April 25, 2016

Guide to Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles


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.
Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles

This is just one of the multiple printed jersey aisles. Yep. Carrie for scale.

  • 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.

Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles

Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles

Fabric Shopping in LA

 

  • 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.

Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles

Fabric Shopping in LA

  • 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.

Fabric Shopping in LA

  • 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).

Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles

  • 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.

Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles

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.

Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles

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:

Want to get the latest news on curvy sewing, fun fabric shopping trips, and exclusive offers on Cashmerette Patterns to your inbox? Then sign up for the Cashmerette newsletter!

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27 thoughts on “Guide to Fabric Shopping in Los Angeles

  1. Rachel says:

    All I can say is you Stateside girls are so lucky! Just one of those shops within easy reach would be a dream come true……

  2. suchwildlove says:

    If you’re looking to buy linen, silk or wool, I recommend Tex Carmel around the corner from Michael Levine, at 432 9th St. Really good prices, and negotiable!

  3. Bethany says:

    Have you ever done a post on fabric shopping in Boston? I’m new to fashion sewing and I live in RI. I’m planning a road trip to Fabric Place Basement and Sewfisticated but I’m wondering where else I should go.

    1. Hi Bethany – I haven’t, but I should! There aren’t terribly many options in this area, but Fabric Place Basement probably has the largest selection of garment fabrics in the area. Sewfisticated can sometimes be OK but there’s a lot of poly nastiness. You can also check out Gather Here, which has a big range of cottons and a smaller but nice selection of garment-specific fabrics; there’s also Mercer’s Fabrics in Beacon St. Windmill is in the process of closing, and Grey’s Fabrics is closed too.

      1. Bethany says:

        Thanks!

  4. Tanya Maile says:

    I’ve only been to The Fabric Store which was awesome, as you know. LA Mood was closed for earthquake retrofitting when I was there. I definitely need to travel south again and do some more shopping! 🙂

  5. BMGM says:

    The Fabric Store is my favorite apparel fabric store, too. Just awesome.

    For Japanese fabric, also visit Momen+, in downtown Torrance. That’s an Olmstead district so the architecture and landscaping is worth a visit, too.
    I went with Leah and she posted pix here: http://noidlehandshere.com/wp/?p=5961

    There are a ton of huge odd jobbers in Long Beach and Orange County, too.

  6. weboughtamanor says:

    YAAAASSSS. I just happen to be in LA this week and have set aside Friday for fabric shopping. I was about to do a google search for “fabric shopping in LA” and here is your very timely post saving me time!

    1. At your service, ma’am. Go to The Fabric Store. You will thank me.

      1. Walt Tramontana says:

        I second this! Completely new to sewing; haven’t even bought a machine yet… But I have patterns picked and need fabric for them!! I drove thru the fashion district today- to see if its worth the hype. Holy cow!

        Thank you for this article with a run down of where to hit first! It ws overwhelming today, but when I return this article will be my bible.

  7. Beth says:

    I second the recommendation of Momen+ . It’s a wonderful store chock full of goodies.

  8. If you are looking for swimwear fabric Blue Moon is down the street from Micheal Levines and has all sorts of weights and prints. I NEED to go to the Fabric Store, and I just love Sew Modern (used to work with a now gone boutique a few doors down). I will have to check out the silks place someone mentioned ^ for bra and lingerie making.

  9. Heidi says:

    Of course I went to Mood (a little intimidating) my last trip but I didn’t have a clear picture of where else to go and I’m going back in June! Will be visiting these shops for sure. Thanks!

  10. marycr8on says:

    You didn’t mention F&S Fabrics. They have a great selection of notions and the best customer service I’ve seen in LA. My daughter and I have been there 3 different times, each time, the most helpful people, have waited on us. They really know the store and their fabrics and are so pleasant to work with. Every time I go to LA, we go there and I buy something, whether I need it or not! I haven’t been across the street to F&S Fabrics for Less, but I will, next time I’m there.

  11. Rachel says:

    Fabric shopping on holiday is the best! So many wonderful memories flow out of every garment made with holiday souvenir fabric.

    I hated Mood NYC. In it’s defence, it is in the unfortunate situation of being like New Year’s Eve I suppose (in that it has to withstand the hype). When I visited it, the shop was chaotic – fabric everywhere – and the staff were rude. The checkout operator didn’t even have the time to say hello to me. I was ready to spend serious £££ there, and came away with one measly yard of silk (which is beautiful, but remains unused). A far cry from another, less trendy, place that I found down the road. Oh well, got to experience it at least.

  12. AndyL says:

    This is perfect timing! I live in LA, just started sewing again after far too many years, and know nothing about fabric except that I was finding less than nothing at the big box craft/sewing stores (quilting cotton and polyester, as far as the eye can see? Not gonna help me make the wrap dress of my dreams). Now my only problem is that, with my work hiatus just starting, my want-it-is is going to outstrip my budget in like 2 seconds.

    Thanks for the write-up, I can’t wait hit the stores!

  13. Totally unrelated to this post, but just in case you were unaware, the Appleton was in the July Threads magazine on page 71 in the article about dress forms.

  14. Kristine says:

    I live just north of San Diego and a day trip to LA and the fabric district has been on my list for a very long time! Another great store in the LA basin is M and L Discount Fabrics in Anaheim. They are right down the road from Disneyland. http://mandlfabricsdiscountstore.com/ Probably more for quilters, but their web site talks about upholstery and vinyl fabric too. I went with my quilter friends and was more focused on the cottons. It is a large, well lit store. The fabric in about 2/3 of the store is still on the bolt. Another section had stacks of folded fabric. A little more digging required, but some good deals to be had.

    Thanks so much for the LA write-up. Posts like this are always helpful.

  15. Nikki says:

    Thank you sooo much for this post! I’m looking to start a few fashion lines, but was overwhelmed on where to look in DTLA. I took a few fashion classes a while ago and put fashion on the back burner. Now, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things because…it’s all I think about!

    Do you have any recommendations on a CAD program for fashion design?

  16. WowCarol says:

    Two quick updates from an Angelino- first and saddest, The Fabric Store is no more as of the end of June, 2018. They are closing their only US brick and mortat. There is still a website for online shopping.
    Second update is that Mood has moved. It is now on Pico, closer to downtown, and the store is bigger and better than ever!

    1. Jenny Rushmore says:

      Yes, I heard about The Fabric Store – SO SAD! Thanks for the Mood update – I’ll note that in the post.

  17. ABC Fabrics says:

    HI! This is an awesome blog.Come visit our store in Downtown LA. We have a lot of different kinds of WHOLESALE FABRICS for everyone. Or visit our wesbite at http://www.abcfabricsla.com

  18. Dianna says:

    Please be sure to check out Steve and the gang at Fabric Merchants! They are off the beaten path BUT ARE SO WORTH IT! I’m unaffiliated but would live there if I could 🤣😂🤣😂😂

  19. Andrea Bell says:

    I am here with my family,I’d love to go but have heard it’s a pretty scary area. Is that true? If so I s there an area that would be safe to take kids?

    1. The Downtown LA area isn’t for everyone, but the stores that are in the La Brea area are totally fine with family!

Let me know what you think!