Buying Fabric Online

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I’m always amazed at the number of women I meet who have never purchased fabric online. Their main reason is that they want to touch the fabric before they buy it. This always makes me smile! If you’re purchasing good quality quilter’s cotton, there is very little chance that you will get a fabric that feels too cheap or too stiff.

With the exception of The City Quilter  in New York City, I buy almost all my fabric online.  I like the selection of an online store. In most cases, the fabric arrives within a few days.  The prices are very often better than available locally. It’s not that I don’t want to support our local quilt shops, but the convenience, selection and cost from an online store usually win my business. Here are a few of my favorite shops, in no particular order, to get you started. (Please note that I have no financial interest in any of these companies.)

Fat Quarter Shop — This is one of my favorites.  They have a great selection and a good variety of fabrics. They also send out a nice newsletter on Fridays with a fabric special. Their shipping is extremely fast and they package the fabrics in cool clear cellophane.

Pink Chalk Fabrics — Pink Chalk Fabrics is new on my favorite list. They are a modern quilt shop with a really nice selection. They offer a lot of bundles, especially of modern fabrics and solids, and many of the collections come from bloggers. They have an excellent blog! The few times I’ve purchased from them, their shipping has been very quick.

eQuilter.com — eQuilter has an amazing selection and also sends out a great newsletter with their new arrivals. My favorite part about eQuilter is that they have a color matching tool. I use this a lot, especially to match solids for modern quilts. The major downside to eQuilter is that their shipping is very slow (often more than a week). I’ve contacted them about their slow shipping a couple of times … they usually send me back an excuse about it being a busy time. I’ve purchased from them for several years and the shipping speed has not improved. I stay with them for their selection.

Fabric.com — This store has the best prices and free shipping if you purchase more than $35 in fabric. They also have frequent sales on top of their already awesome discount prices. My favorite part of fabric.com is that they show a ruler with each fabric, so you know its scale. (I wish all companies did this, but they don’t.)  Shipping is usually fairly quick, although my daughter and I have both run into speed problems recently. They are a great choice for novelty fabrics and also sell upholstery and fashion fabrics.

Web Fabrics — Web Fabrics carries full lines of all their fabrics, which is great because most places (especially locally) do not do this. It is a particularly great source for blenders. Shipping is fast and they seem to almost always have everything in stock. They send a short weekly newsletter describing their newest fabrics.  They also sell sample packs of their blenders, so that you can easily match blenders to your own fabrics.

If you haven’t given online fabric shopping a chance, give it a try!  Subscribe to some of the above stores’ blogs and/or newsletters, and enjoy some browsing without getting off the couch. Happy shopping!

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6 responses »

  1. Thanks for the list of web sites. I do a fair amount of fabric shopping online since there aren’t many quilt shops in my area and shopping online saves time and gas money, not to mention the fabrics are usually cheaper … I’m retired, so the money I save can buy more fabric! ;-)

    My biggest “issue” with fabric shopping online is that I can’t see the color … something important if I’m trying to add a fabric to go with others already purchased. That’s why I like to shop at fabric.com and threesistersfabric.com … they provide samples. Yes, the samples will cost (but not much) and you have to wait for the samples to arrive and then if you order, you have to wait a little longer. But if making sure that the color goes well with your existing fabrics, then it’s worth the wait and expense … after all, as we all know the term “red” covers an awful lot of shades and not every photo accurately captures the true color (as well as our monitors might not be 100% accurate either).

    • This is such a great point. Color matching is almost impossible online. If I need to match colors, then I end up buying from the same line or buying from eQuilter, since they allow you to match colors. Samples are a great idea and something I should use more often. Happy quilting!

  2. I’m going to check out Web Fabrics today. You’re right … It is hard to find a place that carries a full line of fabrics, and I love that. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Sue I agree with your reasoning of convenience, selection, and cost of online fabric shopping vs. quilt shop shopping. My fear though is knowing that if I don’t support my local quilt shops they won’t be able to stay in business as those we’ve seen unfortunately closing all around us.

    Living in a remote area or being on a restricted budget I understand. I may have to save a little longer to buy fabric in my favorite quilt shop but the friendship, giggles, inspiration, motivation, education, and help I get there makes the few dollars more per yard worth it.

    I have purchased fabric online when my local shops don’t have the fabric I need and the service is indeed wonderful. It would be a very sad day for me though to only have online fabric to rely on. No attending special quilt events, quilt classes, quilt demo days, fuzzy slipper nights where we quilt til we wilt, a place to share my latest quilt project, get feedback, or just stroll around looking at the quilt samples, displays, vingettes, and there is something special for us quilters when we can see and touch that beautiful fabric up close and personal.

    • I totally understand. I’ve made some great friends from my local quilt shop. I’ve noticed that there seem to be two types of shops — the vibrant, community-oriented shop where people love to gather and are totally willing to support. And there are also shops that seem to have lost touch with their customers, in terms of lacking class variety or not having the range of fabrics people want. I’ve been in quilt shows all over the eastern U.S. and in Canada. Some having amazing customer service and vibrant collections … others, well, not so much.

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