Shopping for Fabric? The shelves are empty so you have to shop online.

Have you noticed how sparse the shelves are when you go to the fabric store or to Joann’s? If you are desperate for fabric there is only one place to look – your computer. The greatest part is that you have an almost infinite number of choices, but that’s also the most difficult part.

I’ve been buying fabric online for years, but now it’s practically a necessity if you NEED FABRIC. I’m sharing some great tips for buying fabric online and the best online fabric stores that I like to use, depending on the type of fabric you want. I’m always on the hunt fabric to make pillow covers, curtains, a table runner or something for my home and I am sharing a list of my favorite fabric stores.

diy drape

Below you’ll find my top picks for places to purchase fabric online depending on what you want to make. I’m also sharing practical tips for how to get the right fabric for your project. These suggestions are limited to home decor projects only, not clothes. I use fabric for drapes/curtains, shades or pillows. These types of projects can save you hundreds of dollars and you can still make them, even if you are a beginner at sewing.

Best Places to Find Fabric Online

There are a few obvious ones and then I’ll list a bunch that maybe you haven’t heard of, and what they are good for. I will start off by telling you that there are lots of really high end fabrics available online, but those are not the ones I’m sharing.

I like to save money by making pillows and drapes, but that doesn’t work if I spend $50 for a yard of fabric. I’ve found several online fabric stores with affordable prices and all different fabrics. Some are better for solid fabrics, some are better for prints, etc. My recommendations are by type of fabric, but all my selections are for home decor fabric (not clothing or apparel fabrics). As a rule of thumb, online fabric shops sell fabric in 1 yard increments. You can buy as much fabric as you need in 1 yard increments, but if you want to by 1/4 or 1/2 yard, online shopping may not be your best option. That being said, if you find the perfect fabric you may want to bite the bullet and buy several yards of fabric so you can use it for a different sewing project.

Joann’s is the place people think of most when they are looking for a place to buy fabric online cheap, but they don’t have everything. Shopping Joannn online is SO much better than in person because the fabric supply is limited in the store. The advantage of shopping there is that you can limit your search to the type of fabric (decor), color, pattern and more. There are so many other great places to shop, here are a few in each category.

Best Fabric Stores For Solid Cotton Duck/Twill/Denim

Solid cotton duck fabric is good for lots of home decor projects because it’s heavy weight.

  • Big Duck Canvas – This site has basic colors, and you can choose the weight of the fabric (7oz, 10oz etc). The price range varies based on the type of fabric, but starts as low as $2.80 per yard. It’s nice if you aren’t a fabric expert because you can click through to the different weights and they explain what each is good for. For example, 7oz fabric is a thinner weight good for linings and tablecloths. 12oz Fabric is heavyweight, good for outdoor projects and slip covers. Their fabrics are made in the USA. They have limited colors, but the quality for the price is great. They also have a selection of denim, muslin, burlap and even options for buying fabric wholesale (if you are making projects for other people).
  • Canvas Etc. – This online store is similar to Big Duck, but as the name implies, they have a good selection of canvas fabric.They have a larger color selection and fabric widths from 36 inches to 84 inches, making this a GREAT source for fabric if you are working on drapes for big windows.

Best Place to Get Plaid Fabrics (And Stripes)

Plaid fabric comes in many different colors and includes checks, like buffalo check and tartan fabrics. I like to use these for pillows or chair covers. I prefer NOT to use these for drapes because I get tired of them faster.

  • SpoonFlower – Spoonflower has lots of patterned fabrics, unique prints and great quality fabric The fastest way to narrow down the selection is to put in the search bar, plaid or buffalo check. Then limit it to the colors you want in your plaid fabric. When you come to a plaid you like, you will have the choice to get it as wallpaper or fabric. The widest fabric available is 42 inches.
  • Fabric.com – This site is owned by Amazon. This makes it easy to checkout and you get free 2-day shipping if you’re a prime member. This site has has lots of filters to narrow your search by type, purpose, pattern, color and more. The price of yardage on this site drops as you buy more.
  • Sweet Annie Acres (Etsy) – This shop has great farmhouse style fabric, grainsack and ticking galore.

Best Fabric Sources for Quilting

I don’t quilt, but my sister is a HUGE quilter. She has made quilts for everyone in our family and you can choose all the fabrics you want. In most cases these will be cotton fabrics.

  • Fat Quarter Shop – If you don’t know what a Fat Quarter is (which i didn’t), it’s typically a quarter of a yard. Fabric stores sell these smaller pieces of fabric which are mostly used by quilters. They can vary a little bit in size, but are typically 18 inch squares. This is a great place to find fat quarter bundles with coordinating fabrics already pre cut. They have a huge selection and all of the other things you need to go along with the fabric when you make a quilt.
  • Amazon – The problem with buying fabric on Amazon is that it’s not set up to help you narrow down your choices. The prices are great, but you really need to know what you want. For example “small pink polka dot fabric”. After you do a search like this Amazon then gives you all the filters you need like Fabric Type and Color.

Best Fabrics for Slip Covers And Upholstery

I’m a huge fan of slip covers. I can’t make the complicated ones myself, but I can make a simple cover for a chair. The best places for upholstery fabric are:

  • Fabric.com – This online store could probably be in every category because of the shear volume of the selection. They make it very easy to order samples, which I highly recommend if you are doing an upholstery project.
  • Best Fabric Store – They have a selection of fabrics that are “slipcover” fabrics. This is a great way to be sure you’re getting the right weight. They also sell custom drapes that are pretty reasonable. They also carry a lot of outdoor fabrics.

Best Place to Find ONE OF A KIND Fabrics

  • ETSY – You know I had to say ETSY, it is my favorite place to shop online. ETSY is really just a collection of small shops. There are too many to list and it really depends on the type of fabric you are looking for. Just to give you an example, I recently searched for a denim fabric, and different sellers appeared that had great options vs when I searched for a stripe. My favorite sellers for fabric listed separately. Spoonflower (this is a huge supplier of fabric and wallpaper great for prints, they also have their own online store), Earth Indigo Fabric (eco friendly fabrics), CuteLittleFabricShop (good for stripes and dots).
  • Minted – It’s not obvious that Minted even carries fabric, but they do. You can find it under Home/Fabric By The Yard. Most of the fabrics you see are sourced from a global community of independent designers, and printed in the US. They are printed on demand in all the color variations you see. You can also get the pattern printed on cotton or linen 54 inches wide. I’ll share an example of a fabric I like so you get an idea, there were 8+ color choices for this stripe fabric. All the fabrics are $32 per yard.

Best Fabric Sources for Kids Fabric

I’ve got some repeats here. Minted has great fabrics for kids, except they are on the high end of what I like to spend. I also like Spoonflower for kids fabric.

Tips For Buying Fabric Online

The biggest disadvantage to buying fabric online is that you can’t see if with your own eyes before you buy. Or can you?

Tip 1 – Get samples. If it’s a large project, for me that means drapes, I will order samples. Samples are easy to get AND it can be really helpful to see the fabric in the room first. The reason that I do this with drapery fabric is that I don’t like to replace them for many years, so I want to be sure I like the fabric in my room. For throw pillows I’m more willing to gamble and skip the sample. These can be replaced more frequently.

Tip 2 – Choose the Right Fabric Type. There’s more to fabric than just the way it looks. You might find a pattern that you can’t live without but the fabric is too light weight for drapes. Here’s a basic guide for home decor projects (which is what I make).

  • For drapes/curtains/shades – Consider first if you want light to shine through the fabric or whether you prefer that they “filter” the light. Fabric weight is really important. I like a light linen fabric in a bathroom so I can keep it closed, but the sheer fabric still lets in light. In a bedroom I prefer a heavier cotton duck.
  • For Pillows – I make sure the fabric is washable because I always have to wash pillow covers.

Tip 3 – Comparison shop with Exact Match Phrase. When you find a fabric you like, use the descriptor and search for just that in google. For example, “large blue buffalo check fabric”. You can see everyone that carries it with the price per yard.

I hope this gives you a few new ideas about where you can go to find fabric in 2021. It’s a new world, where fabrics from EVERYWHERE are available with just the click of a button. Oh and don’t forget to get a spool of thread to complement the fabric you choose! What are your favorite places to buy fabric online? Share in the comments.

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  1. Love these tips, I don’t always love going into the store because I can get overwhelmed. This allows me to go to some great online options and take a break if I need to!

  2. Andrea, I love reading your posts because I learn SO much. Now that we are renting the pool house, I need to put a curtain up in our bathroom, and I never thought of using a shower curtain, which is just brilliant. I’m going to look online today for the perfect one and then just use the spring rod which again I never thought to use. Thank you so much for sharing all your great tips..

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