Recently, I was in Manhattan and took the opportunity to visit the Spandex World store on West 38th, between 7th and 8th Avenue in the Fashion/Garment District, that specialized in spandex. Here was my experience for when you go visit them, or in case you want to check them out and order from them online.
Spandex World is a small fabric shop, but carrying only spandex, it doesn’t need to be a big or medium shop. It had plenty of variety in stock. That was evident the moment you walked into the store and looked down the long room stocked with mostly 60” or higher rolls of spandex, stacked two high, with few duplicate rolls to be found. There was a second floor with less than glamorous selection, but not bad and still quite good compared to Halifax, where I reside. Considering most people don’t use excessive amounts of spandex at a time, what Spandex World had in stock should be more than sufficient.
The other thing immediately noticeable upon walking into the store were tons of shiny and glitter spandex! A lot of these patterns you’d want to ask who would wear this stuff, but since I bought only shiny and glitter spandex in the end (see gallery below), I shouldn’t talk.
There were also a lot of brightly coloured spandex. The people making spandex should really get off the black makes you look skinnier concept and start making more colourful spandex. Seriously, if your ass were fat, it still looks fat in black spandex, all right? Might as well give lookers on something else to think about when they’re looking at it, like silver stars or skulls and crossbones or something!
So selection at Spandex World was great. Price wasn’t too bad. They were selling most at $15/yard. It’s not cheap, though relatively so by Manhattan price scale. But if you’re horribly limited in selection where you live like I am in Halifax, and find a few things you like a lot, it’s not a bad price to pay. It’s not like you would probably need a lot.
As for staff, there were about a half a dozen men of ethnic descent. I’m not sure whether they were African or Caribbean, Indian and/or Middle Eastern descent, but they did business more like their culture than what you might be accustomed to in, say, a boutique or department store. They were busy bees running around cutting and filling shipping orders like you wouldn’t believe! Business was brisk, for sure! They quickly asked to help, every now and then, only to get back to their work when done or if you didn’t have a question. They gave you prices like they knew it all, but sometimes conflicted with each other. So get quotes for sure, and make sure you check when getting cuts and when paying to make sure it was consistent. Prices were only on some rolls. I had that challenge of price consistency, but it was only a couple of dollars off so no big savings in the corrections. Still, you just hate to feel you got slightly cheated somehow were it to happen to you.
With everything within acceptable parameters, I had to decide what I was going to do with any spandex before buying anything. I wasn’t going to buy it just to show people. They can view the selection on Spandex World’s website. So what did I plan to make?
Well, responsible body hugging garments, for one. That means body hugging garments designed only for bodies you want to see them hugging. There’s a hot very little black dress on Burda Open Source I’ve been wanting to make for about a year now, for instance. However, I didn’t want to just make it out of black spandex or stretch knits, or single coloured ones which seemed to be all that was available to me in Halifax. Well, I found a beautiful black with sparse rainbow faded brush strokes that should show up well under the dance floor lights. One yard of it was plenty. I’m trying to cover as little of the well shaped woman, whoever she was going to be, as possible, remember. 😉
As for other potential garments, I’m going to take a stab at exercise gear. One might not want to make exercise gear due to wardrobe malfunctions, from the embarrassing kind like rips, to the painful kind like blisters from exposed seams. But if one is going to improve as a sewist, it’s a pretty good challenge. For running shirts and tights, or complete outfits, I got a holographic snake skin pattern, a glitter blue background with silver stars pattern, and a silver pattern with banner heart tattoos and LOVE and DEATH in large gothic letters! No worries, I have no plans of combining them. If I succeed, though, I will probably cause traffic accidents with my fashion while I run, at some point.
I will be sure to post update links here when I get them done. I have some dirt cheap spandex bought from elsewhere for practice, from one off batches with huge discounts to about $2-3 a yard. You won’t find those at Spandex World, but you probably don’t want to see space there wasted with such non-descript spandex, either. They did have their fair share of single coloured spandex upstairs, so you can probably find that type of spandex if you wanted some.
Overall, I would very much recommend anyone who has an interest in fabric, sewing and/or clothing to visit Spandex World. Even if you don’t end up making anything from spandex, go see what’s available and stretch your imagination!