bands, fusible interfacing, felt, poly-fill, thread, shears, chalk, and a myriad of other random sewing needs. All for fabulously competitive prices especially notable considering everyone would rather spend their money on nice fabric and trim than interfacing! With broad selections ranging from economical to professional and different forms and brands of each, it’s perfect for the beginning sewer like myself. They have dress forms too and rudimentary sewing trim like buttons and ribbon.

It is my #1 choice for sewing supplies in Manhattan so far and has great hours. It’s actually an art supply with a very comprehensive sewing section since it supports FIT’s fashion design students. So it’s also a great place to get some peripheral sewing supplies like sketchbooks or pencils etc. if you so choose. They also have a wonderful selection of knit and crochet tools and notions. And a rudimentary selection of econo-yarn.

P & S Fabrics
359 Broadway (Grand & Leonard St.)
New York, NY 10013
(212) 226-1534
Great hours. They are even open on Sat & Sun. Excellent selection of sewing tools and supplies as well with competitive prices! Mostly Dritz brand and more obscure supplies. They also carry a nice array of knitting and crochet tools. A decent one-stop shop. They also carry things like buttons and felt.

So far Fabric.com has been my best friend online when shopping for those sewing supplies that no one wants to spend a fortune on. Always having great sales and decent prices with a huge inventory of sewing supplies like thread, zippers, interfacing etc. And very prompt and speedy shipping.

When shopping online, I’m looking for a site that is comprehensive yet easy to browse especially when searching for an obscure item and of course with broad selection, excellent value, and prompt shipping. Although their site looks pretty ghetto, Fabric.com does all the above very nicely. While they don’t do sewing tools as well, they still carry some.

Joann is a large nation-wide craft supply and great for sewing tools like shears, chalk, quilting rulers, self-healing mats etc. Prices aren’t amazingly competitive, they often have “sales” where the sale price is just a normal price elsewhere but they do hit the mark on prices from sewing machines to dress forms on occasion. Their shipping is on par to slightly less speedy than Fabric.com.

What I don’t like about this site is that it’s difficult to find what you need, even though you’re sure they will carry it. A few months ago I did a search for acrylic rulers, sewing rulers, and/or quilting rulers in a variety of combinations and didn’t get a single result. By name brand too! And browsing through the extensive products page by page was too cumbersome. It looks like they have since updated it slightly but it’s still dubious and therefore ineffective for shopping for things like “sewing rulers”. Frustrating.

Connecting Threads
I found this site randomly from a web ad on my site! Checked it out because I was looking for a good place to buy thread! They carry their own line of threads which I will try! I also found a wonderful selection of quilting tools and notions to go along with it!! I highly recommend checking it out. Excellent thread prices and great prices on great quality no frills items like EZ Pull Bodkins, Seam Guides, Wonder Tape, extra-long glass head pins, bobbin boxes, Chaco liners, Fons & Porter, Collins…

Their motto is “By quilters for quilters” ! It’s a one stop quilt shop in essence so they also carry fabric, books, patterns too! They are part of Knit Picks!