how to shop for fabric + 17 fabric resources

Have you ever wanted to change the color of your walls, but weren’t sure why it wasn’t really working? Or change up a room with seemingly simple fabric switch out, but had problems finding just the right look?

Fabric.

A topic that comes up often, I believe it’s the crowning touch for any great space. We often hear from many of you who are interested in finding some nice fabrics for their spaces, but aren’t sure of where to start…It can be pretty overwhelming, to say the least.

Today, I thought I’d share a few of our Fave Fab Sources: Tips and tricks for hunting down that great fabric pattern + our favorite places to score it.

First things first…Because sometimes the big box stores can leave a lot to be desired in the arena of inspiration and that to-the-trade nonsense really rubs me the wrong way:

1. Be Fearless. Before you dive in head first, it’s good to have a game plan.  In a world of overwhelming possibilities, don’t be afraid to go beyond the typical patterns they “pair up” in stores. A rule of thumb I always follow: it doesn’t necessarily have to ‘match,’ just ‘go.’ That’s the way to create a one of a kind, customized look for your home.

Mix it up. Contrast an organic with a geometic. Throw in some coral pop with that grey and yellow. I’ve been known to shamelessly drag a fabric bolt or two, all the way across the store, only to contemplate all the different combinations. Don’t be afraid to think beyond the forest of depressingly pre-positoned fabric bolts, so you can actually see the possibilities of unexpected combinations.

2. Know your fabrics. {subtitled: and store policies.} Pay attention to the weight of a fabric, and think about what you’ll be using it for. I always check it out before fully committing. B. And speaking of committing… pay attention to those store policies. When desperately trying to work out my colors and ordering online, it’s tempting to spend quadrillion moolahs on samples alone. Fabric.com, for example, has free shipping (past a certain amount) and free returns. If I’m fairly sure the fabric will work, I order what I wanted, or order a few different alternatives. I can easily return it if it wasn’t the right fit. Knowing the ‘rules’ can go a long way, for your sanity, and your pocketbook.

3. Etsy is your friend. Utilize Etsy to it’s fullest. Study listings of fabrics to associate yourself with designer’s names, and learn who’s look you love the most. You’ll be surprised how doing something simple like becoming familiar with lines and names can open up the world of possibilities for your home. From Moda fabrics, to Joel Dewberry  Heather Bailey, Schumacher, and everything in between…just knowing what to search for will completely change your world. You’ll find one designer who is carried in a shop…who also carries another designer…who also carries another designer…and before you know it, you’ve curated your own little love of fabrics into a nice file for future use.

Etsy is also a great source for discontinued and those ever obscure, to the trade fabrics. {See Schumacher, above} For example: I don’t really purchase pillows, because I think they’re the simplest thing to make, and I’d rather pay for the fabric and do it myself. But sometimes I see amazing designs on pillows and wonder where on earth the fabric came from. Sometimes the shop curator will share a little about the fabric, and sometimes they only share a description. Both of those are great opportunities for diving further into the world of the www. It’s a little bit of a process, but it’s a great way to dig up some ‘dirt’ on that next ever elusive fabric name, using search engines to your advantage, to hunt down that perfect pattern for your space.

4. Don’t rule out the little guys. As mentioned above, some of the best artists and designers can be the handmade kind. I absolutely adore block prints and hand printed fabric. Easily found in handmade forums like Etsy. Be sure to search in that realm, as well, for one of a kind fabrics. Spoonflower {listed below} is an amazing resource for that unexpected find. Don’t rule them out!

5. Be resourceful. Well, duh. Isn’t that what we’ve been talking about? Think beyond the mass produced, generic fabric store box. If it were up to the town I live in {no offense to my town, it’s kind of grown on me} all of my fabric would come from two stores. And my home would be covered in silky beige toile circa 1998.

YIP. EE.

The internet. It’s a beautiful thing. Utilize blogs, sites, magazines, ebay, antiques and vintage to your utmost advantage. Soak it up like a sponge. And beyond that? Once you find that fabric that costs fifty dollars a yard (that you’re already, unfortunately enough, completely smitten with) search for coupons, {retailmenot.com} and continue looking for a better deal. Sometimes those extra ten minutes on the laptop can really pay off in your pocket. Sometimes, it’s totally okay to bite that bullet if you just absolutely must have it…but remember there are so many alternatives, ideas, discounts, deals and other options out there…just be sure to think beyond the typical bore-me-now options.

Now that we’ve covered a few of our shopping savvy tips, here’s some of our fave resources when it comes to fabric…

1. fabric.com

I shop here the most! Search especially for Premier Prints, Duralee, Waverly, Richloom, and P Kaufmann for starters!

2. Spoonflower

Here’s a past post on some of my fave finds. 

3. Beautiful Fabric

4. House Fabric

5. Grayline Fabrics

a great source for super affordable linens.

6. Caitlin Wilson Textiles

7. Tonic Living

8. M & J Trimming

A great source for fun trim!

9. Purl Soho

10. Giardino

Great source for BEAUTIFUL hand stamped fabric.

11. Warm Biscuit Bedding Company

12. Fresh Squeezed Fabrics

13. Fabric Worm

14. Oilcloth Addict

15. Pink Chalk Fabrics

16. Sharon’s Antiques

17. Calico Corners

**UPDATED** because I’m a dork + totally meant to include them, then stumbled across a pin where this fabulous gal mentioned it: 18 sources! Hawthorne Threads

 

Updated again: Online Fabric Store!

And that…I think…about wraps it up for today!

I hope we’ve helped inspire your fabric life. What are some of your favorite fabric hunting tips, or resources? Please share!

Happy hunting, everyone!


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82 Responses to how to shop for fabric + 17 fabric resources

  1. Pamela says:

    Thank you, thank you , thank you. Your post today was most helpful. I have never heard of any of these sites, except Calico Corners, which I have in my home town and have used them entirely for decorating my home. Very helpful. Regards Pamela in Florida.

  2. Catherine says:

    Great post!! Sarah Richardson is a genius at working with fabric. After watching her shows for years, I had the courage to combine a bunch of fabrics for my son’s bedroom and I love the results.

  3. Jennifer M says:

    So excited about this post! I really need some guidance about fabric selection. I know what I like, but I get hung up on not being able to touch the fabric. Just knowing which sites to start with that someone else is pleased with is awesome. Going to be looking at all of these over the next few days! Thanks!

  4. Awesome blog post. So much info, so needed. You hit on everything when it comes to fabric. I love fabric but I also love being able to touch it before buying it. This info gives you everything you should know when buying on line. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. A little sappy but I mean it. Thanks again

  5. I love this post so much. Coming from a former interior designer, turned stay at home mom in recent years….my favorite line was this: “the forest of depressingly pre-positoned fabric bolts”.

    HA!!!

    I wholeheartedly agree and just told my husband this last night, “I feel like a fabric snob and I hate that I feel that way, but I can’t help it. When I walk into xxxxx store and see the coordinated fabrics arranged by bolts of 3 I literally want to gag.” Haha! I truly do feel horrible, but once you’ve had access to AH-MAZ-ING fabric lines, you can’t go back.

    Thanks for sharing this very informative post to all the fabric newbies out there. It was perfect. :) And kudos to you for sharing!! That’s not something you see every day. ;)

    • HA! YES! To the trade makes me angry, because I want to find ways to beat the system, and I am totally a fabric snob. And a font snob…and a decals snob..{use sparingly!} I can’t help it. Aren’t we all snobs to some degree? Perhaps we’re being too harsh in labeling ourselves. I kind o like the word snob as it pertains to inanimate objects. It’s the delicate combination of being super picky with good taste. ;}

  6. Jenn says:

    I hate to do this, but I LOVE the fabric with from the site housefabric.com of the little blue hen that says provence, but I can’t seem to find it on the site. Do you happen to know the name of it??

    • Haha! Sorry! No, but I promise it’s there! Search under french. I gathered all of these yesterday, so they will still carry it. This post was really time consuming, and I wanted to, but didn’t have the time to link them all up separately. I had to feed and bathe the kids. ;}

  7. Tara O says:

    OH MY GOODNESS! Thank you so much for doing this I just started to do my little girls big girl room and have been meaning to look at some fabrics to tie everything together so Thank you so much for doing this…it just made my life a lot easier!

  8. Pamelotta says:

    Thanks for posting this. Just forwarded it to a friend who got a quote for curtains in her new house ($4500!!!). She can’t find the fabric anywhere to do it herself, but maybe she’ll be able to find it or something like it in one of your links. ::fingers crossed::

  9. Jenn says:

    I found it! so sorry! I did search under french but managed not to see the *tiny* navigation button for more pages at the bottom. ha! Thanks! And for anyone else that falls in love, the link is: http://www.housefabric.com/Beaudelaire-Flax-P90408.aspx

    Thanks again, lovely resource!

  10. Gaelle says:

    Well Thank God you read minds!! I’ve been spending the first 2 hours of this morning trying to find a complementary fabric to a Richloom print that I’m obsessed with! Your post made my day :-)
    I use Hawthorne Thread a lot, they show color combinations at the bottom of the pages which help tons.
    Back to researching, with new leads thanks to you. Sweet!

    • Renae says:

      Any chance that Richloom fabric was the Cornwall Suzani print? I just emailed Ashley about this one! I’m having one H of a time finding something to “go” with it…

      • Gaelle says:

        I just looked your fabric up and it’s not the same pattern, but we’re in the same boat for sure, as it seems it’s the same “blast of color” as mine! My fabric is Richloom Invigorate Confetti. So far I thought a solid mustard yellow could work, like the one shown in the “Play space For Harper” Rose post, and I also got an ottoman upholstered in a grey/blue and cream pattern, which could be a lead for you as well since your fabric has that same greyish blue. That’s what I have so far… hope it helped a little :)

  11. Rachel says:

    I just started reading your blog a couple of weeks ago, and I’m hooked. You write about stuff I actually want to read about! This post was especially cool, as the world of fabric is still a little mystical to me. I have fallen in love with a Schumacher fabric, and the best price I can find is about $100 per yard (gasp). If anyone has a lead on where to get a lower price, I’m all ears! It’s the Schumacher Hot House Flowers in Spark that I’ve been obsessed with for a few years now. I’d like to do curtains with it too, so I need a lot of it. Thanks for the tips in this post. Keep up the good work!

  12. This is the BEST post ever! Kuddo’s to you for sharing this wealth of info with all of us. Thank you thank you thank you :)

  13. Laura says:

    THANK YOU! I am on the hunt right now for fabrics for our home and have been annoyed to not be able to find what I am looking for. Now I have many more resources to check out. :)

  14. elizabeth smith says:

    AHHHHH THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! This couldn’t have come at a better time… I spent hours last night searching for fabrics to re-do our master bedroom (it’s a disgrace – completely!). I’m going to try to make an “easy” upholstered headboard, and I want something pretty but sturdy to cover it in! Thank you for sharing this :)

  15. Tanya says:

    Love them all

  16. Southern Gal says:

    Thanks for sharing. I was aware of a few of these, but love the new places to try. I can’t get the Tonic Living link to work, though. :(

  17. Gloribell says:

    Wow! Great post. Excellent guide for fabrics!

  18. Julie says:

    Great post. Just pinned this for future reference & I’m laughing at how I used at least 2 of the fabrics you highlighted in my daughter’s new room makeover. Great choices!

  19. Virginia says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write this post! SO helpfull and a great resource! One of my favorite etsy sites is whipstitch fabrics (http://www.etsy.com/shop/WhipstitchFabrics). Also love Hawthorne Threads, so I’m glad you updated the post with that link. Added this to my Sewing board on Pinterest…will be coming back soon (and again and again).

    -Virginia

  20. Tennille says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are fabric starved up here. We have three options for fabric in our city of a million people: Discoun,t (boring doesn’t even come close to describing the home decor section) Run of the Mill (hit and miss, relatively uninspiring and you need huge muscles to dig through all the bolts), and Not on my Budget (a fancy store downtown that is very pricy). In the 7 years of living here I have only ever found ONE bolt of fabric for the home worth buying. If it wasn’t for fabric.com I think I’d give up all together. So excited about all the new sources. Too bad the shipping fees are so high to get all that lovliness over the border :(

  21. Jessie says:

    Love this post, Ashley! You’ve opened my eyes to a ton of new fabric resources {which I will inevitably waste the rest of my night searching through}. My fave is fabric.com also!

  22. Pat says:

    Outstanding! Thank you so much for sharing this information. I’ve been looking online for fabrics for a shower curtain, curtains & pillows. This is going to be a bit of Heaven to peruse…and I’m one that needs to ‘touch’ fabrics.

    Pat

  23. Marla says:

    I have been sewing since I was 7 years old. There is a nice quilt shop nearby. Their prices are pretty high and I don’t want to follow the fabrics that “go together”. I want to pick my own. I also worked at a dress factory for 20 years. There is not much I can’t sew. Am I being over sensitive to be upset with these women following me around their store like I was dumb as a box or rocks???? I even tried to buy batting for a quilt and the gal would NOT sell me any because I didn’t have the dimensions of the quilt top. It’s my money and I have to travel to get to this little shop. What should I do? Thanks!

  24. Alison King says:

    Oh my !! AWESOME POST!!! So helpful and a great guide!! Also wondered if you know the name of the center fabric that is on the Fabric.com line. IT”S so awesome!!!

  25. Sarah Mansur says:

    Do you know what the middle fabric is in the Fabric.com image is? The really colorful modern floral one? I love that and cant find it!

    Thanks for the links too, I didnt know about a couple of them!!

  26. Sarah Mansur says:

    Nevermind, I found it! Its called Waverly Santa Maria Desert Flower for anyone that is wondering! Thank you again for this!!!

  27. Trixie says:

    This is a wonderful reference! Thank you so much for sharing your favorites!

  28. Lauren Jewel says:

    This is quite possibly the absolute most useful post, ever. Thank you so much!! I am always searching for fabric and have come to kind of hate Joann’s!

  29. Tara says:

    I would definitely let people know that there is a big difference between home decor fabric and quilting weight fabric. People who aren’t familiar with fabrics and can’t feel them themselves need to know.

  30. Sandra says:

    I love my fabric so much -that I often procrastinate using them…crazy right?

  31. kat says:

    Wow, thanks for all the great sites! Love your site – it is fabulous and inspiring.

  32. Amber says:

    Have you ever seen sistersandquilters.etsy.com ? You should take a look, you might find them to be a Unew favorite! :)

  33. Nicole says:

    Great post! Picking fabric can be daunting, yet tons of fun :-) I gotta say, though, that after my first experience with fabric.com I am extremely discouraged… I loved their site and selection.. HOWEVER, their inventory tracking, and, thus, customer service, has left much to be desired for me… So here I am holding on a project because it took them TWO order attempts (once via internet, once through their customer service rep after I only received half my fabric in the mail…) to realize that one of the fabrics is out of stock… Has anyone else had problems with them? I’m hoping it was just a fluke that I’ve had such a problem….

    • Hi Nicole! I’ve actually used fabric.com numerous times, and only had trouble with them once. so probably 1/50 times I had a problem. Those are pretty good stats for me, and I trust them. My problem was a little similar to yours. They were slow to let me know they were out of stock, and I was on a major deadline. but 1/50 are still good stats for me, so I can’t help but refer them ;}

    • Leslie says:

      Hmmmm…. I’ve wondered for some time whether I was the only one who’d had a bad experience with fabric.com. In place of a 3-yd cut of fabric I ordered, they sent me several half-yard cuts that amounted to just over 2 yards…. and charged me for 3 yards! They were really apologetic when I called, but after I sent the fabric back, they would only credit me for the little remnants they sent. I never got my purchase price refunded. I have scratched them from my list, even though they had an impressive inventory at very good prices. I was flat-out cheated by them, though, and that is just not right.

      That said, I am very pleased to find such a great listing of other internet fabric resources! I just love yummy fabrics, but those $$$ definitely add up. I am planning to expand my shopping choices by poking around in resale shops and seeing if I can land some cool vintage fabrics or other recyclables! Any tips from anyone??

  34. This has been SOOOOOO helpful, thank you! What beautiful fabrics you’ve shared. I’ll be fabric shopping today for a couple of projects I’m working on. Thanks so much for all the advice!!!

  35. Lisa says:

    Came via Pinterest and am loving this post. I do fabric photos for a family owned fabric store. They have five huge main street buildings filled with fabric. Over head is low because of location in Iowa and that is reflected in their prices. Honestly, their website is not very pretty, but they are building a new one as we speak. They are awesome to deal with and will send 6 free samples. Free shipping after $60. They are adding 1,000 new cotton fabrics soon! I’ll start shooting those Monday. Exciting. Hope they include some of the designers you have listed above. Right now coupon code online2012 will get you 40% off one item, unlimited yardage, one time use in March 2012. Off to research how the sites you listed display their fabrics in photos. Fun! Visit inweavefabric.com if you have time.

  36. kalanicut says:

    I came from Pinterest too. I have been looking for green fabrics and am so happy to have some new options to search. Thanks for sharing these!

  37. Hey,Ashley,

    Great post!! Haven’t heard of most of these sites (love Tonic Living though), but we are lucky enough to have some great fabric resources here in ATL. My faves Fabric & Fringe, Lewis and Sheron, and Forsyth’s have us covered for the most part. I love, love browsing fabrics, touching and feeling them, bringing them home to contemplate. Ahhh, fabrics are new possibilities! I will be wanting to update when I get that house of mine.

  38. Tara says:

    Hello! Thanks for the post.

    The third yellow and white fabric in the picture under the Fabric.com link…can you tell me what that pattern is called and/or where you found it? I searched Fabric.com and couldn’t find it.

    Thank you! :)

    • Hey Tara! I would love to go through and link every single fabric, but I just didn’t have time for that. I would be here all day on this one post! It should be there, but they do run out of stock often. Try searching premier prints. Thanks! ;}

  39. missy massey says:

    have you ever seen premier prints fabrics? printed in sherman, mississippi? i run our store in jackson, ms and we actually print many of the fabrics you are buying on other websites! check us out!!! you can also find our store on facebook with lots of pictures too. premier fabrics of jackson is our store name on facebook! even the biggest fabric snobs love us!!! :))

  40. Katie says:

    What a wonderful, useful post! I’m currently shopping for fabric to make curtains in my new home, and I too have a lack of up-to-date choices in my town. I’m bravely searching the Internet with your advice in hand!

  41. Melissa says:

    Sorry if someone already mentioned them because I didn’t read all the comments but I love, love, LOVE Lilybellafabrics.com. They carry all my favorites.

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  45. Jane says:

    I own TwentyOne7 and here is a little information about us:
    We give customers the opportunity to decorate their homes like the designers. We offer the best prices online for high end decorative fabrics and more! We do not list all fabrics, trims, lighting, and accessories that we have access to as it is well over 250,000 items. If you don’t see what you are looking for; let us know, chances are we can get! You won’t find better customer service anywhere. We were also featured in Better Homes and Gardens and House and Garden.
    Thanks for looking.

  46. lauren says:

    awesome post! my fav source for ethnic fabrics specifically from south america i found on etsy also! : http://www.etsy.com/shop/sweetllamasupplies?ref=si_shop

  47. Cathie says:

    Fabric snob here too. Could I add a site that I love? Really, really cheap Americana and French Laundry style fabrics for 3-10 dollars a yard: http://periodfabric.com/cottons/

  48. Adell says:

    Have you ever used onlinefabricstore.net ?? I just found a fabric that was out of stock at fabric.com on their site and it was actually cheaper than fabric.com which I think is pretty good! Thanks for the post!

  49. Heather M. says:

    OMG, thank you so much for this post! I have been STRUGGLING to find unique fabrics and these resources and tips are fabulous! I am trying to force myself to break out of my comfort zone and into the world of prints. We’ll see how this goes! :)

  50. Jane says:

    Stop by TwentyOne7 for high-end fabrics. We offer the lowest prices on designer fabrics EVERYDAY! We have access to over 250,000 fabrics. Always first quality and current patterns. Thank you for looking!

  51. Jane says:

    You left out the best, Fabric Guru,
    They are wonderful, fast, best prices and big big selection!

  52. Kim Sneed says:

    I love your site! We offer over 600 fabrics in our showroom/ store. Would love to get info on an ad space. We offer custom bedding on our site.
    Thanks
    Kim

  53. Kathleen Tudor Beecher says:

    I don’t have a website but I have a board in my Pinterest page called ” I Really Like This”. There is a Pink chair that has a fabric I just have to know what it is. I so hope your able to look and give me your thoughts.

  54. Holly says:

    Try fabricguru.com, then send a decent swatch for a dollar!

  55. s c engle says:

    You might want to add Fabric Guru.com to your arsenal, particularly if you’re looking for a lot of fabric — for drapes, for example.

  56. Toni says:

    Deltapatchwork.com. Another excellent source!

  57. Pam says:

    Do you have preferred sites for upholstery fabric?

  58. Pat says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for including my little hand print textile shop in with the other gorgeous fabric sources!
    I can’t wait to visit each of the other fabric sites listed above:)

  59. Christine says:

    Thanks for all the fantastic information on fabrics. Its really enjoyable to read. Just wanted to share my experiences with an unknown resource that I stumbled upon on etsy. After searching for ” luxury Import Fabrics” there was an etsy store that I found that is really amazing. This person had ” Valentino” Carolina Herrera” “Versace” Bill Blass, Oscar De La Renta and many other top of the line designer fabrics. I took a chance and ordered some Herrera 100% silk in a cream with checked pattern. It was really amazing fabric. I have ordered more fabrics and I can say I am very very happy with my purchases. This is really an unknown hidden Gem of a resource for upscale top of the line designer fabrics at great prices. You should check him out at
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/GardenBridges they also sell on ebay and see that he has a great reputation thee as well. Ebay sell is Redwoodbridges
    I hope this helps people find what they need in some rare and beautiful fabrics. Keep up the good work! Cheers! Christine

  60. mary says:

    Wow great resources, thanks! I love shopping organic, so I’d have to say my fave online store is http://www.organiccottonplus.com and they’ve just revamped the store, so it’s a lot easier to shop.

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  62. Andrew says:

    I and my wife were looking for some lovely and good priced Ikat fabric for our home decor about 3 months ago. After much research, I landed up on a site (www.etsy.com/shop/raajma) who sold such and other handmade/ organic fabrics. I had many questions about the fabric quality, shipping, etc before we wanted to place a large yardage order. Before buying from them, we troubled them with our queries but they (Mamta and.. sorry, I don’t remember the other guy’s name!) were always patient and happy to help us in finding the right fabric for our particular needs. Its very hard today to find such personal customer service from an online store. Just give it a try and find out for yourself.

  63. Lana Mowdy says:

    http://www.johnsonsquiltshop.com
    They have a huge selection of fabrics. More is being added everyday with sales, coupons, and contests. I have used their fabrics for almost every quilt I’ve made. The quality is exceptional, prices are great, and shipping is fast.

  64. Andrea says:

    I’ve been searching for the middle fabric on #1 for months! I found the pillows on etsy for $50 and I know I could probably make 10 pillows for that price. Do you know the brand name or the fabric name of this design?? Thanks!!

  65. Katherine says:

    Hello, I’m just wondering where I can find the names and brands of the first and third fabrics in the first picture by fabric.com. I have the middle fabric and want the other two to make pillows! thanks

    • Katherine – our apologies but this post is just really old. ;} There were images we grabbed because we liked them abad figured that in the future, those links would probably be irrelevant anyway. The truth is, they probably are at this point. I recommend doing a google image search if that helps! In retrospect, we definitely should have provided links, but we did not. Hindsight and other various whatnots. Thanks so much!

  66. Tisha says:

    Oh ! I’m in love with Pink Castle Fabrics! They have the best selection. Lots of Japanese and solids !!

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