17 Jul Online Fabric Shopping
My July fabric order from Mood Fabrics arrived last week. (Thank you, Mood!). Receiving my fabric orders are not just exciting, but always a little intriguing.
Online fabric ordering is somewhat like a box of chocolates, but unless you are fortunate enough to live close to an inspiring fabric store, that’s the way it is.
I’ve been sewing with online fabric orders for nearly five years. It gets easier, but it never gets easy.
I am so very grateful to Mood Fabrics for affording me the opportunity to explore online fabric shopping as part of its Sewing Network. Each month the Mood Sewing Network Bloggers receive a gift certificate for fabric and most of us place an online order. Thanks to the store’s generosity, I have sewn many fabrics I might not have sewn otherwise. I don’t always pre-order a sample, so the fabric is not always what I expect.
Here’s a look at this month’s order that I placed from the stores images: (images linked to Mood Fabrics)
1.Pink/Navy Zebra Printed Polyester Chiffon with an 11″ repeat
2. 1.5mm Turquoise Solid Stretch Neoprene
3. Grenadine Silk Crepe de Chine ( the same fabric as the lining in this dress )
and three swatches.
Here goes 😉
Holy Jungle Print!
Maybe you’ll understand how this fabric reminded me of a Lilly Pulitzer print based on the website photograph. Ummm………. I’ll figure out something. Can you bear another tunic? A maxi?
No surprises with the silk, since I’ve already sewn with it,
but the beautiful Neoprene with which I had planned to make a fit and flare dress is much thicker than I expected even though I have ordered two pieces of Neoprene from Mood. Obviously the 1.5mm description meant little to me. Back to the drawing board on this one too.
I’m sharing this order with you, because I have received many emails and many comments to explain my online ordering process. Following are a few of your questions, and a lot of my advice, but only because you asked. 😉
Do I choose the fabric or the pattern first?
I have done both. Sometimes I like the thrill of being surprised by the fabric. That decision is only safe when there is no preselected pattern.
How do I successfully sew garments from online fabric orders?
When I committed myself to sewing again, I knew online ordering was the only way to buy fashion fabric. I live in what was the Textile Capital of the US, but no more. Two chain stores which supply mediocre fashion fabric now exist in my town.
- Order a sample. As you can tell from my order, a sample is an absolute must to know what you are buying. I always order a sample for expensive fabric, and maybe should do this more often. One reader stated that by the time her sample comes, the fabric is usually sold out. I liken this statement to thinking about a RTW garment only to find it sold when you go back to buy it. It’s happened to me too, and some things just aren’t meant to be.
- I am willing to take a chance on fabrics. It doesn’t always work out as expected, but it’s not the end of the world. One must be flexible when the fabric is not what was expected. When you can remain flexible, the fabric will not go to waste, and you might discover a new fashion style. For instance, yesterday I saw a newswoman wearing a turquoise neoprene dress different from my usual style and providing a new idea for my fabric.
- Familiarize yourself with as many fabrics as possible, and know which ones are consistent. I can almost always predict how a silk twill will look and feel, or a wool gabardine, or cotton broadcloth. Mood Fabrics’ Guide to Fabric and Fashion is an excellent resource.
- Carefully read the descriptions provided by the vendor. Mood Fabrics and EmmaOneSock always provide excellent descriptions and often garment suggestions. BandJ Fabrics do not provide descriptions.
- Get a Pantone chart. EmmaOneSock lists the Pantone numbers for every fabric.
- I’ve yet to learn how to gauge a fabric by its weight, but it is a must. Can someone direct me?
- Reading sewing blogs is very helpful. Most sewists critique their fabric and provide inspiration.
- The Pattern Review website pattern reviews always list the fabric content sewn giving you an wide array of fabrics used by home sewers.
Don’t I want to touch and feel the fabrics before buying?
Indeed. This sensory experience has caused many impulse buys, but as we know, one can never have too much fabric.
For me, I find that online shopping is a more deliberate process than in-store shopping. If I am traveling, I generally overindulge believing it is my only chance to shop at that particular store.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy Marrone, the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Patterns Magazine. She can identify all fabrics from online photos, proving that it can be done!
I encourage readers who are scared or turned off by online fabric shopping to be open to this new way of shopping. Yes, mistakes will be made, but your sewing world will expand by leaps and bounds 🙂
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. Viktor E. Frankl