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Fabric Shopping Online

Elaray | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Lately, I’ve been very disappointed in the fabric selection at my local chain store. It seems they have more craft supplies than fabrics. So, I’m considering shopping for fabric online. I have serveral questions. Can I get samples to see how colors match or how colors look next to my skin? Who are the best online fabric stores? Who are the ones to stay away from? Please give me any information that will make my online fabric shopping experience a positive one.

I sew, therefore I am


  1. LindaG | | #1

    Same problem here in the Boston area, with only one decent chain, and even there, the buyer's taste seems to be quite different than mine (and the higher priced wools are not that great quality either).

    For beautiful and unique high end fabrics, I like Sawyer Brook.  Swatch subscription at about $30 a year, but nicely packaged and explained (the swatches are stapled in groups so I don't have to try to keep them in order!).

    For quality wools, try DiCarlo Fabrics (he also has a big selection of Bemberg linings).  The owner closed the store and does mail order now.  For a very nominal fee, he'll send swatches every couple of months.  Swatches are numbered to correspond to printed descriptions.

    For kids fabrics, cotton interlock and sweatshirt fleece, and other interesting sport fabrics,  try Dimples and Wazoodle.  Dimples has a swatch program, and after ordering a couple of times, I seem to get them seasonally.

    For interfacing and some linings, and especially threads and notions, look at Sew True.

    Have fun -- checking what's new on all those websites gives me a reason to reclaim the computer from my kids.


    1. Bernie1 | | #2

      AAAKKK!!! DiCaro closed the store? I was planning a trip there in August. How far is Sawyer  Brook from Worcester? I'm headed to the expo next week.

      1. LindaG | | #3

        Clinton is not all that far from Worcester.  Call ahead for warehouse hours (none on Saturdays).

        1. bellefille | | #4

          Last year, Sawyer Brook was one of the exhibitors AT the expo, and had brought along many, many fabrics.  Beautiful!

          Linda 03052

          1. Bernie1 | | #5

            SB was at the Worcester Expo this year and I bought some of their gorgeous fabrics. I am also getting their swatch service. Didn't get to the warehouse but will do that when I go to Boston this summer.

    2. Elisabeth | | #6

      Is it really true? The great fabric stores are no longer there? I lived in the Boston area for a few years around 1980 and I loved going downtown to the stores with the incredible remnants. Winmill fabrics, not there? I was last in Boston about ten years ago and I suppose it wasn't as amazing a selection as it was when I lived there but I still dream of spending a day joyfully checking out the tables and bins. There is a slight chance that I will be going through Boston this summer. Would I be hugely disappointed if I hoped for a fun day of fabric shopping?

      1. Bernie1 | | #7

        So many of the great store that used to be in the Chinatown area are gone, and Fabric Place in Framingham is not nearly what it used to be - I think they must have expanded and the quality has slipped. You are right, there are not a lot of great places anymore which is why so many folks are doing their shopping online. Sawyer Brook is in Clinton outside Worcester and it's the best place around. DiCarlo's in Framingham did have a store but I've heard they're only online now. Most places don't have the bins - even Fabric Place used to have bins of designer remnants and they don't have that anymore.

        1. Elisabeth | | #8

          Oh, sigh, it is the death of a dream I have had for so long. I really liked living in Boston back then. I made all sorts of things for my pre school aged daugther for next to nothing from those bins. Well, I guess after a quarter of a century things are bound to change!

          So, here is a big question, what happens to all those garment industry remnants now? There are surely more of them now, where are they?

          1. GinnaS | | #10

            Where are the remnants?  In China! 

            Seriously, most textile industry jobs have gone there so I assume the remnants are there too.


            Edited 4/23/2004 6:41 pm ET by GINNAS

          2. FitnessNut | | #11

            And here I was going to say Indonesia!

            That's where so many of the Montreal fashion industry has their garments manufactured. The loss of jobs is the price we pay for cheap clothing.....


          3. carolfresia | | #12

            As others have noted, many of the fabric bolt ends that we used to be able to get in fabric stores are now elsewhere in the world, as  garment manufacturing has moved overseas. In larger cities, you'll find some great fabrics from designer lines, but otherwise, the pickings seem to be getting slimmer...shopping online, or via swatching services, is a great way to expand your options, although it doesn't provide quite the same instant gratification as going to a local store.


          4. SewNancy | | #13

            Dear Carol,

            I remember fondly the days of finding Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta and many other designer remnants.  I made a  blouse years ago in an Anne Klein silk print.  I was at the makeup counter in Bloomingdales and the saleswoman said oh, I didn't see that blouse upstairs in the Anne Klein section!  It obviously was from the current season.  A favorite store  that I found in your first New York shopping tour, where I found many of my designer fabrics is sadly out of business.  But one of the last times I was in the owner said that so many brands were being made abroad that they just couldnt get the remnants anymore.


      2. LindaG | | #9

        Hi Elisabeth,

        Winmil is still there.  I find interesting man-made fibers there --  lycra for my daughter's swimsuits; polys for when I want to try something new or make an outfit that is going to get worn only a few times (dress up); poly chiffons; some rayons -- sometimes some odd and interesting prints.   And it's definitely cheap and fun to poke around.  But that's about it in downtown Boston these days.... Go to NYC for the day and go into sensory overload in the midtown fabric stores!

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