Hello Vivat Veritas Readers! I am Juebejue from Petite Republic. I am honored to be writing a guest blog entry for Chie's blog. She asked me to do a piece for online fabric shopping, which is PERFECT because I had just bought a bunch of fabrics online!
I used to visit Joanns or Hancock quite often for my apparel fabric. But after sewing for a while, I notice that their apparel fabric is just not on par with store-bought cloth's fabric. I usually have slightly more luck at Hancock -- their winter wool selection is quite good. But often times I come home with crappy fabric, or empty handed.
I dont remember how, but I searched for some fabric shops online through google. To my surprise, there are plenty of online stores selling good quality apparel fabric!
My first fabric site was fabric.com. It has very good selections on variety of fabric. Its website is decent, and its fabrics are divided into intuitive categories. It always has free shipping for over $35 dollars, and it also has free return shipping. However, they have mixed up my order quite a few times. At least twice, they shippied some other fabric instead of the one I ordered. The first time it happened, they told me to keep the wrong fabric and shipped the correct one over. The second time when it happened, they did not respond --so I cant remember if they just credited my credit card or not. They do sell a variety of fabric -- I got some beautiful fabric, but I also bought some cheap looking ones. These are some projects I made with fabric from fabric.com
A general key to buying fabric online -- unless you really know what you are doing, ALWAYS buy natural fibers. It is always hard to predict how polyester fabric may feel like. With cotton, linen, wool, silk, etc, there's less change of getting cheap looking fabric or one that is not comfortable. Read the description for the fabric, google the name of the fabric to get a feel for its weight and texture. Most fabric shops also suggest good uses for the fabric -- whether its shirt weight, bottom weight, or for coats. However, sometimes even after some research, you may still make the wrong decision -- I once bought raw silk thinking it would be more like a charmeuse, but turned out it is more like rough linen! So when in doubt, a swatch shall be ordered!