My husband and I were in Los Angeles this month for a wedding and were fortunate to be able to visit the Los Angeles Fabric District. This was BIG for me! We are moving to the East Coast and I have no idea if or when I will ever have this opportunity again. The advantage to shopping here is the amazing selection. You can find supplies you might not be able to find elsewhere. The other spectacular draw are the low prices. I read blog posts and wrote up a route for us to follow, complete with a map on Googlemaps.
We made sure to bring plenty of water and some snacks, and I had lots of cash in small bills.
I started my shopping in FIDM Scholarship Store. This is on the corner of 9th and Grant and if you get there when the store opens (M-F 9am, Sat 10 am) you may be able to park at a nearby meter like I did. They use the proceeds to benefit students at the Fashion Institute of Design. In the back, there is a fabric room with a ton of remnants and larger rolls of fabric. It requires a little digging, but if you are looking for some hip, nice knits, you may get really lucky. I paid only $1 per yard for remnants. They also have clothing for sale. A lot of them have a hole or two, but they are really cheap.
Then, we headed over to the heart of the Fabric District and parked on 9th and Wall Street. If you're headed down 9th and pass Maple, turn left on Wall Street. A quick left will take you up a ramp to a parking lot that charges only $4 for the whole day. (There are other lots, this is just the one we parked at.) You may be able to find a meter on the street if you come early, or if you are lucky. When I came back on Saturday, the lot was $7, so I opted for metered parking.
We went to Tex Carmel, where they had loads of beautiful linens and wools. Unfortunately, their prices were a little high, and they didn't seem willing to barter with me, so I left without purchasing anything. It's not a bad idea to shop around and see how the prices compare. You can always come back.
Next, we went to Fabrics and Fabrics, on 9th between Maple and Wall Street (sorry, no pic). An employee pointed me to the linens, where I saw this lovely, lightweight teal linen. He said everything on that wall was $10 a yard, but when I started to leave, he gave it to me for $8/ yard. I probably could have talked him down another dollar, but I really did think it was a good price. He pulled the roll from the huge stack of linen rolls, and started cutting. They really aren't that precise when they cut - just so you know. They eyeball it, and from what I hear, most places only cut whole yards.
After I bought the linen, my husband and I stopped by one of the hot dog carts and I got a 'street dog' with a bunch of pico de gallo and avocados. It was sooo good, and only $3. I highly recommend the street food. We sat on some steps. I am a really careful eater. I started to chow and promptly dropped an avocado blob onto the linen fabric I had just purchased. Yay. So glad the spot came out!
Next, we stopped by the highly raved about The Loft of Michael Levine Fabrics. It is on Maple between 9th and Olympic. Here you can buy fabric for $2.50 per pound. This is where all the cast offs and remnants go, and you have to dig in tallish cardboard boxes. I actually found quite a few large pieces and we ended up cutting all of them ourselves, into smaller pieces. They also had some rolls of fabric against the wall, organized by color. I didn't find too many wovens here, mostly jersey knits in solid colors. I hear that the Loft changes daily, so your experience could be totally different than mine.
Lastly, I stopped by Michael Levine Fabrics, just across the street from The Loft, where you can find almost anything. They make you pay for it, too. Their prices are usually higher than the small businesses nearby, but everything is really well organized and priced. You won't be able to barter here. There are plenty of salespeople to cut fabric and ask questions. If you can't find something at one of the other stores, Michael Levine has a great selection, so make sure you stop by. It's kind of like walking into a Joann's or Hancock's minus the pretty posters and sales signs. It has more of a warehouse feel. They don't use the high-low price strategy, which I liked very much. You can park in the lot behind Michael Levine, but it's quite expensive and they validate, but only for 15 minutes of your time. That is why I would prefer to park in one of the other lots or at a meter and then just run my fabric back to the car.
After 3 1/2 hours of shopping, my feet hurt, my legs ached, and I had seen so much fabric I wanted to vomit. I know, a real trooper, right? But after a good night's rest, I was back at it again for a few hours the next day. Stay tuned for my next post and I will tell you where I went on Saturday!