Fabric Weekend 2013 Recap

In The Loft at Michael Levine’s in Los Angeles
Bag by Retrofied

It was epic. It was legendary. It was a long weekend away with 20+ sewing bloggers from all over the nation and all we did was SHOP, TALK, and EAT.

It was Fabric Weekend 2013.


At the beginning of June, the whole gang of us descended on LA in handmade fashion. We were wearing clothes we made ourselves and buying fabric to make more clothes for ourselves. It all comes down to the circle of life: BUY, SEW, WEAR. Repeat.

How many sewing bloggers can you fit into the FIDM scholarship store?
Photo courtesy of Marigold from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!

In a moment I’ll talk you through everywhere we shopped, and the fabrics (and leather!) I bought. But in the meantime I have something to say about these women I spent a long weekend with: They were fabulous! Beyond fabulous, they were kind and funny and smart. They were real and fashionable and so dang funny I almost peed my pants numerous times. I just couldn’t get over how much they felt like friends the moment we met in person. And then, by the end of the weekend, they were friends.

It was so fun to watch these online personas become real-life buddies. And it felt so good to talk with someone, uninhibited, about blog-related business. It was easy to ask questions, get opinions, share experiences, because everyone was interested in the same thing. It also made fabric shopping easier because there were literally dozens fabric-lovers around to give opinions. Stuff like, “Yes, that color is perfect for you.” Or, “Ohmigoodness, this fabric is totally you!” Or, to temper the greed with wisdom, “Didn’t you just buy a fabric like that at another store?”

It took some muscles to stuff all the fabric in our trunk.

Buddy system fabric shopping = brilliant.

But I know you’re really dying to learn something about fabric shopping in Los Angeles, not just about the new friends I made. One of the first questions I always get about fabric shopping in LA is this: “Is it worth the trip?”

In a word, yes. Of course, it depends on how far you have to travel. Many of the ladies I shopped with flew in from other states (some across the country even) and they would tell you that the experience itself was worth the trip. As a Californian, I can tell you that it’s definitely worth the hour drive it takes me to get to the fabric district, and I would even drive farther. Besides the good prices, what I love about shopping in LA is the sheer textile overload. I love to run my fingers across different fabrics. I think I prefer to see a fabric and then decide on a project, rather than choose a project and then seek the right fabric. Does that make sense? So for me, shopping the LA fabric district is the best kind of creative journey.

FASHION INSTITUTE OF DESING AND MARKETING


Shopping and tour at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
I spy: Melissa Esplin, MadMim, Girl.Inspired, Sew Much Ado, iCandy, Elle Apparel, Flamingo Toes, and Merrick’s Art


The first stop on our tour was FIDM, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. There, we were taken on a tour of the facilities. Some of my favorite details were the design rooms (filled with drafting tables and dress forms), and the textile room where we watched a lovely woman demonstrate how to use a hand loom. It blew my mind. 

All in all, FIDM made me want to get a degree in textile or fashion design. This isn’t going to happen of coruse, but it was fun to dream and such a pleasure to visit the school. The institute is also used as a filming site for many commercials, music videos, and movies. It was fun to hear about the LA film action that goes on there.

After the tour, we popped into the FIDM Scholarship Store to shop for fabric. OF COURSE! The room is quite small and we were quite a large group, so let’s hope no one else was trying to shop while we were there.

I’ve shopped the Scholarship Store a number of times, so this time I just picked up a cute pink lacey knit for Abby and some trims.

MICHAEL LEVINE’S


The next stop on our tour was Michael Levine’s, my hands-down favorite stop of the weekend. As one of our sponsors for Fabric Weekend, the staff of Michael Levine’s treated us to a wonderful lunch, gift bags, and a tour of the warehouse. For a textile-lover like myself, it was fascinating. Just look at all that fabric! Fabric upon fabric upon fabric.

Lunch at Michael Levine’s with the lovely Regina, and a tour of the warehouse from owner, Larry Friedan.

Above, you can see a picture of the lovely Regina, who hosted us for lunch (she’s in the striped dress), and also of Larry, the owner of Michael Levine. He gave such an incredible tour. Check out the hashtag #larrylovesfabric on Instagram for more pictures of Larry and the warehouse.

THE LOFT AT MICHAEL LEVINES


Please note: these photos are of both the Loft, and the warehouse behind Michael Levine’s.

You may have heard of the famous Loft before, where you can buy fabric by the pound. The cost is $2.50/pound, and as you can imagine, light weight fabrics cost very little there. I bought 5 yards of gauzy and lacey fabrics for only $4.00. That’s a good price in my book! In the past, I’ve walked out of there with HUGE bags full of fabric.

You can see a few pictures of the Loft above. The fabric is piled into cardboard bins, or stacked on rolled bolts along the wall. Some digging is required, but it’s a fun experience, and totally worth the price.

MOOD DESIGNER FABRICS


Photo courtesy of Marigold from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!

Mood was my other favorite stop. I think my jaw fell open the moment I walked in and stayed that way the whole time I shopped. Their fabrics are pricey compared to other locations but out-of-this-world luxurious. I kept running my hands over the bolts, oohing and ahhing.



This is the one store where I spent more than I budgeted. It’s to be expected at Mood. You are bound to think you “have enough fabric” until you walk in and see the LEATHER. They really pull your heart strings with the leather:

Photo courtesy of Marigold from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!

I brought home the yellow leather you see pictured above and four other pieces, plus some luxurious cottons.

A big “Thank You Mood!” for the discount we received that day, and for the wonderful tour. It was such a great experience! I can’t wait to sew through everything I bought!

Photo courtesy of Marigold from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!

GIRLS NIGHT OUT

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On our last night in LA we attended the Jo-Ann’s Fabric and Crafts GIRLS NIGHT OUT, organized by the beautiful Jessica of Me Sew Crazy. It was such an incredible night, filled with great conversation, food, and a gift bag filled with fabric and sewing supplies. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to be there, especially after spending the whole weekend with those ladies. There was no pressure to circle the room and have significant conversations with everyone. We could chat at leisure, already feeling like friends.

THANK YOU to all the wonderful sponsors of GIRLS NIGHT OUT, who support us bloggers and enrich the sewing community in every way:

ON A PERSONAL NOTE


If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me this far! That concludes the places I shopped for fabric over the weekend. Some of the other ladies hit the fabric district a second time and found more great fabric shops.

On a personal note, I just have to tell you how rejuvenated I felt at the end of the weekend! Shopping usually tires me out quickly, but the conversation and laughter kept me going through to the end. My roomies (Abby, Sabra, Stef, and Cherie) were so much fun! We crammed five of us into a room (more money for fabric) and I loved it.

Possibly one of the best moments was when I kept trying to say the words, Lil Blue Boo, late at night while wearing a mouthguard (I grind my teeth). Just imagine that. I keep trying to tell you guys how cool I am, and this is solid proof.

Thanks for reading, friends! I’ll talk to ya tomorrow. 

Comments

  1. says

    SO FUN! That yellow leather is AMAZING. Is it printed too? wowzers! Were you pinching yourself the whole weekend? Cuz that’s what I would have been doing 😉 So glad you had fun!