Fabric Face-Off

Before I got hip-deep in the online sewing community, the only site I knew of to buy fabric was Fabric.com (for obvious reasons). Well, I suppose I knew of a few others, though I’d never been brave enough to try them. After reading blogs and seeing what other sewers were getting, I’ve hopped on the online bandwagon with both feet!


I first tried Fabricmart, with disappointing results — completely my fault. Lately, I’ve been ordering from them with much greater success, including these gems that just came in the mail:

Polka dot ITY, Fabricmart
red draping
Black on red ITY lace print, Fabricmart
flat red
Black on red lace print ITY, lace print detail, Fabricmart

Both are four-yard pieces of ITY, both destined to become dresses. The polka dot is going to be my TNT dress, Butterick‘s B5166. The red & black is going to be something slinky and sexy for date night (if I ever find myself in such a situation). I’ve been pooh-poohing those side-pleat dresses, but I think this fabric would be perfect for such a design:

Sarafan From Knit Fabric – Lekala Pattern #4111

All I can think of is ‘/girl/you be killin’em/’! :)

I also had the pleasure of placing my first order with the Smuggler’s Daughter, and a very small first order with The Fabric Fairy. I’ll save my review of the latter for when I buy a more normal sized order; so far I am very happy with the product and the company! I’m also quite happy with the Smuggler’s Daughter, and will write a separate post for the awesome fabric I got and the project I intend to use it for, later.

In the other corner is Girl Charlee, which has been receiving rave reviews all over the online sewing community. Now, I’m a big believer in listening to one’s gut. So even though GC has some of the most enticing fabrics I’ve seen, my gut said ‘don’t buy’ and I didn’t. Eventually, I broke down and pulled the trigger on a small order of two cuts, one yard of a floral jersey, and two yards of a navy ponte.

floral jersey
Floral jersey, Girl Charlee
navy ponte
Navy ponte, Girl Charlee

Well, my gut was right. I wasn’t thrilled. But I’m all about seeing the good in everything, so I put the fabric aside and went about my life. A few days later I pulled out the fabric again. I examined the one yard piece. It was, by far, the shortest one yard piece I’ve ever handled. Granted, I don’t expect to get a million extra inches, but I do expect a yard cut to be at least one yard along both selvages.

I measured three times, and one side of the selvage just didn’t make it to the end of my yardstick. It was a slight difference, just about half an inch, but I admit to being irritated. I’m kind of a stickler that way, really fussy about accuracy. Sigh. On top of being skimpy, the fabric is kind of stiff. It’s perfect for my intent — lining a ponte blazer — but I was hoping to buy more to make a summer skirt. No more. On the plus side, the ponte is lighter weight than I was expecting and drape-y to boot, so it will nicely balance out the floral. Also, the GC customer service team renewed my 10% credit for registering that I somehow missed the first time, and I really do like ponte a lot. I’d gotten swatches from GC before and also liked the ponte, so perhaps they’ll be my go-to ponte source.

a perfect pair
Inside and outside of my future blazer, courtesy of Girl Charlee

And in handling all this fabric, I devised (I think) a good way to test the drape of fabrics for suitability for projects. Granted, this is an after-you-buy-it test, still. A good piece of fabric is never a waste to stash, but it can be wasted on the wrong project!

How much fabric do you buy online vs. in person?

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