I love Spandex House. Spandex House is a fabric store on West 38th between 7th and 8th. It was highlighted recently in Project Runway. They specialize in fabrics with (surprise) Lycra/Spandex in them. Now I know. Snicker snicker, right? “Spandex?” one might ask? Isn’t that what Kiss, Def Leppard, and second rate drag queens all wear? Well, yeah. And so do the NYCB, most Broadway show casts and everyone on Dancing With the Stars, along with all the First Rate drag queens (Dame Edna, anyone?). Spandex House is where many, if not most, of them, along with much of Hollywood, do their shopping.
When you walk into Spandex House, I’ll admit, it can be truly, um, cause for pause. The first floor is a narrow galley with tons of swimsuit fabrics, lots of spangly fabrics, and the occasional This Is Spinal Tap-type bandmember. But dig a little and you will find some real treasures.
When I go to Spandex House (which is just about every time I go to New York), I bypass the fabrics on the first floor and head straight for the stairs at the back of the store. Head up to the second floor and there you will find knit nirvana.
The second floor houses a host of more sedate (well, kinda anyway) assortment of fabrics. There are more stretch laces and galloons for lingerie in one area of this floor than I have seen anywhere else on the East Coast. I have a stash of stretch lace that I’ll be able to sew off for years, thanks to Spandex House. You want to make knit tees? This is the place. And do you like Hanky Panky thongs? For the price of one in a retail outlet ($16), you can buy enough of the same exact lace and cotton liner to make several dozen.
They also have a great selection of stretch velvets, knit linings for swimsuits and other stretch outfits. And of course, they have lots of fabrics that you can use to make outfits for WWE wrestlers and porn queens.
Finally, the folks who work there are great. Go on in, tell them what you are looking for and what you want to make, and they will guide you through the maze of fabrics to exactly what you need. Yes, they are one of my favorites.
So don’t just write them off because of the rather unfortunate name. Spandex House (or as a bunch of us call them, SH) is a wonderful resource, and you will certainly find great things there.