In (the) Mood: A Visit to One of New York City’s Best Known Fabric Stores

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Any of us who are fans of Project Runway will be familiar with Mood — the huge fabric warehouse contestants visit each week as they search for their challenge fabric. Since the only sewing I do is quilts — and I’ve never found quilter’s cotton at Mood — it’s not a place that I visit often. But I had some time yesterday for a quick visit.

Mood is located at 225 West 37th Street, in the heart of New York’s Garment District. The first thing visitors need to know is Mood it is NOT visible from the street. Not even a little bit. All you see is a lobby with some elevators along the side.  And there are no signs to indicate you are in the right place. However there is usually lots of chatter in the lobby as confused tourists ask each other, “Is this Mood?” (The first time I visited Mood, I spent quilt a while wandering around on the street in front of where the store should be. Finally a kind New Yorker asked me if I was looking for Mood and directed me to the elevators. It is not easy to find!)

The next interesting fact about Mood is that the elevators are manned by attendants. You don’t see that very much any more.  Yesterday, as I was searching for an address in my purse, I overheard the two elevator attendants talking about their wives’ experiences at the twin towers during 9-11. This sad day is not far from any New Yorkers’ memory.

Mood is three floors of rolled fabrics, stacked on shelves that I guess are 8 feet high. Price tags are hidden in the cardboard tube. There always seem to be plenty of Mood employees to help you. If you want to sound really cool, walk up to an employee and say: “Can you swatch this for me?”

The Monday morning shoppers were a mix of tourists, fashion students, and — I’m guessing here — designers. Several people (mainly the “can you swatch this for me” crowd) were carrying sketch books.

I’m sure Mood is a great store for fashion designers, but I don’t think it suits a quilter. We are used to having our fabrics displayed on 15 yard bolts, artfully arranged by color or collection. In our quilt stores, it’s always easy to figure out where fabric is cut, and you don’t have to carry long, heavy rolls of fabric to the cutting table. Plus there’s usually a lot of natural light and some great quilts on the wall. None of this occurs at Mood.

We shop the garment district quite frequently, as my daughter is an amateur costume designer. My daughter is always armed with sketches and specific color/fabric needs, and she loves the hunt for the perfect fabric and trim. For anyone with this kind of attitude, Mood will be a treasure trove of fabric. Not me. However I still think that Mood deserves a visit, so you can experience it for yourself. If you’re lucky — as I was — you will even seen the little black and white dog that has become famous from Project Runway visits.

You can check out Mood online at  http://www.moodfabrics.com/

They also have a great blog at http://www.moodfabrics.com/blog/

You can watch episodes of Project Runway at http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway

(If you can’t see the photos, please check my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com)

The aisles at Mood.

Great selection.

Just as it looks on Project Runway.

Lots of selection!

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