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Aug 12, 2012

MPB Day 2012: Fashion! Fabric! Fatalities!

Readers, as a born-and-bred New Yorker, I'm not easily startled, but being within 100 yards of the fatal shooting by police of a knife-wielding maniac while en route to Mood Fabrics yesterday was certainly out of the ordinary.

Fortunately not even gunfire could dampen the spirits of our intrepid group of gregarious go-getters at yesterday's second annual MPB Day event.  What fun we had!  Nobody took a bullet and it never did rain.

The day began at 9:30 am, when I met Teri, Sandra, Harriet, Marty, and Linda at the Chelsea flea market on 25th Street.

Teri, Sandra, Harriet, Marty, and Linda

Braving humidity that frizzed our hair but kept us looking dewy, we uncovered fabulous vintage collectibles, among them this Singer metal wastepaper basket (no takers at $25).

Yet another vintage feather wig, this time in stunning chartreuse!

Foam board-mounted Polyester poster autographed by John Waters!

Teri, Peter, and Linda

At 11 am, we all assembled at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum and Clean Restrooms, where we introduced ourselves, voided our bladders, and caught the delightful Fashion, A-Z exhibit.  I had seen this free exhibit a number of times before, so I was able to concentrate on keeping people from taking photographs, leaning in too close to the mannequins (triggering the alarm system), and fingering the stiff taffeta ruching on the Charles James gown on display.

Next, we headed around the block to the delightful Brown Cup cafe, where we met a few late arrivals (among them Michael and birthday girl Marie) and fortified ourselves for the challenges ahead.

Lisa and Michael

After lunch it was time to hit the fabric stores.  A special thanks to Nancy and Cindy for leading a high-end fabric store group to Mood, while I, the Pied Piper of Payless, escorted the bargain hunters up to such 39th Street favorites as Chic Fabrics, Fabrics for Less, and Paron's. 

Aimee and Donna

From 39th St., we walked south to the new Around the World Magazine Shop and Bookstore (148 West 37th St), which offers an astonishingly wide selection of international fashion magazines and books.

My now fast-wilting group decided to hit Mood (225 West 37th St.) just as a symphony of bullets, sirens, and general pandemonium broke out behind us.  I never felt happier to be safe inside a fabric store -- and not just any fabric store, but three floors of fabric fabulosity -- toile for days and so much more!

Next we headed to the Kinokuniya bookstore cafe (41st & 6th Ave.), zigzagging through blocked-off streets, police tape, squad cars, ambulances, and gawking mobs.  It was time for a cool beverage!

The high-end and low(er)-end groups now reassembled in the southwest corner of Bryant Park, where we sipped frappes, provided on-site counseling to the traumatized, and showed off our fabric and notion purchases.  Before we knew it, it was time for hugs and good-byes.


Helen displays her purchases.

We survived!

I think this was most successful MPB Day yet, readers.  I was delighted to see so many new faces, though we did have repeaters from last year as well -- primarily former attendees who, due to poor performance, were asked to attend MPB Day again this year.  While nearly all participants were promoted this time around, I am sad to report that neither Cindy nor Aussie Mike performed as hoped, and both will be asked to attend MPB Day again next summer.  Poor Cindy: this will be her third and final attempt.


And so, readers, another MPB Day goes down in history.  I hope our ripped-from-the-headlines crime adventure won't keep anyone from attending next year (already scheduled for Saturday, August 10th).  Shoot-outs in the Garment District are rare occurrences, and usually limited to the staff of It's a Material World (257 West 39th St.).

In closing, I'd like to thank all my new best friends: Jen, Ericka, Sharelle, Kanisa, Melissa, Johanna, Helen, Suzanne, Gina, Aimee, Randi, Marty, Teri, Nicole, Roberta, Claudine, Nancy, Jeanne, Kathy, Kelsey, Harriet (and Clay), Sandra, Lisa, Donna, Antoinette, Kyle, Marie, Joanne, Mike, Cindy, and Linda (did I miss anyone?)  You guys are the best!

You can see more photos of all the festivities -- and drama -- here.

Have a great day, everybody!

UPDATE: You can read about Marie's experience on her blog, Knitted Gems, here.  And Kyle's on her blog, Vacuuming the Lawn, here!  Linda tells her side of the story here.


  1. Peter, Thanks so much for hosting such a fun meetup! I had a great time and it so nice to see and talk to you and everyone. I fear that, because I had to leave early this year, I will have to attend yet again next year.
    Claudine (

  2. What a memorable MPB Day. Thanks again for hosting us all. See you next August!

  3. What a grand time had by all, so it would appear! Complete with New York excitement at its best! So sorry I missed it. Perhaps next year.

    1. I'm with you Alaskapsych. Having missed out on two, can we let a third slip through our hands?

  4. Great photos! It would be so hard to choose between high end and pay less fabric stories of NYC! It would probably be too much for me and certainly too much for my budget right now but what a rush! The man with the knife wanted to die that day. "suicide by police". Holley

  5. So. very. jealous. I would have bought that autographed Polyester poster. John waters is my favorite human---I want to be him when I grow up!

  6. I now have 2013 MPB day on my calendar -- and I'll try to make it!


  7. now that looks like a fun gathering - so jealous the UK seems too far away right now.

  8. Peter, Thanks for organizing a fabulous day! It was so nice to finally meet you, and all of the other lovely MPB Day participants. I had such a wonderful time talking with you and the entourage as we plundered the garment district for fabric, and later seeing the treasures that were going home with our intrepid shoppers. Truly a memorable day (even without the police activity), and I look forward to joining you again next year!

  9. Sounds fun - maybe next year if I'm living on the East Coast again.

    One question - What's with all the empty beer kegs?

  10. Thank you, Peter! A fun day, I enjoyed meeting you and the other the celebrity bloggers, and now I know where all the fabric stores are. (Given my shopping habits, I should have gone on the Payless vs. the high-end tour, though.)

  11. I'm from Melbourne Australia and MPB day is officially on my bucket list. I'll start saving fr the airfare now. That means buying less fabric. Glad you all had a great day, this MPB day should henceforth be known as "the one with the shooting"

  12. Thanks for sharing with us all, Peter. I've already put next year on the calendar, since this was a "training run". Making a list of the things I missed this year (extra-wide skirt elastic at Pacific trim, for example) to be sure I perform better next time around. I've got serious plans to sew through my stash (well... at least part of it) so that I can justify buying more next year.

  13. Thank you Peter!!!! It was real pleasure to meet you and other participants in person. I have truly enjoyed the MPB Day and will do my best to attend next year... Marvelous Day !!!!!! Xxxx Aussie Mike :)

  14. You didn't buy anything???? Or are you making us wait for the next reveal?

  15. What vicarious fun to read and peruse the day's photos! It's not as good as being there in person, but that's a fine list of places to go and things to see, anyway. Maybe someday, maybe next year.

  16. Thank you Peter for another fun filled MPB day! I can't believe I have to wait another 364 days!

  17. Oh it all looks like such fun! I wish I had been there! I will certainly try for next year!

  18. SO glad I went...I almost chickened out at the last minute because I've never posted here and I was feeling shy. I had a fantastic time and everyone was so nice. And I went berserk buying fabric. ;)
    Thank you, Peter!!!!

  19. Had a great time Peter, fun day in the city shopping,it was lovely meeting the fellow sewists, I am looking forward to next year.

  20. Thank you for hosting another great MPB Day! It was wonderful to see you again and to meet our surprise guest, Michael, who looked fabulous in the linen shirt you made.

    The itinerary had something for everybody and it didn’t dare rain on your special day. FIT security was probably glad to see us leave after we kept setting off the alarms, despite your best efforts to stop us.

    It was great to see the friends I made at last year’s event and meet all my new friends this year. Everyone was so nice. You attract a great crowd.

    I am saving up for next year!

  21. Sounds like it was a fun-filled day! So sorry to have missed it!!

  22. Right! Thats it! I have a year to organise myself and save up money for the airfare and all the fabric I will buy - the date is in my diary and my fingers are crossed that I can make it next year :)

    Read your blogg yesterday and today in my local newspaper ( gazet van Antwerpen (Belgium)) I find a article over New York : police shoots man with knife near Time Square ....
    Love your photos and will try these fabric shops in september

  24. I had a wonderful time! It was the perfect birthday present. Thank you so much for hosting.

  25. So glad to see the MPB crew at Mood. Looking forward to seeing what you make with your Mood fabrics...

  26. I'm sorry I couldn't be there for the excitment. Glad you all had a good time (and no one was caught in the line of fire).

  27. OOOOooo! I recognize that seafoam velvet that Donna is holding the Chic Fabrics photo. I bought that last fall and made a velvet jacket (pics on burdastyle) That is some really nice fabric.

  28. Thanks for organizing the day. It was great fun!

  29. Hi Peter,
    Thanks again for such a great day! My recap of the event is here:


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