Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Hand Embroidery Enthusiast in New York City? Advise Me!


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I’m contemplating a very quick trip to NYC to look at some fabric. If I go, I’ll be there one afternoon, one day, and one morning in the middle of the week. Any advice on places to go or things to see for the hand embroidery enthusiast? You know – for someone like me?

It may not happen – it depends on some work-related issues – but if it does, I’d love to be able to combine business with pleasure and with blogging, if possible!

I’m looking forward to hearing your advice!


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(20) Comments

  1. I second the suggestion for the Cooper Hewitt's felt show, and also have to put in a small word for a couple of LNS on the Upper East Side. One is Rita's, on 86th St, and the other is Annie's, on Madison Avenue. Both have more needlepoint supplies than anything else, but they do have a number of threads, and the staff at both are extremely knowledgeable. Someone at Rita's, I believe, used to teach at the Embroidery Guild. However, neither store is anything like Lacis!

    What you might want to do, Mary, is contact the Metropolitan Museum ahead of time and see if you can look at their textiles, most of which are not on display. At the very least you could get access to the right library. I imagine you would like that!

  2. Hi, Mary-
    As a New Yorker / former "Jersey Girl" the answer to that question is, sadly, it's a dud place for the embroiderer. As everyone knows, NYC is THE place for the fashion world, so…the Garment District encompasses an area near Port Authority. This means industrial machine sewing. The fabrics of course are to die for, go window shopping here but even the Cooper Hewitt (which I once very briefly attended) does not produce much in the way of the Needle Arts. So enjoy the fabric stores which carry everything from designer silk jersey all the way to the most elaborately embroidered and sequined Sari style Indian chiffons and satins (you get the picture here, I'm sure) but very little for the embroiderer.
    By the way, after you get your fill of the bright city lights, don't forget us "upstate" folk. We pride ourselves in the magic of the Catskills, the hippie Woodstock and New Paltz area, the quaint Applefests and lively Octoberfests. And if you have never visited this area before, please include a stop at Victorian Cape May in New Jersey. The "shores" of Jersey, (they're not called beaches here!) are the most stunning sands of the East Coast. Have fun!

  3. Thanks, all, for your excellent input. I've noted down all the pertinent information! As things have worked out, I won't be heading that way this summer, after all. My sister and I were going to meet up for a quick shopping spree for some ecclesiastical fabric at LaLame, but work-related issues and my budget persuaded me to put off this little jaunt until later. But I'll definitely let you know when it's going to happen!

    Linda! Thank you – I got your e-mail with your kind offer and good advice! Unfortunately, when I replied, my reply bounced back. AOL doesn't like me, and generally bounces back all my e-mail!

    Thanks again, all! I'm putting this on my list of definites-to-do, and have taken down all your suggestions in my notebook!


  4. Just a note…your trip sounded like so much fun and you can never bore us! Thank you so much for sharing…your terrific!

  5. I know this is a bit late, but just to get the info down if anyone else needs it (as a beginner at hand-sewing in the NYC metro area I have been watching the comments like a hawk)…

    The teacher at a gold work class I took last summer recommended the previously mentioned Tinsel Trading Co and a place called Edwardian Needle in NJ http://www.theedwardianneedle.com/

  6. For the benefit of others in the area who like ribbon embroidery, let me add one more tip that I forgot in my earlier comment.

    The Mokuba showroom will sell very small amounts of ribbon and trim at what seems to be wholesale prices if you walk in off the street, even though the showroom is marked wholesale only. And you wouldn't believe how extensive the selection is — the showroom is HUGE. They also have a small back room for sale merchandise; if you are not offered a chance to see it, just ask. When I have been there, the sales clerks have been extremely nice, and I have never spent more than $20 or so. (As you might guess, I'm not into ribbon embroidery — I was feeding my sewing hobby).

    hope this is useful to someone!

  7. Hi Mary,

    I'd recommend going to the Ukrainian Museum to see their beautiful examples of Ukrainian embroidery. Check first to see whether they have embroidery on display at the time, because that's not all that's in their collection. But they do have a fantastic collection of embroidery!

    Yvette Stanton
    Vetty Creations, Sydney Australia

  8. Annie & Company is located at 93rd Street and Madison Ave open 11am to 6pm Monday thru Friday and on Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.

    Rita's is located on 79th Street off of Lexington Ave I don't know what her hours are.

  9. Hi
    Im going to New York next week and I need to where can I find a place to buy silk ribbons for my embroideries. Could you send to me a list of the shops.


    1. Hi, Denise – I usually use Google maps to find businesses in any area I’m traveling. Just zoom in on the area and type in the key words of the type of business you’re looking for, then run through the results until you find what you’re looking for. That’ll be your best bet. Since I’m in Kansas, I’m not too familiar with needlework shops in the NY area that stock silk ribbon in particular. Maybe someone else out there can help?! ~MC

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