favorite fabric stores

Like most of you, I’m always on the hunt for fabric. Even when I don’t really need anything, I like to keep up with my favorite suppliers just in case something new is posted, something that I can’t live without. I like to think of fabric like shoes or watches or lipstick or any number of things people can’t stop buying. (But go ahead and put me in the “can’t stop buying lipstick” group too, I guess.) Buying a cut of a gorgeous floral print or swishy silk or delicious wool is the jumping off point for creativity and critical thinking and, in the end, a new garment. Buying fabric is better than buying clothes, because no one will ever have the exact same dress that you have, and we are in total control of our clothes. It’s empowering and fun. But I don’t have to tell you that, you already know.

I’ve been fabric shopping for a long time. Add that to my years as a business owner making wholesale purchases and I can share a number of great places to find great fabric. Because I get asked about this all the time, I thought it would be a good idea to share my favorite places. I’m going to start with a company I just discovered last summer, Promenade Fine Fabrics in New Orleans. Hot tamale, they have the most gorgeous stuff you’ve ever seen. Now, full disclosure here, they are not cheap, nor should they be. This is where you go to treat yourself or find the perfect fabric for a special project. Promenade is a small, family owned business and they truly care about their customers. Be sure to check out their Etsy store for end-of-bolt pieces too. I’ve gotten really lucky there.

My first purchase from Promenade was the cotton sateen I used for Vogue 9202 last fall. Love it. (There’s four yards left in stock–go for it!)

There’s a handful of discount suppliers out there, but my go to is Fashion Fabrics Club. I’ve been shopping with them for more than ten years. You really have to dig for stuff sometimes, but the prices are worth the endless searching. I stock up on solid color cotton sateen there, and you can also find linen, chambray, and rayon challis prints for a steal. Nice selection of wool and knits too, but bright colors and prints are few and far between. Quality is mostly excellent, but there have been a few blemishes along the way. Sign up for the newsletter for notice of sales and free shipping promotions. I used my Christmas money on an order last week when lots of cotton was on mega sale and they were doing free shipping on $79+. That’s how you do it!

Here’s a small (very, very small) group of items I’ve done with fabrics from FFC. I’m telling you, there’s good stuff there. (These are all things I designed for the biz, back in the day. I’ve since made a couple of these for myself.)

A couple years into my business, I designed a small line of handbags and clutches. For a couple of the leather items we offered limited edition colors one season, and I sourced the leather from a New York supplier, NY Fashion Center. They have an extensive collection of colors for a lot of things, including leather, linen, and silk. I’ve found some sequin fabrics there too.

For sequin fabric like you’ve never seen, go to Fabrics World USA. Based in NYC, this company has tons and tons of sparkly, pretty fabrics. I first purchased from them years ago when I designed a sequin skirt, and I’ve only had to return something once, and it was because they sent the wrong thing. Prices are very, very fair considering what you’re buying, but the website is a little janky and there’s a bit of a language barrier if you need to call them.

This is my friend Liz in the ‘Lettie’ skirt I designed a few years ago. Got the fabric from Fabrics World, and it remains one of my favorites.

Another great store is Textile Fabrics in Nashville. My parents live there, so my mom and I try to go every time I’m in town. They have great stuff too. The navy blue floral eyelet I used for Vogue 9197 a couple weeks ago came from there. I’m also working on a skirt using a Nanette Lepore cotton print I got there last summer. You can’t shop online, unfortunately, so visit them next time you’re in Nashville.

And here’s what I’m working on now. (It’s almost finished! Eee!!)

Mood is always a good place to look, but they don’t always have much that catches my eye. I did, however, just find a stunning coral rayon/nylon/spandex ponte knit fabric that I am completely in love with. Can’t wait to wrap up a few winter projects so I can move on to spring pretties!

I’ve ordered from Fishman’s Fabrics in Chicago a couple times, for custom bridal materials and bemberg rayon lining. I purchased color cards for my business, and I believe you can still buy them. It’s helpful if you need to match colors for clients or order in bulk and the color has to be correct.

Tandy’s Leather has locations all over the country, and they are a great place for leather goods and tools. You can buy remnant pieces by the pound too, which is great for experimenting new techniques. I have a couple huge hides in my fabric stash that I really, really want to get around to one of these days.

Fabrics Wholesale Direct is a great place for 54″ tulle. Tons of colors.

Online Fabric Store is another great place for tulle, and they have a number of colors in the 108″ width.

Harts Fabric has an incredible selection of rayon prints, a fabric I absolutely love. I have my eye on a couple right now.

Vogue Fabrics is a great resource for horsehair braid, among other things.

If you know of any great places for pretty fabric, let me know! Happy Shopping!

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  1. Abigail | 5th Jul 17

    Thank you for the recommendations! What woven fabric types would you recommend for a beginner? I’m working on a dress pattern and trying to resist the siren call of quilting cottons in novelty prints.

    • Emily | 6th Jul 17

      Hi Abigail! Great question. Your options are almost endless! A few of my favorites that also work well for beginner projects are linen, cotton poplin, cotton sateen, cotton shirtings, lightweight denim, and lightweight twill. Let me know if you have any other questions, and have fun!

  2. Elizabeth | 20th Jan 17

    I loved this post, its always fun to find new fabric haunts. I blog with a group of other seamstresses for Fabric Mart Fabrics, so you may think I am biased but I really love their sales and the designer fabrics are always fantastic quality. If you sign up for their emails they will bait you with really great deals often!

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