cathy izzo : the city collection :: Okan Arts
cathy izzo : the city collection

cathy izzo : the city collection

By Cathy Izzo, co-owner of The City Quilter

SPOILER: At the end of this post, there’s a giveaway of NYC-themed fabrics!

NEW YORK, NY  Ever since my partner Dale Riehl and I opened The City Quilter in 1997, customers have been asking for NYC-themed fabric. Sometimes the fabric companies obliged by releasing a skyscraper print with generic tall buildings and that usually satisfied people. But these printed fabrics were few and far between.

The City Quilter, NYC

For a long time, Dale tried to persuade me that we needed to design and print our own New York fabrics. I didn’t consider myself an artist or a designer, and there were so many other things to do! I didn’t need one more chore on my plate.

When my niece April, an artist, started working with us at the store I finally gave in. April and I began developing our first NYC fabric. The City Quilter had been selling (and still does sell) fabric postcards of old New York, made by Olde American Antiques.

The postcards sold well and were a popular souvenir. Would they make a great fabric? We tried scattering some on a neutral background but the resulting design was fairly bland. We added polka dots and it got a little more interesting.

April suggested interspersing the backs of postcards with the images. April’s mother, who collected postcards, graciously allowed us to rummage through boxes of them. The resulting design was very pleasing. We liked it enough to order 1,000 yards each of three different colorways. (We licensed the images from Olde American Antiques, of course.)

Postcards fabric, The City Collection, The City Quilter NYC

Map fabrics always seemed to sell well. Our next idea was to produce a fabric using the NYC subway map. Dale spent over six months trying to identify the correct person at Metropolitan Transit Authority to discuss licensing the artwork. Dale finally persuaded him that The City Quilter would be a good custodian of the precious MTA brand. Again we printed 1,000 yards in three different colorways. And we’re still printing them!

Subway fabric, The City Collection, The City Quilter NYC

After that success, I began to trust my instincts a bit more. One Christmas I saw a review of an art book full of pen and ink drawings of New York City done in the 1960’s. I bought the book and loved it.

So once again Dale negotiated the reproduction rights with the publisher of the book. We hired a fabric designer to put the drawing in repeat. At the last minute, I couldn’t decide which image to print. They were all so good! So we decided to print two—a daytime and a nighttime drawing. I’m so glad we did, they work together beautifully.

New York Line By Line, The City Collection, The City Quilter NYC

We sell “The City Collection” fabrics only at our store and on our website. Now up to 15 different prints, we are well-known for these New York fabrics that aren’t available anywhere else.

The City Collection, The City Quilter NYC

It’s wonderful to see what people do with our fabrics. We’ve seen countless bags, quilts, and even clothing. Our customers’ imagination and ingenuity are truly amazing!

To visit The City Quilter online shop with The City Collection fabrics +click here

FQ Bundles, City Collection, The City Quilter NYC


This giveaway is closed and the winners have been notified.

To participate in a giveaway of four FQ Bundles of The City Collection, answer this question in the Comment Box below: If you visited New York tomorrow, what would you do besides shopping at The City Quilter?

HOW THIS GIVEAWAY WORKS: The NY-Themed Fabric Giveaway drawing will be held at midnight PST on August 15, 2016. The Giveaway is open to US residents (sorry to my Canadian and international friends), 18 and older, void where prohibited. One entry per person. Four lucky winners will be chosen with a random number drawing. Winners will be notified within 24 hours. Winners must respond within one week of notification or their giveaway will be forfeited. A list of winners can be obtained at any time from Okan Arts. Thanks for participating!

This is not a sponsored giveaway.

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83 comments to “cathy izzo : the city collection”

  1. alma curtis says:

    I would visit as many hot spots I could that Paula Naldstern mentions in her guide to visit in New York.

  2. Peggy Johnson says:

    After visiting the City Quilter I would spend some time at the 9/11 Memorial.

  3. Jessica Jones-Coggins says:

    I would try to see Hamilton, I would eat at a lovely restaurant, I would walk the streets and take in all the smells and people and vibe

  4. Renata says:

    After The City Quilter, I’d head straight for the Met, followed by finding as many of the places on your fabric that I haven’t seen yet all with a camera in-hand for quilting inspiration.

  5. Robin Abraham says:

    I’d go visit Parsons – my niece is starting there this fall. You better believe that I’ll be visiting City Quilter every time I visit her over the next 4 years! I love your store!

  6. Allison says:

    Oooooolala…I would go to as many art galleries and museums as possible!

  7. Candice says:

    OMG how fabulous — and I lived at 21st & 9th ave while in Seminary!! I want it all!! These speak to my heart as a lover of NYC!! What would I do after visiting “The City Quilter”? I would hit The Chelsea Market, Murray’s Bagels on 8th ave, Patsie’s Pizza on 23rd, get a mani-pedi across from Murray’s, hug all my NYC friends, etc. etc.

  8. Linda Dixon says:

    I love riding the city bus when I’m in New York, so I would purchase a day pass and ride around the city looking out at the various neighborhoods and people. It’s a wonderful way to experience parts of the city.

  9. Hester Tinti says:

    If I visited NYC I would go to the Met for Opera. Go to a Broadway show. Visit MOMA, the Guggenheim, and the Met. Mus. of Art. Also the Folk Art Mus.. Brooklyn Mus., and Ellis Island. I’d walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and have a great meal in Little Italy. How wonderful!

  10. Wanda Jones says:

    I would love to visit The Metropolitan Museum and see a Broadway show. Oh, and hit one (or two) decadent bakeries.

  11. Alice Ronne says:

    After visiting your quilt store, I’d love to re-visit Central Park, your fantastic museums and see a play all by myself (hubby too!). Last time I went as a chaperone for 150 high school marching band members! Great memories which your fabrics remind me of. Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. SOOZ says:


  13. Ann Hudson says:

    Go to all the museums I could on ‘museum mile’! The MET, MoMa, Whitney etc.

  14. Dee says:

    I would take the Bateaux dinner cruise again. The skyline at night is awesome!

  15. K Jill Varnell says:

    I would visit Pintura Studio at 207 East 4th Street where they do hand printed fabrics & wallpapers. Met one of the owners, Christine Isles, in Ontario this summer.

  16. Sherry V. says:

    Besides getting to The City Quilter I would go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and, if FIT had a display I would go check that also. I would also check out The Japan Society if they had an interesting exhibit.

  17. Joanne G. says:

    NYC: I’d visit Grand Central Station for inspiration to use my Grand Central Station fabric, then I’d head for City Quilter for more NYC fabric. More quilt shops should follow this lead. Since this is a dream trip, I’d also see Hamilton with the original cast members, front and center!

  18. Shirley Whitcomb says:

    I’d have to visit the 911 memorial and then central park.

  19. Sue o'donnell says:

    I’d go to the Metropolitan museum and H & H bagels!!!!

  20. joann e says:

    I would definitely see the 9/ 11 memorial and central park.would like to visit the statute of liberty and where my father came in as an immigrant (after Ellis Island closed)

  21. Beverly Threadgill-Robey says:

    I would go to every art museum I could find! I hope I win!

  22. Sara Fridley says:

    I would visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

  23. Kae Eagling says:

    Go to all the art museums and take photos of graffiti and taxis.

  24. Jill says:

    I have never been to New York so I would visit as many tourist spots as I could fit in. New York City is on my bucket list!

  25. Ellen Hemmert says:

    I’d love to see Hamilton!

  26. Karen M says:

    I’ve been lucky to visit NYC twice in the past 14 months and saw many sights! But the one place I didn’t get to on either trip was the Statue of Liberty. I went to the City Quilter in May 2015 and bought some NY fabric, but would love to have more. I plan to use the fabric with photos of my family at the different sights printed onto fabric.

  27. Lynne says:

    I would inline skate the Central Park loop, go up and visit the Cathedral of St John the Divine, MOMA, the Met, Strawberry Fields, down to the Kiev for pierogies and cherry juice, watch the sunset from Battery Park, and finish with a Guiness at Paddy Reilly’s.
    I miss NY!

  28. Jerie Clark says:

    I would enjoy people watching in the city. Your fabric is really fun

  29. Jocelyn says:

    I would love to visit The City Quilter. I was born in NYC, but it has been 40 years since I last visited. I would visit the museums, Macy’s, the NYC library, Grand Central station. and Central Park. I would eat REAL pizza and eat at a Chinese restaurant. NYC is the only place that makes food that good 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway. I would dearly love to win NY fabric.

  30. Suzi J. Schaum says:

    Look for the best bagels.

  31. Trudi Rammelkamp says:

    I would go down to Washington Square to visit the neighborhood where we lived when my husband was a student at NYU. I would take busses more than subways in order to get a better view of what’s going on around town.

  32. kathy powell says:

    After Cathy’s quilt shop I would visit my baby brother Matthew Courtney who is a street painter usually in front of J. Crew in ShoHo .

  33. Elana Goldberg says:

    If I visited tomorrow, I would first try TKTS for discount show tickets. Then, I would visit the High Line, view the new Whitney museum and go to Harney and Sons for tea sampling. Then I would try to do dinner and take in a Broadway Show for the evening.

  34. Mrs. Plum says:

    I’d like to visit the Cloisters, the main NYC library, and the Statue of Liberty. Also, attending a Broadway musical would be a must. Thank you for the chance to win!

  35. Samantha Quigley says:

    I would go to Chikalicious for dessert!

  36. Gwen Monson says:

    First I would visit my son, then the City Quilter, 911 memorial followed by a great meal.

  37. Linda Fleming says:

    I’d love to go see the “Love Sculpture” in New York.

  38. Diane Johnson says:

    I am a first generation American. At age 7 I went to NYC with my parents to welcome my Swedish Grandmother for her only visit to the USA. I remember many things but we didn’t get a chance to see the Statue of Liberty, the iconic symbol of our land. Then I would take a picture and make an art quilt from the bundle of NY fabrics I hope to win!

  39. Carole Anderson says:

    After visiting and shopping at The City Quilter, I would buy tickets to a musical.

  40. Janet Schayer says:

    I would go to Central Park….I would find a wonderful deli and have an authentic reuben sandwich……

  41. jan Munagian says:

    I love going to NYC and have visited the quilt store several times. My favorite reason for going to the city is to attend an opera at the Met and would definitely see one tomorrow were that possible!

  42. Rhonda H. says:

    I’ve never been to NYC, but it is high on my list of places to go! As to what I would do In addition to fabric shopping…… 9/11 memorial ( I just returned from visiting the Flight 93 memorial in Penn.), MoMA, Natural History Museum, NYC Public Library ( I’m a librarian so essential visit) Hamilton and Phantom on Broadway, NYC Ballet, Alvin Ailey, and the list keeps growing.

  43. Susie Q says:

    After Lady Liberty…the theater….. Broadway….. Little Italy…. The Met…. and the Cousins!!!!!!

  44. Cynthia reed says:

    I’d go to MOMA and look at great art and then have a great lunch.

  45. Linda McLaughlin says:

    I’d have to go to some galleries and museums.

  46. Kathy E. says:

    I’ve never been to New York, but hope to get there some day! One of the first things I’d like to do is buy a ticket to a Broadway play, then I’d want to walk through Central Park.

  47. Sandy Ghezzi says:

    I would visit and shop at two other retailers known for addictive products for artists and creative types… The Ink Pad ( and Kinokuniya Bookstore.

  48. Steve Lennert says:

    If I were to visit NYC tomorrow I would visit my friends, Charles, who works at The City Quilter, and Michael, who works as a costumer on Broadway. I would attend a couple of shows, visit art museums, and eat lots of great ethnic food.

  49. Elana Goldberg says:

    If visiting NYC, I would hit up a museum and then go for lunch.

  50. Barbara Macey says:

    Of course I love all this “city” as I did a psych internship in The Bowery!
    I’d love to visit City Quilters & would immediately head to The Chelsey Market, back to Central Park, then head over to 23rd & 5th & have another unforgettable PIZZA.

    How I’d love winning some of your great fabric. Thank you ever so much for the chance.

  51. Cindy Chock says:

    After visiting CQ I would head to the FIT museum and take in the show. Next stop the Met Costume institute!

  52. Arbor Buchanan says:

    Starting at The City Quilter, I would begin a walking tour, trekking through the various neighborhoods that make up Manhatten Island

  53. Susan Wolcott says:

    The MOMA

  54. Deb W says:

    Statue of Liberty and Ellis island

  55. Michelle says:

    I’d head to the American Folkart Museum!

  56. MONA says:

    After the visit from The City Quilter, first thing I would get my favorite from Kee’s Chocolates, eat at an eatery on my list to try, then spend a day at one of the many museums, then a Broadway show in NYC!
    That would be my day, then repeat !

  57. denise says:

    After shoppng at City Quilter I’d head to the Metropolitan Museaum of Art.

  58. babs ratner says:

    What I would do is go to Lincoln Center and see NYC Ballet. I have to admit that what I would do first is visit the City Quilter. Hope I can make that happen soon.

  59. Maryln Nelson says:

    When I lived in NYC for 2 years in the 60’s I worked in the Pan Am Building for IBM (IBM-PANAMAC) the first airline cargo reservation system. I would walk as far as I could on my lunch hour (a different direction every day) and one day I walked to the United Nations. I was from a small town in South Dakota and NYC was beyond my wildest dreams. I would once again take that walk and so much more. How I loved that city. My co-workers were absolutely mystified by a young girl that lived with the cowboys and I absolutely mystified by their lives.

  60. Emily Batista says:

    I would see a Broadway show!

  61. Amy Loar says:

    The last time I was in NYC, I went to the Highline Park and then to the City Quilter. Next time, it will be the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I hope the City Quilter.

  62. Laura Gottlieb says:

    Imwould like to viwit the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and also see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

  63. Barbara Snider says:

    Time square would be my first stop!

  64. Sherry T says:

    I would visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art! I would love to see the current exhibits on Chinese hard stone carvings, the Chinese opera costumes, cinnabar, and the “Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas”!

  65. Mary Cottrell says:

    1st go to a Broadway play., as we are from the west coast and have never experienced Broadway.

  66. Sally MB says:

    I would walk the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge!

  67. Jean says:

    I would take my friend Jim and continue on the tour we started one blustery January. I don’t remember if time or weather cut our tour short, but I remember it was a great tour.

  68. Trudi Rammelkamp says:

    My first stop, after visiting the City Quilter, would be the Village, Washington Square, NYU, our old neighborhood.

  69. R Marino says:

    After City Quilter … off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and oh! so many other places to see … then somewhere to get a great view of the city at night!

  70. Anne Dawson says:

    We will be in NYC in October! It’s hard to choose just one thing… SO second on the list (after City Quilter) is the United Nations. Thanks for a great article.

  71. Julie Stump says:

    I haven’t been to NYC for awhile, not since the MOMA was remodeled. I want to go there.

  72. Debs Herold says:

    After shopping at the City Quilter, I would head to the Statue of Liberty, then Soho.

  73. Barbara Mims says:

    Spend so time sightseeing in Times Square and a
    then go to a comedy club.

  74. martyt says:

    art galleries, bakeries, walking,looking taking some of it in.

  75. Norma Petersen says:

    I would walk and walk in Central Park!!!

  76. april zemke says:

    I would visit your art museum as well as the 9-11 memorial.

  77. Kitty DeLapp says:

    I would love to visit some button shops! A New York themed button to use on the bag I would make out of your beautiful fabric, should I be so lucky, would be one thing I’d look for. Thanks for your blog!

  78. Vivian Roop says:

    I am heading straight to MOMA.

  79. Cindy K says:

    I have visited NYC once years ago. There was so much to do and we were only there for a few days. I would like to go back and visit Ellis Island again and get inside the Statue of Liberty. Made it there but wasn’t able to get inside.

  80. Janet FOSTER says:

    You have great ideas!!

  81. Dee Joyce says:

    I LOVE this fabric! Having grown up in Boston, I have such a strong yearning to be back there. I realize I have gotten older, I could never keep up with the pace. I think that it’s the yearning for a more simple life when I was younger. When I got married two years ago, being in the country, I chose my venue that had a very city feel to it. I love brick (I have no idea why) and the building was very historical. My husband was happy with the venue so we went with it, rather than get married at a destination hotel where I worked. It probably would have been easier for my guests, and closer too, but it’s what made me happy! I have recently been introduced to city scapes in paintings and fell in love with those too! Thanks for creating such a great fabric and for having the courage to go through with it! Isn’t it funny that you thought no one would be interested in it!