Friday, September 21, 2012

How to shop for fabric in LA's garment District

So you want to shop for cheap(as in low cost or just cheap) fabric in LA. You have heard marvelous things either from people or the internet about the amazingness of the fabric section of the garment district. Rumors abound about filling your car to the brim with a measly 5 dollars and some haggling on price. What's a girl to do but hop in the car and go?

I hopped in the car. I went. Google told me it would take 52 minutes. It took an hour and 15. Not bad, but any traffic sucks. Draw a mess of squiggly lines on a paper, and you have the Los Angeles freeway set up. Or watch SNL's the Californians to find out how many people approach this mess of options.

So I follow Google maps, and the location it leads me to is almost correct. It takes you to the front of the building when parking is around the back. This is the front. Just drive around the building for the driveway that leads to rooftop parking, which is 5 bucks for all day. They do have elevators.

So, My plan? ehh, I mostly followed it. Completely forgot to find the FIDM store. I'm slightly bummed, but not for long cause I found some cute fabrics!
The Loft

The first place I went was the Loft, across from the Michael Levine store. So so so worth it. All the fabrics were $2.50 per pound, and they have a 1 pound minimum. They also have cones of thread, some as big as my head(not joking) for $1. They will cut fabrics to length for you. Here is what I got!

Left to Right: 3/4 yard linen, 3yard gingham/checker, 1.5 yards dark grey knit, 2.5 yards light grey knit/jersey, and 4 yards red/black stripe knit. My total, after tax(this is retail, you will get a receipt) was $20.66. Amazing!

I went in the Michael Levine Store, was too expensive for me, but wonderful selection. And then I wandered. 

And I found this!
It came from here. They had tons of good stuff. I will go here again. The person helping me(Robert, I think,) was wonderful and pulled out tons of things that were kind of buried, and because I haggled I got 4 yards(cotton) for $12. This is so going to be a dress for the girly, and some bias tape.
And then we wandered some more, and hit Starbucks, right across the street from where we parked. You should also know that this parking structure has an indoor fabric/trim/beading heaven/mall inside it. Dangerous.

Here is us at Starbucks, doesn't that kiddo look so excited to be here? She got applesauce, mommy had a mocha frapp. And she enjoyed being very loud in an echo-ey space.

All in all, we spent less than 4 hours away from home. Figure half that for driving and half shopping/ walking. I should have remembered to look for FIDM store, or better yet written directions from parking or the loft. I am so pleased with my purchases. I think I will try to come here more often, and check for sales at the loft. Sometimes they will pay the sales tax or lower the price per pound.

Bring Cash! Unless you want to pay $3 to use the ATM. Plan to walk around. I do not recommend strollers unless you have someone to stay with your kid outside the store. I carried my girl in our Ergo carrier, and we were squeezing thru the fabric aisles in most stores.

Passed out!

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