My first attempt at a blog, and I go so many weeks without posting! Oops. I have some good excuses: I went to sewing school for a month, and then I took a trip to Southern California, and spent a good part of the day in the fashion district hunting fabric. Am I excused?
This was my first time in L.A. (Northern California born and bred!) and I have to say it felt really good to be back in a big city. Sorry, Portland, but you're just really, really small. I did a quick internet search about how to buy fabric in the fashion district, and came up with little, so I decided to wing it. This was a mistake. I had planned to do a blog post on a newbie's tips for fabric shopping in L.A., but I was so overwhelmed, I lost the good portion of an hour trying to orient myself. I stood and spun in circles before entering a store. To top it off, I took literally two pictures while I was there. So here is what little I learned! I didn't haggle, because a) I am a wimp, and b) nothing cost more than $3 a yard. I wasn't shopping for anything fancy. Half of it was pay-by-the-pound at Michael Levine's Loft. Nothing like digging through boxes of fabric in 90 degree heat! I just wandered from store to store, and bought what felt good in my hands. If the staff at the shop were friendly and not too pushy, I chatted a bit about what the fabric might be (sometimes they knew, and other times they grinned and just quoted me the price). In other words, I was a total tourist. Los Angeles sewists -- any tips for my next trip down??
Here is my woven loot. None of the fabrics were labeled, so I made some major guesses. Comfy cottons in green plaid and blue on the far left, a fun, silky material in the middle (for a circle scarf, I'm thinking. Definitely not real silk) some flouncy cotton/rayon in orange and blue, and some mustard challis. I am using the blue cotton for the Alder Shirtdress sewalong starting tomorrow! I bought 5 yards, because at $2 a yard, I figured it would make a great (hopefully) wearable muslin for my first stab at the pattern. I also thought it looked/felt suspiciously similar to a fabric I bought locally for $12 a yard. After bringing it home, I discovered it was nearly identical. Washed up the same, too!
And now for the knits! Most of what I bought was for practicing drafting my own patterns (it's hard to find enough yardage for knits to practice on without breaking the bank!) so I went with some pretty loud designs for a gal who mostly wears black. I bought stacks and stacks of plain colors, but here is the fun stuff. These knits are SO SOFT. After washing, the purple fabric got kind of pilly, so I'm sure it's cheapo fabric, but it will be great for samples. The rest of the knits washed up really well, and I am very excited to wear them. The floral fabric below is the softest of all, and I plan to whip up a pencil skirt soon.
I passed by a cute Japanese bookstore, and they had the largest selection of sewing books I had ever seen (much to my bank account's disappointment). Their translated section had all the books I had been wanting to check out in person before ordering online, so I grabbed a few that had some patterns I wanted to try. Of course, I also had to pick up Grainline's Alder Shirtdress pattern!
Here's the most important thing that happened: I filled my suitcase with 35 pounds of fabric for $80. All of my cuts were at least 2 yards, and upwards of 6. WHAT! Now I just need to see how/if the fabric holds up before I plan my next trip.