Secrets to Buying and Selecting Fabric
January 16, 2013 By 22 Comments
Where to Buy Fabric So where do you buy these fabrics? Well you can't buy them directly from the companies because they only sell wholesale (unless you want to buy a whole bolt!) But just to get a yard or two, you will need to purchase from Fabric Shops. In the course of my blog, I have introduced you to MANY different fabric shops that I've shopped at. Here's a few you might remember: Skye Reve Fabrics, The Fabric Shoppe, Raspberry Creek Fabrics, Poppy Seed Fabrics, Hawthorne Threads, and the Fat Quarter Shop. They are ALL online. Several of those are shops in Etsy. How to Choose Fabric Now...how to CHOOSE fabric. So many people seem to struggle with putting fabrics together. It comes very easy to me, and it helps when you have a gigantic fabric stash. Here is how I do it: I will sometimes choose my favorite fabrics from a new line and go from there. I rarely make something from the entire line...I'm pretty picky and have never actually purchase an entire line of fabric (except for Riley Blake Chevron.) When I choose the fabrics I like, I choose fabrics that will go with lots of different things, so the print has to be fairly neutral. I stay away from characters and pictures. I bought this beautiful hummingbird fabric once a long time ago and still haven't used it. It just has too many odd colors that it never matches anything. That's why I buy a LOT of polka dots. I also love the chevrons (so many colors, go with so many things.) I wish there were better stripe options. I will sometimes buy a fabric with a damask print or something similar (swirly pattern) to have something different. And I stay up with the trends and buy things that are very popular because that increases the chance that people will like it (and hence want to buy it!) Putting Fabrics Together: I have so much fabric these days that it's pretty easy for me to find colors that work together. I just go into my stash and pull out colors that just seem to mesh well. But I have always been very in tune with color and I know which combinations look amazing together. Aqua and turquoise pretty much look good with anything, so you will find a lot of that in my quilts. I usually find two or three colors that look great and mix in one or two neutrals. White, cream, black, brown, and gray are all neutrals. In my Mary Jane quilt (which mostly came from the Apple of my Eye line by Riley Blake) I had two very bright colors--red and turquoise, so I had to really neutralize it with a lot of white. I love white--it makes the color really pop out, takes one for the team. Pin ItIn my near-three years of blogging, the number 1 question I get asked is "Where do you get your fabric?!" People have told me many many times that I have an eye for colors and design and I choose excellent fabrics that go together. Here's what I have to say to that---Thanks!! But also, I'm going to let you in on some of my secrets to buying and selecting fabric. DISCLAIMER: This is not a post about how to get fabric on the cheap. I have spent many hundreds (probably thousands, yikes!) of dollars on fabric. If you want high quality--you will have to pay for it. When I first started sewing again, I noticed that the things people were selling on Etsy were made of these exquisite fabrics that would not be found at places like Joanns or Hobby Lobby. I also noticed that I was seeing certain prints more frequently than others (like Amy Butler or Michael Miller, but I didn't know at the time.) I started looking into this more and discovered a whole world of fabric I didn't even know existed: DESIGNER FABRIC. Designer Fabric is sold almost exclusively online. However you will come across a quilt shop here and there that sells some of it too, but they usually sell at about $10-$13 a yard. Designer Fabric is sold for around $8.50/yard online, but once you factor in shipping, it comes out to about $10/yard. But you can get nearly everything online, whereas the quilt shops only sell certain prints. Designer Fabrics are sold by companies like Michael Miller, Amy Butler, Riley Blake, Alexander Henry, Moda, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, and so many more. Within those companies are the actual fabric designers. Most of the companies have in-house designers, but some start off doing work on a more contractual basis, which is where you hear their names. My friend Sarah Jane whose lines of fabric "Children at Play" and "Out to Sea" are some of the most amazing fabrics I've seen, was discovered and approached by Michael Miller Fabrics, who asked her to start designing for them. She was originally an artist and illustrator and I also love her art (I have a couple of her prints.) So if you are looking into being a fabric designer, you need to work on your art and graphic art because that is what they look for! Fabric designers will spend a year coming up with a 'line' of fabric--fabric that is all based on a similar theme and done in different colors.