This week has been going a bit better. I've got one new finished project (previewed below) and a successfully wearable muslin (the HP Weekender Daytona Hoodie) in the works, but not ready to be blogged yet.
I'm in a happier mood and would like to talk about something that makes all of us sewists happy...fabric. Now, unlike San Diego, Seattle actually has a decent array of fabric stores for garment sewists. However, I still do most of my fabric shopping online because online fabric shopping doesn't ever involve having to pry a bolt of Elmo fabric out of the hands of an emotional two-year-old.
I feel like I'm a fairly seasoned veteran when it comes to online fabric shopping, but I know that many other sewists out there are either apprehensive about buying fabric that they can't see or touch in person or have a couple of favorite stores and haven't ventured from those. Most of the rest of this post will be dedicated to sharing my own personal favorite online fabric sources and giving a rundown at what each store excels at and what that store possibly leaves to be desired.
One thing that I'll note is that I have a heavy bias towards fabric suppliers that carry designer or other RTW apparel overruns. (These are fabrics left over from the apparel manufacturing process. I find that they usually give me the best shot of a final garment with a RTW appearance.) My personal assessment of each store includes the following information:
- Summary/URL: Description of the store and URL to the storefront.
- Pros: Things I like about the store.
- Cons: Things I don't like about the store.
- Don't miss: The absolute standout thing(s) about the store.
- Wishlist feature: Is there some sort of "wishlist" feature where you can bookmark fabrics to your account for possible later purchase?
- Remaining yardage: Does the site list the remaining yardage of a fabric (allowing you to wait for a sale before pulling the trigger)?
- Shipping costs: Shipping costs within the US.
In alphabetical order...
Emma One SockEmmaOneSock is a high-end online fabric store run by Linda Podietz. Quality is beautiful, and inventory generally turns over quickly. If you see something that you like, you're best off placing an order quickly. (Note that Linda will hold orders and wait to see if you like something else so that your order can be shipped more efficiently.) This site is generally out of my price range; however, it's a good source for "special" fabric when you've already made a pattern a few times and want a more special garment.
|Emma One Sock|
ProsHigh quality fabric, you're not limited to buying by the yard. Good source of knits (and I'm a lover of knits, as we know.)
ConsPrices are high, sales are rare, and you can sometimes find the same fabric for a significantly cheaper price on other online fabric sites.
Don't missThe 11oz rayon lycra jersey is hands-down my favorite fabric for knit tee-shirts and tops. She also gets in a nicer array of print rayon jerseys than I've seen at most other stores.
Remaining yardage listed?No.
Shipping costsShipping is calculated based on the weight/actual cost of shipping your order. You'll get an invoice for the final price of everything once Linda has your order cut and ready to ship.
fabric.comfabric.com probably has one of the biggest selections of the various online fabric stores. I go to fabric.com when I have a very specific idea of what I'm looking for. Case in point, right now, they seem to be about the only online fabric store with denim-colored chambray (by Robert Kaufman) in stock.
ProsGood source for name brand fabric, such as Sophia Knits, Robert Kaufman, Michael Miller, etc. Prices are generally reasonable; sales are frequent; online coupons are sometimes available.
ConsFor the non-name-brand fabrics, quality can be hit-or-miss. Order a swatch, if in doubt. And also note, if a fabric here is described as "lightweight", it's REALLY lightweight.
Don't missLots of licensed fabrics, sophia knits (if you like comfy double knits), lots of free patterns available for download.
Remaining yardage listed?Yes.
Shipping costsFree for orders over $35. Don't ask me what shipping is for orders under $35--I've always bumped up my order to get the free shipping.
FabricMart (The Store That Shall Not Be Named)On PatternReview, FabricMart is sometimes known as The Store That Shall Not Be Named (TSTSNBN) because so many of us fall off of our fabric fasts when they run a sale here, and note that they have frequent, significant sales on top of their already reasonable prices.
ProsBecause most of their fabric is apparel industry overruns, quality is usually very good for the price. FabricMart is generally my go-to source for Ponte knits and rayon challis. Because their overruns are usually recent, colors and prints are usually fairly current for the season.
ConsInventory turns over quickly. They won't always have what you're looking for if you have something specific in mind.
Don't missDesigner overruns! JCrew, Maggie London, Marc Jacobs, etc.
Wishlist feature?Yes. It's called "Maybe later" here.
Remaining yardage listed?Yes.
Shipping costsA flat $8 for US orders. FabricMart occasionally runs free shipping specials, as well.
Girl CharleeMost of the sewing blogosphere seems to have known about Girl Charlee fabrics for a while, but they're a relatively recent discovery for me. Girl Charlee has a fantastic selection of fun and whimsical cotton and cotton-blend knits, often with coordinating solids. They've also recently branched into sourcing sourcing some fun wovens and swimsuit fabric, as well.
|Girl Charlee fabrics|
ProsGreat selection of knits with current and trendy prints. I LOVE that the site-exclusive Girl Charlee line has coordinating solids to go along with their knit prints. Prices are very reasonable. The house line also is a nice light-side-of-mid-weight, very soft, and very drapey (after pre-washing).
ConsI've heard that quality can vary, but I've been happy with everything I've ordered here. One thing to keep in mind is that most of their Girl Charlee line lacks a spandex blend and so therefore isn't very stretchy. I'm willing to overlook this most of the time for the cute prints and adjust my fitting accordingly.
Don't missIf you've ever wanted to look like you walked straight out of a farm-to-fork vegan cafe in Portland to hop on your fixie, don't miss their "wildlife collection" full of whimsical animal prints in trendy colors.
Wishlist feature?Yes. You can save a fabric to your "stash" here for later.
Remaining yardage listed?Yes.
Shipping costsShipping is free for orders over $99. If you can manage to go through checkout without filling your cart that much, shipping is still reasonable for smaller orders.
Gorgeous FabricsGorgeous Fabrics is one of the first online fabric stores that I used when I started sewing. I discovered them because it seemed like all of the sewists on Pattern Review were buying their really cool knits (unlike anything carried by JoAnn) at Gorgeous Fabrics. Great selection, somewhat higher prices than I usually go for, but still cheaper than Emma One Sock.
ProsGreat selection of fabrics, colors. Ann, who runs Gorgeous Fabrics, frequently gets overruns by New York-based designers like Milly. I'm always a sucker for a good Milly print. Excellent customer service. Because prices are a little on the high side here, I'll usually save my Gorgeous Fabrics for garments that I've made before (as with Emma One Sock). I love that Ann lists patterns and needle size recommendations to go along with her fabrics. This site also runs frequent sales, so if you love a fabric, save it to your wishlist and wait for it to go on sale.
ConsQuality is nearly always good, but I've occasionally run into the "fabric isn't what I thought it would be" issue here. e.g. Scale of the print isn't what I expected (most but not all have a ruler in their picture for scaling), hand/drape isn't what I was expecting. I can still usually find a use for fabrics even when they're not what I thought they were.
Don't missMilly fabrics! Lots of gorgeous wools on site at nearly all times. Ann also sometimes gets in lots of lovely silk jerseys.
Wishlist feature?Yes, accordingly called "wishlist".
Remaining yardage listed?Yes.
Shipping costsShipping costs are based on the weight of your order and calculated at checkout.
What are your favorite online fabric sources? Have a missed a particularly great store?
Memorial Weekend Sewing: Summer pajamas for a toddlerI'll do a full blog post on these when I'm able to take some pictures of Eva actually wearing them, but I spent my "sewing time" over the long Memorial Day weekend sewing a three-piece summer pajama set for my daughter:
|Peek-a-boo Anna & Alex Summer PJs with Oliver+S leggings|
A quick rundown of this project is that we realized during our recent "heatwave" (temperatures in the low 80s! In Seattle!) that Eva only had about two sets of summer pajamas in her current size (2T). I wanted to make her a few more sets, and this is the first set in that series. I used the Peek-a-Boo Patterns Alex & Anna Summer PJ's for the top and shorts and a slightly modified version of the Oliver+S Playtime leggings for the leggings. I added the leggings to the original pajama set to increase their versatility for our varied weather in Seattle. The penguin fabric is a no-longer available cotton blend jersey from Girl Charlee.
These were very easy to sew, fit true-to-size, and I love how they turned out (and Eva does too). Blank Slate just released a new summer PJ pattern, too, and while I haven't bought that one yet, I'd like to give that one a try, too.