Thursday, April 3, 2014

Buying Fabric Online?

I've never bought fabric online before and I have some questions.  Can you please share your experiences?

  • Have you found that the colors shown online are true to the colors of the fabrics when you receive them?
  • How can you tell the quality and feel of the fabric?
  • Is one company better than another?
  • Have you been satisfied buying fabric online?
  • What other questions should I ask but haven't and what else do I need to know?
I'm linking this post to Really Random Thursday at Live a Colorful Life.

Thanks for any help you can offer.  I appreciate it.


P.S.   Images above were screenshots made on April 3, 2014.  The first is from Connecting Threads, the second from Creating Keepsakes.


  1. I've bought a little fabric online through the years though mostly at I've had good experiences wherever I've shopped but sometimes the colors are more intense in person than what you see in the pic. Once I had a fabric where the print was MUCH smaller than what I imagined. I've always ordered fabrics with a brand I recognized such as Moda which helps you to know exactly what quality you're receiving. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Audrey. It sounds like maybe buying online works really well when adding to stash fabric, hoping for a range of colors and shades/tones, but maybe not quite so well if you're looking for a particular, specific color to fill a need. It must work well for many quilters or the online stores wouldn't be doing so well.

      Thanks for taking the time to respond and for being so specific. Knowing what you've written will help.

  2. I've bought a LOT of fabric online. If you have been sewing/quilting for awhile and have purchased through your local quilt shop, then you become familiar with the different manufacturers, designers, etc. I think that helps a lot. As a general rule, I think the colors are quite good, at least with my computer. I have some favorite online shops. Audrey is right about fat quarter shop--they are great. Also westwoodacres for bundles of fat eighths or fat quarters, etc., pinkchalkfabrics is also another favorite.


    1. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I haven't been quilting very long and have mostly been using fabric I've had on hand, though I've purchased new pieces lately. Unfortunately I haven't paid attention to who designed or manufactured the fabric, though I have noticed that some fabrics are lower quality than others. I usually buy for color and/or pattern. So now I'll begin noticing those things.

      Thanks for recommending the the two shops. I'll take a look.

  3. I do almost all of my fabric shopping online, but there's a certain amount of never quite know what you're going to get. Colours will depend on the person who took the photo and it'll depend on your computer's set up. Sometimes things are what you're looking for and sometimes their not. Like Live a Colourful Life mentioned, it helps if you're familiar with the manufactures and the designers: most designers work to keep their colours from one line working with colours from the next, so if you know a brown is a certain shade of brown from one line, then it's a good bet (though not a guarantee) it'll be the same in the next one.

    The print size that Audrey mentioned has also hit me with shopping, though in the opposite direction - I've had prints that were much larger in person than I was expecting. It's useful if you can find a site that includes either scale information ( always lists the size of the largest element for example) or has a ruler or a coin or something similar in the photograph so that you've got a basis for judgement.

    With Connecting Threads, they do have a paper catalogue they'll send out for free if you'd like to get a good idea of their colours.

    1. Thank you for so much detail, wipgirl. I think I need to become familiar with the manufacturers, designers, and colors. Much of what I have was not purchased recently, though some smaller pieces are new. Knowing that designers try to keep their colors working together from one line to another is helpful. And thanks, too for suggesting a specific company online and another with a paper catalog. I appreciate your time in answering my questions so thoroughly.

  4. I love shopping on line - I am able to save alot of money this way. My favorite shops are "Hawthorne Threads", "Quilthome", and "". I always stay with the designers, manufacturers that I know. If the print is larger or smaller than I thought - oh well. The colors always seem to work together - if not quite the shade I originally thought. There is nothing better than getting a box of fabric delivered to your doorstep!

    1. Hi, Bonny,
      Thanks for responding to my questions and suggesting some online shops to visit. I think I mentioned to Audrey that it seems like maybe online shopping works really great to build a stash and if you want a range of colors, but may be slightly less successful if one is trying to find a more specific color.

      I'll go look at the online stores you mentioned.

  5. Hi Bonny,

    On line shopping is fun, but can take as much time as driving to your nearest LQS - at least for me. Regarding the color and scale problems, keep in mind that most manufacturers maintain a site where they detail all their current offerings, This can be a good way to double check color and scale - compare to the pics offered on the store sites. I usually check out several stores and - a site that allows you to search multiple stores at one time. One last thought: fabric designers usually compile/release fabrics in groupings where all the colors are already coordinated. As long as you stay in that grouping you are safe they will all blend together. Groupings usually include blenders and focus fabrics both.

    Happy quilting!

  6. I don't have a close LQS, so I shop online quite a bit. I am a big fan of Thousands of Bolts. They have a color matcher, it helps to find stuff that will blend. The prices are great and the customer service has been top-notch.

  7. Don’t miss the chance to get best discount on Designer Fabric from Fabric Carolina. I have browse fantastic range of curtains Fabrics, Home Decor Fabric, Upholstery and Apparel Fabrics on discount prices!

  8. I have purchased quite a bit of fabric online. It takes a while to become familiar with the various designers and companies, but once you have, it makes online shopping much easier. You will eventually become familiar with the quality and color palates. Most of my quilts are scrappy quilts so an exact match is not required. Should you need an exact match, I think it would be difficult to order online unless you had a piece of the fabric and you were looking for more of the same.
    I have found most of the online stores to be quite accurate in color although that may depend on your individual computer monitor.
    I have had wonderful experiences with the Fat Quarter Shop. I Once ordered the wrong shade of a Kona solid and I needed an exact match. When I phoned them, they were incredibly helpful in describing the colors in the range I was searching for and they even told me to send back the piece I didn't need. However, I just kept it and added it to my stash. My experience with their customer service has been outstanding.
    I have also ordered from Connecting Threads. Their prices are very good and I like their mirage and dot fabric.
    I have also ordered from Hancocks-Paducah. They have a paper catalog that I really enjoy browsing through. They carry good quality fabric, but I have found that their shipping is quite slow. Honestly though, I think the Fat Quarter Shop has just spoiled me. :)
    I'm sorry for being so long-winded, but I hope that this has been helpful. Please don't hesitate to ask more questions if you have any.
    I should add that online shopping has been a slippery slope for me. I don't have access to local quilt shops and its easy to spend a lot of time browsing the online selections. Sales are especially hard to resist. :)
    However, in the end, I still prefer to actually shop in a brick and mortar store and touch the fabric, but it's fun when you receive those boxes of fabric at your doorstep too! :)


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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