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Topic: Cheaper fabric options, esp. for DIY sellers?  (Read 3749 times)
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« on: February 11, 2008 07:45:31 PM »

Hello! So...I find the cutest fabric at Walmart (shush if you don't like it!), where I mainly shop, for less than 3 bucks a yard usually, so when I search on Ebay for the really popular fabrics, the ones a lot of the "famous" DIY online sellers are using, I realize the fabric is being sold sometimes over 10 bucks a yard, when shipping is included.

I'm sorry, I am admittedly a cheap skate, but I just don't understand how these people make a profit when they're paying so much for fabric. Am I missing something? I'd love to be able to get those cute fabrics on Ebay too, especially the lycra ones with cupcakes or skulls and other crazy prints, but I just can't figure out how I could do that and see any money leftover once/if it sells.

I am a DIY seller on Etsy, and I am still trying to figure out the smartest way to make profits. Are there any bargain fabric stores online that are *actually* cheaper than Ebay, or is Ebay it?

Sorry if this thread is kinda scattered, I just wanted to open a dialogue about this topic, hehe.


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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2008 09:42:37 PM »

Take a look at Fabric Masters - http://www.fabricmaster.net/servlet/StoreFront

I just bought 24 yards of nylon from them (60 inches wide) for a total of about $50 US including the shipping cost.

I'm not associated with this company, but I think they did a great job getting me the fabric I wanted within about a weeks time.

« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2008 07:11:40 AM »

First- a lot of ebay & etsy sellers are not making a decent profit. Some don't care to, some don't know any better.

Second- the ones that are making money at it are getting supplies wholesale, which requires more cash up front to buy in bulk but in the long run will return a greater profit provided your stuff sells.

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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2008 07:30:06 AM »

I've bought from Fabric Mart: http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com

They give a 10-20% discount or a mystery bundle for first time customers. When I ordered they had a promotion that included free stabilizer too. I also purchased tailor chalk...and I have to say it works beautifully. They're really nice too...they sent me the wrong fabric and sent out the right one right away (and I got to keep the wrong stuff). The shipping is reasonable too. You can buy as much as you want and the shipping is only $8!

I swear I'm not affiliated with this place. They just made a real good impression on me when I dealt with them! Grin

« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2008 07:08:04 AM »

There is a list of fabric sources on Craftster in the Purses and Bags thread.  There are some really reasonable stores listed.  I think your best option is to buy wholesale in bulk or do a lot of comparison shopping.  Best of luck.
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2008 07:27:00 AM »

First- a lot of ebay & etsy sellers are not making a decent profit. Some don't care to, some don't know any better.

This. I do it for hobby, so I could really care less if I make a profit. The things I like to sew usually end up being things I dont find myself wearing in real life.

You need to do what everyone else (including myself) has done and scour the web relentlessly for your fabric sources that dont rip you off. I tend to stay away from eBay, just because 10 bucks a yard is ridiculous.

Though I've found that you can usually get at LEAST two tops out of one yard of fabric. Thats five dollars a top. People aren't selling things that cheap.

I would advise holding off on the pricey fabrics for now and work on your designing and construction skills. Solid colors can look just as dynamic as trendy prints if your designs are awesome.

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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2008 09:14:06 AM »

Though I've found that you can usually get at LEAST two tops out of one yard of fabric
IF you are making small tops. I wear a size 10 US my bust is 36", (ahem, smaller than the Average American Woman's size) I can get a short sleeved top that fits me out of one yard- absolutely no more.
I also recall that the OP prefers sewing for the curvaceous crowd, bodacious tat-tas require more yardage, plain & simple Smiley
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2008 11:54:25 AM »

This brings up something which I've struggled with since I started selling the clothing that I make. There are so many people who are younger, live with thier parents, etc. who aren't really concerned with turning a profit. Thier main concern is being recognized and getting thier names out there. this is fine and all, but it makes life really difficult for us older folks (I'm 32) who strive to make a living sewing. While $10/yard may seem expensive for fabric, you have to remember that you get what you pay for. Once you wander outside of Walmart or Joann, it's not uncommon to find fabric that's $25 or more a yard! You have to pass this cost onto your customer. I try to buy fabric on sale whenever possible, or use coupons when I get them from Joanns or Hancocks. Another thing to consider is that better fabrics usually come in wider widths, so even though you pay more, you get more too. Here's what I find ironic... I have quite a few friends who sew or make art and they have this idea that art should be available to everyone so they shouldn't charge much for thier art. While I tend to agree, these same people have no problem working in crummy coffee shops making just above minimum wage. So I say if people aren't willing to pay the prices that you charge or think you're some sort of capitalist pig, then they're NOT YOUR CUSTOMER! You'll find your customers. In the meantime you should read a book about fabric like Sandra Betzina's Fabric Saavy. It will help you find great deals and help you understand why some fabric is inexpensive (and crappy too) and why some fabric is very expensive and very amazing to sew with.

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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2009 10:32:55 AM »

I find the best deals at Walmart & thrift stores.  The thrift I go to most often only has fabric every now & then, but I got some beautiful brown fabric (maybe 3-4 yards) for about 2-3 bucks.  It's worth checking out for deals like that. 

Online stuff: And every now & then you can find awesome deals on ebay.  One seller, who sold almost all her fabrics at 4-7 bucks a yard (plus shipping!) even had 2 fabrics for sale cheap - one was gray and had little pink polka dots, with hearts in the dots.  Very cute, and only 1.25/yard (at least that's what it was a few hours before auction's close).  Search high & low & you can find good stuff, just takes a while. 
I use What The Craft's list of fabric places she uses as a good starting point.  She has an entire page of places she buys from, some cheap, some not. 
And let us know if any places you buy from are awesome or suck!

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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2009 10:20:34 AM »

For a long time I couldn't see paying $10 a yard for fabric (and even now, I still wince everytime I pay for it!) If I buy a yard of fabric that cost $10 and then a solid to line my items in for (at the most) $5 a yard, that's $15 I've spent in fabric. My items are small and I can do a ton with just one yard. So in my case, I'm still making a profit.

I know you make clothes which def. use more fabric than my little pouches and wristlets. Just wanted to share my experiences.  Smiley

I thought I had some fabric stores saved in my favorites that might help you but they're all upholstery and Japanese fabrics. Sorry!

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