Online Fabric Buying, Anyone?

Organic-Cotton.com (Near Sea Naturals)

Have any of you bought fabric online? If so, what was your experience? As you stalk your next projects, do you include online sources, or do you stick with the traditional wander-around-the-store approach? Do you consider online fabric for garment-making or quilting? I would love to hear! Earlier this year The Humble Next posted a great online fabric compile article. I excluded just a few companies from my list below, such as Calico Fabrics, which is exclusively home dec. But I’m surprised that some are not on Christina’s list, such as the subscription swatch service Vogue Fabrics and the lovely knits from Christine Jonson. I’ve gotten swatches from Near Sea Naturals, and I’ve considered buying from Fabric.com. But paying for shipping always makes me pause, and then I’m back to the need to touch the stuff.

Make sure to click the link (and to give credit to this nice piece of research by a blogger) but to summarize here’s The Humble Nest blog list:

For myself, I happily live in an area where there are many fabric choices, and vendors bring in new selections every year (through SewExpo in Puyallup, Washington). I like to support local businesses, and I also like to buy fabric when I travel (to the annoyance of my travel companions but oh well!). I haven’t always lived among lots of choices, but that locale also coincided with being either too low on funds or too busy to sew. What do you do, if you who live away from a large metro area? Do you shop retailers while you’re visiting elsewhere, or do you take a chance on online shopping? How do you make your color choices? (I’ve always wondered whether online fabric vendors shouldn’t indicate which Pantone colors their fabrics match. That way consumers could look up the Pantone colors separately.) Do shipping costs make you re-consider? I’m sure others would benefit from your experience, so please post a comment!

 

 

12 thoughts on “Online Fabric Buying, Anyone?

  1. I have bought from fabric.com, equilter, bug fabrics and sew baby. Mever had a problem with any. Best prices were from fabric.com.

  2. I order online all of the time. Just made a big order with Fabric Mart today as a matter of fact. (www.fabricmartfabrics.com). They have great sales and great customer service, and if the prices are good enough the shipping costs aren’t too prohibitive. For me it’s a great resource because I am still learning, and I feel better knowing I didn’t spend a ton on the fabric in case I screw up royally. When I get into finer garments, I’m sure I’ll need to touch and feel the stuff, but for the moment I’m into buying craploads of gabardine in various colors at a good price and playing around with fitting pants and jackets for fall. At least in my mind that’s what I’ll be doing.

    I have also ordered from fabric.com because I wanted specific prints, and was very happy with them. Pink Chalk has gorgeous fabric as well. I’ve also had a ton of luck finding unique stuff on eBay. There are some extremely cool sellers out there with an incredible selection. You never know what you’ll find.

    Thanks for the great post.
    Shelley

    1. So, we can add Fabric Mart, Fabric.com, Pink Chalk and eBay to our list. Great leads! Gabardine seems like a great choice for you — it can be easy to sew with and looks tailored even with some mistakes. By using one fabric type you are avoiding a common new sewer error, which is believing that it’s easy to combine different weights of fabric within one garment. This is not easy to gauge when you can’t handle fabric in a store. Luckily many gabardines have a similar weight and “hand” (or you can use interfacing to balance). I’ll have a look at your blog to see your adventures. Thanks so much for posting!

  3. I ordered fabric from Fabric.com three times. 3 times they sent me the wrong thing. All three attempts were for one item that they could never seem to pull from stock correctly, even though I called, emailed, and chatted on line with customer service. All I wanted was mocha colored crepe back satin. Which appeared to be in stock. The first time I was sent a patterned organza, the second time a bright yellow, and the third and final time I was sent a peach colored fabric. After that, they gave me a $15 credit for a future purchase, which I told them just to keep because I will never buy anything from them again. That is my only experience with online fabric shopping. I just wish that you could score an incredible deal in a store more often. Just my two cents, since you asked. 🙂

    1. Thank you for letting us know about your experience. Another commenter had a good experience with them and fair price, so I hope some people are having a good experience. That seems like a rare occurrence in online shopping — I hope you’ll try other places. Besides JoAnn’s, I believe smaller stores just can’t afford to offer frequent discounts on fabric — otherwise it seems like they would! Thanks for your comments!

  4. I buy about 75% of my fabric online. I have a lot of experience with fabric types and weaves so if the online description is accurate (fabric content, weave, weight) and the pictures clear, I am usually satisfied. Maybe I am lucky, but the color displayed on my monitor is usually close to the color of the fabric shown on the sites I like. Fabricmartfabrics and Denverfabrics get most of my money, voguefabrics and sometime emmaonesock (which does list the Pantone color) and fabric.com. I have purchased fabric from Trimfabrics, Mood, and elliottbermantextiles. Also many Etsy and eBay fabric stores. Some in the US, but also ones located in India, Japan. Russia, and China. Most fabrics are manufactured outside the USA, Why pay the middleman?

    The only online store I have had repeated bad experiences with (wrong fabric sent, wrong yardage cut) is Fabric.com. Though it has just been in the past 3 years. I have purchased fabric from them for a long time, starting 15-20 years ago when they were only a mail order swatch club, and had no issues until recently.

    I like high end, natural fiber fabrics and am often trying to replicate a designer garment. I cannot find designer fabrics at my local Jo Ann or Hancock Fabrics. It is wonderful to type a fabric description in a search engine and find many online sources.

    Re postage. It has definitely gone up lately and some fabrics are bulky and heavier than others. I have a mental postage cost limit, but it depends on the amount of fabric and where it is being shipped from. I will not buy fabric when the postage is more than the cost of the fabric. Ye,s that happens sometimes.

    I love visiting independent fabric shops when I travel. DH does not. The ultimate travel/fabric shopping trip for me is to NYC.

  5. Thanks for this list; I’ll definitely be checking out some of the new-to-me vendors. One place not mentioned is Etsy. There are a lot of fabric vendors there, just plug in a good, descriptive search term to keep from being overwhelmed with results. Etsy has been helpful to me for buying fabric I can’t find otherwise. One example is Ikea fabric. No Ikea near me and they don’t sell by the yard online. I’ve been able to score some through Etsy sellers.

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