Online shopping is the simplest way to purchase anything – and that includes choosing to buy fabric online.

We’ve put together a list of free tips and tricks to make this type of fabric shopping a cinch. In fact, if you know what to do, you can even feel the fabric before buying fabric online. Check it out…

The reasons people choose to buy fabric online

·      Great fabric selection: A fabric shop can be quite overwhelming, with bolts of colourful fabrics of different weights and textures as far as the eye can see.

An online fabric shop offers every type of fabric for sewing imaginable – and they make it easier to pick from a huge variety of fabric: they divide the sewing textiles into types (natural fibres, synthetic, blends, seasonal fabrics, weights, etc). Some even separate the sewing fabric into colours.

And the best way to choose the right fabric is to get samples- Check out maake's sample book here

·      Time-saving: You don’t need to spend time travelling to one or more fabric shops to find the half metre unit of fabric you want. The huge range of fabric is all there waiting for you online. You can even compare fabric online, without leaving your home.

·      Convenient: You can shop for fabric on your mobile device any time that suits you, 24/7, day or night, and from anywhere – whether you’re sitting on your couch, in bed, at the office or in the kitchen…

Best of all, once you’ve chosen your fabrics, they will be delivered right to your home. No need to worry about carrying packets of sewing fabric on the Tube. And you can purchase large quantities of fabric without having to think about how to carry the fabric home. The store will organise fast delivery of the fabric directly to you.

·      Purchase fabric from anywhere in the world: At maake we have many customers who live overseas. This doesn’t stop them from ordering our exclusive selection of sewing and craft fabrics online.

They can even choose designs to have printed on the sewing fabrics, or create their own fabric – no matter where they live.

·      Various fabric price options: Aside from being able to compare fabrics from different stores to find the perfect choice, you can also compare fabric prices and choose the best price to suit your pocket.

Look out for sales, too, where you can pick up some excellent fabric bargains. Some stores offer discounts and free delivery, so check all of this before you buy.

Buy fabric online with confidence

Here are some handy tips to help your online experience at a fabric shop. This is especially important advice if you don't usually buy fabrics this way. People often worry about not getting exactly the fabric they what they want when they purchase online.

Perhaps the colour of the fabric won’t be exactly what you had in mind, or the fabric weight or texture doesn’t appeal. But you can purchase fabric and be happy with it. Here’s how:

What to look for when you buy fabric online

The following 7 points are important whether you’re buying fabric in a store or online.

1. High-quality fabrics

No matter which fabric you choose, make sure to choose the best quality sewing patterns fabric you can afford. Look out for customer reviews that tell you about the quality of the fabric offered by this particular fabric store.

2. Type of fabric 

Take note of the description given to the fabric, whether it’s natural, synthetic, or a blend. Fabric blends include different natural fabrics combined, or a combination of synthetic fabrics, or a mix of both types of fabrics.

Choose the fabric that will suit the product you want to make the best.

3. How does the fabric wash? 

Check the washing instructions so that you know what to do when the fabric gets dirty. The easier the fabric is to wash, the better.

Check whether the fabric fades after several washes or in the sun and whether it’s colour fast and won’t run when you wash it.

4.  Does the fabric shrink? 

This is important to consider when you buy fabric online. Some fabrics are pre-shrunk – you will be able to find this out in the information that details the fabrics. If the fabric has been pre-shrunk, it will have another name – ‘mercerised’ or ‘sanforised’ fabric.

If a fabric is prone to shrinking, rather purchase around 10% more fabric so that you can make the item a bit bigger in case the fabric shrinks after washing.

You might need to know whether a fabric is water-resistant or fire-retardant. Make sure to look for this information, too.

5.     Consider this when you pick a fabric pattern

 Remember: the fabric pattern will repeat itself on whatever you’re making, so make sure that you can cut the sewing fabric so that seams match up with the pattern.

6.     Think about the fabric drape 

It’s important to consider how the fabrics will drape, depending on whether you’re making a dress, a curtain, a tablecloth or a pair of trousers.

7.     Is the fabric suitable? 

Ask yourself this question before you buy fabric online. Make sure that the fabric you choose is the right one and that it will be suitable for what you want to make.

Again, look at the fabric descriptions, which will give you an idea of what the store would recommend you use the fabric for. Different fabrics work best for different garments, like baby clothes, upholstery, summer dresses, swimwear or activewear.

How to make a smart choice when you purchase fabrics 

Can you order fabric confidently online and be happy with the fabrics you've ordered? We believe you can! Here’s how to get the right fabrics every time…

·      Know about fabric: Become knowledgeable about fabric, so that you know what the fabric looks and feels like, even though you can’t touch it online.

Find out the differences between natural and sustainable fabrics, fabric weights, fabric uses and which sewing fabrics are best for a particular item, whether it’s a summer dress, a blanket, or couch upholstery. If you know what to expect, you will be happy with your fabric order.

·      Request a fabric sample: If the store offers fabric samples or swatches, purchasing sewing fabrics becomes so much easier. You can request swatches or samples of the fabric you want to buy.

And if you want to print a pattern on the fabric, this is a great way to see what the pattern and the colours will look like. You’ll also be able to gauge first-hand from the samples whether the fabric feels like a super soft cuddle or has a hard texture. Or perhaps you'll learn whether the fabric is the right weight for the product you want to make.

·      Read the fabric reviews: Often, customers give feedback on the store’s website about different fabrics; this will help you decide whether the fabrics are worth buying or not.

It will also let you know about the store’s customer service, quality of the fabrics etc. Word of mouth is a great way of knowing what to expect when you purchase fabric online.

·      Check for hidden costs: Don’t forget that when you purchase fabric online, you will also have to pay for delivery. Check this out upfront and add it to the purchase cost. 

Make sure you also do the following...

·      Buy local: This will be much more affordable for both fabric and delivery than if you purchase from an international store.

·      Find out about the fabric return policy: It’s important to be aware of the store’s return policy upfront. Read all the fine print, so that you know exactly what you can and can’t do if the sewing fabric you’ve ordered isn’t what you expected.

·      Ask questions before you purchase fabric: If you have any queries about the fabric, rather give the store a call or email them with a list of questions first.

Remember, they are fabric experts. They will be able to give you advice about which fabric would be the right one for a particular project or product.

4 important points to consider when you buy fabric online

1.     Buy BritishWhen you purchase fabric from local suppliers, it takes a lot of hassle out of the buying process. Buying British is a win-win situation. It’s a sustainable choice, as it means you are supporting local businesses – and it’s faster.

If you need fabric for an urgent project, this will be very useful, as local suppliers can deliver the fabrics fast. You’ll avoid delays at customs as well as parcels taking longer because they are coming from overseas.

Also, overseas fabric stockists may not be in the same time zone as you. If this is the case, you may have to wait for them to process an order, or to discuss any queries you may have about the fabrics.

2.     Order a fabric swatch or fabric sample: This will enable you to check the fabric’s texture and weight. Order a Fabric Sample book like the one we provide at maake.

The book features fabric swatches of all of our fabrics so that you can see the extensive range of quality fabrics you can print on. You can also find out what a design will look like when we print it on the fabric.

Order your fabric sample book here

3.     Request a fabric colour sample: The colour fabric that you see on a computer, tablet or phone screen is never exactly what you will get on your fabric in real life. Ask the store if they have a colour sheet they can send you which shows you what the fabric colours look like.

We have solved this problem by creating a Colour Atlas, a piece of fabric 140x100cm in size that has more than 2,400 colours printed onto it, including their codes. When you order one, you can see exactly what the colour will look like when it prints on fabrics and colour match accordingly.

Order your Colour Atlas

Notes on customising fabrics

When they buy fabric online, customers like to print a particular pattern on fabric or have the fabric custom-dyed in a particular colour. Interior designers often request this when they order for their fabrics, especially curtain fabrics and upholstery.

Designers sometimes request this when they are buying wool fabrics. Perhaps you're looking for a Christmas fabric, for instance. If you’re not only buying fabric but want to customise it as well, make sure upfront that the store offers this service.

Customising fabric, particularly printing designs and patterns on fabric, is offered by maake and other specialist fabric manufacturers and printers. By customising the fabric, we are making it easy for designers to bring their fabric creations to life.  

Ordering fabrics with maake

At maake, we know that each fabric project is different. So, when customers buy fabric online from us, they know we will take their distinct fabric requests into account. Every fabric order that we process is quite unique. 

Perhaps the customer is just ordering one fabric, or it could be a number of dressmaking fabrics. Or maybe we also need to dye the fabric a particular colour.

Often, designers want a pattern printed on the fabric, so we offer a great library that includes 15,300 exclusive fabric patterns for them to browse through, all created by independent artists.

What’s more, when a designer chooses one of these patterns to print on fabric, we pay the artist right away. 

We also offer a service where the designer can choose to create their own pattern and have this printed onto the fabric or fabrics of their choice.

These are the fabrics services that we provide to our customers. We do everything to make sure that the experience they have when they purchase fabric is a satisfactory one.

Choose your fabrics             Create your own fabric

July 04, 2023 — Artemis Doupa