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Thread: Buying fabric online???

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rubesgirl's Avatar
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    Buying fabric online???

    I've noticed that many of you purchase fabrics online from several sites. I've looked at some of them but find it a bit intimidating. My question is, how do you know exactly what the color will be since color can vary from monitor to monitor, and how do you know what it will feel like? Do you "pre-shop" at a store but purchase online? Any advise/answers would be welcome. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member jeemmerling621's Avatar
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    If the manufacturer is not one I am familiar with, I will either pre-shop at my LQS or buy a small amount online to get the look and feel. If its a manufacturer I am comfortable with, like Moda, Robert Kaufman, etc., I know the quality is top notch. When it comes to color, I never trust my monitor to give me a true representation of the colors. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Well, I have bought several things online... basically because I couldn't find what I needed in my small town and shipping was cheaper than gas prices to drive to the nearest large city! Also, I figured I would NOT try to specifically match something up based on the color on the monitor. Now, having said that, I was looking at some charm packs by Moda for a baby quilt I made... I was under the impression that the base of the fabric I was looking at was white, but when I got it, it was a cream color. My mistake for not asking the seller specifically about the color.

    Anyway... I have found some great deals on Ebay and here on this board, too! When in doubt, ask for color descriptions / comparisons!

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Some answers from my experiences.

    You don't know 'exactly' what the color will be, but if the fabrics coordinate online, they will generally coordinate in person even if they are slightly different from the monitor image. I never try to match something on the monitor with something I have in my hand. If I'm trying to match a fabric I already have, I shop in person.

    As for the 'feel' (aka, the hand) of a fabric, you get to know what specific manufacturers fabrics feel like and if you shop those lines online, you'll generally be happy with what you get. Word spreads here pretty fast if something is thinner or looser than usual, and, of course, you can always ask. A lot of times the members who are store owners are gracious enough to let us know when a manufacturer has switched to a thinner weight, even if only for one or two of their lines, because they frequently see things before they hit the retail market. We're lucky to have them.

    Personally, I never pre-shop at an LQS and then go buy what I was looking at online instead. I think that's really a stinky thing to do and I just plain won't do it. To each their own, but I couldn't live with myself.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  5. #5
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I rarely get a fabric that the color is not really what I anticipate. It happens , but always enlarge the sample before buying. If you are buying from as manufactures group they are made to coodinate. There have been a few times I have called and gotten a sample as the match was critical.
    I don't preshop at a LQS then go on line.. I thing its taking advantage of the resource( LQS) with out contributing ($$).

  6. #6
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    Honestly, I wish I had a true colour monitor because the prices I get online are half or less than what I would pay at a LQS (if I had one within 30 miles!!!) I am lucky that I have a DH that works in the US and does not mind being my fabric mule LOL.

    But back to the origional question--I am usually looking for a specific colour or design, so I shop at least, by manufacturer, and, if possible, by product number. I have found that most online fabric stores are more that readly to give additional info if asked. I added a request for small cream blender civil-war-type print to an order for fat quarters, and could not have picked better myself. They want your business so email and ask questions or even request a small sample.
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rubesgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks to all of you. I will feel better about shopping online taking into account your advice. Also, I agree about pre-shopping being a no -no. I just asked because of the colors. My LQS is wonderful but doesn't always have what I'm looking for at the moment. :-)

  8. #8
    Member Tollergirl's Avatar
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    I have bought fabrics online by the same company/designer to be sure of color matching. Never tried to match colors from different lines. I HAVE bought a focus fabric online, then went to my LQS to get the coordinating fabrics. Then I can be sure of creating what I like.

  9. #9
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i've been fabric shopping on line for 15 years now---most of the shops i shop with most often offer swatches (sometimes for 75 cents, sometimes for free) when i really need a true match color i order a swatch---but generally i buy the fabric i like and if it comes and is a bit different than i thought it's not a big deal. and if it's a (new to me) shop that i have not ordered from before i do not order alot the first time- i order one piece of fabric- or maybe a fq bundle to see what their fabric is like- if i am impressed i order more- if i find it less quality than i expect i make note to not shop there---there are enough on line shops it's easy to be choosy- but over the years i have found the ones i go back to consistantly when i need anything- there are 4 or 5 of them---if while doing the shop hop i come across a shop that looks really good- good prices, good shipping policy (which means i can get free or very inexpensive) and good selection of fabrics that i do not see at my favorite shops i will order from the new one to check them out. i do about 95% of my fabric shopping on line. have for a long-long time (over 15 years)
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  10. #10
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    I shop on line and never had a problem. just bought on line yesterday because shipping is cheaper then running to town. I mainly buy my focus fabric on line.
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
    mark Twain

  11. #11
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    I think it's a matter of doing as you say; pre shop and then knowing the manufacturer. I know what you mean; depending on your monitor it's hard to tell what color some of the things are. I haven't bought too much online since I've been pretty lucky at getting what I want locally. I save my receipts from one store and for every 150 I spend I get up to $15 yard of fabric for free. Another store I save my receipts and after 250 I get $25 gift card. It takes longer to get things there but since I'm buying it's nice that the computer keeps track and gives me a card when I reach a certain limit.
    Judy

  12. #12
    Junior Member craftychick's Avatar
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    Two weeks ago I finished a quilt top pre-borders. I wanted to use a medium brown with black in it. I knew I had it, searched through every shelf and storage bucket I own and could not find it. I bought it at Joann's a while ago and they no longer have it. I found a 2 inch wide strip and started looking online at Connecting Threads. I buy a lot of stuff from them, not just fabric. I found a fabric there called chocolate. It matched the strip I was comparing perfectly. I ordered it on Sunday and it arrived on Wednesday. I couldn't believe how perfect it was. I put the borders on last week and it's great. I've found Connecting Threads online fabric to be very close to the fabric in person. I've never been disappointed. P.S. The quilt with my original brown fabric from Joann's is hanging on the wall going up my stairs. I knew I bought it!

  13. #13
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I only buy sales online to build my stash.
    The exception is Connecting Treads. They are so reasonable that I like to buy charm packs to see the true fabrics. Then if I like them I will order the fabrics for a project. I like to order charm packs of the same line three at a time and enough yardage for borders. Also order $50 dollars so no freight charges. I dont make bed sized quilts often as I dont have storage for them. I like alot of variety sewing so small quilts keep my interest.
    Last edited by Rose Marie; 03-11-2012 at 06:44 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    I have ordered online and once the fabric came it was definatly not what I expected, but was still useable and at a very good price so everything worked out in the end anyway.
    Quilt outside of the box!

  15. #15
    Junior Member Briarberry's Avatar
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    I just ordered fabric online for the first time from Connecting Threads. I purposely ordered charm packs from several of their collections. They were very reasonably priced and great for table runners and now I have a sample from lots of their lines. I also ordered some fabric by the yard and was very impressed with the quality. I will be ordering from them again for sure. Like you I was intimidated at first but their service was great and shipping was almost free. It would have been if I lived in the U.S. but they only charged me $7.00 to ship to Canada. Good luck!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Barbshobbies's Avatar
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    I shop on line and love it, so far every order was at least the size I ordered or some times they gave me a few extra inches. I had to call in the last two times because my credit card no. was wrong, but when I repeated it, they said it must have been a typo on their part. Made me a little nervous, so if it happens again I will question them about it. Their phone people are the best. Having said that, yesterday an order came witch was supposed to be pink with white teddy bears on it. Well it`s lavender. I`m only making pillow cases for the great grand kids to use in the car when traveling, so that would be O.K. if I had the trim and cuff colors to match, Hate to go to LQS, HA HA

  17. #17
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    I use EBAY to find fabrics from a certain line as backing or boarders for quilts made of some kind of precut that is now hard to find. I've never had a problem with quality but I do stay away from precuts that are done by the seller. I'm not sure that their prices are any better than your LQS, but i can find almost anything I need.
    groovey

  18. #18
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    You don't unless you have seen it in the stores previously, this is why I will only buy fabric i have seen in a shop because i have bought several fabrics that turned out to be different colors than they looked online, from fabric.com and other sites. But if you already know because you have seen it in a shop then you have no worries or wasted dollars on fabric you can't use, also a good reason to support your LQS

  19. #19
    Super Member Doreen's Avatar
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    I buy most of my fabric online. I think there is one one nstance that I had to return fabric but it was my fault for not reading what it was. Some Co. offer free shipping and no sales tax. It is much cheapoer than going to a LQS taking into consideration the price of gas.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Helen6869's Avatar
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    I have ordered tons of fabric and have never been dissappointed in any of it. Mostly from Hancock's of Paducah. They are very good. I did have to match a piece of purple in a quilt for the backing so entered the name of the fabric on google and it brought it up from several sites. The least expensive was Patsy Thompson's. Ordered it and it was perfect! so good results all around on that. I too cannot afford to drive all over (nearest shop is 40 miles) looking for the right color so enjoy looking online. Good luck!

  21. #21
    Super Member MaryKatherine's Avatar
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    I buy on line because the fabric costs here in Canada are attrocious for anything but the mundane. I try to buy from collections for a particular quilt so I don't worry about colour. I have had a few doozys. I buy most of my batting on line too. Fat quaters or one yds pieces I'll buy local. I know I'm not supporting local shops but I can't afford to pay all That hidden import tax.
    Mary Katherine
    marykayhopkins123.blogspot.com

  22. #22
    Super Member quiltymom's Avatar
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    I buy on line never had a problem and never returned any!!!
    You know if your a quilter when you cleanup your sewing room and your family thinks your moving out!! Author U/K Sue

  23. #23
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    Sometimes the color is off a little, so if I need a specific shade, I purchase from a LQS.
    Price will tell you the quality of the fabric, I buy when they have specials, but they still list original prices.
    My LQS doesn't have any sales anymore and I can't afford to pay $10.65 a yard. And postage is about as cheap as
    spending the gas. More convienent as well. I buy from 2 places, Ericas and fatquartershop,
    and have always received great service and good quality fabrics.

  24. #24
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I buy from Honey Fork Fabrics and they will send you up to 10 swatches of fabrics at no charge. Just email them with the fabric #! http://www.honeyforkfabrics.com/cgi-bin/Store/store.cgi
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  25. #25
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    I buy the majority of my fabric on line. I've learned which sellers on E-bay have good fabric. You need to watch for pre-washed fabric. Not that thats bad, but sometines it's because it has been sitting around so long it smells. That can be hard to get out. There are alot of sellers on E-bay that are qult shops selling on line. Much better prices and selection than alot of LQS. If someone is interested in ones I've had good luck with I'd be happy to share. I also buy form the online shops and no problems. Once you register they let you know when there having a sale. If your buying different fabrics form one line they will all match. When I am at a LQS I take note of fabric I NEED to have and look for it on line. I hate to do that to the LQS, but I can't afford as much if I shop with them. I do make a point to spend $ some there. It's hard for me to leave a shop with out something.

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