noelle o designs

creativity + sewing + upcycling inspiration

craft, design, fabric, projects, sewing

The best fabric shopping in the world

Just in case you’ve been really tied up in knots wondering if my sewing machine is still perched out on the sand, fully exposed to the salty elements, I’ll dispel your worries- here is the real sewing station- still fantastic but in closer proximity to a plug and a lot more shady.


Here is what I’ve gotten sewn- hardly anything, thanks to the call of the surf and sun… and aren’t you happy for me? I’m happy for myself, especially happy when I took a leave of absence to trip up to downtown LA  to one of my favorite places to fabric shop. ever.



Ahh, the garment district, a fabric lovers mecca. Michael Levine on Maple Ave. is pictured above, I think I was in there for at least 2 hours- it felt like 10 minutes. Not the cheapest store but its nice to have so much under one roof. For instance- I bought zippers at Michael Levine for about $1.35 each, then saw the same zippers around the corner for about .33 cents each. Same goes with fabric- if you are a super saver, shop around the neigborhood and negotiate prices as you go, Michael Levine doesn’t negotiate.


Alexander Henry prints- I always love.




Block after block of fabrics & trim- then- gowns, cheap clothing, shoes, suitcases, Angry Birds everything, taco and ice cream carts…





Here’s what I came home with: a few upholstery weights, canvas and linens.


And just a couple of cotton fabrics- filling in some gaps in the fabric stash and picking up a yard or two of prints I fancied.


In no particular order and not meant to go together…

What I really needed was zippers, belting, bias tape and all that little stuff I hate running out of and having to make a trip to the store. All stocked up now- HOORAY!


Of course now I’m sitting here thinking about that one other thing I should have grabbed… oh well, I think I’ll lay on the beach for a few more days and worry about it all later!


  1. Michelle AP

    March 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Hi, found your blog via a FB post from Michael Levine. I have ordered from thier web store and hope to visit some time. (I am in Iowa) I go to a fabric warehouse in Minnesota when I visit family. I have one of the same fabrics pictured above! I just bought the fabric with the women in vintage dresses the last time I was up there! I had to have it! I love retro dresses. Do you know what you are gong to do with your piece yet? I look forward to looking at some more of your posts.

    1. NoelleOlpin

      March 26, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      I’ll have to look up that FB post… I want to see what Michael Levine has to say about lil old me?! I have used the fabric with the women in vintage dresses in an apron last year, but now that I remember I have more of it in my stash- I’m going to make something else with it! Let you know when I get something sewn up!
      DEFINITELY make a trip to LA and the fabric/garment district- you’ll have the time of your life!! 🙂
      Look at my parties+events tab- there are some fun dresses there I’ve made with vintage patterns.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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