Pre-pandemic, I rarely used to have to travel for work - unless you count the 100 mile round-trip commute I had each day! One of the cooler things I get to do now “for work” is to curate fabric and other supplies for my products when I travel!
Recently, I went to Anaheim to visit the Disneyland. Fun fact: In 2019, I was a Disneyland Annual Passholder! I have visited the area a bunch of times, but back in my AP days, I was so focused on maximizing my usage of my pass (they are so expensive!), that I rarely left the “resort neighborhood” area of Anaheim. As a Disneyland addict, I had zero complaints about doing that!
Now that I am back to buying individual tickets, I am doing the opposite - trying to stretch out my magic trip as long as I can, for the least amount of money spent on park admissions. We opted to spend an extra day during our most recent visit outside of the theme parks. I did some light Google searching for fabric stores in the area, and decided to visit M & L Discount Fabrics.
While their website was very minimal, they did advertise carrying some of the brands that I like and trust. I decided to give it a shot, but tried to keep my expectations low. A lot of “discount” fabric stores deal primarily in apparel fabric or upholstery weight fabrics, and since the website didn’t look like it had been updated recently, I wasn’t sure if they would have quilting cotton.
We made our way to M & L on a Saturday morning, and found an older, unassuming building in a run-down strip mall. As I made my way towards the store, I could see a few grey-haired women holding a few bolts of fabric towards the entrance. That seemed like a good sign.
In fact, it was an excellent sign. My initial skepticism about what this store might carry was unwarranted. There was SO MUCH cotton fabric! While they carried a little bit of everything, well over half of the store was quilting cotton. M & L is a huge store, and everything they sell has some sort of discount.
I figured I would not find any Japanese fabrics, as they tend to not be as widely available, and decided to look for accent fabrics for linings and trims. I found some really great stuff, and the prices were AMAZING. Most fabrics were priced at $4, $6, or $12 per yard. ($13-14.50 is the current going rate for fabric of this type.)
A large section of the store was dedicated to “flat folds”, ie fabrics not wrapped around a bolt. That was where all the $4/yd fabrics were at, so I spent a lot of time there. As I was pawing through the stacks of fabric, I found several Robert Kaufman fabrics that were actually made in Japan. Score!
As I continued my way around the store, I found so many fabrics that I loved. I really tried to limit myself (and I did limit myself to only buying stuff for business purposes, not the zillions of quilts I wanted to make for myself), but I ended up filling up a whole shopping cart!
The woman who cut my fabric for me did not seem too surprised that I was buying as much as I did. Maybe she saw me browsing the aisles in her down time and knew how long I had been in the store? However, when she began writing down how much yardage of each fabric I wanted, she ran out of room on the ticket slip and had to start a second one! When she first started writing it down she wrote everything a bit large and it wouldn’t all fit - clearly, she had underestimated how much fabric I was buying!
One of the other things I noticed about this store was how professional, yet friendly, all of the employees were. I have been to a few places that get really annoyed when I ask to use my resale license to purchase things, or don’t know what to do with it. However, this place was so nice about it, and they made it easy to do. They even gifted me a little card to show on my next visit so that I wouldn’t have to bring in all of the paper work again!
Here’s one thing I know to be true: no one fabric store has ALL the things that you want. At M & L, this means that the highly discounted fabrics were not “current season” fabrics. For what I needed, I did not care about this at all, as many of the fabrics I use are already vintage fabrics. If you were hoping to find a certain fabric that was released this season, it is less likely to be there. That being said, I still saw a lot of stuff that appealed to me, and some of it was new collections.
I can’t remember everything I saw, but I will try to list what I do remember:
- Robert Kaufman - including Kona solids & Essex linen
- Riley Blake
- Shannon Minky
- Moda - including Bella Solids and Grunge
- Marcus Fabrics
- Free Spirit - including Tula Pink and Kaffe Fossett
- Henry Glass
- Michael Miller
- Paintbrush Studio
- Studio E
Things I noticed were not there:
- Art Gallery Fabrics
- Ruby Star Society
- Cotton + Steel
- Guicy Guice
- Allison Glass
If you don’t like searching for hidden treasures, or don’t have a lot of time, this store may also not be for you. Trust me, there are plenty of other local quilt shops that cater to that type of shopping. For my needs, this store is DEFINITELY going on the must-visit list! I spent 2.5 hours in the store, and came out with almost FIFTY yards of fabric - all for less than the cost of two days at Disneyland!