I’ve been putting off asking this question, but I need help find affordable fabric! Wal-Mart is not my answer. I can rarely find the quality of fabric there that I want and the only other choice I have is Hancock Fabrics – and there I really can’t afford what I do like. I have quite a problem.
Years ago when I use to sew there were many, many places in my city to purchase fabric, such as J.C. Penny’s, Belk-Mathews, K-Mart, and several privately owned fabric stores. Now that I have finally decided to start sewing again I only have two choices, Wal-Mart and Hancock’s. All of the other places have stopped selling fabric and the privately owned places have all gone out of business.
I have been searching the web for fabric stores and I find that I really can’t afford let’s say $17.00 a yard for wool fabric! I know that purchasing quality fabric is the first step in ensuring a quality garment, but I need choices that are a little more affordable.
Can anyone here tell me of places on the web that I can find fabric at more reasonable prices???
I am not a very experienced online fabric shopper but I know some who are and find Nancy's Notions to have some excellent values. I am blessed to still have access to a great little fabric store with goods strait from the garment district in NY.
Thanks, I'll take a look at Nancy's Notions.
I noticed in another thread that you mentioned you live in GA. If you are near the metro-Atlanta area, have you tried Gail K's?
Fabric really has gotten expensive. I've pretty much stopped buying, planning to figure a way to use the "stash" I've accumulated over time when I wasn't sewing.
I haven't actually bought fabric from Nancy'sNotions but I did notice that she has some good buys. I think the trick is to think-a-head for the year. Plan what you would like and watch for some of her great sales when the seasons change. You'll find that you are ahead most of the time and on those occasions when you really must have something now, you will be able to splurge a bit. You might also want to check out some of the other great fabric places advertised in Threads for their sale dates and merchandise--G Street Fabrics, Britex, and a couple of couturier places in Virginia. Good luck. Z
Thank you all for your replys. I hate to sound cheap, but finding fabric at reasonable prices will really help me out. I will try Nancy's, Gail, and the other two that were mentioned. Again, thanks a lot.
Took a look at Nancy's didn't see anything that I was interested in there right now, but will keep a eye out for furure purchases.
Found the address for Gail K fabrics in Atlanta so maybe I can make a trip up there as soon as I get my funds together.
Also found another place in Snellville, GA which is outside of Atlanta for the Snellville Fabric Mart.
Looked up Gstreet Fabrics and Britex Fabrics maybe I can order some swatches so I can get a better idea of what I would be ordering.
i don't know if anyone has reminded you to check out any garment manufacturers in your area. I know that most of them have moved out of the country, but the best buys I've found have been in fabric outlets adjacent to garment manufacturers. They aren't usually listed under FABRIC stores in the phone book. Why don't you check the yellow pages to see if there are any clothing manufacturers around. Some of their plants are out in the middle of no where.
I've also found a few terrific argains in surplus stores where bolts of fabric were priced by people who obviously knew nothing about fabric.
Also, it helps a lot if you can recognize what a fabric is by feel, etc., so you know if it IS a bargain.
HI- I have had excellent luck with e-bay too. I search for 'cotton knit fabric' or silk or "waverly garden image" if you know a pattern name. There are a lot of fabric sellers on ebay because they reach such a large market and if you are patient and keep watching you can get some great deals. I have never had a bad experience. I sew mainly silk, cotton knit and rayon and all purchases have been great. Some sellers with ebay stores will even offer a swatch service for a very small fee.
I also watch the Nancy's Notions site and check the sale section. Great buys available. Good luck!
Thanks a bunch, I'll look around ebay.
I usually buy the best quality fabric I can afford---think of the time you will spend on the garment and the years of wear you will get. Here's how I keep from going broke: when we travel to a city with a good independent fabric store, I see what is on sale. If you're willing to buy "off season" fabrics, you can find bargins. Over the years, I've been lucky enough to shop at G Street, Britex, Helen Enox, the garment district in New York, the fashion district in LA, Boston, and even Rome. I buy some fabrics from Emma One Sock, but I wouldn't call her fabrics inexpensive. Fashion Fabrics Club offers memberships (i.e., you get swatches in the mail). Their prices strike me as the best on the web, and they have a good selection. I have only bought one piece of fabric from them. Here's my take: the fabric arrived quickly, and it was exactly as described on the web site. I changed my mind, however, and sent the fabric back. Fashion Fabrics Club refunded all my money, and I only had to pay the postage. (It was, after all, my mistake, and so I thought it only fair that I pay the postage).Here's what I'm trying to say: you could try a fabric from Fashion Fabrics Club at little risk because of their return policy.I have also had very good luck with Manhattan Fabrics and Apple Annie, but their fabrics are not cheap.In March 2006, my sweet husband paid for my trip to Manhattan with Peggy Sagers---she offers tours twice a year, and she really works hard to keep the costs down. It was a wonderful experience, and the fabrics were all wholesale. Very good prices. But, of course, you also have to pay for the trip. If you have some frequent flier miles, and can save up for the price of the tour (mine was $299, which includes hotel and transportation), then you can get excellent bargains through Peggy's tours.Hope this is helpful.
Hi Linda Faye,
I have to agree with Short Memory on Fashion Fabrics Club. The more we buy, the better the bargain that they can offer us. I actually like their website better than receiving the swatches by mail. When it goes on sale, it seems like, everyone with access to the web, buys out the good stuff. You mentioned wool at $17 a yard. I just peeked in and looked up wool. They have some for $10 a yard. They are trying to offer better fabric at a bargain, I believe. Here is their site: http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/catalog_itemdetail.aspx?ItmID=AA496
Hope this will help you.
The following does not directly answer your question regarding websites, but it's what I came up with:
You did not mention if you get the Hancock's mailings with their coupons. They can be for up to 50% off and have been my lifesavers. Also, a local designer sells her leftover fabrics at regular intervals throughout the year. You may think of looking for someone like that in your area.
I've purchased fabric from Fashion Fabric Club, and it seems to offer reasonable value for the price. The delivery time has gotten better over the years, too. The last order took one week to get to me, wool suiting at $10 a yard.Although I purchased 4 yards, the jacket will eventually cost quite a bit more, once interfacing, lining, buttons, and other notions are added in. I wouldn't bother with something really trendy, or only worn a couple times- it's less expensive to purchase most things. I don't know what type of sewing you're interested in. My "aha" moment came while I was in Macy's. I looked at a skirt I thought I might like to copy. It was $100. I realized ordering the same quality fabric, (it would probably have come from Emma One Sock) it would cost ...$100.So-fro went out of business by continuing to offer garment fabric in a society that had turned to crafts.
Thank you all for your suggestions! I do have Hancock's and I need to pay more attention to the coupons that are usually 40% off non-sale fashion fabrics. Every month I seem to let the coupon expire - RATS! This way I could atleast afford to buy one good piece of fabric at a reasonable price. This would probably be my best bet.
I live in middle Georgia. No garment districts here at all. I will try the fashion fabric club and keep looking for something that I can afford. Thanks again for all your advice.
If you do come to Atlanta to shop at Gail K's, be sure to bring a flashlight! The shop has tall racks of fabric, some too high to reach (but the sales people are very helpful) and those tall racks put much of the fabric in dark shadows, so you really need the flashlight. There's so much fabric in this place that it doesn't seem there's any order to it, but the folks who work there can just about always tell you exactly where to look for something. Some of their prices are high, to me, particularly the designer fabrics, but most are reasonable. Prices may be higher than some online sources, but I still need to touch fabrics, and still do my fabric-shopping where I can put my hands on it. They don't sell patterns, but they do have a few old pattern books that can be used as references for estimating yardage, for example. They have a great supply of buttons, sold individually, and trims and cords. These are garment fabrics, no home-dec fabrics at all. You will see a much greater variety of fabric than at the Hancock's or Joann's stores.I know you specifically mentioned wools, but thought I'd mention that there are also several sari-fabric stores in the area, good for pretty cottons and border-prints.
Thanks Josefly for the detailed info about Gail K's. I do plan on making a trip up there as soon as I can get my budget straightened out. It will help knowing just what to expect. Thanks again for the info.
P.S. Do you live in the Atlanta area yourself?
Yes, I live in Decatur, just east in the suburbs. So if I can help you with directions or other info I'll be glad to.
Thanks a bunch, I will contact you when I am ready to go up there.
I just had to get on this morning and respond to your comment because it gave me my "a ha" moment. I suddently realized where, for me, things had taken a turn a while back. I am not into crafts and deplored (for me personally) the increasing focus and emphasis along those lines because it left me out in the cold.
I respect all the wonderful things that people do in the craft area but my interest has always been garments. Like you whenever I could I would get it off the rack but do have some special fitting problems that make sewing a better alternative for really important outfits. More importantly, I must admit that I experiece such total absorption, joy, release, and pride in bringing a garment to fruition. Z
Mary Jo's Cloth Shop in Gastonia, N>C>--has mail order person to talk to and send samples.
Some of these send samples, some you pay for but well worth it.
Thanks alotofstiches for the web sites. I have added them all to my fabrics and will be researching each. Thanks again.
You girls are so very helpful. Thanks for all your imput!
Have you looked at the Sawyer Brooks web site http://www.sawyerbrooks.com?
While some of the fabric is a bit pricey, there are some very good prices too. The quality is always top of the line. I am currently making a pair of stretch flannel wool pants with fabric from SB, and the fabric is much nicer than anything I have seen in the stores or catalogs.
It's http://www.sawyerbrook.com, without the s on the end of brook.
I have signed up to be on the mailing lists of many of the websites mentioned. It often gives me a chance to read about the sales before others who have not signed up do. I also order samples of any fabric over $5.00 per yard if I am making a multi-yard outfit.
The poster who described the $100 skirt she saw in Macy's is correct that it would cost almost that much or an equal amount to make for oneself. However the Macy's skirt may not fit each person's body. We all have figure quirks which we can learn to address by sewing.In the past 3 or 4 years I have bought the majority of my fabric on-line. We have many quilt stores as well as Joann's, Hancock's and Walmarts but none have the quality that I consistently find on-line. Just a side note Walmarts fabric departments are being phased out in 2007. The Pattern Review site has a discussion about it if you are interested. I would like to support our local fabric stores and I do by buying cottons in our quilt stores. As for wool, silk, linen, etc.I buy on-line.
Can you tell me which on line stores you use?
Just scroll back through the messages, hon. There are a lot of suggestions.
I use Emma One Sock, Farm House Fabrics, Manhattan Fabrics, Vogue Fabrics fairly often. As other posters have said they do have sales from time to time and you will find out first if you sign up for newsletters on these sites. None of these have the low prices of Walmart but the quality is always much better. I have found that Joann's prices are not inexpensive for the low quality which you generally pay for. As I said before you should get samples and talk to the staff at these sites to describe what you want. I also read the return policies on any sites I am checking out, minimum order required and SHIPPING COSTS. Shipping costs may be the same for a very light-weight, small amount of fabric as it is for a heavier weight fabric. In other words, many sites charge postage by how many dollars you spend. I would suggest starting cautiously by ordering samples or a small amount from one site. Keep track of amount spent, delivery time, email responses to help you track the purchase, and the quality of the fabric you receive. Phew. I hope this helps.
The other ladies are correct Fashion Fabrics Club is very good. As a matte of fact last year on their close out sale, I bought 27 yds of (different fabrics) for about $80 deliverd. Avg price/yd $3. If you can buy off season it is the greatest. $10/year is pretty cheap for the swatch club. I know I need to feel the fabrics to know what I want.
The other store is Vogue Fabrics in the Chicago area. Their website is:
I noticed their swatch club price has jumped to $30/yr but I see they have swatch service ($1).
bookmarked this site too, thanks for your help!
Just a bit of a snarky comment - don't get me wrong, I *love* Britex Fabrics, I visit every time I am in the Bay area - but I am pretty shocked to see the store mentioned on an affordable fabric thread - sorry, but I've never seen anything inexpensive there.....
Since our town no longer has a fabric store (!), I buy almost entirely online, and I'm a fabric snob. I've had personal experience with all the sites I list. My favorite is emmaonesock.com, because of her eye for unusual things. Her offerings are not, as has been noted, the cheapest, but they are marvelous. Her imaging and fabric descriptions are dead accurate.http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com carries high quality stuff, and sometimes fine wools and silks are discounted so deeply that it can make a body faint. How about $9/yd for good wool crepe or gabardine? Really, this is one site to watch.The service at http://www.fabric.com is superb. Mostly, the fabric is quite nice, but if you don't like what you get, they will take it back without a murmur.Another winner is http://www.michaelsfabrics.com. Now, these fabrics can be very, very expensive, but Michael often runs half-price sales, and may even discount things 70%! I have gotten some unbelievable fabrics for a couple of bucks per yard. Besides, Michael is a saint--an extraordinary merchant. He loves to talk with his customers, and he and his wife, Sherri, will send you the biggest swatches you've ever seen! http://lucysfabrics.com offers some extremely nice jerseys and such, and has gotten nice reviews for quality and service at http://www.patternreview.comAgain, not all these sites will have cheap fabrics all the time, across the board, but you can really score if you keep your eyes open. Even factoring in shipping, a sharp-eyed customer can do very well online.
I SIGNED UP TO BE ON HANCOSK & JOANNS'S MAILING LIST SO I CAN BUY WHEN THERE IS A COUPON OR WHEN THERE IS A SALE. SAVES ME LOTS
I am so glad that I finally asked this question! At first I was afraid that I would be thought of as cheap if I was looking for fabric discounts. I guess we all want the best quality for the best buy! Thank you again for all the help.
http://www.fabricdirect.com has a very large selection od fabrics at low prices. I have placed a couple of orders with them and have been pleased with the quality of fabric.
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