Andrea Deal and Ivete Tecedor met more than a decade ago, when Tecedor attended one of Deal’s quilting classes. And once she started, it was hard to stop.
“It does tend to be a little addicting,” Deal said. “Once you get started, you either dive right in, or you’re like ‘eh, that’s enough.'”
Eventually, the pair set their sights on crafting something new — their own quilting business.
After noticing that other quilt stores in the city didn’t carry more modern fabrics, Deal and Tecedor decided to fill the gap with their own store, Gotham Quilts. The shops that came before them have since closed, making Gotham Quilts Manhattan’s only quilting business.
“We basically made the store that we wanted to shop in, which didn’t exist,” Tecedor told PIX11’s Tamsen Fadal.
During the early days of the pandemic, Gotham Quilts sold masks, which were hard to find at the time. For every mask sold, they donated another to Mount Sinai. The shop also saw customers who were looking to sew their own masks, digging up machines that they hadn’t used in years.
“We have definitely seen an increase in new quilters,” Tecedor said, “people we have never seen before who picked up the craft because they were making masks, and then looking for other things to make.”
Additionally, Deal and Tecedor both say that there’s a mental health benefit to quilting that soothed customers during a stressful year.
Gotham Quilts also offers classes, which are attended by customers as young as eight. They also provide hard-to-find services like “longarm quilting,” a practice where customers create the patterned top part of a quilt and then bring it into Gotham Quilts to be completed and sewn to other layers.
It’s all part of Gotham Quilts’ mission to bring the craft to customers of all skill levels. Deal and Tecedor said that, after a difficult year, they have finally noticed an uptick in tourists coming to the store to buy unique fabrics for their projects.