Fun Times in the LA Garment District

October 3, 2011

Family, Preparation

Fabric is one of the most important considerations when redecorating an rv.  After all there isn’t much wall space that doesn’t have at least some fabric on it and with only a few pieces of furniture per room “the fabric” takes up a lot of the space. Redecorating our rv has “required” two trips to the LA garment district.  “Required” meaning –  you saw but didn’t buy the perfect aqua tweed because you were going to use “greens” but then changed your mind and couldn’t find “the perfect aqua tweed online” so you had to go back to “that one” shop on what’s that street called?

Oh darn.

Despite having to battle Los Angeles traffic the fabric district or properly called the LA Fashion District is one of my favorite places to visit in LA and I was so excited to show my boys my mad haggling skills.

Since I have two boys, the two trips seemed even more more appropriate.

Trip 1 with Thing 1

As per a friend’s recommendation, we started at Michael Levine’s “The Loft”.  As you can see by the picture all the fabric is only $2.50 a pound.  Yep, fabric by the pound.

The catch is you have to dig through boxes to find anything.  I had high hopes for this place but I left empty handed.

The purpose of this trip was to find upholstery fabric.  We walked up and down streets and in and out of crowded little shops looking for the perfect fabric at the perfect price. I wanted to spend $10 or less a yard and I accomplished my mission when I found a lovely wool in the exact color Brent and I wanted.   Almost.   I didn’t hit the streets of LA in search of a southwest pattern, not that there is anything wrong with a little southwest, it’s just not our style. But a high quality wool in the perfect shade of orange for $2.99 couldn’t be passed up.  I figured that pattern was nothing a pair of scissors couldn’t fix.  Oh boy….

Our last stop was Michael Levine.  It’s about the only shop that runs like a “standard” shop and not a foreign bazaar.  There are actually price tags and no haggling. Bummer.  I love haggling.  If you visit the LA fabric district Michael Levine is not. to. be. missed.

Rows of thread (just like paint chips) make me oddly happy.

You have no idea the restraint it took to not purchase everything on this wall as I imaged headbands of every size and color.

 

I spent over two hours texting images of fabric to Brent.

Thing 2 was such a trooper.

This is for my sister.

I thought that was going to be my final farewell to Los Angeles until we return to California next year…until…Brent and I changed our minds and decided to go with aquas on the couch side of the living room.  I told him about this lovely turquoise tweed I had spotted but didn’t buy.  After searching online for a similar fabric, I decided another trip was in order.

I’m not often always practical.

Trip Two with Thing Two.

First stop was to find “that one shop” with the aqua tweed and we did.  Guess what?  There were only 3.5 yards left…exactly, what we needed to cover the cushions.  I don’t think I impressed Thing 2 with my haggling skills.  He told me later I was “cheap” and “weird”.

 

Then it was back over to the Loft.  This time I left with a small scrap of fabric and some trim I’d like to use on lamp shades.

After accomplishing our mission, Thing 2 and I wandered around taking in the sights.  We looked at the small water turtles that were being sold by sharp eyed street vendors.  I told him about Clifford, the “street” turtle I bought downtown LA about 15 years ago who later retired in a turtle “sanctuary”.  Really.   We made our way over to Santee Alley where we looked at crazy shoes, knock off sunglasses, and cheap toys.

Finally, we stopped for a little refreshment and headed off to our car.

From the roof of the parking garage, I blew a kiss to the city I love and loath in equal parts.

Tips for visiting the LA Garment (Fabric or Fashion) District

1. Print a map.  You can print one here.

2. Bring cash and be prepared to haggle.  Some of the shops don’t take credit cards or will give you a better deal if you have cash.

3. Don’t be afraid to walk out.  One guy started at $26 a yard and by the time I reached the door he was at $10 a yard.

3. It can be really overwhelming so bring a list of what you really need and try to stick to it.  It would also be helpful to bring a notebook to jot down notes of stuff you see but don’t want to purchase right away.

4. You might was well start at The Loft.  At $2.50 a pound you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal and it’s a fun experience!

5. There is street or lot parking.  I prefer the lots because I don’t have to parallel park and I don’t  have to remember to feed the meter.  I paid $6 for all day parking my first trip and $4 dollars my second trip.  I noticed when I left later that afternoon the parking had changed to $2.

6. There aren’t a lot of places to eat so eat a big meal before you go, buy food from the street vendors, or go to one of the few nearby restaurants.

7. Bathrooms are also hard to come by.  There is a restroom at Michael Levine that cost a quarter.  It helps if you don’t drink a lot that day. :-)

8. Give yourself plenty of time.  Not only is it a fun place to shop but it’s a fun place to people watch as well.

love and laughter,
Jenn

 

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About jennincat

I'm Jenn and I'm so happy you stopped by our little corner of the web. My favorite moments are cuddling with my boys, listening to the purrs of my cat, and sipping warm cups of tea. The smell of orange blossoms conjures up delightful memories of childhood even though I grew up in Indiana hundreds of miles from citrus groves. I love animals and when I'm stressed I dream of owning a goat farm. I love art, road trips, books, and food. Vintage clothes make me ridiculously happy. Red lipstick is my friend.

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5 Responses to “Fun Times in the LA Garment District”

  1. Jess Says:

    Love this post! Thanks for the sign.

    Reply

  2. Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) Says:

    Good tips that I wasn’t aware of~! If I ever need fabric, it sounds like I’ll be heading to the DT.

    Reply

  3. The LA Lady Says:

    Great post! Do you remember whic stores you had luck with when it came to upholstery?

    Reply

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  1. How to reupholster a rv sofa sleeper without going insane. | Newschool Nomads - October 8, 2011

    [...] I made two treks down to the LA fabric district and got some gorgeous wool fabric in the exact color we wanted for $2.99 a yard.  The problem was [...]

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