In the beginning of April, I went back to my hometown of Brooklyn, New York to visit family and friends.
As much as I miss the artistic scene and organized grunge of the city landscape, my husband and I can only stand to be here for three days maximum.
Each visit, the driving gets more aggressive and the air thicker with the odors of despair: trash, substance abuse, and illness. It’s disheartening to see.
New York City also changes at the pace of technology with even new businesses seeming to only have a lifespan of two to five years before rent hikes make it impossible to survive. When we see how incredibly difficult it is to survive in this city, I become thankful of my decision to leave.
The visit, however, was not all a reminder of financial woes and mental exhaustion. I met up with my best friend Echo and we walked—-our new favorite way to enjoy each other’s company.
We used to live within blocks of each other in a Brooklyn neighborhood that has been in an active struggle with gentrification for over twenty years. We started in our old neighborhood, then began our trek from there to Fulton Street, then eventually to Cobble Hill.
We love to explore neighborhoods that have curated character and nature over the years. This includes appreciating the stonework of brownstones, the pockets of nature in neighborhood gardens, and the quaint-styled shops that show pride in both their interior design and product quality.
In a city perpetually trapped in construction and modern development, it is also refreshing to see cottage vibes poking out of corners. Prunus plants and cherry blossoms dot the city and honey bees collect nectar for their nests.
The Search for Fabric
Our walking adventures took us to two fabric shops. I really wanted an opportunity to get to the Garment District, but unfortunately time restraints kept us limited to Brooklyn.
So, we checked out two shops: Fulton Fabric at 402 Bridge Street and Brooklyn General Store at 128 Union Street.
Fulton Fabric has been around for years in Downtown Brooklyn. It sells inexpensive fabrics as low as $1.00 per yard. Service is also friendly and the no-nonsense layout makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Echo and I found some beautiful options here, but unfortunately I had to pass because the fabrics were mostly made out of polyester. Environmental concerns aside, polyester is just too hot and uncomfortable for me to wear. If polyester doesn’t bother you, this is a lovely place to go for affordable fabric.
Brooklyn General Store is where we felt like children surrounded by candy. The quaint looking shop is tucked into a storefront on Bridge Street. Established in 2002, Brooklyn General Store specializes in craft supplies that cater to sewists, knitters, crochet enthusiasts alike.
The store welcomes you with its gorgeous wooden interior and displays of handmade garments made with the yarns and fabrics sold in the store. Some garments are for sale, but most are decorative and advertise patterns on Ravelry.
The selection of yarn and fabric is truly beautiful and luxurious. The yarns are definitely on the high end side, boasting high quality and all natural fibers. Many of the choices are hand dyed or hand painted, come from small farms and businesses, or are imported from Canada, the United Kingdom, and more.
Some yarns that are on my radar for future investment include Knitting for Olive Cotton Merino, The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers, Black Elephant Hand-dyed Yarns, and Illimani Yarn. They can be expensive, but when you see the fiber content and quality and feel the yarn after it has been knitted up into a display sweater, you will understand why. The colorwork is absolutely beautiful and there is an elegant drape to each of the display pieces.
The fabrics are of high quality just as the yarns are. The shop specializes in cotton and linen from rich solids to nature inspired prints. The brands they carry include Ruby Star Society, Free Spirit, Robert Kaufman, and more.
Of course I couldn’t leave without a souvenir! I wanted to purchase more, but I took what I could get given some money and time constraints. I purchase three yards each of French General Solids in Fern, C+S Wallflower Blooms in Mustard, and Free Spirit – Into the Woods by Katrinka Waterbirch in Sage.
Echo helped me choose some fabrics for projects I have in mind. Because I sometimes have trouble finding my perfect solid green, I couldn’t leave without the French General Solids in Fern. It is my ideal forest green color and I hope to use it in the gorgeous Stella Dress by Anna The Tailor. I am a sucker for dark, forest greens because they emit an air of elegance. The picture does not do the fabric justice.
There were so many Cotton and Steel (C+S) choices! In the end, Echo recommended that I try something to challenge creativity by choosing a color I am least likely to choose—but one that is still on my color palette. C+S Wallflower Blooms in Mustard went the best with my skin tone without washing me out. I decided I would use it to create the Ruffle Wrap Skirt by Jess Dang. This skirt was originally inspired by a Pinterest post I found, but Jess Dang has a tutorial for essentially the same style of dress. The original was more honey in color, but I love the caramel tone of this fabric.
Finally, this Free Spirit – Into the Woods by Katrinka Waterbirch in Sage caught my eye and we thought it would work best with the Butterwick 6554 pattern. I adore watercolor prints (probably since watercolor is one of my favorite painting mediums). The muted greens would make for a gorgeous wrap dress for both spring and summer. I prefer shorter lengths, so I will be adjusting the original to stop mid-though.
If you ever get the chance to go to Brooklyn, I highly recommend visiting both Fulton Fabric and Brooklyn General Store.