A Guide To Online Fabric Resources

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 Today’s guest is Carla Macklin, co-owner and designer of Clever Charlotte, a company that designs and sells clothing patterns for “modern children.” She’s immensely talented and is the most talented sewist I’ve ever met. Oh, and she’s my cousin-in-law, too- which meas that when we have family get-togethers, Carla and I compare notes on blogging and the the craft industry. The last time we talked, I mentioned that I was clueless about online fabric resources, so she graciously agreed to “guest star” for us here at CTD today. Please visit her amazing site, too!

I am so excited to be here today! When Jenny suggested that I write post for her readers about online fabric resources, I immediately thought, “Yes Yes Yes! What a great idea!” I was happy to oblige and, in the process, make a written record of all the random websites I frequent that otherwise just float around in my head. These sites are my go-to fabric sources for both my children’s clothing pattern business, Clever Charlotte, and my own diverse apparel and crafting needs.

There is a certain subset of sewers and crafters who have a biologic need to hoard fabric. I am among this group and can never get enough of the stuff… slinky or stiff, patterned or plain, I have amassed hundreds of yards of fabric over my 34 years on this planet. It’s tucked into every available crevasse of my home.
Sadly, for most of us, the local fabric store has gone the way of the dodo. It’s nearly impossible to head out on your daily errand run and find the instant gratification of the perfect textile for your project. As a small consolation, the internet abounds with all sorts of online fabric resources. Buying fabric online is far from perfect—you don’t get the immediate sense of the fabric’s hand and the fabric’s colors may not appear accurate on your computer screen. But for many of us, it is often the only choice we have, so finding reliable sources is important.
To help you in your search of the perfect fabric, I have created this list of online fabric stores compiled after years of stalking the illusive silk tulle or surreptitious graphic-print cotton lawn. Whether you are searching for organic fabric, apparel fabric, quilters cotton, home décor fabric, or design-your-own fabric you should find something of interest below.
Retail Apparel Fabrics

  • Fabric.com: A discount emporium of 1000’s of fabrics. They are among the few fabric stores with a return policy on cut fabric and they offer free US shipping on all orders over $35. They sell quilters cotton and home decor weight, too.
  • Fashion Fabrics Club: Another discount emporium. I have had mixed results ordering from their occasionally misleading photos. I once bought a pink fabric that they neglected to show had a purple band running through the entire length. They, too, permit returns within 30 days, and their prices are amongst the lowest around.
  • Vogue Fabrics: While I have never placed an order with them, their selection is large.
  • Gray Line Linen: The online store is a nice compliment to their clean, neat, brick-and-mortar store in the NYC Garment District. I highly recommend this shop for your linen needs. Some of their heavier-weight linens can be used for home decor.
  • Gorgeous Fabrics: Indeed, a gorgeous, curated selection of designer overruns. I love how they provide ideal sewing patterns to use with each fabric to give you a better sense of its weight and hand.
  • Fabric Mart Fabrics: While they have a limited listing of fabric on their website, Fabric Mart offers high quality at reasonable prices. They primarily purchase end-runs from manufacturers so their offerings often include quality fabrics from large fashion houses. Be sure to sign up to be on their wholesale customer list. Their wholesale minimums (10-12 yards) are very low and the prices are terrific. If you are searching for something in particular, I’d say give them a call, they are extremely accommodating and friendly.
  • Harts Fabric: They have decent pricing on a wide variety of fabrics.
  • Mood Fabric: While their website will never rival their NYC Garment District store (think “Project Runway”), they are a great source of bridal fabrics, among others.
  • Linton Tweeds: The original purveyor of tweeds for Chanel. Their product is divine.
  • Printed Silk Fabrics: This is a new discovery of mine. Their charmeuse and crepe de chine collections have resulted in drool marks on my computer.
  • Lace Star: For all things fancy and sparkly, this site is currently under construction but will hopefully provide a resource for those of you unable to travel to its amazing NYC store.

Modern Quilt Shops

  • Hawthorne Threads: Modern sewers take note. They carry fun printed quilting fabrics.
  • Fabric Worm: Again, another resource for quilters cotton in modern prints. If you are looking for a combination of quilting fabrics, check out their curated fabric bundles for unique mixes of different designers. Also, they have a substantial organic selection, including their own line.

Organic Fabrics

  • Pickering International: Provider of organic fabric basics with wholesale opportunities. The gladly will email you their price list.
  • Eden Fabrics: They have a small collection of organic wovens and knits.

Retail Home Décor Fabrics

Design-your-own Fabric

  • Spoonflower: If you haven’t visited Spoonflower yet, this site is a MUST! Order one-of-a-kind fabric designed by other designers or design your own. Any print is available in many types of organic and conventional fabrics (such as twill, voile, silk, quilters cotton and knit). They have ridiculously low minimums (you can order a fat quarter, by the yard or even just an 8” x 8” test swatch). The downsides: it can be pricey per yard and the quality of the fabric used isn’t always the best… it can be rather rough on the hand, so it is better applied to occasional throw pillows or wall art. If in doubt, splurge on the $5 fabric swatches before printing large amounts!
  • While Spoonflower is probably the most well-known of the on-demand, customizable digital fabric printers, they are not the only one. Though I do not have direct experience with these other printers, such as Fabric on Demand, you may want to check them out.
Do you have a favorite online fabric store? Please share in the comments so I can continue my fabric habit!

~ Carla

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4 Responses to “A Guide To Online Fabric Resources”

  1. Caryn S. (Scrapnsing) Says:

    Love Fabric.com. They were supposed to be moving the warehouse closer to where I live, not sure if it’s been completed or not. I shop online with them frequently. I’d love to see a list of heirloom sewing shops here too, since these others don’t often carry some of the types of fabric and other supplies that are used in this sort of needlecraft.

  2. Nicole Says:

    Great post Carla.
    Although not an actual store I get some great fabric from eBay.
    Recently a piece of silk striped water wave taffeta for 99c +$7 pp.

  3. tara Says:

    I love to look on Etsy for fabrics, even discontinued lines can often be found there!

  4. Michelle Says:

    Ta for Fabric Guru – I may not leave my computer for a few days now… ;-)

    I haven’t had the chance to buy from them yet (as opposed to fabric.com, to whom have I have handed over a fair chunk of my income over the years) but for home decor, housefabrics.com sells designer fabric by the yard to the public for fairly reasonable prices (or at least some of it is). Shipping is a bit pricey though as they use FedEx.

    I’d also recommend Girl Charlee (girlcharlee.com) for an amazing knit selection at fantastic prices. Fabric Fairy (fabricfairy.com) also has a great knit selection at tiny bit higher prices.

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