Week of Projects from L.A. Fashion District – Tue

Today’s installment of sewing projects inspired by my trip to L.A.’s Fashion District: some kind of simple breezy shell made from this southwestern print.

The southwestern prints were huge last spring, and while I still see them in stores, they may be on their way out (??). But if I stick to a classic tunic/tee shape the shirt could have some staying power. Untucked with black pencil pants, or tucked into a stretch black pencil skirt…flats or sandals…could be perfect for summer.

More inspiration….


Week of Projects from L.A. Fashion District – Mon

Yesterday I posted about my afternoon in L.A.’s Fashion District and the 8 pounds of fabric I smushed into my carry-on suitcase. Putting all the projects into one post would be too much, so I’m making a week of it.

Today – this nice big piece of striped cotton. It’s nice and crisp, perfect for a spring dress like this vintage pattern from 1947. I’m picturing horizontal striping for the gathered skirt, with green at the bottom. Then the bodice will be the light aqua, maybe horizontal or maybe tilted on the diagonal.

As inspiration…

Spoils from L.A.’s Fashion District

The Fashion District in Los Angeles (formerly called the Garment District) is 100 city blocks chock full of flowers, handbags, shoes, apparel, wholesalers, and best of all – fabric.

I walked the Fashion District one afternoon while Read attended his conference. It was like a reality-television shopping challenge: a bazillion stores, four hours, one credit card, no bathrooms, and whatever I bought I had to be able to carry on foot to the Staples Center about a mile away.

Some posts I’d read that morning over coffee (like this one from Sew Country Chick) recommended starting at Michael Levine, which is an actual store and not a stall. Credit cards are accepted, but not haggling.

All the apparel fabric at Joann’s and Michael’s has been pushed out by printed fleece and cheap craft project stuff, which makes shopping there for clothes-sewing very depressing. In comparison, Michael Levine is like Christmas. It’s ¬†just magical. Wool, silk, suiting, eyelet, jersey knit, buttons, chintz, satin….bolts and bolts of it.

Across the street is Michael Levine Loft, where all fabric is $2.50 per pound. The bins (i.e. huge cardboard boxes on pallets) have obviously been pawed through by many a bargain shopper and it’s hard to excavate past the top few layers. I’m sad to admit that my arms got tired.


Just as I’d resolved to leave, someone called out “New fabric ladies!” and wheeled a huge bin in from the back room. It was full of beautiful prints, all perfectly folded. A fellow shopper and I went to town. She commented on every piece of fabric passing through her hands, which isn’t really that weird. It was external processing stuff like, “I could make a flowy dress thing out of this!” Pretty soon though I realized she not only wanted to comment, she wanted me to respond. If I didn’t, she’d persist: “Don’t you think? Huh? Can’t you picture a flowy dress?” So I spent the next 45 minutes stacking my favorite fabrics in a little pile and emitting a steady stream of “Yeah” and “Definitely” and “For sure”.

I left with just under 8 lbs. of fabric, the projects for which should keep me busy all spring and summer. This week I thought I’d post one project plan per day. First up is this lightweight jersey knit in gray, black, and yellow:

Jersey Knit

The print is somewhere between feathers and a geological cross-cut. It’s really pretty. My plan is to make a long maxi skirt with a fold-over waist:

The pattern will be simple to improvise, but I haven’t sewn much with jersey…do you have any tips? This is when it would be great to have a serger, but hopefully I can make do.


Before I show you pictures of my finished vacation-knitting-project, a few quintessential SoCal scenes:




Footprints of the Stars (were Rita’s feet really so small?!)

the Garment District

It’s been a super sunny and relaxing vacation. Even the LA traffic was tolerable since I was always a passenger and always had my knitting in hand. Today I finished Holl – the structured but slouchy pullover made from di.Ve’ Zenith.

I love it. It was really hard to frog the pretty little Vignette when I’d just finished it, but it was the right call – this pullover is more my style and the batwing sleeves keep my pits from sweating.

Following the advice of Meganimal, I did a provisional cast-on. This allowed me to initially add an extra band to the body of the sweater and then decide later whether I wanted to keep it (I didn’t). It also allowed me to join the front and back and knit the bottom band in one continuous loop.

There was just barely enough yarn….here’s a picture of everything I had left over after seaming:

Pattern: Holl by Kirsten Johnstone
Yarn: di.Ve’ Zenith
Size: I had a diff gauge so I knit a Large – it’s more like a Small
Mods: none, just the provisional cast-on
Ravelry link 

And then randomly at the end of our photo shoot, a chicken walked into the yard. I fed him some apple.