Thursday, October 11, 2012

The highs and lows of ordering fabric online

Perhaps you live in the boonies like me.  Don't get me wrong, I love where I live, but I'm at a real disadvantage when it comes to buying fabric.  Basically I have two choices ; Wal-mart (ick) and JoAnn's (gag), both of which are about a 16 mile drive.  Sorry, but it's just not worth the trip.  

Luckily I get to NYC a few times a year for some fabric shopping,  but even that can be discouraging and exhausting.  I usually have something very specific in mind which can be like looking for a needle in the proverbial fabric haystack.  

I've turned to the internet for fabric from time to time, usually with pretty good results.  Still it's pretty much a crap shoot.  Not being able to actually touch the fabric, coupled with being dependent on the accuracy of a photograph, really puts one at a disadvantage.  But I'm a sucker for free shipping, so here are a few things that arrived yesterday.  Postage free!  

I've been wanting a "little flowers" shirt for awhile.  I saw some gorgeous French fabrics during my one and only visit to Elliot Berman Textiles in NYC, but the $18 / Yd price scared me away.  Of course I was reminded that Liberty is $35+ / yd. but it still seemed too extravagant.  This is an Italian shirting that is every bit as nice in my opinion. 

This is as close to a Liberty of London shirt as I'm ever going to come.  I love the colors.  Coral, gold, brown, gray, green.  It's incredibly fine with a beautiful lustre to it.  

Of course there's no Hello Kitty hidden in the design.  But that's what you get at $35 / Yd vs. $4.45 / yd!  

Next up is this raw silk plaid patchwork.  I'll call this a partial disappointment.  I appreciate all the labor that goes into making a fabric like this, but it looks like it got dragged across the sweatshop floor before being rolled onto the bolt.  There are stray threads caught in the seams everywhere!  I will be pulling and clipping threads for hours.  In spite of all the flaws, I still think this will make a fun Spring jacket.  It's just going to be more work than I planned on. 

Oy!  What a mess. 

Lastly, this just belongs in the "What was I thinking" category.  This was sold as a corduroy.  It's ribbed, but there is hardly any pile to it.  Its saving grace is that it was very inexpensive.  My plan was to make my first pair of trousers with this, and I think I still will.  I fully expect that they won't fit, so I'll wad them up and throw the whole mess out.  

Please don't laugh!  Yes, I really did buy this.  

So there we have it ... the good, the bad and the ugly of buying fabrics online.


  1. Love that last one! Isomething I'm very partial to paisley:-) And I think trousers are a great idea. You might end up liking them more than you think. If not, I guess you could cut them off into shorts and hide them under a long T-shirt for painting or something.

  2. The shirting is beautiful. A suggestion about the trouser fabric - I just made up a similar fabric into a duffel bag. It uses the fabric in a functional way, and makes for quite a unique bag. And then you don't have to worry about making a pair of trousers you won't wear. Hearts -e.

  3. Love the paisley. It's probably a brushed twill instead of corduroy. Make an old-west style shirt with a contrasting stand collar. Link: