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.

4 thoughts on “The highs and lows of ordering fabric 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.


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