I remember a time when a person could shop several fabric stores in an afternoon - brick and mortar stores. Now it's an afternoon, late evening or early morning browsing through the pages of online stores.
I found that living in a rural city can limit my shopping choices of many items, such as fabric. I know of two stores in our town that sell fabric, both having limited selections, so I taught myself to shop fabrics online. I've been purchasing fabrics online now for a little over ten years and want to share with my readers what I consider are the most important tips to buying fabric online.
There are a few favorite "go to" online stores I shop first before digging into the pages of more obscure sites (I am not compensated in any form for sharing these sites). What makes them my favorites? Prices, quality of goods, user friendly sites, and accurate images/descriptions of the fabric I need. Let's move forward with seven tips to buying fabric online.
1. Keep a swatch book. If you are a frequent flyer of online fabric stores, keeping a swatch book is a terrific idea. A swatch book will provide you with a tangible sample of fabrics to choose from while shopping. I've been building my book for about 5 years, making careful choices of what I include. Many online shops sell swatches for under $3.00, or you can cut a swatch from fabric you have already purchased. Most swatches come with all the info you need attached, so I try to apply this practice to swatches cut from fabric already on hand.
3. Follow pattern suggested fabrics. The pattern designer knows what fabrics will and will not work with the garment being made. If you are working with home decor, use keywords in your search such as "upholstery fabric" or "curtain fabric". If you are putting several patterns together, make careful decisions on the type of fabric you want to purchase.
4. Read product specs. There is a wealth of information to be gained from the specs. The fabric content, width, whether it's reorderable, cleaning instructions and more. Many times the specs will state what the fabric is best used for.
5. Keep a sample window open. It's usually a good idea to keep a sample of the color, dress or pattern you are working from open on your desktop. Working with a split screen is helpful while shopping online. Read how to work in split screen (Windows).
6. Know the shipping time. Assuming you are making a garment for yourself, once you have the pattern selected you'll want to purchase your fabric. Some companies are slower than others in shipping, and keep in mind where the fabric is shipping from. Shipping from overseas takes more time than shipping from Indiana. Knowing the shipping time is key to the planning of your garment.
7. Use the glossary of terms. An especially helpful part of shopping online is a glossary. For example there are numerous varieties of knits - which one to buy? Look for the glossary provided by the site or if one is not available use the glossary found on Day Dreams Tips & Tricks page.
What tips can you share with readers about buying fabric online? I invite you to share below in the comments. Until next time, I wish you success and inspiration, today and always!