Monday, March 20, 2023

Quality Fabric for Every Budget

These days, inflation is driving the price of goods sky high. Fabric is not immune to this trend, but as thoughtful garment makers we know that sacrificing quality for price is not worth it in the long run. How do you purchase good fabric without breaking the bank? Is it even possible? No matter what your budget, I have my own personal recommendations on where to look and how to source great quality at a range of price points.

Quality Fabric for Every Budget

A note about location: I am in the US and my experiences revolve around ordering and shipping here. I do order outside my country but typically only from Canada or Australia. It's rare that I order from the UK, so my experience with UK shops is severely limited! If you have some good sources, please leave them in a comment below.

rayon rib knit from LA Finch


Shopping online for fabric is intimidating if you don't have a trusted source. Sometimes prices look too good to be true, and you might question how 100% linen can be $5/yard. This is where deadstock fabric comes in. Deadstock is fabric that has had a previous life in a fashion collection or design house. Basically, it's leftovers! It's often a small amount that has been purchased at a low price and is being resold by a fabric retailer. It's limited, it's one-of-kind, and despite the low price is often high quality. 

My favorite deadstock retailers are LA Finch Fabrics and Fabric Mart. I am constantly amazed at their low prices, and then always happy with the high quality. Almost all of my wool coating comes from FM because it's so affordable (under $30/yard for 100% wool, and even cashmere once!) and amazing. Josie at LA Finch is located in the heart of the LA fashion district and therefore has ready access to deadstock from those designers. She always carries interesting fabrics and I feel like I have an order on the way from her at all times.

A word of caution about deadstock retailers: if you love it, buy it. Nothing haunts us like the unique fabric we didn't buy that never came around again. Ask me how I know.

Another budget-friendly retailer is Yes. The name looks fake. If you get on their website and look at their prices, you'll think it can't be real. I can assure you, they are real! does one thing and does it well: linen. Tons of different weights, weaves, and colors. They have, by far, the best prices for linen and I've liked all the pieces I've gotten from them.

wool jersey from The Fabric Store


If you're looking for something specific and can't find it among the deadstock sellers, you may need to graduate to a more mid-tier retailer. Their selection will be wider but their prices may also be a bit higher. My go-to mid-range fabric seller is Mood Fabrics. They sell absolutely everything. Rayon velvet? 400 search results. Hemp jersey? 1600 results. They also carry highly unique trims and buttons. When you can't find something specific, check Mood.

Mood carries deadstock as well, helping to keep fabric out of landfills and their prices manageable. The New York store is located in the fashion district and makes Mood a seller you can trust.

The Fabric Store is located in Australia and they are my go-to for nice wool knits. They also carry Liberty of London if that's your thing. Their prices are not cheap, but I'm adding them to this category because they often run really good sales. Since they're in the opposite hemisphere from me, it feels like their sales work in my favor. My all-time favorite wool t-shirt is made from a jersey from there. They ship DHL to the states and always quickly.

wool blend coating from Emma One Sock

High End

You've been sewing for a while. You're feeling more confident in your skills and you want to splurge a little on a special fabric. Who can you trust at the high end of the fabric shopping scale?

I'm going to slide another deadstock retailer in here who tends to have higher end fabrics at higher end prices. Emma One Sock has, quite possibly, the most off-putting website to an elder Millennial like myself, but I can assure you that their fabrics are stunning. They provide a ton of photos, Pantone color details, and even links to coordinates. In addition to deadstock they keep a steady stock of high-end basics like wool crepe, linen knits, and linings.

Blackbird Fabrics carries just about everything I could ever want. Wool coatings. Yarn dyed linens. My favorite cotton/modal jersey. I would not qualify them as affordable but I will say that any time I order, I know that I'll be happy with the cost to quality ratio. It's probably a good thing that their fabrics aren't cheaper or I'd be shopping there all the time.

Did I leave anyone off the list? Who do you trust for consistent quality fabric?

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