She lost her head over fabric selection!

Michael Levine's store window

Michael Levine’s store window

Downtown Los Angeles Fabric District – now that’s a destination! Within a few short blocks of FIDM, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and near the Fashion District, is a fabric paradise. Whether or not you’re a designer, seamstress, or tailor, you should go visit just for the experience! It’s a whole new world, as the song goes. Sure there are individual shops on L.A.’s westside… one in particular that I love, Mood Fabrics of Project Runway fame, but to have shops one right after the next for blocks is unreal.

In my previous career as a dress designer, a decade spent designing and making custom Irish Dance costumes (below are pics of three dresses to give you an idea of fabric variety) I drove downtown L.A. several times monthly. Each dress order was unique, and that required unique fabric selections! I had (still have) a large inventory of high-end fabrics (dupioni silks, sequins, metallic silks, etc). With an extensive number of shops, stretching out in blocks from the hub at 9th and Maple, I gradually developed relationships with the shopkeepers. I knew which ones were easiest to barter with, which ones shorted the cuts, who had the best quality, who’d sell small amounts at wholesale.

The biggest store in the area is Michael Levine – it’s huge and has its own parking lot. I believe they still allow one hour free with $20 purchase. For other parking, there are many lots to choose from. Watch for the guys standing on the streets, wildly waving flags – you honestly can’t miss them – directing you to their lot. For those not familiar with the area, over all the years I parked there, most times by myself, I never had any problems. People are friendly and helpful, parking lots seem as safe as anywhere. Check it out, even if only for the bacon wrapped hot dogs, fresh off the grill! ~SueBee (photos by SueBee) (click on pictures to view full size)

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Categories: In the City, Out 'n About

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