So you want to shop the district? Don’t be intimidated! It’s awesome and totally worth braving LA traffic.
What do the boy scouts say? Always be prepared? It’s the first step to bringing home amazing fabrics at deeply discounted prices.
- Bring cash, it’s not 100% necessary. You can find plenty of shops that accept cards. But for discounts on the street and food from the vendors, I highly recommend bringing at least a little.
- Bring a cart or stroller (or a strong armed assistant). I confess, I love to have my kids with me, they are a great excuse to bring a stroller. But last time I borrowed this cart found on from my mom and it was perfect.
- Plan your route ahead
- For the deepest discounts be prepared to haggle and buying in larger quantities helps.
Stop first at Fabric Merchants, 1430 S Grande Vista Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90023. It is a great way to ease into the district. It is a few minutes outside the city and parking is free.
They have a discount bin out front and a great selection of apparel fabrics inside. If you are excited to shop the district, but intimidated by downtown, this is the perfect place for you. Steve, the owner, is nice and personable and his staff is kind, and super helpful. Bring swatches if you have them and ask for help, they can assist you in finding exactly what you need quickly.
Now it’s time to head into the heart of the district. When my husband drives he usually snags street parking. Brush up on your parallel parking if you are going to go this route. I generally like to park in the lot on San Julian between Olympic and 9th. Depending on the day it will cost between $3-5 for the day.
Any of the lots in the area are fine. The cost of parking is worth the trip, I promise.
When I am just browsing, I head to the Michael Levine Loft first. The Loft is across the street from the Michael Levine retail store (920 Maple Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90015) It is a legend and shouldn’t be missed.
A pay by the pound treasure hunt. I have found all kinds of great fabrics here…but be warned there is a time warp in there and you could easily spend most of your time digging to the bottom of those bins. So try to stay focused and make it quick. You are welcome to cut any of the fabrics here.
LA Alex is a hidden gem. I buy my serger thread, plain elastics, zippers, and stretch denims in here. Their rolls of elastic and cone threads are the cheapest I have found.
Angel Textiles & JB Textiles
Angel is my favorite spot in the district. They offer great prices, are organized, know what they have and give generous cuts. Rayon Spandex Prints and Solids, Cotton Spandex, Liverpools, Ponte, and Sweater Knits are my favorite finds here. They have a huge selection and I feel I have only scratched the surface. I have spent as little as $2 a yard and as much as $5 a yard. The guys here are super helpful, will pull and carry your bolts for you and are just all around nice guys.
JB textiles has a great selection of prints and I often find a few treasures in there, again amazing deals. Just like their neighbor, they are worth browsing.
If you parked where I did, on your way out, stop at Target Trim to grab any elastics or trim you need for your projects. This place is epic. I think they have any trim you could dream up and are floor to ceiling, jam packed.
My Route Map:
Bargain Bin Shopping: Michael Levine Loft, Fabric Merchants
Plain Elastic, Zippers, Boning, Cone Thread: LA Alex
Decorative Elastics, Plush Elastics, Trim: Target Trim
Sweater Knits: Fabric Merchants, Angel Textiles
Sweatshirt Knits: Fabric Merchants
Lightweight Apparel Wovens: Fabric Merchants, Micheal Levine Loft, Angel, Street Vendors
Stretch Denim: LA Alex, Angel
Rayon Spandex: Angel, JB, Fabric Merchants
Cotton Lycra: (I haven’t featured her as I have never been, but I hear Purple Seamstress is the place to go.) I find mine at Fabric Merchants and Angel
Brushed Poly: Fabric Merchants, JB, Angel
I’m sure there are many more places to shop and that many of these places offer a complete variety of fabrics. These are just my favorites. I encourage you to go on an adventure and find your own favorite spots!
To stay up to date and in the know regarding fabric shopping in Southern California I suggest joining this Facebook group.
Happy Shopping! Let me know if you find other great spots or better deals!