When I first started sewing, the biggest question I had wasn’t to do with any techniques, it was ‘where do I buy fabric online?’
I love fabric shopping, especially in person. For me, there’s nothing quite like walking through a fabric store and getting up closed personal with all the material, ’feeling up the fabric’.
When you’re right there in the flesh, it’s far easier to make sure that what you’re getting is best for your project. You can make sure the colour is just right and matches any other fabric you have, you can test the drape and recovery of the fabric - it’s far easier to see how much you can expect it to crease, and you can test how soft the fabric is too.
However, not all of us are lucky enough to have a fully-stocked fabric store on our doorsteps, especially one which has a wide selection of dressmaking fabrics. That’s why getting acquainted with some of the best online fabric shops is so handy.
Although you might not be able to see the fabric in person, there are some plus points to online shopping. You can do it in your PJs, from the comfort of your bed if you really want to. I also find it far easier to be more intentional with what I’m buying online, and less likely to be attracted like a magpie to other lovely fabrics like I do when I’m in a shop. It can also be a little clearer and less overwhelming when you see all the products neatly laid out with their prices in an online shop.
But where to start?
Typing ‘online fabric shop’ into Google brings up too many results to count, so here are a few of my favourite online fabric shops to get you started…
Stoff and Stil have a really great range of fabrics for dressmaking, especially jerseys and knits. Although not a UK-based company, the shipping and delivery is pretty straight forward and reasonable and things have always arrived on time. I’ve bought some beautiful baby-friendly knits from there in the past and they have been excellent quality.
A go-to for all things crafty, Minerva Crafts sells everything from patterns and notions, to fabrics and yarns. I often review and blog about different fabrics available from Minerva Crafts, and I’ve not been disappointed yet. They have so many different types of fabrics, including dressmaking and quilting, and they are always competitively priced.
Abakhan Fabrics is another all rounder, stocking anything and everything when it comes to sewing supplies. The prices are affordable, but you’ll still find some big brands like Liberty and Craft Cotton Company.
If you’re looking for an interesting print or a Liberty Lawn, then Fabrics Galore is your place. Find anything from animal-origami jersey to 100% cotton printed with Frida Kahlo. The prices on the website are in 0.5 metre increments, which is something I’ve almost forgotten in the past, (don’t make my mistake!) Also, I’d recommend signing up to their newsletter if you want to be enabled to buy some lovely fabrics every so often.
Lisa Comfort’s range of fabrics at Sew Over It is truly lovely. There are some amazing prints and if you’re a fan of florals, you’ll find a massive selection here. You’ll also find some inspiration for future makes on the blog.
As well as stocking a great selection of indie patterns, like Friday Pattern Company, Tilly and the Buttons, and Named Clothing, Fabric Godmother also stocks some fantastic dressmaking fabrics including some lovely denim, cords and linens in more unusual colours. They also do a style consultation service, were individually picked fabrics and patterns get sent straight to your door. I’ve not tried this, but it sounds really cool!
While you might not immediately think ‘fabric’ when you look at Wool Warehouse, they do have some great buys. I’ve been looking for the Beatrix Potter quilting cotton range, and while they sell it in John Lewis, Wool Warehouse stocked a little more of the range. Their range of dressmaking fabrics isn’t as extensive as some other stores, but they do have some lovely cotton and a wide range of haberdashery items.
I’ve only ever bought one item from this store, but it’s so beautiful and unusual, that I had to include the shop on my list. They sell gorgeous dressmaking fabrics, some are inspired by vintage designs, and some are real pieces of vintage fabric. These can be quite pricey, but for a really special garment, it’s definitely worth a look.
And a couple of other retailers who are definitely worth a mention…
Plush Fabrics, My Fabrics, Fabricland, Dragonfly Fabrics, Girl Charlee and Guthrie and Ghan
Now you know which retailers to target first, here are my tips for online fabric shopping...
Tips for buying fabric online:
- Get a sample or a swatch of the fabrics you’re interested in. Most of the time this is a free service and you just need to pay for shipping.
- Sign up for newsletters - you’ll often find that many retailers will give a discount code for first-time purchases and you’ll be the first to know about any sales.
- Check the quantities carefully. Sometimes retailers will state their prices in half metres or fat quarters, so it’s a good idea to triple check that you’re getting enough.
- If you’re not sure whether a fabric is going to be quite right for a project, contact the shop directly. Usually, the retailers are very knowledgeable and want to make sure you’re getting the right product.
I hope this post gives you a place to start your search, and a few tips to avoid any pricey mistakes. I'd love to hear any other online store recommendations, so if you have any I've missed then make sure you add them below.
(All images, aside from the first, are screenshots taken from the retailer's own website and are not mine.)