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finding quality fabric

kaitydid | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

i was wondering what real quality fabric is. i saw on tlc’s what not to wear that polyester is no good. is that true? and if so, where could i find quality fabrics? i always shop at my local joann store, but now i’m wondering if that’s not good enough.


  1. starzoe | | #1

    Polyester has its place, there is a good deal of difference between the sleazy poly and the high end of the genre. The only way to get familiar with fabrics is to seek out the sources, places you can handle, drape, twist, gather etc. the stuff. I spend more time feeling fabric than I do sewing it.There is a dearth of good fabric outlets, like you we here in Canada have lost a good many quality outlets, at least in the smaller cities. I would never buy online, I just have to handle the fabric, it's part of the fun of sewing.I take that TV program "what not to wear" with several handsful of salt, sometimes I cringe at what the two of them suggest but then it's only a TV show and somewhat entertaining.

    1. kaitydid | | #2

      thanks so much for your help. i agree that small cities don't have as much to work with. my town is about 19 square miles and the only place to go is up north because down south is all farmland.

    2. fiberfan | | #3

      You can get swatches from most online fabric stores.  I prefer to buy fabric in person but even larger cities can have little besides Joann's and Hancock.  With a swatch I can feel the fabric and check the color.  While there are differences in quality of polyester and other man made fabrics, I prefer the comfort of natural fabrics.Joanne

  2. SewistKitty | | #4

    In my post #7045.3 I listed a number of sites that sell quality fabric.
    Today I have been trying to link the sites without success. I "google" Emma One Sock fabrics, Manhattan Fabrics, Candlelight Valley Fabrics, Gorgeous Fabrics, Hancock's of Paducah, and Timmel Fabrics(in Canada) to reach their trust-worthy sites. I have used all of them without any problems. I suggest that you get samples of the fabrics if you are committed to a particular color and/or weight. I have found that on these sites the weights of the fabrics described have been very accurate. Often the owners suggest what garments could be successfully made up in particular fabrics. The fabrics will probably not be cheaper than Joann's but the quality far surpasses Joann's and Hancock's. I would strongly suggest that you make a trial garment out of cheaper fabric in a similar weight as the online fabric or make sure that your pattern has been altered to fit before you use your online fabric. To save money you can also get on the mailing lists of online fabric sites and you will hear about the sales ahead of time. I don't really save since I am tempted by sales. lolIf you have quilt shops in your area cotton fabric sold there is better quality than Joann's.
    Some of us shop for fabrics on our vacations and while attending conferences especially sewing-related conferences. Many stores will ship your fabric home. Ask me how I know this....
    Hope this helps.

    1. kaitydid | | #5

      thanks for your help. i have looked at the emma one sock website and will check out the other ones.

      1. SewistKitty | | #7

        I spend way too much in the great fabrics at "Emma One Sock". If you do fall in love with a fabric that is displayed there I would not hesitate to order it. Her fabrics especially the ones that I like sell out very fast, sometimes within a day or two after they are posted. I just ordered three fabrics on March 10th and they are winging their way to my home on March 12th. On the site Shannon Gifford has excellent instructions on how to sew each fabric advertised. I always print out the instructions and keep them with my new fabric purchases.
        Las Vegas Kitty

  3. MaryinColorado | | #6

    On one episode, they were calling a cotton/poly blend a "blend", she said something about never say "polyester". 

    I pretty much sew exclusively with natural fabrics, but, the newer polyesters have thier place.  Less wrinkling and easy care, many of the young people like it.  I would never use it in place of silk though, it is not comparative at all, much stiffer. 

     Rayon is my all time favorite fabric to sew and to wear.  It breathes and drapes well, no problem with wrinkles.  You can get rayon/linnen or rayon/cotton blends too, most "silk" velvet is partly rayon if you read the fine print.

    I'm searching for a small amount of silk to applique long stemmed roses on the back of a long coat.  JoAnnes has some, but not in any colors that I like for it.

    I have noticed that many of the fabric colors just seem "strange" to me.  They seem to be "off" from what I have always considered standards.  I think it may be because they are now brought in from Eastern countries that have a different ethnicity.  Many ladies in the fabric shops are also unhappy with the colors.  It's strange to go home empty handed so often!!!

    Oh, and http://www.equilter.com is my favorite online fabric store.  It is advertised in most sewing magazines.  The owner is a fabric designer who started in her garage 10 years ago and now travels the world to provide wonderful fabrics and the latest offerings.  They have zillions of cottons for quilting, I go to their homepage and do a "search" to go straight to those Rayon Bali Batiks that I so love.  They also have books, mags, supplies.  Excellent customer service and they have a newsletter too.

    Edited 3/12/2008 11:36 am by MaryinColorado

  4. Teaf5 | | #8

    Be careful about equating cost with quality! At the moment, I'm wearing my favorite vest, pieced together from scraps of fabric that cost less than $3/yard on clearance; it's some kind of synthetic stretch suiting fabric from Joann's. It's comfortable and elegant with a wonderful drape and body--everything a quality fabric should be.In contrast, in my "to donate" pile is a shirt made from very expensive, exclusive high-end quilting cotton that lost all its color and hand in the second washing (not the pre-wash, unfortunately!)It's hard to get an idea in the store of which fabrics will be winners or losers, but I try to touch and scrunch and handle them as much as possible before buying. If they don't feel good or don't hang nicely from the bolt, they won't work for my garments, either.

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