OK this may sound odd but what fabric shops would you recommend in the LA area. I know you no longer live here but any advice helps, since joanns does have its limits in fabric options and in your experience is it any cheaper than Joanns or am I paying just as much?
The garmet district is what you want to do.
Shopping in LA Fabric District
What you want to do is – HIT UP MICHAEL LEVINES FIRST BUT DONT BUY ANYTHING. Maybe pick up your pattern. Check out how much fabric you need according to the pattern, etc etc. Search the store for the fabric you need, even if you see a perfect match, leave it, don’t buy it. Trust meeeee. You’re basically making this your garaunteed last resort. I know it already seems a great deal compared to Joanns’ money grubbing prices, but trust me.
Head out to the streets and start walking up and down 9th. From Maple to San Pedro. CHECK EVERYWHERE. North shops usually have the best SPANDEX and stretch fabrics, lace and sequins. SOUTH shops usually have upholestry, leather and vinyl (there’s exceptions but this is what I noticed.)
I garauntee you any stock of fabric at Levines is avaliable in all the surrounding stores and they will sell it way short for a bargain!
PROTIP: Never say yes first. If you ask one of the workers in the off stores “How much is this a yard?” and they say “12,” even if thats an amazing price, still just nod and say “Thanks” and start walking away like you dont want it. They WILL ALWAYS go lower. They’ll start telling you “11! 10– 8 for you!” Especially if they know you want 2-3 yrds or more. But don’t get intimidated either, they’ll try to corner you into saying yes. Just wave them off, tell them “Ill take a picture and come back? I just wanna compare.” Seriously, even if you see the perfect one at one of these places for the best price, just wait until you hit all the stores. You have no idea how many times i bought something and regretted it 5 minutes later when I saw an even better version.
Second Protip: When they ask you how many yard you want, always say 2-3. Even if you need seven. Because they’ll give it to you for cheaper if you only want that much. Then when you say, okay, ill buy it for 4 bucks a yard, as he’s measuring it out, then say “ACTUALLY can I get 5?”
Here’s some of my favorites:
L.A. Alex has the CHEAPEST notions. Zippers, elastic, velcros, thread, muslin, etc. They are AWESOME for all extra stuff you need. Way cheap.
JOURNAL has some of the most interesting fabric on the block, unique textiles like dancewear or lace, usually exclusive to them. This is where I found that rare ass pre-pleated suede fabric for Kylo Ren’s sleeves and the awesome shimmer-non-sparkle spandex for Miraculous Ladybug.
.99 Fabric a yard. Literally as it says. 99cents a yard biittcchhh. I ALWAYS hit this place up because you always need cheap ass broadcloth, poplin, CHIFFON or Taffeta. He’s got it all man. Its awesome for basic shit.
City Fabric has the best FUR and FLEECE selection you’ve ever seen.
Mora Tex is a favorite of mine. The guy here loves cosplayers and the fabric I get here is always rich and stunning looking. I bought my Astrologian Velvet, Dishonored purple and grey suede. Kylo’s outer tunic, Rey’s tunic and shoe wool, Lavellan’s trespasser tunic, and so much NICE suiting. Basically any heavier, richer type fabrics you can probably find here.
Trim 2000 Plus is the place I found my Inquistor buttons. This place is like a gold mine for buttons. They have the most interesting shit for super cheap. I spent like 5 bucks on both Emily and Corvos diamond cufflinks and royal button getup here.
Jerry’s all Trims. My favorite trim store!!! He has everything! Belts too! Great for any trims, tassles, or piping you made need. AND HE LETS YOU BUY THE WHOLE ROLL OR BY YARD. I bought all the leather cord here for our Solas necklaces. And every gold piece of my Astrologian cosplay.
SOME TECHNICAL ISSUES:
-Parking in LA FABRIC district is hell on earth. The spots up by Jerry’s All trims is my secret spot, those are usually free (2 hr maximum). You can check side spots too, like between maple and san pedro, but don’t feel bad about pulling into a parking structure and paying the 7 bucks. Its not so bad.
-Stores close around 6:00 on weekdays and saturdays.
-WHILE PARKING IS FREE ON SUNDAY. A lot of these shops aren’t open. LA Alex and the the button store are closed for example. Button store is also closed mondays for some reason? AND EVERYTHING CLOSES BY 4 ON SUNDAY.
-AWAYS bring cash. Lots of stores don’t take card. Or they will charge you extra for using it. There are ATMs inside some stores. But the service fee is like 3-5 bucks. YUCK.
-Theres a random costume shop on 9th street that sells gloves. SKIP THIS. I know your tempted to buy everything at once, but this guy is way overpriced. Order your gloves on ebay for $1, trust me.
-Best time to go is in the morning on a weekday, if you can manage it. Saturdays are hecka busy but that sometimes it a great thing cause the shops are ready to bargain.
-North of San pedro is NOT A GOOD AREA. Don’t park there. And if you’re leaving to go to Little Tokyo afterwards, turn around, take another street.