Brooklyn Mercantile makes me wish I was a crafty person. The level of my handiwork doesn’t extend much beyond friendship bracelets, but I’ve always loved poking through fabric and notions stores, and this Fifth Avenue crafts shop hits all the sweet spots.
The reels of bright-colored ribbons, jars of buttons, jewel-toned embroidery thread, and racks of mysterious tools like ball pins and bodkins all speak of home-made possibility. I think if I spent too long in this place, my apartment would soon fill with half-finished projects that I never properly learn to complete.
On the right-hand side of the store as you walk in, the shelves are filled with bolts of patterned cotton fabrics, grouped in color schemes so stylishly chosen that you might be tempted to make curtains for every window in your house, each in a different fabric. If you bring in your window measurements, Brooklyn Mercantile can help you figure out the fabric yardage you’ll need and rent you sewing-machine time in the shop—or they can make the curtains for you, starting at $42.50 plus materials for a basic rod pocket panel.
Next to the bolts of cloth, there are books of upholstery-grade fabric swatches—once again, you’ll find both the materials needed to take on a reupholstering project yourself and the in-house artisans to do it for you for a price.
Brooklyn Mercantile is a pleasantly jumbly place, which keeps it from being overly twee. Its shelves burst with merchandise, even ready-made goods for the less handy. There’s boxes of vintage linens, candles and diffusers by Archipalego Botanicals, pottery, vintage reproduction clocks, and cheery aprons made by the sewing teacher. The back half of the space hosts a separate but complementary business, a yarn and knitting supplies store called Stitch Therapy.
If you’re looking for an excuse or the skills to make use of all the fun stuff in the shop, Brooklyn Mercantile offers classes in book-binding, fabric-dying, quilt-making, and sewing. For beginning seamsters, there’s a two-session class (that’s five hours of instruction) for $115. By the end, you’ll have made a simple tote and gained the skills to sew hems and make curtains, pillows, and tablecloths.
“It’s a really empowering class,” said the store’s manager.
Now if they could just teach patience and follow-through, I’d be all set.