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How to Choose Fabrics Online?
I chose by the feel and drape! I'm lost!
CathyinMI
CathyinMI
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Michigan USA
Member since 2/19/07
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Date: 1/29/12 5:57 PM

In our town of 50,000 people how we could have lost our fabric store! Our only source is Walmart and it's not exactly JoAnne's. (I'm not familiar with anything else!) They have their fabric lined up on shelves in bolts and most are quilting cottons. I have bought crepe there to use for muslins but to choose fabric for garments, this town is sorely lacking!

I feel like my only choice is to buy fabric online and choosing it is proving difficult. I am on a budget and don't want to have a fabric stash per se. (I know I will after some time - it just happens!)

I wish I had paid more attention to fabric weight now. Is there a chart anywhere that can tell me what weights to use for different garments? I don't think even ordering swatches will give me the info I'm looking for. How did you break into ordering online? Do you have suggestions for choosing fabric by sight alone? Will I just have to order and hope it is suitable for the garment I have in mind?

Any suggestions:?

Restart06
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Restart06  Friend of PR
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In reply to CathyinMI
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Date: 1/29/12 6:26 PM

CathyinMI, I also do the majority of my fabric purchases online. There are several options you have.

1) Join a monthly fabric swatch club. - Sawyer Brook Fabrics, a sponsor of PR, Vogue Fabrics, and Fabric Mart are the vendors I know of that send swatches out monthly with pattern suggestions. Everyone here on PR has their favorite, so it is what you prefer. The swatches vary on types and colors of fabrics every month.

2) Have fabric samples sent to you of the fabrics you are interested in. Many of the vendors have that service, of which some charge and others don't.

3) Read the descriptions of the fabrics closely. Most of the vendors are very specific, even with Pantone colors to help matching. Over time you will learn if they say heavy, it means heavy, etc.

4) There are some books available on types of fabrics. Check the book reviews here. The books will have fabric types, needles & thread to use.

5) PR has fabric classes. Right now there is a Lining Class by Sarah Veblen. There are wool, knits, etc and if you purchase the kit there are samples of fabric types, along with how to sew them.

6) Ask questions on the PR board. So many have been so kind to answer my questions, even when I needed the information quickly.

7) Check with the vendors supporting PR such as Sawyer Brook, Emma One Sock & Michaels Fabrics to name a few. Check also the Merchant Gallery tab above. These merchants have all types of fabrics and just email them. They are very helpful and have wonderful fabric.

8) There are other online vendors many of us use:
Fabric.com = some great values and free shipping with a $35 or more purchase & patterns
Marcy Tilton - wonderful fabrics & other items
Gorgeous Fabrics - just what the name says gorgeous and a wide variety
Fashionista Fabrics - a nice selection & Burda
Fabric Mart = some good values
Sewing Workshop - patterns also
Christine Jonson - wonderful knits & patterns
I have ordered from all of these and been happy. There are many more than others can tell you about.

These few tips I hope will help. Time will help you as you figure out what you like. I have also found my closest quilt shop oftentimes has pins, scissors, some fabrics and interfacings, and other items I can use and need. My suggestion is to figure out your next project and order from one vendor and see what you think. Have fun shopping and start ordering!

------
There is no easy way! quote from my Grandfather
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minggiddylooloo
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minggiddylooloo  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/29/12 7:26 PM

Acquire the All About Cotton/Silk/Wool series. They are the most comprehensive textiles books with swatches for the general public. Claire Shaeffer also has a couple of great books on fabric but there aren't samples so you can feel the fibers.

------
I'm finally a blogger!
sewming.blogspot.com

CathyinMI
CathyinMI
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Michigan USA
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Date: 1/29/12 8:01 PM

Thanks! Off I go........ :)

NhiHuynh
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NhiHuynh
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California USA
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In reply to CathyinMI


Date: 1/30/12 0:12 AM

I second the suggestion to read the description closely. A good online fabric site will have a lot of information on the fabric like content, care, image with scale (with a ruler or quarter) and what type of project it's suitable for (blouse, dress, suits etc). If a fabric is lighter or more sheer than I had expected I would interface it with a knit tricot or use a double layer.

Unfortunately this is the way of fabric stores and sooner or later most of us will have to resource to online shopping. On the positive side the selection is much better and the quality for the price is also better than Joanns or Walmart.

------
I finally have a blog. www.detectivehoundstooth.com :)



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Date: 1/30/12 0:28 AM

I'll be honest and I don't buy for projects. I do read what they are good for, look at the color/print and decide if I want a blouse or dress (or skirt/capri/pant/shorts) and buy from there. I do have a How Much Fabric? card set from Gwyn Hug (nayy, just VERY happy with them) that I pull out of my purse to find the yardage I need when I am shopping.

Once I get the fabric, then I decide what pattern to pair it up with. Experience with online shopping will also make this easier, since you will start to notice what the fabrics are and how they drape (or you keep swatches from projects and create your own book) so it winds up being less of an issue over all.

CathyinMI
CathyinMI
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Michigan USA
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Date: 1/30/12 1:01 AM

Thank you! I'm going to familiarize myself with a few sites. I was on Fabric.com and started to feel more at ease with fabric selection. I notice some sites have more information than others. That must be what the telephone is for!

Edited to add: EmmaOneSock is a great site and the fabrics are beautiful. I found sewing and care guides in the left hand column. I've looked at a few sites and I think I like this one best.

One was very expensive (very) and noted nothing more than "blend" in the description. I certainly wouldn't pay over $100/yd. if I didn't know what it was made out of! Kinda shocked me, ya know? :)

-- Edited on 1/30/12 1:34 AM --

ChickenFreak
ChickenFreak
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Oregon USA
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Date: 1/30/12 2:47 AM

Much to my surprise, fabric.com says that they take returns. I don't know if many/any of the other sources also do, but that could be one way to buy fabric without the usual "you're stuck with it" risk.

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ChickenFreak
Blogness: http://chickenfreaksobsessions.blogspot.com/

CathyinMI
CathyinMI
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Michigan USA
Member since 2/19/07
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In reply to ChickenFreak


Date: 1/30/12 3:45 AM

I didn't see that! OK then - I think it's my new favorite store!

tourist
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Date: 1/30/12 10:19 AM

Cathy - I use the "close your eyes, hold your breath and click away" method of fabric shopping online. Since I don't tend to buy expensive fabrics, this has worked remarkably well and I have rarely been stuck with fabric I don't like. I have also been very happily surprised with some great choices that worked perfectly with the project I was buying them for.

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

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