In the comment section to my last post, Dawn writes, "Shannon the fabrics are beautiful. Being stuck in a Fabricland wasteland I have wondered about ordering from FM. Could you share your experience of the cost of duty in getting fabrics across the border? I may have to succumb!!"
I am in much the same boat as Dawn. The only fabric store within 20 km of me is Fabricland, which is a Canadian chain store. Fabricland has a rather hit or miss assortment of fabrics - I have found some beautiful silks, wools and linens there, but to say that the quality of the offerings is inconsistent is an understatement. Not to mention, the prices are sometimes insane - for instance, Fabricland sells mid-quality silk dupioni (with a permanent crease down the middle of it!) for $35/m CDN. Online, I can purchase high quality dupioni for $10.50/yd US. Even with the exchange, shipping and customs money grab (which isn't always charged), it makes more sense to buy online.
So, over the years I have increasingly turned to online shopping for my fabric purchases. In today's post I wanted to list out some of my favourite US haunts (in reverse alphabetical order).
Vogue Fabrics has a wide range of knit and woven fabrics - silk, wool, linen, cotton, rayon and blends. They also sell trims, notions and patterns. The fabric they offer is available in a range of prices and quality, so a rudimentary knowledge of textiles is helpful to weed out the great bargains from the junk. Although I am not a member, I still appreciate the Vogue Fabric by Mail swatch club, as the coordinating fabrics they put together are inspirational. I have never had a unfortunate purchase from Vogue Fabrics.
Thai Silks has a huge assortment of silk fabrics - from chiffon to georgette to organza to charmeuse, in a wide range of colours and prints. This is the place where I buy my silk organza for underlining. I have also made a few other fashion fabric purchases too.
Textile Studio carries fabric and their own line of patterns (the original patterns in this line were designed by Loes Hinse). The fabric offerings are unique and interesting and much of it is the drapey, spongey fabric that is superbly suited to Textile Studio and Loes Hinse patterns. A large portion of my stash has come from Marsha, the proprietress of Textile Studio, who truly understands the meaning of customer service.
ETA: Textile Studio will no longer be carrying fabric. This wonderful resource is another casuality of the economic down turn. So sad.
Sawyer Brook is a purveyor of beautiful, higher end fabrics, as well as buttons, lining and interfacing. The fabric selection here is not huge, but it is exemplary. The quality of all the fabrics I have purchased from them is astounding. However, you do pay for this privilege - be prepared to shell out between $10 to $100/yard. However, if your budget allows, this etailer cannot be beat.
Lucy's Fabrics is my go-to place for excellent knits - cotton and rayon being my favourites. They stock a wide selection of solids and prints, suitable for children through adults. You can also find lingerie fabrics and notions, as well as trims, buckles and purse hardware. Laura, the owner of Lucy's is a master of customer service and I have never been disappointed by her. She is also a dog lover which earns her an A+ in my book.
ETA: Lucy's Fabric no longer carries a large selection of fashion fabrics. This has been a major blow to my stash of knits.
Fashionista Fabrics has a small, but impressive section of fabrics - in the categories of wovens, wools, cottons, silks and knits. Melody, whose customer service is simply the best, also stocks the latest Burda magazine and an assortment of notions and vintage patterns. I have been known to go on some major hauls thanks to this wonderful online resource of succulent fabrics.
Fabric Mart Fabrics
What can I say about Fabric Mart? There is a reason why this etailer is near and dear to the hearts of many a seamstress. Their fabric selection is constantly changing, with an assortment of silks, wools, linens, cottons and blends available on any given day. A knowledge of fabrics is certainly helpful, as the textiles range from high end beauties to low end garbage. However, my hits at this site far outweigh my misses and I wouldn't give them up for anything. I can easily say that a good half of my (1 100 m) stash has come from FM. They also carry buttons and other basic notions. One of my favourite things is their free bundle that gets sent along with your order if you make a minimum purchase (usually $75) - I love the surprise of mystery fabric and the bundles have provided me with some inspirational pieces.
Emma One Sock
EOS is not for the bargain hunter. Linda, the owner, scours the NY fabric scene looking for unique fabrics, often designer in origin. You must be prepared to pay for these exceptional fabrics - there are no $4/yard offerings here. However, if you are looking for something interesting and certainly not run-of-the-mill, this is the place.
So, these are the online US retailers that I stalk most often. As of late, because of the decrease in the Canadian dollar and a lack of storage space, I have greatly diminished my fabric buying. Lastly, let me say a bit about Canadian customs. It is random. I have had $200 parcels make it through customs with no charges and I have been nailed on packages $20 in value. For the most part, anything over $40ish is going to get nabbed by customs and I will have to pay. As an example, my last order from Vogue fabrics was for $157 dollars and customs asked for $14.30 (sales tax + $5 custom's processing fee). Considering, I can't find fabrics like this locally, especially at such good prices, I feel the online experience is worthwhile.