Non Amazonian shopping
Today I needed to buy a specific piece of fabric for a tallit. I needed white silk double georgette. For those of you who are not shchmatta geeks, georgette is a thicker version of chiffon. A double georgette is translucent, rather than transparent and has a lovely soft drape.
Georgette was a staple for dresses in the 1920's and 30's. It isn't an easy fabric to find these days, particularly in silk but it is exactly what I need to make my next tallit.
I called my pals at Rosen and Chadick to see if they had any in stock. They did. I took the subway, went to their new digs and purchased what I needed.
I have been buying from Rosen& Chadick for a long time. I used to buy from the grumpy fathers of the current owners. The current owners, unlike their fathers treat each customer with warmth and respect. I have been shopping there for so long that each visit includes some catching up on each of our children.
They do have a website but not all of their fabrics are listed on the site. You can do as I did, call and ask for what you need. If you are not local your fabric will be mailed to you. if you are local you can come by and pick up the fabric that has been set aside for you. Their prices are fair retail prices.
This is just a tiny corner of the store.You are looking at bolts of to die for cotton shirtings. Other fabrics are stores in other areas of the store.
This is Ellen, one of the co-owners and one of my favorite people in the garment district. She knows her stuff and is incredibly nice.
Shopping at the good fabric stores in the garment district is not like shopping in a department store where you wander around until you find what you want. The process is a bit more old fashioned. You enter the store and tell the shopkeeper what you are looking for. " I want a soft drapey silk in off white." "I need a hard-wearing velvet with no sheen in dark blue that is almost black." " I need a soft white wool for a tallit." They know their stock and will bring you to show you a couple of different choices. perhaps what they have shown you is not exactly what you were looking for. You use the qualities of what you have been shown to help you both close in on exactly the fabric you needed.
This is how shopping used to be. It's an exchange not just of money but also of ideas and desires. I value stores like Rosen & Chadick where the staff listens but even better shares their long experience with fabric and often helps me to make an even better choice than I had first intended.
Now I can get started on my next tallit.