Finding Fabulous Fabric on Etsy: A Sewist’s Guide

My Journey Down the Rabbit Hole of Etsy Fabric Shops

As a lifelong sewist and crafter, I’m always on the hunt for unique, high-quality fabrics to fuel my latest projects. After years of only shopping at my local fabric stores, I finally took the plunge last year and ventured onto Etsy to expand my fabric buying experience. Let me tell you, it has been a game changer! The selection of fabrics available on Etsy is mind-boggling—way more than I could ever find at my little local shop. From gorgeous printed cottons to luxurious velvets and everything in between, Etsy has become my go-to for finding fabrics both unique and vintage to feed my creativity.

Over the past year, I’ve ordered from dozens of different Etsy shops and learned a lot about how to find the best fabric at the right price point to suit your needs. If you’re new to buying fabric online, it can feel a bit daunting at first. But let me share some of the knowledge I’ve gained while going down the rabbit hole of fabulous fabric on Etsy!

An Overwhelming Array of Fabrics

The first thing I learned is that the selection of fabrics on Etsy is massive. We’re talking thousands and thousands of options. Over 180,000 items when I last searched “fabric”! Everything from basic quilting cottons to elaborate brocades and fancy silks for cosplay and costuming. It’s an embarrassment of riches for any sewist.

When I first started, I didn’t even know what types of fabric to search for. But after some trial and error, here are some of the main fabric types I’ve discovered on Etsy:

  • Quilting cottons – These are mainstay for quilters and sewists. Printed cotton fabrics perfect for clothing, bags, accessories and of course, quilts!
  • Knits – Stretchy, comfortable fabrics like jersey, interlock, rib knit, sweater knit, French terry, etc. Ideal for t-shirts, athletic wear, and cozy loungewear.
  • Apparel fabrics – Lovely fabrics for making dresses, skirts, blouses and more. Options like linen, corduroy, voile, lawn, poplin and more!
  • Costume and cosplay fabrics – Elaborate brocades, silks, satins and novelty fabrics ideal for historical costuming and cosplay.
  • Upholstery and home decor fabrics – Gorgeous printed and woven fabrics for re-upholstering furniture, making pillows and other decor projects.
  • Wool fabrics – Cozy wools like boiled wool, coating wool, suiting wool, melton wool and of course wool felt for crafty projects.
  • Organic and sustainable fabrics – From bamboo jersey to organic cottons and recycled fabrics, so many eco-friendly choices!
  • Vintage fabrics – Rare, retro and reproduction fabrics with unique designs not found anywhere else.

The options are truly dazzling for both staple and specialty fabrics. Now let’s dive into how to easily search through this massive selection to find exactly what you need.

Hunting for Fabric Treasure on Etsy

Using Fabric Filters

The best place to start when looking for fabric on Etsy is by using the filters in the sidebar. You can filter by fabric type, material, pattern, price point and more to narrow it down.

Some of my go-to filters are:

  • Fabric Type – knit, cotton, wool, etc
  • Material – organic cotton, silk, linen, fleece
  • Pattern – floral, abstract, paisley, check, geometric, etc
  • Price range – $10-$25, $25-$50, etc
  • Color – blue, green, black, red, etc

This instantly cuts through the clutter and shows me relevant options. I love that you can combine filters too. For example, if I’m looking for floral printed cotton quilting fabric under $10/yard, I can select exactly that. The filters make it so easy to find exactly the type of fabric I need.

Searching by Fabric Name or Description

Another great way to search is by typing the specific fabric name or descriptor into the main Etsy search bar. For example:

  • Linen
  • Stretch velvet
  • Quilting cotton charm packs
  • Silk dupioni
  • Corduroy fabric by the yard
  • Vintage kimono silk

You can really get specific here based on the exact kind of fabric you want to find. This works well when you already have a certain project or use in mind.

Checking Out Fabric Shops

Beyond searching, you can also dive right into the thousands of Etsy shops that specialize in fabric to get a feel for their offerings. When I’m in browsing mode, I love going to my favorite fabric shops on Etsy and seeing what’s new.

Some of my personal go-to Etsy shops for buying fabric are:

  • ByAnnie
  • HawthorneSupplyCo
  • BlackbirdFabrics
  • RubyStarSociety
  • ShopFeliciaSuzanne

I know I can count on shops like these to offer high quality fabrics at reasonable prices. But I’m always finding new shops to explore too!

Browsing the shop sections like “Featured,” “Bestsellers,” “New Arrivals” is a treasure hunt where you never know what new and exciting fabrics you’ll uncover. It becomes addictive trying to discover new favorite shops and ogle all the gorgeous, colorful fabrics.

Ensuring Quality When Buying Fabrics Online

When you shop for fabric in person, you can feel the material and inspect it closely. Shopping online means you have to take some extra steps to ensure you’ll get high quality fabric. Here are my tips:

  • Read the fabric descriptions – Reputable shops provide detailed information on the exact type of fabric, fiber content, fabric weight, yardage and more. This helps set proper expectations.
  • Examine product photos – Zoom in on the photos to inspect the fabric’s drape, weave, print quality and vibrancy. Photos from poor sellers will look fuzzy, dull or misleading.
  • Check shop reviews – Read what other buyers are saying about quality, descriptions and service. I stick to shops with 4+ star ratings and rave reviews.
  • Ask questions – Most sellers are very responsive if you have any questions about their items. Don’t be afraid to ask for more details or photos!
  • Buy samples first – For expensive or specialty fabrics, order a fat quarter or swatch to check quality before purchasing yards of fabric.
  • Compare prices – To ensure you’re getting a good deal, compare similar fabrics between shops. Beware of prices that seem unreasonably cheap.

Taking the time to vet shops, fabrics and prices will pay off in the long run! I’ve been very pleased with the fabric quality from my favorite Etsy sellers.

Finding the Best Fabric Shops by Category

One of the things that impresses me most about Etsy is the range of specialty fabric shops. No matter what type of fabric you’re looking for, there are sellers who focus specifically on that niche. Here are some of my favorite Etsy fabric shops, broken down by category:

Quilting Cottons

  • HawthorneSupplyCo – Massive selection of the latest modern quilting cottons
  • RubyStarSociety – Rainbow of vibrant, kawaii-inspired prints
  • MissMatatabi – Japanese import cottons in novel designs

Knit Fabrics

  • Blackbird Fabrics – Buttery soft jerseys, French terry, rib knits and more
  • FunkyFriendsFactory – Oodles of fun printed stretch knits
  • PrintedKnits – Novelty knit fabrics featuring geeky, pop culture designs

Natural Fiber Fabric

  • FarmhouseFabrics – Dreamy linens, cottons and blends
  • Cloud9Fabrics – Premium organic cottons in low impact dyes
  • ParagonYarns – Rare, artisanal fabrics like alpaca and organic hemp

Vintage & Reproduction Fabrics

  • VintageFabricShop – Authentic fabric yardage from past eras
  • FarmCharmVintage – Victorian era reproductions to give that old-timey feel
  • VintageSewingShop – Fabric sold by the pound for variety and value

Costume & Cosplay Fabrics

  • NYFashionCenter – Silks, satins and brocades fit for royalty
  • Fabrics-Store – Novelty fabrics perfect for costumes and historical clothing
  • CosplayFabrics – Imports from Japan featuring anime and video game character prints

I hope these recommendations help you find exactly the types of specialty fabrics your projects call for!

Price Ranges for Fabulous Fabric

One thing that initially gave me pause about buying fabric online was the uncertainty of price ranges. At my local fabric store, everything seemed to cost $5 to $15 per yard. But on Etsy, prices can vary widely!

Here’s an overview of the typical price ranges I’ve found for high-quality fabric on Etsy:

  • Quilting cottons – $5-$20 per yard
  • Knit fabrics – $6-$25 per yard
  • Apparel fabrics – $10-$30 per yard
  • Wool fabrics – $15-$35 per yard
  • Silks, linens & boutique fabrics – $15-$40+ per yard
  • Vintage fabrics – $16-$30 per pound

Keep in mind these are general ballparks and you can find both cheaper and more expensive options. Sales, coupon codes and buying in bulk also help lower the per yard prices.

My advice is to use the filters to search within your desired budget range. That way you won’t fall in love with a $40/yard printed silk when you’re trying to keep it under $10/yard! Having price filters set helps you find fabrics within your individual budget.

Easy Shipping for Yards of Fabric Goodness

Something else that concerned me ordering bulky rolls of fabric online was the shipping process. How much would it cost to ship yards and yards of fabric? Would my mail carrier curse my name having to lug the heavy box to my door?

Luckily, most Etsy shops have this down to a science and make shipping very seamless. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed:

  • Flat-rate shipping – Most shops charge a flat $7-$12 for standard shipping on any size fabric order. This keeps costs down when ordering larger quantities.
  • First class shipping – Lightweight orders are sent first class mail starting around $4.50. Super affordable!
  • Fast processing – Orders ship out fast, usually within 1-3 business days. Extremely impressive turnaround time.
  • Tracked shipping – Your package will have a tracking number so you can follow along during transit.
  • Secure packaging – Fabric is neatly folded, wrapped in tissue/plastic and packed very securely to prevent damage.

I’m continually amazed by how quickly shops get my fabric order packaged up and shipped out. Even orders of 10+ yards arrive on my doorstep neatly packed and under budget for shipping. Major kudos to Etsy sellers for making the logistics a breeze!

Happy Quilting with Fabulous Fabric Finds

As a quilter, I was initially skeptical about finding quilting cottons on Etsy. Surely my local quilting shop had the best selection, right? Wrong! I have been amazed by the variety of high quality quilting fabrics available through Etsy sellers.

There are hundreds of shops offering bolts and bolts of cotton prints, solids, batiks and more for piecing quilts. Even better, the selection is constantly changing and being updated way faster than my local shop. I’ve found tons of modern, trendy prints I’ve never seen before along with hard-to-find basics like black and white blenders.

For pre-cut quilting fabric, you’ll also find jelly rolls, layer cakes, charm packs, fat quarters bundles and more. I love buying curated bundles that provide a variety of coordinating prints. It makes planning future quilting projects so much easier.

Beyond that, Etsy is a treasure trove for unique fabrics to showcase in your quilts. From gorgeous florals to Japanese yukatas to Liberty of London tana lawn, you’ll uncover fabrics that will really make your quilts stand out.

For any quilter, Etsy is a must to expand your fabric stash. You’ll never run out of inspiring prints and high quality basics for all your quilting needs. Happy piecing!

Latest and Greatest Fabric Trends

One of the most exciting things about shopping for fabric online is getting to see the latest trends as soon as they hit the scene. Long before patterns and kits using these fabrics make it to my local fabric store, they’re being sold by the yard on Etsy. It’s so fun to stay on top of the new prints and textures that are influencing the world of sewing and quilting.

Right now, some of the hottest modern fabric trends I’ve been seeing on Etsy include:

  • Vibrant rainbow colors – Not pastels, but vivid, saturated rainbow shades in every color of the spectrum.
  • Disco glam – Shiny metallics, sparkling foils and disco ball inspired dots bring glam to fabric.
  • Retro revival – Fabrics featuring trends from past decades like 60s paisleys, 70s stripes and art deco geometrics.
  • Indie florals – Unique illustrated floral prints as opposed to traditional florals.
  • Motivational quotes – Uplifting messages and mantras printed on fabric for feel-good projects.
  • Nontraditional animal prints – Florals featuring bunnies, cows, hedgehogs and other cutesy critters.
  • Bold stripes – Super sized stripes and color blocking with contrasting hues.
  • Eco dyes – Naturally dyed fabrics using plant based indigo, avocado pits, turmeric, etc.

It’s so exciting to see these cutting edge fabrics on Etsy long before they hit the mainstream. Following sellers and browsing often lets you discover the next big thing in fabrics and prints before anyone else!

Quality Packaging Protects Fabric

When you buy yards and yards of gorgeous fabric online, you want to ensure it will arrive safely at your door without any rips, stains or other damage. One thing I’ve been extremely impressed with is the packaging methods used by Etsy sellers. Most shops excel at securely packaging fabric so it arrives in pristine condition.

Some standard packaging practices I’ve observed are:

  • Fabric wrapped in tissue or plastic – Each yard of fabric is individually wrapped to prevent snags, stains, etc. during shipment.
  • Acid-free tissue used – Quilting cottons and delicate fabrics are wrapped in unbuffered, acid-free tissue.
  • Custom sizing – Yardage is folded to fit neatly and compactly within boxes. No bulky rolls or wrinkling.
  • Bubble wrap cushioning – Bubble wrap, packaging peanuts or crumpled paper protects the fabric bundle within the box.
  • Waterproof mailers – Plastic poly mailers are often used for smaller orders that ship First Class.
  • Thank you notes – Sweet handwritten notes thanking the buyer really personalize the packaging.
  • Free samples – Sellers frequently include an extra fat quarter or swatch with purchases.

I’m always impressed by the care put into packaging orders to ensure fabric arrives in beautiful condition. It shows how much sellers value their customers and products. Kudos to so many Etsy shops for getting this right!

Best-Selling & Must-Have Fabrics

With so many types and prints of fabric to choose from, how do you narrow down where to start? A great approach is to look for bestsellers and tried-and-true staple fabrics that sewists everywhere covet. Here are some of my favorites that I recommend checking out:

Quilting Cottons

  • Art Gallery Fabrics – Their unique designs like Watercolor Garden are huge customer favorites.
  • Tula Pink fabric – Massively popular prints from indie designer Tula Pink.
  • Liberty of London Tana Lawn cotton – Iconic floral prints from this London fabric house.
  • Riley Blake fabrics – Beautiful basics like their Oakshott Cottons for quilting.

Knits & Tees

  • Heathered jerseys – These gorgeous two-toned knits lend subtle depth.
  • Rayon Spandex – So soft and perfect for flowy dresses and tops.
  • Rib knit – Essential for arm/neck bands and adding texture.
  • French terry – Cozy like sweatshirt material but lighter weight.

Natural Fiber Fabrics

  • Organic cottons – Better for the environment and incredibly soft.
  • Linen – The perfect breezy, casual summer fabric.
  • Silk dupioni – Shimmery fabric great for special occasion sewing.
  • Alpaca – Rare, ultra soft hypoallergenic wool.

Costume & Cosplay

  • Cotton sateen – Has a luminous sheen and rich colors, ideal for historical costuming.
  • Brocade – Elaborate jacquard woven fabrics featuring ornate designs.
  • Stretch velvet – Great for Renaissance style capes, cloaks and dresses.
  • Metallic lame – Shiny and fluttering, wonderful for theatrical looks.

This list barely scratches the surface, but targets some of the most beloved fabrics for sewing an array of projects. Try starting with these staples and branch out from there!

Homing In on Fabric Discounts

A tempting way to build your fabric stash is by looking for sales, coupons and clearance fabrics on Etsy. It takes a bit more effort than paying full price, but the thrill of getting a good deal is so satisfying! Here are some tips for saving money:

  • Join newsletters – Shops often send out sitewide coupons to subscribers only.
  • Check sale sections – Many sellers have a dedicated section for marked down items.
  • Watch for sales events – Holiday weekends and fabric events tend to bring sale prices.
  • Buy bundled packs – Pre-cut packs like jelly rolls and charm packs offer cost savings.
  • Purchase remnants – Shops sell leftover short yardage at a discount.
  • Follow and favorite sellers – Sales get promoted on social media and in your feed.
  • Buy discontinued fabric lines – Shops deeply discount fabrics no longer carried.
  • Ask about seconds – Minor flaws result in discounted prices on seconds.
  • Join Facebook groups – Members share coupons and sale info in sewing groups.

It does require some work stalking sales and tracking discounts. But I’ve gotten some incredible deals, like designer quilting cottons under $5/yard. For the budget-savvy sewist, it’s well worth the effort!

Fabrics to Touch and Feel with Samples

One tricky aspect of buying fabric online is not being able to touch and feel a fabric first like in a real life fabric store. If you’re nervous about purchasing yardage of an expensive or specialty fabric you’ve never tried, a great solution is ordering swatches first.

Many Etsy shops offer smaller cuts of fabric like:

  • Fat quarters (18″ x 22″) – Enough fabric to test out sewing.
  • Half yards – For larger projects or seeing drape.
  • 5″ squares – Handy for comparing multiple colors and fabrics.
  • 1″ strips – Reveal selvedge designs.
  • Swatches – Cuttings like 2″ squares to feel thickness and sheen.

It only costs a few dollars to order sampler sizes of several fabrics and see them in person before committing to larger quantities.

I also recommend reaching out to sellers if you have any questions about the look, feel and quality of their fabrics. Most are happy to provide extra details and photos to help you make an informed purchase. Taking advantage of samples removes the risk from online fabric buying.

Reviews Reflect Fabric Quality

Speaking of removing risk, reading buyer reviews is perhaps the most important step to buying fabrics confidently online. Taking a few minutes to browse reviews gives you a sense of other customers’ experiences with a particular Etsy shop.

When reading reviews, here are some key things I look for:

  • Fabric quality – Does the fabric seem high quality with accurate colors?
  • Product descriptions – Do actual fabrics match the descriptions and photos from the seller?
  • Shipping time – How quickly does the seller process and ship orders?
  • Packaging – Was fabric shipped securely to prevent damage?
  • Customer service – Is the seller helpful and communicative with issues?
  • Overall satisfaction – Does the buyer seem happy with their purchase and would they order again?

It’s very reassuring buying from a seller who has overwhelmingly positive Etsy reviews praising their fabrics, service and shopping experience. Reviews bring transparency and credibility to any online retailer.

Becoming an Etsy Fabric Seller

After having such amazing success shopping for fabrics on Etsy, I’ve actually been considering trying to sell some of my own handmade items. Etsy makes it easy for creatives of all kinds to set up their own shop.

As a sewer, some ideas I’ve been brainstorming for selling fabrics include:

  • Zero waste fabric packs – Upcycling my own leftover fabric into pre-cut packs.
  • Printed knit fabrics – Design my own digital repeat prints to print on knits.
  • Quilting notions – Make specialty items like bias tape, piping and zippers.
  • Hand-dyed fabrics – Using natural dyes on fabric yardage and sewing projects.
  • Vintage fabric packs – Selling yardage from my personal vintage fabric collection.
  • Sewing patterns – Creating and selling my own printed sewing patterns.

There are so many options on Etsy not just to buy unique handcrafted goods, but also to sell your own! The site makes the process very newbie-friendly. I’m excited to potentially open my own fabric shop and join this amazing creative community.

A Final Look at Fabric Joy on Etsy

I hope this deep dive has shown that Etsy is a treasure trove for fabric lovers! The variety and quality available truly surpasses any local fabric store.

Yet I know how daunting it can feel trying to sift through the astronomical amount of choices. Just take it step by step using the searching, filtering and vetting tips I mentioned.

Start by finding some go-to sellers offering fabrics you love at prices you’re comfortable with. Branch out from there as you find your bearings in this magical online marketplace.

For me, the fun is in the journey of constantly discovering new types of fabrics, prints, shops and makers. Whenever I feel in a creative rut, browsing the seemingly endless options on Etsy inspires me and gets my sewing mojo flowing again.

Now get out there, have fun hunting for fabric, and happy sewing!

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