One of the fun things about having a hobby that involves supplies is traveling to new places and getting the chance to go searching for treasures. Naturally, whenever I travel these days I make a beeline for the fabric stores, and it was no different when I recently went to LA on my way to the Craftcation conference. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen the trip, but I thought I’d do a round up here in case you’re visiting LA any time soon and fancy retracing my fabric steps! So here is my guide to fabric shopping in Los Angeles.
First up, there’s the fabric district. If you’ve been to NYC you’re probably already familiar with the idea that there’s an area of the city that has a lot of fabric shops… but you have no idea how big that could be until you go to LA! The LA fabric district is giiiinormous, thanks to the garment manufacturing here – blocks and blocks of shoulder-to-shoulder stores. It reminded me a lot of the fabric district in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and barely felt like you were in America. As with most of these districts a lot of the stock is disastrous poly netting, flammable rainbow fake fur and prom dress extravaganzas, but there is good stuff if you know where to look and have a bit of patience.
- Michael Levine is the main big retail store of the area, and it’s a huge treasure trove of fabric. I often get a bit overwhelmed in there, but it’s a great place to start.
- Ragfinders is an amaaaaazing place, but before I get you too excited: it’s wholesale only, with a minimum of 20 yards in an order. That said, if you can go I recommend it: it’s the biggest fabric store I have ever seen, and has absolutely fantastic stock, mostly sourced from factories of Ready To Wear clothing who produced too much. The only risk if you feel like the bolts are going to fall on top of you and kill you, but I will say, there are worse ways to go.
- The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is right next to the fabric district, and is a cool place to visit – not only do they have great exhibitions, but they also have a fabric shop which has bits and bobs that they haven’t used, and you can often get amazing bargains there.
Next on to my absolute favorite store UPDATE: Alas, The Fabric Store is closed! Let’s all take a minute of silence. 🙁
- The Fabric Store. This place is heaven, guys, pure heaven. I really love curated fabric stores (as opposed to a more T J Maxx “search for the gem in the rubbish” approach), and this place hits the nail on the head with a generous selection of wonderful fabrics. They are particularly known for their merino jerseys (of course I picked some up), but there was beautiful silk, wool, novelty fabrics, cottons… even a rack of pastel coloured leathers by the door. This is an absolute no-miss in LA. Afterwards, pop into Sycamore Kitchen or Republique for lunch – we went back multiple times to both.
- Mood Fabrics. The sister store of the more famous NYC location, I have to admit I actually prefer LA Mood. It’s more airy and light, it’s easier to see what they have in stock, and for some reason I feel less panic in there (am I the only one who gets like that in the NYC store?!). Definitely check out the bins at the ends of the aisles – a lot of my best purchases have been made from those.
- Note: the store recently changed loctions to 1726 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
- International Silks and Woolens. Another mega-store with tons of stock, there was a bit too much novelty cotton downstairs for me, but I’ve since found out all the designer fabric is upstairs where I failed to go… d’oh! Please rectify my mistake, dear readers, and let me know what’s up there.
- The Button Store. This place is great! It’s on a really cute street with lots of cafes and boutiques, and they have a massive selection of buttons (and sell wholesale, too).
- Sew Modern. UPDATE: Also Closed now 🙁 Over in West LA, Sew Modern is a bright and fun fabric shop and sewing class studio, and they have tons of branded cottons, quilting cottons, and a small selection of garment fabrics. A bit more geared towards quilters than garment sewers, but totally worth popping in if you’re in the area!
- Rimmon Fabrics. Just up the road from Sew Modern, Rimmon is technically a wholesale jobber (meaning they sell the ends of fabric from factories, only for resale) but they told us that they’re happy to sell retail too, and in fact there was a retail customer there when we visited. It’s an eclectic mix of stock and not set up like a regular store, but they have some beautiful things, and there are many bargains to be had.
Finally, I want to give a shoutout to Super Buzzy in Ventura, CA (where Craftcation takes place). Super Buzzy specializes in Japanese fabric, and has the best selection I’ve ever seen in the US! I picked up some awesome Echino knit for a Concord T-Shirt hack, and enjoyed looking at all the fun Japanese fabrics and accessories. Worth a day trip if you’re in the area.
Below is a map so you can get a sense of where everything is – LA is enormous but as you can see, there’s a lot concentrated in the fabric district and La Brea area. You can have an amazing trip fabric shopping in Los Angeles too!
If you want even more recommendations from an LA local, I suggest checking out Christine Haynes’ Seamworker’s Guide to Los Angeles in Colette Seamwork magazine.
Do you have any other awesome LA spots to add to the list?
Interested in other fabric store guides? Check these out:
- Guide to fabric shopping in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City
- Guide to fabric shopping in NYC
- Where to find cheap Liberty fabric in London