Sewing Arts Center

In my quest to find my new sewing machine, I’ve been back at it around town, visiting lots of new places I had not yet explored.  It’s a very intimidating feeling, shopping for a new sewing machine!  First it’s the sheer options out there between brands and models and price ranges.  Then, being in a major metro region, the number of authorized retailers becomes an intimidating hurdle — should I visit ALL of them?  Which one should I see first if they carry this brand but not the other brand?  I think I’m starting to narrow down what I want, but I’m going to save that for (hopefully) next week when I will unveil my new piece of stitch witchery.

Somewhere along the yellow brick road, I encountered the Sewing Arts Center.  It turns out, this lovely little gem is just down the street from my day job office and now that I know this, there is far too much temptation to start scheduling “very important meetings” that are also verrrryyyy long.  I promise, I will be a  good girl!  (I will only schedule normal length meetings.  Frequently.)

The Sewing Arts Center
3330 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 450-4300

fabrics at the Sewing Arts Center

Here is what you need to know about the Sewing Arts Center.

  • They are small, but mighty!  I wandered around for a bit and they have a serious stock of notions and other sewing supplies.  I ended up walking out with a huge roll of manila paper so that I can trace my patterns onto the manila and make easier alterations (as well as preserve the original tissue).
  • They teach classes and have a lovely area in the back where it looks like they do some great class work.  You can see their classes here.
  • They do have machines for sale!  They had the machine that I’m leaning toward buying (current as of this blog post) and while it retails for more than some other retailers around town they were very quick to let me know that they have a sale this Sunday and I appreciated very much their offer to help me find a good deal.
  • Unlike some large commercial stores, there are people here who can answer all of your questions!  They actually know what they’re doing.
  • If you need specialty notions and don’t want to go to big box store, the Sewing Arts Center can definitely help you out.  I saw some supplies that I had not seen at other stores like special chalk pencils and an incredibly wide variety of clear rulers.
  • They stock Bernina and Babylock sewing machines as well as Horn of America and Koala cabinetry units.  Honestly, I don’t know how they fit all of it in their store space — they sell an awful lot of variety for a fairly compact physical space.  There is an entire wall of buttons.  Need I say more?

notions at the Sewing Arts Center

At an indie store you often find higher prices, but I didn’t think it was such a markup that I wouldn’t purchase notions here.  The proximity to my primary daytime location makes it ideal for picking up necessary supplies on my lunch break (what a fabulous lunch break!) and they have some supplies that I prefer like YKK zippers which are not stocked at all stores.  They also stock some fabrics that cater more to quilters, but in a pinch for a regular garment’s yardage, I wager I would find something I wanted with plenty to choose from.  In addition to the cottons, I found some sateen and voile, among others.

classroom space at the Sewing Arts Center

I like to support independent stores in a town like Los Angeles where we are blessed to have so many wonderful places to visit.  For those of us west of the 405 freeway, we know how tough it can be to get east of the 405 during peak times of the day and week.  (The traffic here is no joke.)  So why not visit a neighborhood store and show them some love?

I decided to post this mid-week because I learned that the Sewing Arts Center is celebrating 13 years in business this Sunday, April 7, 2013.  They are having a sale… how appropriate & fortuitous!  Go check them out and save some dough while you’re at it.  Sew on!

  • Russell Conte - Gosh… I’d say I’m lost for words, but people will tell you I’m never lost for words… 😉 YOU rock my sewing world! I had no idea what you were up to… thank goodness I combed my hair and brushed my teeth… You’ve got Yolanda in tears. Really, you are very kind, and we’re truly grateful for your generosity and your post.

    We are absolutely passionate about sewing, and about providing a resource to the community in which it can truly explore and express its creative sewing genius. And we hope to inspire this passion for sewing and confidence in everyone.

    Again… thanks… Russell and the Sewing Arts GangReplyCancel

    • Mary Ann Williams - I just loved my visit with both of you yesterday! :) I do not yet know if I will buy my sewing machine this weekend, but I do know that I found a really rich source of supplies I often need and now I don’t have to schlep through traffic to get there. See you again soon!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - I agree with you completely, Mary Ann. I’m not as close to SAC as you are, but it is definitely worth the trip. I’d like to point out one of my favorite things about the Sewing Arts Center (besides Russell & Yolanda) and that is … there are sewing machines in the classroom! You can see them in the cubbies in your picture of the classroom. You can still take classes there even if you can’t or don’t want to bring your own machine. You just provide needles & a bobbin.

    The tables in the classroom are very sturdy so you can sew as fast as you want without worrying about getting off track from bouncing. And last thing, Russell, gentleman that he is, will walk you to your car at the end of an evening class.ReplyCancel

    • Mary Ann Williams - What a great recommendation, Sara! I agree — the classroom space made me want to take classes in person. Maybe I’ll see you someday in the future…ReplyCancel

  • Madelyn - What a fabulous little gem! I have every expectation that the next time I visit you, you will take me directly to the Sewing Arts Center :)ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - exciting!ReplyCancel

  • Gregory - Hello,
    I am a fashion photographer and textile designer. I am currently launching a lifestyle brand. I am a great designer, however I do not have a sewing background. My goal is to learn sewing and pattern making.

    I look forward to your thoughts.

    Thank you.


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