How To Buy Fabric Online

How To Buy Fabric Online

Can You Buy Fabric Online?

So you love sewing and enjoy shopping for fabrics.

You know the quality and type of fabric is crucial in bringing your fashion visions to life.

So what happens when you can't get to a store and have to buy fabric on line?  Is it something that is a no go for you or are you up for the challenge?  This guide will help you approach the online fabric shopping experience with confidence, ensuring you get exactly what you need by avoiding the possible pitfalls. 

Understanding Your Fabrics

Familiarizing yourself with different types of fabrics is essential when shopping online. Each fabric has unique characteristics that affect the final look and feel of your garments. If you don't know your fabrics, you could be in for a surprise when you buy online.  

A great resource for understanding fabrics is "The Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book" by Clive Hallett and Amanda Johnston. This book includes actual fabric swatches, allowing you to see and feel the texture, weight, and stretch of various materials. This foundational knowledge will be invaluable when interpreting online fabric descriptions.

Check out "The Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book" on Amazon 

Research the Retailer

Before making any purchase, especially from a new retailer,  do your homework. Go to a Trusted review site like Trustpilot to get the real scoop on a retailer's reputation. Don’t just look at the star ratings; read customer reviews to identify any recurring issues. Pay attention to how problems are resolved and the level of customer service provided. This step can save you from potential headaches.

Understanding Fabric Descriptions

Online fabric retailers provide detailed descriptions to help you make informed decisions. Here’s what to look for:

  1. Fabric Type and Content: Ensure you know the difference between fabrics like cotton, polyester, silk, and blends. Each has unique characteristics that affect the final product.
  2. Width: Fabric width can vary. Standard widths are usually 44/45 inches or 54/60 inches. Knowing the width is essential for calculating how much fabric you need.
  3. Weight: Fabric weight, often described in GSM (grams per square meter), affects the drape and suitability for different projects.
  4. Stretch: Some projects require stretchy fabrics, such as jerseys or knits. Look for terms like "4-way stretch" to ensure the fabric meets your needs.
  5. Care Instructions: Check if the fabric is machine washable, dry clean only, or requires special care.

If a description is unclear, don’t hesitate to contact the retailer for clarification. An informed purchase is less likely to disappoint.

Ordering Swatches

Color accuracy can be a challenge when shopping online. Monitor settings can distort colors, making it difficult to match fabrics. To avoid surprises, order swatches whenever possible. Swatches are small fabric samples that give you a true sense of color, texture, and quality. This step is particularly important if you’re matching fabric to an existing piece or have a specific color in mind.

Precut Lengths and Full Yardage

Many online retailers offer precut lengths at a discount, which can be a cost-effective option. However, be mindful of the potential pitfalls. If you need a continuous length of fabric for a large project, verify that the retailer can accommodate your needs. Sometimes, precut lengths can come from different dye lots, leading to slight colour variations that might not match perfectly.


Factor in Shipping Costs and Time

Shipping costs can add up, especially if you’re ordering heavy fabrics. Some retailers offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount, which can be a great way to save. Additionally, consider the shipping time, particularly if you have a tight deadline. Delays can occur, so it’s wise to order well in advance or visit a brick-and-mortar store for urgent needs.


Handling Issues and Returns

Mistakes can happen, even with reputable retailers. If you receive the wrong fabric or there’s an issue with your order, contact customer service immediately. Provide detailed information and, if possible, photographs of the problem. Most retailers will work with you to resolve the issue, but knowing their return and refund policies in advance can expedite the process.

Summary of Key Tips

  1. Research the Retailer: Use sites like Trustpilot to check reviews and ratings.
  2. Understand Your Fabrics: Invest in resources like swatch books.
  3. Read Descriptions Carefully: Look for details on type, width, weight, and care instructions.
  4. Order Swatches: Ensure color accuracy and fabric quality.
  5. Consider Shipping Costs and Time: Factor these into your budget and schedule.
  6. Handle Issues Promptly: Know the retailer’s return policies and act quickly.

Final Thoughts

Buying fabric online can be a convenient and easybexperience if you take the time to understand the process. By following these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed decisions and avoid common pitfalls. Happy sewing!

To complement your fabric shopping, consider investing in quality sewing tools that can enhance your projects. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Rotary Cutter and Mat: Essential for precise cutting and saving time. Check out this rotary cutter set
  2. Sewing Machine Needles: Different projects require specific needle types. Find a versatile set of sewing machine needles here 
  3. Fabric Scissors: A good pair of fabric scissors is a must-have for any sewing enthusiast. See these Ginger scissors.

Useful and quality tools makes sewing even more enjoyable and fun and the kit can be built up over time.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase at Amazon.  This is at no additional cost to you.

  © Miss J Sews 2024. The information contained herein is provided for information purposes only; the contents are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents herein. We disclaim, to the full extent permissible by law, all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents herein.

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