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Conversational Threads

Where do you shop for fabric?

Deana | Posted in Talk With Us on

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Do you have a favorite local shop? Do you venture online? If so, do you order swatches first? Tell us some of your tried-and-true, favorite fabric sources.

Deana Tierney, Assistant Editor, Threads


  1. Ckbklady | | #1

    Hi there,

    I never buy fabric online since I want to touch it beforehand. It's part of the sensual experience of sewing, I think, to wander aimlessly around a fabric store and "let your fingers do the walking".

    My favorite local fabric shop is Pacific Fabrics and Crafts in Bellevue, WA. (http://www.pacificfabrics.com) They have a great selection of silks, cotton Thai batiks and remarkable, stylish home dec fabrics. The ladies who work there are all the older, glasses-on-the-tip-of-the-nose type, which adds to the pleasure of going there. They are all sewing authorities and take pleasure in helping with selections. It is one in a chain of eight stores. It is the finest Eastside fabric shop that saves one a trip over the choked bridges into Seattle. There are a couple of very boutiquey shops in Seattle, but they are out of my price range.

    :) Mary

    1. solosmocker | | #2

      I am not an online shopper for fabric. I will buy trims and patterns but so far that is it. My favorite fabric store is in Manchester NH and is called Fabric Fix. It is in an old gas station/body shoppe if you can imagine that. The amount of fabric in this building is amazing. Fabrics come from the garment district in NY with a trip being made every other week to stock up. It is staffed by the most knowledgeable helpful women who have been selling fabric together for literally decades. This place has been written up on Pattern Review many, many times with customers coming from far and wide to this little gem. If you are into one of a kind fabrics, silks, cashmeres, high end faux furs, this is the place for you. The stock changes constantly so you never know what treasure you will find. Just a couple of examples: last trip I picked up some great lycra/ cotton twill for 4.00 a yd. I have also recently purchased eggplant colored embroidered netting with eggplant colored sequins, 4.00 a yd. I have purchased embroidered dupionis, silk gazar, wool doublecloth, cashmeres, etc. This is a store for sewists of clothing, not quilters. The buttons and trims are one of a kind as well. Can you tell I love this place? I do and go there about once a month all the way from way upstate NY. Up here in NY my only fabric option is Joanns. I do purchase all my notions and lots of patterns there. I occasionally find some fabrics that I consider garment worthy too. The staff in this particular Joanns is very friendly and helpful and the store is always neat and clean. It seems to be well managed. Online fabric shopping - I haven't been able to take that leap of faith yet. But why would I with the two great options I have. They compliment each other. Online is not my preference as l

      1. threadneedle | | #34

        I agree with you about Fabric Fix, but I'm wondering if you are aware of my store in Vermont.  If you are going from upstate NY down to Manchester you might be going very near Essex Junction where we are located.  We also carry designer fabrics, patterns, Imperial broadcloth & batiste, rayon batik, and more.  Threadneedle Fabrics.  

        Edited 6/27/2007 12:55 pm ET by threadneedle

        1. solosmocker | | #35

          Wow! Tell me more, please. I travel by the ferry from Plattsburgh to exit 17 on I-89 and down 89 all the way to Concord NH. I go thru at least every two months but usually monthly. I would love to see your store. If you would like to email me, please do. I am having a bit of an issue with my spamblocker so it may be a couple of days before I get your email, earthlink dial up and all. Yes, I am privileged to have dialup out in these boonies. No cell service, no broadband. There is dish broadband which is quite expensive, but we have been considering it for a long time. 500.00 up front and 69.95 a month - YIKES!

      2. User avater
        tscushing | | #50


               Thankyou so much for the fabric place in Manchester. I live in Rochester,NH and just started a sewing busness.  I have never heard of this store but I plan on looking it up.  I have wanted a place to get fabric for unique things to make.  Thankyou for your e-mail.                  

                                                                     Love to Sew,  n Stitches with Twinkie


      3. Bloss1996 | | #57

        I live in the southern part of MA near Providence, RI but I have also shopped at Fabric Fix.  It is definitely in a class by itself and I agree that the personnel is more than helpful.  I do not make monthly trips as you do but at least make one trip a year (combined with meeting a good friend for lunch) and usually do it during their sale in August.  You cannot beat their prices as well as they have a good selection.

        Unlike many who have joined in on this thread, I am very lucky to have a selection of stores for fabric.  I would have to say that my favorite is Fabric Place which started in Framingham, MA under the name of Sportswear (I shopped there for clothes as a teenager) but they have since opened three other branches.  They are a very good supplier of home dec fabrics as well and have a great seconds department loaded with home dec fabrics.  What you don't find in one ... you may find in one of the other branches.  They also sell yarn and sewing machines so they have a bit of everything.  I also have a number of good quilt shops as well as JoAnn's although I do not have a Hancock's very close.

        I also had occasion to deal with Vogue as they were at the Sewing and Quilting Expo and I bought fabric from them there.  Wish they were located a little closer. 

        My husband and I now spend at least four months of the year in FL and I do find that in my area (Sarasota/Bradenton) there is a lack of good fabric stores.  There are a number of quilt stores but not just fabric stores.  I have taken a couple of sewing trips to a few fabric stores but as I said ... I am spoiled ... I can be in three of the four Fabric places within 30-40 minutes .... so traveling an hour to go to just one store can be a let down. 

        As far as the closing of many of the regular fabric stores I strongly feel that they can no longer compete with the larger chain stores which buy in much larger quantities of bulk as well as some of the other things that go along with owning.  There are certain stores like the ones in the garment district in NYC and those fabric stores in Chinatown in downtown Boston that will always be there but I know when I was on one of my junkets in FL to a regular fabric store the help and the owner were talking about a competitor that was closing and the owner said he wasn't sure how much longer he would be able to hold on due to taxes, etc. that keep going up.

      4. Bloss1996 | | #68


        Just had to let you know that I just returned earlier from your favorite stomping grounds for fabric .... the Fabric Fix in Manchester.

        Although I was very, very good and did not purchase anything as I have sworn to deplete my fabric stash by hook or by crook they did have some (as usual) some interesting fabrics.  We asked about their upcoming sale but they said they did not know when it would be .... probably during the first two weeks of August which is about the same time.

        They had quite a supply of cotton lycra (good for capris or pants) in some interesting patterns and plaids.   If I did have about nine pieces of fabric designated for capris I would have bought some.

        I found the store to be somewhat neater (not that it has ever bothered me) than it usually is and I wondered if possibly they were under new management but did not ask.

        As usual, my friend and I will meet during the Sale and do some shopping although I am desperately trying to use up some of the material I have.


    2. joanbutler | | #77

      I only buy online now, now my grandson showed me how to order lol but I used to use this place http://knitwithattitude.com/shop/&nbsp; also I love to get free patterns online I just made a lovely tea pot, got it from http://www.freestuffbaby.co.uk/free-knitting-patterns/ its really nice xx

    3. joanbutler | | #78

      I only buy online now, now my

      Love soime of the older knitting stores x

  2. NovaSkills | | #3

    Here in this part of Florida, garment fabrics area only available in JoAnne's, Rag Shop or Walmart (which is getting rid of them.) We have several wonderful quilt stores, such as Quilters' Choice in Jupiter, but they only have quilting cottons and flannels.

    If I visit other towns and see places, I hit them. The chain stores market differently in different parts of the country, so it's worth seeing what might be unique there, too.

    I was in New York, and went into Paron's--heavenly selection, and I only hit the 50% off section! I had previously ordered from their online arm, Manhattan Fabrics, which has a good website that has better photos of the fabrics than many sites. I didn't swatch, because it wasn't as critical to match anything, and I could understand from the designer's name and the fabric content description a lot about the "hand" of the goods. Fast response, got what I expected, although one fabric was just slightly darker than it had looked onscreen, not an issue in this case. If I'd needed to, I could have requested a swatch from them.

    A neighbor has had much success with Christine Johnson's website, where she picks out things from the swatch sets, test-washes them, and then orders. That will work well for such vendors who have a "line"; outfits like Paron's get the end-runs of designers, etc., and you could find your first choice was sold out. I had received my 2 large cuts the day before I left for NYC, and when I hit the actual store, 4 days later, there was only 1 yard of one of them left. Had I waited...no 6 yards for me.

    For our theatre, I've stuck with places that have "lines" of fabric types, and can refill an order if needed, or I've used our local JoAnn's. Luckily so far, my costume "builds" have been of fabrics I have a good chance of finding locally. If I had to do a big show with alot of specialty fabrics, I'd just bite the bullet, fly to NYC for 2 or 3 days and shop myself silly.

    You might get a laugh out of this: two Broadway designers I know have trouble finding really inexpensive lighter weight cotton prints and certain other things they need for shows like "Hairspray", in volume yardage. Their secret is to leave NYC, head south and hit the JoAnn's in Virginia!

    Oh, and I always check the "special purchase" fabrics in the bargain section of any JoAnn's or Walmart. A wider variety shows up there than is normal for the store's regular lines, due to the closeout, mill end purchasing agreements the chains make. I have even found quilt goods that were in the independent retailers the year before, and fabrics I could prove were used by dept. store labels like Jones New York. Ya never know...

  3. jesse68 | | #4

    Here in the twin cities, (MN) I use the local retailers of Hancock Fabrics, Joann's, and Mill End Textiles.  Although I often shop online for known brands and books, I prefer buying fabric by feeling and seeing the actual color.   Also fun are the local quilting and sewing stores--each has their own "flavor" of fabric choices.  I was delighted with the postings on the NYC areas, I must check that out since I regularly visit NYC. 

    I find that self-discipline is a must--too easy for me to have projects in my head!

    1. Crazy K | | #8

      Hi Jesse68!  I use very similar shopping.  I also live in the twin cities (MN) and have yet to find many other shops that carry fabric except for quilting cottons.  What part of the metro are you in?  Have you any other great 'haunts' that you're willing to share??  There is a wonderful store in Rochester, MN but that's quite a drive.  It seems that the quality in JoAnn's has gone down and Hancock's are closing more and more.  What's are we to do?????

      Oh......Have you ever gone to S.R. Harris Outlet in Brooklyn Park?  It is a huge warehouse full of all kinds of fabrics where you take your choices to tables and cut your own and then have to put the bolts back.  If you ever go, take a lunch.......you'll be there a while!!!

      Happy Sewing!


      Edited 6/17/2007 10:02 am ET by Crazy K

    2. Tatsy | | #22

      Wow! I remember all the lovely fabric stores there were in Minneapolis when I was growing up. After we moved to California, I would go home to visit and spend hours at Munsingwear's outlet and in Minnesota Mills. I don't shop for fabric online because I find too many good deals locally. We have JoAnn's, Beverly's, Hancocks', and a lovely local discount store that has hundreds of bolts of fabrics cheap. My main goal is to sew up some of the fabric that is crammed into my sewing room.

      1. Lady Willoughby | | #23

        Oh, yes, I remember the fabric stores in Minneapolis!  I think of them nearly every day, particularly Amluxen's downtown.  I didn't shop there often myself as it was rather pricey for me at the time but my mother was a dressmaker who worked out of her home.  She had some wealthy customers who would sometimes have fabrics from Amluxen's delivered to her house then she would call them and they'd come over to tell her what to do with them.

        How I long for the days when we could find nice fabrics (batiste and cotton interlock knit, for example).  Well, I long for the fine fabrics, not so much those days.  Now I live in a place with only a Hancock's and have resorted to buying on-line at fabric.com.  Though it seems I'm at Hancock's every other day looking for some notion or thread or interfacing...

        Does anyone know where I can find the cotton interlock knit?  Hancocks only has a few bolts and all have nursery prints on them.  I was told that they are about $8.00 a yard "and nobody will pay that much for it so we don't carry it."

        1. Tatsy | | #25

          I bought four yards of bright red interlock at Beverly's the other day, but it was in their flat folds area and probably not something they carry on inventory. The only thing I can suggest is Stretch and Sew. The store in our area closed but occasionally somebody comes through and does a trunk show in a hotel. Maybe they can still be reached online.

          1. Lady Willoughby | | #26

            Thanks for the idea.  I'll see if I can learn anything by looking up Stretch and Sew on-line.  I couldn't even remember the name of that chain.  I took a few classes at one of them in the Dayton, Ohio area back in the 70's.

            Not familiar with Beverly's (I'm in Wisconsin) but have just recently learned that I should check out the flat fold table of clearance items in my Hancock store.  I may not find interlock but I see there is the occasional nice piece in with the weird stuff.

        2. MaryinColorado | | #27

          http://www.denverfabrics.com I have been very happy with thier cotton interlocks and all thier knit fabrics and velvets.  Mary

        3. ellalouise | | #69

          has anyone tried the fashion fabrics club,iwas running out of ideas to use for fabrics,so i joined this club,there is a saving here, small cost to be a member,just got back into sewing again,we only have wal-mart here for fabrics,so i had to do somthing.i am impressed with with the choices.

          1. GailAnn | | #70

            I've only just this week joined the Threads Gatherings Discussions group.  My first question was about where to go for a fabric shopping "Girl's Week-end" and now I've found this discussion "Where do you shop for fabric?"

            I thought it was just here in the KC area that independent fine fabric shops have disappeared.  I guess I was wrong and it crosses the country.  What a shame.  I love to sew, but I can't afford to waste my time sewing on fabrics that I won't LOVE in the finished garment.  Aside from the fact that poor quality fabric is paralizing!

            Yes, I have tried fashionfabricsclub.com it is OK., prices good, sales good.  Time lapse between purchace and arrival sometimes a little slow.  I just find that  buying on line is just not the same as going out to a wonderful store.  I love to see, touch, and smell the fabrics.

            You would think with as many people sewing for pleasure and not thrift as there are today that there would be more high=end shops than there are.  Gail

          2. ellalouise | | #71

            i am unable to go to other fabic shops,i wish there were some here,only wal-mart,that has been drastly  cut down,the qualily of the fabric is waydown.i have just got back into sewing,i have been sewing for my grandaughter who will be in second grade,she simply adores the clothes that are made.i also shop at fabric.com

          3. SewNancy | | #72

            I live about an hour and a half from NYC and when I have time I go into the garment district, especially if I want to put together a group of fabrics. I did this Saturday for my daughter. She has little patience so we went to Mood, my favorite for one stop shopping. If I am by myself I will go to Paron, and in and out of any place interesting. I will go to B and J if I can't find something unique elsewhere, but they are quite expensive. I like to get a bargain, but I am more interested in quality over quantity. I love sewing on high quality fabrics.
            I am shopping more and more on line these days, but putting together a whole wardrobe is harder that way.
            I shop at Emmaonesock a great deal and Manhattan fabrics, which is Paron, I have bought some fabrics from the fabric club, but I am not too thrilled with their quality. I have also bought some things from the Fabric Mart. I have also mail ordered from Banksvilledesignerfabrics.com up in Conn. and they are incredibly helpful in putting together groups of fabrics and great samples.

          4. jtp | | #73

            I have to put in some praise for Fashion Fabric Club.  I have gotten some very beautiful, high quality fabric from them over the years - you just need to shop carefully.  Having the swatches helps.  It has become very apparent in reading these discussions that most of us don't have a really good fabric shop near home, so shopping online it very necessary if we want high quality gorgeous fabric. I also shop - and like very much- Emma one sock and gorgeous fabrics.  I bought some great fabric from Fabric Mart - merino wool knit, silk charmeuse and silk suiting...  I get notions at the local JoAnn's and from Clotilde.

          5. SewNancy | | #74

            Yeah, about the only thing that I buy from Jo Anns are notions thread especially when the thread is half price. I also buy patterns there. Fabric, except for a bolt of muslin with a coupon is about it.
            You have to pay for the swatches?

            Edited 8/15/2007 9:59 am ET by SewNancy

          6. jtp | | #75

            Fashion Fabric Club has an annual membership fee for which you receive 18 fabric swatches per month, discount coupons and notices of sales via email.  The swatches are just enough to get a good idea of the quality and weight of their fabrics. 

      2. Teaf5 | | #66

        Where and what is this "lovely local store with discount bolts"?  I live in California and have family up and down the state; I'd love to find such a store!

        1. Tatsy | | #67

          Sorry it took me so long to get back to you--technical problems.  The store is F&M Fabrics  near Niles and Oswell in Bakersfield. In addition to fabrics, they have all sorts of trims.  I recently started learning Chinese knotting and was able to get the rattail cord at 5 yds for a dollar.

    3. helpsew | | #37

      I have enjoyed reading what is being said about fabric and fabric stores.  I would think someone was talking about our town, Meridian, Mississippi and it would be about NYC or Canada.  Your comment helped me so much.  "Also fun are the local quilting and sewing stores--each has their own "flavor" of fabric choices".

      I own a sewing machine store.  I have been in business for 25 years in retail and expanded to internet in the past 10 years, iCanhelpsew.com.  I recently decided to start carrying fabric because our Hancocks closed and our two Walmart Super Centers also quit carrying fabric.

      I just get a lump in my throat every time I try to select fabric to carry in my store.  I am so scared of not being able to please our sewing customers.  I feel like this is the right direction to take at this time with fabrics but it is an awesome job to figure out what people want.  The childrens fabrics seems simple enough, quilting (batiks, etc) is overwhelming, notions are tough, and the one I would know, home decor, is not the demand as I understand.   I plan on having discount prices on nice fabrics but there is so much to choose from - I am dizzy.

      I think the Handcocks and JoAnn's were trying to please non sewing occasional crafty customers needs.  I think that market will end up with Michaels and Hobby Lobby. 

      Your statement was so classic "their own flavor" .  It give me more of a perspective to shot for.  I want to make good decisions - it is so hard


      1. solosmocker | | #39

        Your letter made me think of the wonderful dealer I patronize in NH. She has lessons given that show off the wonderful capabilities of her machines and then some. They go from basic pants fitting to art to wear . She is nearly next door to a Joanns and doesn't try to compete with them. But they don't have heirloom trims and fabrics, so she offers those. Her notions are those you can't get at a Joanns, as in special feet and an awesome thread selection. Last time I went she had the felting tool and brush, which I have only seen on line so far. Her stock compliments her classes and I think thats how she has achieved some of her success without going crazy on inventory. Hope this helps a little. This info is from the consumers eye, certainly not owner's.

        1. helpsew | | #46

          Hello Solo,

          yes,  that helps so much.  The store you are referring to sounds very relaxed and confident with what they are doing.  We already have classes so this seems to be the right thing for us to do. 

          Being in the sewing machine business for 25 years, I am confident in business but so concerned about lack of places to buy fabric. 

          I know I need to relax about this but, We don't have a fabric chain or a Wal-Mart carrying fabric now in our town.  I know sewing is more popular than ever.

          I am soaking up everything being said.  

          thanks so much 




      2. User avater
        VKStitcher | | #40

        Thanks for adding your perspective, Allison.  With all the choices you have, I can only imagine how difficult it is to narrow it down and decide what to offer in your store.  Just listen to your customers, and find your niche--develop your own "flavor".  :-)

        I agree with you that Joann's is catering to the crafty people, with all the different kinds of craft supplies and seasonal decorations (and junk) in their stores.  I like the convenience of getting yarn and beads for embellishments at Joann's, but I can find them at other stores like Michael's as well.  I wish Joann's would stick to quality fabrics and notions!

        There is one Hancock's still open here, and I tend to find more garment fabrics there than at Joann's.  We also have a handful of independent fabric stores in the area.  One store specializes in heirloom sewing fabric & supplies, another carries bridal fabrics & lace, a couple offer home dec fabrics & trim, and there are several quilt shops to round out the mix.  I shop at all of them, depending on the project I'm working on.

      3. susanccc | | #41

        I am a dressmaker in Arizona.  I would suggest that you ask dressmakers in your area what types of fabrics their clients look for.  You could easily get 100 years of experience. 

        I would also ask your customers what they want.  Every area has its own clientelle.  And buy small in the beginning as there are always learning curves in everything.

        Good Luck,


      4. sewfineinballantyne | | #43

        Allison, why don't you poll your existing customer base to see what types of fabrics they would like to see you carry? 


        1. helpsew | | #44


          that is where I am stuck.  We have a quilting group and they all likes something different.  Getting a good price range seems important to ME.  When I ask about  price range to these customers  they like the higher end (or say so). I don't want to be considered having all high price fabric. 

          Today, I ordered more heirloom fabric, lace, and a good bit of quilting fabrics including batiks by speklar vogal, etc.

          Thanks - I need tips  :)


          1. sewfineinballantyne | | #45

            Why don't you want to be the fabric store with the high end stuff?  That kind of reputation certainly hasn't hurt outfits like Niemann Marcus and Tiffany's!!  :-)  I took a quilting class with Dierdre McElroy (That Perfect Stitch, http://www.thatperfectstitch.com) a couple of years ago and she was AWESOME -- taught all about what makes a quality fabric and how it affects hand quilting stitches.  There are so many fabrics on the market where manufacturers have cut costs by using an unbalanced weave, not the same number of warp threads as weft threads in the same square inch.  I was in tears because I couldn't get my stitches even when I was doing everything she said to do, and then she checked my fabric with her ROSE tool and found it was the fabric's fault, not mine!  Most sewers today are not sewing out of thrift, but for recreation and the sheer joy of it.  Cheap tools and materials kill the joy with frustration and just make people feel bad that they must be doing something wrong if they can't get good results.  I don't know what your market will bear, but I encourage you to be the store where sewers can go to get the very best -- best service, best education, and the very best tools, fabrics and notions to ensure their success.  Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

          2. helpsew | | #47


            You are awesome.  I have a staff member who speaks just like you. 

            I will just carry the best and run great sales events.  I believe I can be a quick study in this department. 

            Sewing time is so precious.  Wasting time on inferior products is not something any of us want to do.  Quality does make the difference to me also.   Customers are so knowledgeable these days and retailers know it. 

            My customers know fabrics.   Ahhhhh you are so right.

            Great buys on great stuff!  I am praying I can pick the most beautiful things...


          3. SewNancy | | #58

            I think that mid to high is the hardest area to find and for me, the most desirable. I have to shop online or go into NYC for my fabrics as every store here on LI sells quilting fabrics. With sewing having a renaissance this is the time to carry good fabrics. I would also give a variety of sewing classes aimed at the garment sewer. There are some very popular places across the country now where people can not only take classes, but pay by the hour to use sewing machines and have a place to cut out their pieces and sit and sew.
            I took sewing lessons many years ago at a wonderful independent fabric store who was also a Viking dealer and when it was time for me to buy a new machine I bought a Viking.
            I know that people are quilting and using embroidery machines, but garment sewers are on the rise! I hope that you will not become another quilting only store. Take a look at Waechters fabric store's website. They are a brick and mortar store in Asheville, NC that expanded to having a website to increase their business and they are still here after more than 50 years. Good luck

          4. helpsew | | #59

            Hello SewNancy,

            Very interesting that you feel garment sewing is on the rise.  I think your probably right.  Before Hancocks closed here, the ladies that worked there said many young girls were wanting to sew.  They were particularly interest in making prom dresses.  We have classes in our store and never seen an interest from them.

            Hancock employees thought clothing fabric would sell great and oddly enough did not feel home decor was selling.  

            We already have a strong showing of children's fabric (very nice too).  I am hearing you say quilting fabric may be overdone.  I will definitely carry some nice clothing fabric as you suggest.  Also,  that where the market is not being covered.   I would not make a clothing item for myself so it is hard for me to see.

            Another interesting thing I heard was Heirloom sewing was not poplar outside of the South.   I had NO idea.  I can't even imagine - it is so strong here in Mississippi.

            Thanks for your suggestions



      5. SewistKitty | | #51

        I would ask all customers coming in what they would like to see in your store. Of course, you will monitor what type of purchases they make.
        I would think about offering basic sewing lessons for a nominal fee and have students shop in your store for notions, fabrics, and patterns.
        I belong to the ASG and we meet at some of the local fabric stores. If you google American Sewing Guild and input your state you may find a chapter nearby. It would probably be good to advertise in their newsletter. Members might be offered a space to meet. Our ASG has had sleep-overs at one of our local fabric stores. We brought our projects and snacks and sewed and sewed. It was heavily promoted by the fabric store and had a good attendance. Also consider offering a discount to ASG members if they show their current membership cards. Joann's and Hancock's offer 20%. Hopefully this email will be helpful to you.

        1. helpsew | | #52

          Hey Kathy,

          Thanks so much for your advice.  Among our classes we have a ladies night out class now.  It is our biggest class, about 15 ladies.  They bring food and have a great time.

          You have great suggestions.  We would love to have more in classes.

          thanks so much,


  4. Lady Willoughby | | #5

    Where I live there is Hancock's Fabrics only, plus two small quilt shops.  So frustrating for me as it would take 1-2 hours or more to get to a city with a better choice.  However, I thought I would say that I've had very good luck with using http://www.fabric.com.  One can order samples but there is always the concern that by the time you get the sample and decide the supply will be gone.  They carry lines of re-orderable fabrics as well though they are not as deeply discounted.

    I've ordered a couple of silk fabrics to make dressy tops, a number of tapestry pieces from which I've made purses for myself -- lined them with a  heavy nylon fabric I bought at Hancocks which worked very well, wears like iron.

    I just finished making a kimono robe for myself using a Robert Kaufman cotton that is really elegant with a soft soft hand and an interesting Chinese print.

    They are very good about getting back to me when I e-mail questions about different fabrics, too, before I order.


  5. mimi | | #6

    Deana:  This is a source of continual frustration for me, as we have one fabric store in our county, a Joann's.  They seem to be more of a crafts/quilt store these days than a real FABRIC store.  I have had good luck driving to D.C. and shopping at G Street Fabrics, but that is an 80 mile trip and is reserved for special occassions (like my daughter's prom and wedding dresses!).

    I have ordered online from http://www.SawyerBrooke.comhttp://www.purrfectionartisiticwearables.com and http://www.waechters.com very succesfully.  Sawyer Brooke does a mailing every few weeks if you join their fabric swatch program and this gives you first crack at the fabrics they carry; if you really like something order it fast or it will be gone!

    I wish there were more fabric websites with a good track record, or a web site that rated the different fabric websites.  Nothing will ever replace going into a real brick-and-morter store for fabric shopping; unfortunately, they are becoming extinct.


  6. meg | | #7

    I live in the middle of Vermont, with no fabric shops nearer than 45 minutes away. And those two shops are quilty fabric shops. For garments, I've been doing online work at http://www.emmaonesock.com and found that selection very nice. The problem is that I just can't touch it!

    1. ckells | | #10

      Thank you for the link to Emma  One Sock--- the fabrics are lovely. Where I live Joanne's is the only garment option. With sewing becoming more popular with younger sewers why are shops closing?

      1. Ralphetta | | #11

        I have asked that question over and over.  I keep reading about the interest in sewing but don't see any personal evidence of it.  In fact, I just see more and more stores closing.  I just don't understand what's going on.

        1. ckells | | #12

          There seems to be an interest. My adult daughter wanted to start sewing again, she last sewed in 4-H, and started classes at Sew Fast So Easy in NY's garment district. She's taking a series of 10 classes, not cheap let me say, and they fill up as soon as they are announced. I think many of the students are fashion students but still, that's a lot of classes.

          They love to shop at the discount fabric shops like Mood. When I visited her there in NY we went to Mood on a weekday lunch hour and the elevator was jammed with younger women fabric shopping. Hope this all travels to our part of the country.

          1. Ralphetta | | #13

            that is so encouraging to hear!

    2. Rubydarling | | #62

      Hi Meg,
      I like EmmaOnesock too. I live in Australia and just recieved 2 free swatches from her. This is a brilliant facility and well worth trying because it allows you to 'touch before you buy' so to speak. I've bought fabric over the net only once and found that while it was what it said it was, it wasn't what I thought it would be. The feel factor is essential!
      Cheers Rubydarling

      1. User avater
        VKStitcher | | #63

        Hi Rubydarling,

        I've always been a little hesitant to buy fabric online, because as you say, "it was what it said it was, it wasn't what I thought it would be."  I have ordered some nice quilting cottons online that I couldn't find locally, and got exactly what I expected.  But for garment fabrics, I like to see and feel it.  I ordered some knits from Nancy's Notions, and while I do like the fabrics, the color and texture wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I placed the order.  However, I did just get some Pimatex stretch cotton from NN, and it's just what I wanted for a couple of blouses.  Nice colors too.  I've seen the gorgeous fabrics online at EmmaOneSock, but haven't ordered from there yet.  Glad to know that you like their goods and service.


        1. SewNancy | | #64

          Don't forget that Emmaonesock will take returns on cut fabric. I will get samples but if I really like it I'll order without them because sometimes if I hesitate the fabric is gone! I think that she has the best photographs and descriptions of her fabrics than anyone else.

          1. User avater
            VKStitcher | | #65

            Yes, EmmaOneSock does give a lot of information about the fabrics.  I have heard that she does sell out of some fabrics quickly.  Good to know that she'll take returns--I've never thought of sending anything back!  :-)  Thanks for the information.  When I get back from vacation, I'll have to check out the website again.

  7. Alexandra | | #9

    This problem of lack of fabric stores locally is getting to the critical point for me.  So many local garment fabric stores have closed down making it very difficult to personal shop fabrics.  I have bought online for many years but not lots of volume, the real problem, other than lack of touch, is shipping costs.  Here in Canada, to order from the States, it is outrageously expensive.  I shopped some fabric online just yesterday and the UPS charge was as much as the fabric purchase and that didn't include custom/duty charges!  I cancelled the order.  The fabric companies use UPS to ship and they are highway robbers.  I am drooling over the fabrics available to you in the States and am trying to find online Canadian suppliers.  I am not finding very much.  If any of you other Canucks have an online jewel, please share.  Mine is Distinctive Sewing Supplies , http://www.distinctivesewing.com/index.html  but it is limited to mostly rayon batiks, which are lovely and I have lots of outfits made from them, but I want more fabric choices.

    1. Fine Fabrics | | #16

      We ship to canada by post.... finefabrics.com

    2. Gloriasews | | #17

      Hello, fellow Canadian!  I certainly know what you mean about ordering from the States - it's just too expensive!

      Check out http://www.macpheeworkshop.com.  They are located in Edmonton & sell patterns, fabrics (outerwear, slinky, buttersuede, irridescent taffeta, beggar knits, sweater knits, minky & chinchilla, 100% cotton knits, fleece, etc.), notions, embellishments, classes, retreats, etc.  Their prices are average as to those in a fabric store (of which we don't have many, except for quilting stores).  Our main store for reasonably-prices fabrics is Fabricland (only in western Canada).  There are a few stores selling elegant fabrics, but very expensive.  As in the States, a couple of our larger stores have closed - even Walmart here doesn't sell fabric anymore.

      Years ago (1960-75) Sears catalogue sold lots of fabrics & I was always happy with what I ordered from them - I could always tell by the description as to the fabric content & the colours were as printed.  Too bad they don't do that anymore - it was so convenient!  There may be a couple of fabric stores in Vancouver, but I haven't found them yet.  Guess all we can do is keep trying!


      1. jane4878 | | #18

        Hello Gloria and Alexandra,

        I'm a rather luckier Canadian when it comes to internet fabric shopping.  I live 15 minutes north of the Alberta/Montana border and keep a USPS box in Montana.  There is also a woman there that has quite the little business accepting UPS parcels for Canadians.  There's a 12% duty plus GST (goods and services tax) to bring it back, but the postage is cheaper.  I've bought from http://www.fabric.com, http://www.thaisilks.com , http://www.candlelightvalleyfabrics.com, ebay and silk thread from http://www.silkthings.com . All with good results.  The town I live in has a local fabric store and I try to use her quite often, even though she can be more pricey--I want to support a local business.  Lethbridge has a few fabric stores.  I usually use Fabricland and there is Marshall's fabrics which is really cheap, but a big messy vault of a place with bolts stacked to the rafters.  I found 100% cotton batiste there the other day for $7.99/m.  There are a few others I haven't checked out yet.  A new one--Lacey's--is supposed to have high end fabric.  There's Timmels fabric out of the Maritimes that has an internet site. 


        1. Gloriasews | | #19

          How handy for you to be able to do that - & how innovative of the American lady who discovered a quirky little business to open - what an idea!  If I lived close to the border, I wonder if I'd have ever thought of that myself.  I've noticed that some of the seniors travel ads now have shopping trips to the US by bus - guess we can now bring back $400 worth of stuff in a few days of shopping.  I may look into that.  Thanks for the info.

    3. SewistKitty | | #21

      Many people at Pattern Review have had good success with Timmel Fabrics which is in Canada. I receive a weekly newsletter from the owner containing sales on her fabrics. She carries a wide variety of knits, linens and blends, cottons, wool and wool blends. She has a very good reputation on-line and will send swatches.

  8. fabricholic | | #14

    Hi Deana,
    I used to shop on my lunch hour for fabric. Hancock's closed that store, so now I will have to drive 40 or 50 miles to another one. I have bought from Manhattan Fabrics, Emma One Sock and Fashion Fabrics Club on line. I have only ordered swatches for the Polartec fabrics and have yet, to buy from them. If there are more great on line fabric stores, I would like to know of them.


  9. User avater
    Nik-ki | | #15

    I shop online and at stores in the Chicago area.  I have not had any problem purchasing fabric online and have been satisfied every time.

    My favorite shop is Vogue Fabrics.  They have a swatch club, great sales and are located in Chicago and Evanston.  The following are some of my favorite sites:







  10. gal | | #20

    I thought I'd never order fabric online - how can you do that when touch is so important? Well after reading good reviews of EmmaOneSock, I gave it a try - very successful! That sort of opened the door and now it's hard to stop! Fortunately, I have been very lucky and have gotten only beautiful fabrics, fair shipping charges, and I have "met" some very nice people outside of my area who share my love of sewing. These are the online sites I use:

    EmmaOneSock: http://www.emmaonesock.com/
    Gorgeous Things: http://gorgeousthings.com/fabric_store/index.php
    Apple Annie (I call in orders): http://www.appleanniefabrics.com/index.html
    Waechter's Silk Shop (I call in orders): http://www.fabricsandbuttons.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT

    If these links do not work, just do a search using the company name and you should be able to find them without any difficulty. Happy sewing!!

  11. cynthia2 | | #24

    Selections of high quality dressmaking fabrics in St. Louis are very few.  Fortunately, I travel for my work quite frequently and can usually find time to hit a fabric store or two.  Favorites are Fishman's in Chicago, Britex in San Francisco, Mood in New York, and Exquisite Fabrics in Washington DC.  I don't order online, but I do subscribe to The Fashion Sewing Group newsletter which includes fabric swatches with each issue.  I've ordered fabric many times and have always been pleased.  Cynthia

  12. Teaf5 | | #28

    All of the wonderful local fabric stores (and Hancocks) have closed in our area. We're left with Joann's and a pricey quilt shop. When I travel or visit family in cities, I always try to work in a quick trip to their stores.

    Since I still have a sizeable stash, I haven't been forced to buy online yet, but I'm not looking forward to buying something I can see or touch, and I can't imagine waiting for swatches and shipping--when would I have time to sew?

  13. lorrainel | | #29

    My favorite on line fabric source is Fabric Mart.( in addition to many of the others posted here) fabricmartfabrics.com. Very fair prices, very quick shipping, They usually have some very good deals. They recently had lots of Anna Sui silks that were priced under $10.00 and were gorgeous. They also have a store in Reading, PA. Several times a year they sell fabric in the store for $1.00 a yard! That's usually when I visit the store.

  14. SewNancy | | #30

    I live on LI, NY so I do shop in NYC, where I go to Mood and Paron form most of my fabrics. But, I do more shopping these days on line, especially with Emmaonesock and manhattanfabrics.com (which is Paron) I also shop with Banksvilledesignerfabrics.com which has a store in Connecticut, though I have never been there, usually sending an e mail and getting great samples very quickly. The prices and service at all of these places is great for terrific quality. I am not interested in cheap fabric or in having the biggest stash, but a good price is always preferable and these places deliver. I have also bought a few things from Gorgeousfabrics and she has a bit too many polyester knits for my taste. I bought some of those Anna Sui silks. Gorgeous. I saw one on line for $30 yd.

    Edited 6/23/2007 9:09 am ET by SewNancy

  15. dionna | | #31

    Yes my favorite store is vogue fabrics

    1. Sew Biz | | #32

      My favorite fabric store is F&S Fabrics in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I don't live there anymore. We have Hancock, Joann's and Ruth's Stitchery is great for quilting. Denver Fabrics is about an hour north. Tried to go there on May 13, but it was closed for Mother's Day. Fortunately, I still have quite a stash of silks and woolens from my LA days! 

  16. Elaray | | #33

    I began buying fabric online about 18 months ago. I buy about 50% - 60% of my fabric online. I subscribe to Vogue Fabrics by Mail and chose from the swatches. I especially like their coordinated swatches. I've requested swatches and ordered from Candlelight Valley Fabrics. I also order from Nancy's Notions. All of my experiences have been positive.

    Philadelphia has it's "Fabric Row" and I also buy fabric there. I do buy for JoAnn, but it's not my first choice.


    I sew, therefore I am

    Edited 6/26/2007 9:31 pm ET by Elaray

    1. sewfineinballantyne | | #42

      Elaray, where is this "Fabric Row" in Philadelphia?  I live in Charlotte, NC but will be visiting my in-laws near Philly at some point over the summer.  Meanwhile, I love, love, LOVE http://www.emmaonesock.com.  Gorgeous fabrics, outstanding personal service from the owner, and she's great about sending out swatches promptly (although the choicest treats sell out super fast).  She also gives a lot of information about each fabric to help you get an idea of what sort of projects it would be suited for, and there are great sewing guides on her site for different fabrics as well.  Only problem is it's addictive -- I'm starting to accumulate fabric a good deal faster than I can sew it all...


      1. SewFit | | #48


        Do you shop at MaryJo's in Gastonia?  I live in Clemmons, NC and have been planning to take a day trip down there to check it out.  I'm heading to Annapolis, MD in a couple of weeks to see my son and will make a stop at G Street Fabrics in Centreville, VA on the way.   It's a fabulous place to shop!


        1. sewfineinballantyne | | #49

          Hi, Darlene.  Yes, you have to go to Mary Jo's at least once to see what it's about.  I go there for things like Halloween costume fabric, interfacing, linings...  It's MASSIVE with a warehouse feel, and feels a bit impersonal.  Very low prices on fabrics from bridal to home dec to quilting and everything in between, but I never see anything there that gets me really excited like I do online at emmaonesock.com.  Of course I'm spoiled -- I'm an interior designer so I'm constantly in and around fabrics to die for or just drool over.  And yes, I do pull the Scarlett O'Hara from time to time and make up a dress in drapery fabric as was suggested in a Threads article a few years back!  :-)  Tomorrow is a whole new day... 

          Back to Mary Jos: Another perk is that there's a Bernina dealer right across from Mary Jos in the same shopping center, Sew Much Fun.  The owner Drusilla is nasty to me because I bought my machine from someone else, but I still go in there anyway because she carries some neat novelty threads and other goodies for embellishing, and her staff is absolutely amazing. 

  17. JBJ2110 | | #36

    I shop at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston Illinois. I am very very lucky to live no more than three miles from this store, and so tend to visit frequently. I love the abundance of fabric, price ranges, colors, weights and textures. I have friends who don't like that all the bolts are stacked one on top of the other, but I enjoy the 'treasure hunt' nature of that type of arrangement. You NEVER know what is down underneath the pile....I will also go to Jo Anne Fabrics on Elston in Chicago, and that is a nice store as well. They sell some different fabrics than Vogue and having selections is always nice.However, I like to patronize smaller business rather than big chain stores, because I have the option. So I do tend to buy what I need from Vogue. I have yet to buy online, simply because I am not sufficiently familiar with fabric to feel confident in buying based on description alone. However, if I DID buy online, I would definitely use "Gorgeous Thing".

  18. cat42 | | #38

    I now live in Montana where all I can find is a Joann's and several quilt fabric shops. But I lived 35 years in Portland OR, which has one of the best fabric shops i've ever seen (and I have been in many during my lifetime, as I travel a lot). That store is Josephine's Dry Goods. They specialize in natural fibers (cotton, linen, silk and wool), but do have some synthetics. The color and pattern selections are well coordinated, and the staff is very helpful. And a phenomenal selection of buttons. And, right next door are a yarn shop and a needlepoint shop, and just up the street a few blocks is a button shop. Gosh, heaven on earth!

    Now, when I want something I can't find here in Montana, I call Josephines. I tell them what I'm looking for, perhaps send them a sample, suggest colors, fibers, weight. And give an idea of the pattern I plan to use, and they send me swatches which arrive in 1-2 days by mail. When I call in my order, it is mailed the next day. You can't ask for better service. They have a website, but you cannot order online (http://www.josephinesdrygoods.com/).

    And, of course, whenever I'm in Portland, I always pay a visit.

    I rarely shop for fabrics online, tho I buy bemberg linings and some interfacings online. I've tried fabric clubs, but most offerings are synthetics, which I don't like to use.

    Thanks for asking!

  19. Stashaholic | | #53

    Most of my fabric purchases are now online, due to the price of gas and the fact that the only local fabric store on my side of Atlanta is JoAnn's (not bad for the basics, and an absolute must for my notions). My four favorite online resources are (from least to most):
    http://www.fabricdirect.com - good quality fabrics at reasonable prices. They get designer samples sometimes, and I was able to pick up a rose-printed stretch wool flannel a few months ago - excellent quality, great hand. I made it up into Vogue 8280 and have had nothing but compliments. E-mail notification of new fabrics if desired.
    http://www.thaisilks.com - Great quality fabrics (silk and silk blends) and good prices. This is where I go for specialty silks. They have a swatch service, by category, which I have used to judge quality and color. They have sales about three times a year that are well worth your time to check out.
    http://www.fashionfabricsdirect.com - good quality fabrics, vast selection, at reasonable prices. These folks have 2 swatch services, depending on which one you join. The first is their regular membership service, the second is the natural fibers (read wool, cotton, linen, silk and blends of same) You don't have to join, however, to purchase online. I have been buying from this firm for around twenty years - when they were mail order only. E-mail notification of new fabrics and sales if desired.
    http://www.fabric.com - MY FAVORITE! Good to great quality fabrics at FANTASTIC prices. I just picked up a rose colored, 100% linen damask with the most exquisite hand, and my latest e-mail notification says that they've gotten in some 8.5oz all wool double knit (I'm visualizing a DVF wrap)at 14.95/yd... They have the fabric by categories: fashion, quilting, and home decor. Some of the fabrics are reorderable; some are onetime purchase only. Swatches are available, and there is a counter that lets you know how much fabric is left. They have their machine set to cut 37" yards. They have patterns and notions that you may not be able to find locally. Shipping is reasonable and quick. If you live within driving distance of the Atlanta, Ga area they have a warehouse sale twice a year that is to die for: douppioni silks for $12/lb, fashion fabrics for $3 or $4/lb, designer fabrics (and trust me, you WILL recognize the fabrics!) for $6/yd and other incredible deals. I discovered them online in the mid nineties, and have placed numerous orders. I have NEVER been disappointed with them. If you ever get a fabric that disappoints, they will take it back as long as it hasn't been cut.

    I have used other online sources; these are the ones I keep returning to.

    1. Ralphetta | | #54

      I haven't paid much attention in the past to this thread, so this question may have been answered.  I noticed your mention of high gas prices and for the first time I am considering shopping for fabric on line. My question is, have you noticed an increase in shipping charges now that gas has gone up?

      1. Stashaholic | | #56

        I have noticed a slight increase in shipping charges, depending on the method used to ship. The charges for shipping haven't increased as much as the gas prices, though. For example, the Fabric.com warehouse is about 25 miles away, but the traffic is really lousy between here and there, so it takes a little over an hour to get there (meaning, more gas used). One of the options they offer is warehouse pick-up, but unless my order is over $250 the gas/aggravation factor is worse than the shipping cost. Most companies seem to be offering cheaper-but slower- alternatives to UPS or Fedex. I guess it depends on when you need your fabric.

  20. Jocawes | | #55

    My most favorite place is Goodwill and the Salvation Army resale stores.  I make all my own slacks and skirts.  I look for garments of high quality that are at least two sizes bigger then I need.  Then when I am watching TV I tear the item apart. I then recut from my own pattern and reassemble.  Most of my garmets have high end labels that I reattach.  I never purchase anything that is unlined.  By doing this I have the fabric, lining, zipper and button all for a price of $5 or less.  I have found it easy to dissamble a garment (once you figure out the tricks). I have it dry cleaned if needed first, but usually wait until it is re-made.  I have approximately 15 pairs of beautiful dress slacks and about the same in skirts.

  21. ladypep | | #60

    Wow, after reading some of these messages, I'll have to stop complaining about poor fabric availability!  There is a fairly large independent store who's quality has declined over the last few years and has slowly gone 50% quilting about a half hour away in Framingham,MA, and Sawyer Brook when I can splurge is less than an hour.  I'll have to take a trip to Manchester to Fabric Fix, thanks for that tip Solosmocker.  I often buy online because knits, nice cotton t-shirt type and other special things are just not available around MA.  All the fabric mills in western massachusetts have closed down.  If what Im ordering is something special, I'll order a swatch.  Denver fabrics has penny swatches and quick service.  Also there are new eco friendly fabrics(bamboo) that I just wanted to try.  I'll have to look up the site for that one.  Haven't sewed on that yet--after my daughter's wedding I might actually get to sew again.



    1. cafms | | #61

      I got two pieces of the bamboo fabric at Hancock's.  One is made up and I love it.  It is very comfortable to wear.  One caution - buy extra fabric and wash it first if you plan to wash the garment.  I washed the first piece but had not measured it prior to washing.  I had a feeling that it had shrunk but I didn't know how much.  The second piece was 46" long and after washing I had lost almost 6" but it had gotten wider by about that much too.  I had done some research on the web about the fiber and everything said it was washable (the RTW sites) so I washed the first piece.  But then I looked (too late) at the Hancock's site and they said dry clean.  There wasn't any info on the end of the bolt.  I have washed the t -shirt again and it didn't shrink any more.  I found in the research that the fiber is not supposed to retain odors and has anti-bacterial properties.  My sister-in-law wondered if it would be a good fabric for hiking/camping where you have to wear the same shirt several days in a row without washing.  I haven't tried that yet.

  22. mrparvez998 | | #76

    I think Fabrics USA Inc is the best online fabrics wholesale store.


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