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January 21, 2011

Guest blogger: tips on buying fabric online by Petite Republic

Good morning! Remember I had my very first online fabric purchase the other day? It was a success in a way that I did not have to take a trip in crowded train with hand full of heavy fabrics, and that I did not have to pay for train fair (the website I used provided free shipping within Japan). However, some fabrics turned out to be different than I expected. So I needed to pick a brain of talented seamstress, Jue from Petite Republic, who seems to be an expert on shopping fabrics online! I asked her the tips for buying fabrics online and also her favorite online shopping places. Here is Jue
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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!

fabric.com
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


This site has TONS of fabric choices! I generally find that their search engine sucks a little, and it takes me forever to browse through the site! But, choices are good, right? I always thought I had bought fabric from here, as I browse through the site quite often. However, looking through my gmail history, I dont think I ever have! oops! If anyone has, let us know!
Absolutely one of my favorite sites! There isnt as many fabric as the other two, but they seem to only present me with great quality apparel fabric! They have designer fabric, and fancy coating material made with camel hair or cashmere. Love how everything is categorized on the left side as well. It also saves your order history so you can figure out what you have ordered and their fabric content. I have made these outfits from fabric bought there:

The shipping is always $8, but I think it is thoroughly worth it!

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!
In addition, I also refer to a book quite often to get a feel of how certain fabric are -- I do wish they come with sample fabric swatch though! hmm, that would make a great book idea :) This is the book I often refer to:
Knowledge is power! I hope this guide had been useful. Happy sewing, fellow fabric lovers! Keep that stash full and happy! :)
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Thank you so much Jue! Be sure to check out all her creations on BurdaStyle too. 

9 comments:

Dahl said...

This is so interesting! I often go to stores like Joann's Fabrics to get supplies, but I'll have to check these out. http://thearcenciel.blogspot.com/

Ai said...

hello Chie,
this is a very interesting entry you shared today since i am still learning the world of sewing.

I happened to know a fabric shop tru www.madebylex.com named harts fabric. they have online shop too www.hartsfabric.com. I will try to purchase some of their stuffs there soon. but wanting to share to u too to try. madebylex made some reviews too of the shop.and thats why im too interested to buy soonest.

more power!

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Ashley said...

Fantastic! Thank you for the tips and links!

I've also had great luck with MOOD Designer Fabrics (of Project Runway fame). The selection/quality is great and the prices are better than I expected.

www.moodfabrics.com/

petiterepublic said...

I am delighted to see more suggestions for online shops! I have thought about shopping at mood online, but i am always worried that they overcharge due to the fame. must check it out more closely next time!

Zanda said...

Thanks for post! I will have to search for some good online stores in Europe.

vivatveritas said...

>ai thank you for the recommendations! thats great. please let me know how your shopping experience goes there!

>ashly mood! i went there when i was in NY. it's a heaven for sewers! i didnt know mood had online shop. thanks for letting me know:)

Angela said...

Gorgeousfabrics.com has a wonderful selection of fabrics! I love shopping from there...

I personally do not like Fashionfabricsclub.com (or Denverfabrics.com... they are the same). My orders from there resulted in items that were not as described.

On the other hand, I've always had a positive experience with fabric.com. Most of my online shopping is from there. :)

I recently used Fabricmartfabrics.com and was very happy with my fabrics and their service.

That's just from my experiences... Good luck!

vivatveritas said...

>angela

that's very interesting how different your experience is. thanks for the tips!!! xx