So I love finding all kinds of new fabric, stuff I had never tried before, and just want to make something… anything with it! I am lucky enough to have a well loved hospice resale store close by, this is where I find most of my “vintage” or one-of-a-kind finds, but I admit I do most of my fabric shopping on line. Granted each and every computer screen has a little different color set up or resolution, so it is very hard to fully trust what you are looking to purchase is good quality. But through a couple friends, I learned that most of these online stores are more than happy to send you samples (usually bolt ends or seconds) for a big $ discount, samples that you can actually experiment with.
But I am going to let you in on a little secret, your best asset is your network. Most small seamstress businesses are more than happy to share their thoughts on a particular fabric, or even better yet a great source! I love it when someone gives me a “lead”, even though 90% of the time it is a dud.
This brings me to my point. When we found out we were pregnant, there were many decisions to make. Luckily we were both in agreement that she would be cloth diapered. Not only is it truly cheaper, and incredibly easier than disposables but it also is good for our daughters health and the environment! So I went looking for supplies, at that time none of the big box stores carried any of the items I needed. I came across a couple COOP and bulk buy Mom’s blogs, but ended up getting my FOE (fold over elastic) and industrial sew on velcro off of Amazon.com. The PUL (Polyurethane Laminate fabric), which is waterproof and incredibly durable was a little harder to find… but I lucked out. I used a little secret: go to the clearance section. PUL, which normally goes for 8-15$ a yard online, can be found for $2.50-4 if you can handle a non-popular color… I ended up with a light silver and a peach. If you want to have a fashion PUL, you can use it on one side and the cheaper on the inside. Easy peasy.
Recently I was tipped off that Joann’s fabrics had started a whole “cloth diaper” section, complete with patterns and matching FOE! So cute. Until I saw the price. WHOOOOO they are banking in on the home movement to cloth diaper! For $15 a yard you can get PUL with dinosaurs printed on it, matching FOE for an additional $7 for 3 feet, Velcro for an additional $3.5 for 2 feet, and if you want to use snaps instead you can get the set up for $12 + $5 for refills. One diaper cover comes out to approximately $25…. for a do it your self! OMG’s THIS DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE ABSORBENT INSERTS. This is just for the cover!
Would you like to know some good, reliable, suppliers for diaper cover materials? Fabric.com (they have a whole section just type in “cloth diaper”), amazon.com, hartsfabric.com.
Secondly, fabric comes and goes out of fashion, we all know this. Look at corduroy, was in in the 70’s back in the 90’s and now making a resurgence. All the classics make the cycle. This last year, when I was looking to make some fun Bellydance outfits, I went looking EVERYWHERE for stretch ruffle knit! Do you know that in September 2010 there were only 3 American suppliers of the stuff (that was not back shelf clearance)? One was rufflefabric.com, fabric.com, and of course MOOD in New York (but they have flippen everything!). Even then, the color selection was increadibly minimal.
Recently ruffle fabric walked the catwalk at New York Fashion week, bringing back the fun that had been around years ago. Now you can find ruffle stretch knit fabric everywhere… even saw a dress design at K-mart. Super cute!
The problem? Ruffle fabric is not cheap.
I walked into Joann’s today and guess what I found? Ruffle knit fabric, the project runway name brand. They have a few colors, mainly for Halloween. I picked it up and tested the material, MY FINGER WHEN THROUGH IT!!! The best part, they are charging the same price for this crappy material as the higher end suppliers! Another attempt at banking in on the latest fad. I have already warned many prospective clients against fabric.com and hartsfabric.com as a good supply for ruffle fabric. I have purchased lengths from them and have not been happy with the quality. Now I am adding in Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. If you really would like to play with this material, stop off at rufflefabric.com. Not only do they have great customer service, but they have high quality material.
I am looking forward to some of the more natural fabrics to come back into vogue, even though I do already have some good suppliers for hemp-silk, bamboo, and wool fabrics. I just look forward to when these are sought after again by the average consumer. BTW these good suppliers are hemptraders.com, dharmatradingco.com, and ecofabrics.com.
Last thing to note and this is pure semantics. When an abbreviation is used, it is not pronounced out as a word. ie: USA is not “uh-sah”, PUL is not “pull”, FOE is not “foe”, SCA is not “skah”, and NAOH is not “no-ahh”. So when you go to the store and ask for PUL, FOE, or silk for your SCA outfit please keep this in mind….