Thursday, June 30, 2011

Local Fabric Shopping - Los Angeles

This August, the American Sewing Guild is having their Annual Conference in Los Angeles.  ASG Conference Info here My friend Kathi and I volunteered to put together a fabric shopping guide. [I can't figure out how I'd post it here, so I'll just cut and paste some of the booklet.]  Note: The Fabric District is constantly evolving, so the stores and selection may change at any time.
Fabric Shopping in Downtown LA
The LA Fashion District is home to the largest selection of textiles and notions in the United States.  There are almost 200 wholesale and retail textile stores selling trim, beading, and fabric for apparel and home décor.  Prices start at .99 cents per yard.  The fabric stores in this guide are clustered around the corner of 9th and Maple Streets.  Don’t be put off by what you see on display outside – the good stuff is inside the store.  Step inside and have a look around.  If you don’t see what you are looking for, ask.  The stores are shoulder to shoulder for blocks.  A few of our favorites are listed here but don’t assume that these are the only stores with interesting fabrics … be adventurous and don’t be afraid to haggle. 


Textile and notion stores are generally centered within four blocks, from 8th Street down to Olympic Boulevard, between Maple Avenue and San Julian Street.

9th Street:
Ashanti Fabrics at 224 E. 9th St., carries African fabrics at very competitive prices. (period after each)

Golden Cutting and Sewing Supply at 318 E. 9th St., offering scissors. 

City Fabrics at 324 E. 9th St., carries a full range of fake fur.

305 E. 9th St. is an indoor mall with stores (listed below) opening onto 9th and Maple Streets.  This address includes:
·                     Blue Moon (entrance on 9th St.) specializes in dance wear fabric and baby blankets (minky), lots of glitz, glitter, and novelty knits.
·                     Niki Fabric Gallery (entrance on 9th St.), carries a full selection of plain and fancy higher end fabrics.
·                     Silk City (entrance on Maple), carries some very unusual silk fabrics, a large selection of solid color silk, some woolen fabrics, brocade, silk knits, and some trims.  The store starts at a high price but seems to be somewhat flexible.
·                     SamanTex (entrance on Maple), specializing in lycras, glitz and glam, pleather, and good selection of solid lycra knits.

Fabrics and Fabrics, 403 E. 9th St., carries a large selection of solid color silks, some unusual silk prints as well as a wide range of cotton and linens with  a room off to the right (as you enter the store) with fabric stacked up like cord wood.  The staff is very helpful at directing you to the right location for a specific fabric. 

L. A. 99 Cent Fabric Store, if you are looking for inexpensive costume fabric, this is the place. 

L. A. Fred’s, 411 E. 9th St. carries home dec and home dec trims. 

Journal Fabric, 419 E. 9th St. is a large store with a little bit of everything. 

Top Trims, 425 E. 9th St. carries costume components, appliqués, feathers, and rhinestones. 

Town Fabric at 433 E. 9th St. carries plain and fancy fabrics, including embellished lace and silks.

L. A. Alex, 418 E. 9th St.  This is an eclectic store with unusual fabrics like oilcloth, poly mesh, and other novelty items.  At the rear of the store they carry a selection of notions, serger threads ($1.25 a cone), and bulk elastic, ribbons, and trims.  Zippers are organized by type and hung on pegs in the notion section.  Mixed in with the novelty fabrics are some nice knits, denim and woolens at unbelievable prices. 

Eco Fabric and Tex Carmel, 432 E. 9th St. Eco is the place for more contemporary home dec and outdoor fabrics, nicely displayed and easy to shop.  Tex Carmel carries a wonderful selection of silk and linen at exceptional prices.

Robert Textiles, 510 E. 9th St.  Robert’s has a changing selection of cottons, linens, and novelty fabrics at exceptional prices, but it can be a challenge to shop.  Ask for help if you are looking for something specific.

Maple Street:
The 800 block of Maple Street is the place for beading and trims. 

Trim 2000 Plus, 820. S. Maple, claims to have the largest selection of buttons in the district, and they might be right.  The store is well lit and roomy, a delight to browse.  The buttons range from standard shirt buttons to beautiful embellished fancy buttons, toggles and everything in between.  They also carry buckles, studs, purse hardware, lace trim, elastic and beaded appliqués.  Trim 2000 carries more colors of serger thread than the other stores, priced right at $1.25 per cone. 

Button and Trim Expo, 828 S. Maple carries, more exotic trims and an extensive selection of appliqués.

Angel Textiles, 850 S. Maple, is a fabric store along this block of trims.  Angel offers exceptional prices on knits (on the left side as you walk in) and wovens (to the right).  The inventory changes frequently and is always worth a look.

Michael Levine territory, 900 block of Maple, is the only full service fabric store in the district carrying a wide selection of fabric, notions, and patterns.  The main store is at 920 S. Maple and is worth a visit if only to see a beautiful, huge world of fabric.  If you are looking for something special, this is the place to shop.  Home dec fabric is in a separate location across the street. 

Michael Levine’s Annex is above the home dec store and is a challenge to some and a delight to others.  Fabric is stacked on shelves and in boxes and is sold by the pound.  It can be a bargain hunter’s paradise.  Both the main store and the home dec store have public restrooms, a rarity in the fashion district.

Wall Street:
Mike’s Fabric, 821 S. Wall St., is a small store with great displays and an exceptionally pleasant owner.  The store is clean and easy to shop with fabric folded onto bolts and attractively priced.  Mike’s Fabric is a big supporter of ASG, so be sure to stop in for a visit.

Island’s Fabric, 829 S. Wall St., the go-to place for tropical printed fabric in cotton, poly blend and rayon. They also carry bark cloth.  Most of the fabric is hanging on rolls along the walls so it is very easy to shop.  The owner of Island’s asked us to let you know that they allow customers to borrow the restroom key.

Zip Up Zipper, 828 S. Wall St. a trim and zipper store without much organization.  If you can’t find trim or specific zippers you need you might try this place. 

Fabric Hotel, 848 S. Wall St., the only place we have found with a selection of quilting fabrics.  The store is large; the fabric is stored on bolts and is well organized by designers.  The name of the store isn’t obvious from the outside, so you will have to look for the address.

Stores – Off the Beaten Path:
B. Black and Sons at 548 S. Los Angeles St.  This store is a step back in time to what a fabric store would have been in the 1920s.  B. Black specializes in fine woolens and silks and tailoring supplies.  If you are browsing, be sure to look at the remnants, which are generously cut and very reasonably priced.  Most of the fabric is not priced, so you may want to explain what you need and a budget range so that staff can direct you to appropriate choices.  B. Black has a website ( so if you are from out of the area, it would be worth a visit to get an idea of the quality and selection for future shopping from home.  Buttons are available in a wide range of colors and sizes.

FIDM Scholarship Store on the corner of 9th and Grand Avenue has a small fabric selection at the back of the store (behind the wall divider) but their prices can’t be beat.  The store sells donations from local fashion companies and funds scholarships for students, giving us the opportunity for a great bargain and good deed at the same time.  Sometimes the store is loaded with knits, other times it might be home dec.  They also carry a variety of notions (threads, zips, and trims) but stock varies greatly based on donations.
California Mart Bookstore at 9th and Main Streets, sells fashion and sewing related books and magazines.

Kinokuniya Bookstore, 123 Astronaut E. Onizuka St. Los Angeles (located in the Little Tokyo district) This store carries a nice selection of Japanese fashion magazines and books. They also generally have a few Bunka Fashion Series Garment Design Textbooks in English in stock. Or you can order them and have them shipped home.

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