Let’s Talk Fabric

I get emails and comments all the time asking where I buy my fabric, and what blends of fabric are best. I always tell people that I currently buy most of my fabric from Fabric.com. Their website is really tough to navigate, and their fabrics sell out quickly, but they have pretty good prices and a decent selection. Plus, you get free shipping on orders over $35, and free returns. So online fabric shopping suddenly seems a little less scary.

I used to do a lot of my fabric shopping at Joann’s, but after my trip to the LA Fabric District last year, I’m spoiled and I just can’t justify $12 a yard on sub-par knits. Especially when they have a grand total of three colors to choose from. No thanks.

Having just made a big order from Fabric.com a few weeks ago, I thought I’d share my reviews of the fabrics I purchased. Hopefully this helps some of you searching around for fabrics.

#1. Stretch Rayon Blend Jersey Knit in Polka Dots Navy/White (no longer on the website — I told you things sell out quickly)
Fabric Blend: 65% Rayon, 33% Polyester, 2% Lycra
Price: $5.98/yard

Rayon knits are seriously the way to go. They have a gorgeous drape, and are so incredibly soft. The only negative about this fabric for me is that it has Lycra in it, rather than Spandex. For some reason the Lycra makes the edges curl a bit, which makes hemming a bit difficult. But most of the stretchy knits on Fabric.com have Lycra in them, so I didn’t have much choice. I’ve made it work before and I’ll make it work again.

#2. Stretch Rayon Jersey Knit in Royal Blue
Fabric Blend: 95% Rayon, 5% Lycra
Price: $3.49/yard (on sale right now!)

This is another fantastic fabric (because of the rayon), with a gorgeous drape and super soft. The difference between this one and the navy polka dot fabric is the exclusion of Polyester. The feel and drape are very similar between the two fabrics, but this royal blue fabric is slightly lighter weight.

My photos make it look like it’s a little lighter than the website image, but in real life it is very similar to the website image. Also, I included the second photo to show the edge of the fabric curling up — that’s the Lycra at work. Besides that curl, I highly recommend this fabric. I bought it in several other colors.

#3. Stretch Polyester Jersey Knit in Floral White/Multi
Fabric Blend: 98% Polyester, 2% Lycra
Price: $3.59/yard (on sale right now!)

This fabric is nearly all polyester, but it has a very similar feel to the Rayon/Lycra blends. Very soft, and again a beautiful drape to it. The only real difference I can see is that it’s not quite as soft as the Rayon/Lycra, and not quite as stretchy (although it still has a good stretch). And again, curled edges.

#4. Designer Stretch Rayon Tissue Jersey Knit in Lime
Blend: 98% Rayon, 2% Lycra
Price: $6.98/yard

When it was called “tissue” jersey, I knew it would be lightweight. But I didn’t realize just how lightweight it was until it showed up. Hold this up in front of your face and you’ll hardly be able to tell it’s there — it’s that lightweight. It’s so soft, and definitely a good quality fabric, it’s just SO sheer. I’m debating between sending it back and just lining it. We’ll see.

Also, it’s definitely more of a lime color than my picture shows. See the website image for a more accurate color.

#5.  Laguna Stretch Cotton Jersey in Orange
Fabric Blend: 95% Cotton, 5% Lycra
Price: $7.98/yard

Since many of the tops I buy are stretchy cotton, I thought I’d give this fabric a shot. It’s definitely different than the Rayon/Lycra blends — it has a more slippery feel, not the ultra soft feel. But it still has a great drape, and is very stretchy.  If I could find this color in the Rayon/Lycra blend, I’d take that over this Cotton/Lycra blend, but it’s still a good fabric and I’ll be keeping it.

#6. Stretch Modal Blend Jersey Knit in Eggshell (no longer on the website)
Fabric Blend: 52% Cotton, 43% Modal, 5% Spandex
Price: $4.98/yard

This is my least favorite of all the fabrics I ordered. I’d never heard of Modal before, so I took a chance with this one. It’s really soft, has a great stretch to it, and even a nice drape, but it’s kind of thick. It almost reminds me of a really thin sweatshirt material. I was planning to make a dress, a few t-shirts, and a skirt out of this, but I think it just might be too heavy for those kinds of project.

Also, it kind of feels like the fabric will stretch out when I wear it and get baggy. I don’t know if that’s the Modal, but when I stretch it, it seems to sag a little and not bounce back. Very bad. I’ll definitely be returning this and staying away from Modal — and so should you. Oh, but you definitely can see the difference with a Spandex blend on those edges — see how flat it lays? That’s ideally what you want. 

If you have any further questions, feel free to comment or send me an email!

And along with my package, I got a coupon for 15% off when you spend $50 or more with the code: BOXSTF52. Just thought I’d pass it along.

This post is in no way sponsored by Fabric.com. All opinions are my own and was completely my choice to post about them. 

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  • Thank you so much for posting this! I have often wanted to buy fabric online, but don't know much about it. That blue and orange are so beautiful. I'm going to check them out now! 🙂

  • Amy

    Hi! I just found your blog a few weeks ago via Pinterest. I love fabric.com. Just put in my second order there (arriving today) and I also got that bright tulip print! I almost got the navy dot as well, but passed at the last minute. Thanks for this post! Love the colors you bought!

  • okay, first of all, bless you. The closest fabric store to my house is thirty minutes away (and it has like six bolts of fabric), and the closest joann's is about an hour. Free shipping (because let's be honest, I'd never spend less than 35bones there), and free returns? That sort of makes up for not being able to shop with your hands, huh? I'll be a recovering fabric fondler.

    Excited to see some projects featuring those fun colors!

  • Funny. As in what a coincidence. This morning I received my second order from fabric.com. Yes, their web site is rather annoying, but I purchased 16 yards at an average price of $5.49/yard. If anyone has purchased fabric lately, you know that this is still a bargain.

    This last order was supposed to be for T-shirt knits, but I wound up not buying any. (Bought quilting fabric instead. Shame on me.) I wasn't sure about rayon knit, since rayon wovens shrink so much.

    Would uould keep us posted on how the rayon knits hold up, please? I'm really interested in how compares to cotton knits. Thanks

  • fantastic post! Lots of work, but your readers will love you for it!

  • I have never posted before, but all your sewing posts are almost inspiring me to try to sew. Reading through this, I just wanted to say we have modal sheets, and they are my absolute favorite thing to sleep on! They drape nicely over the body. Thanks for all your great blog posts!

  • Awesome awesome post thank you so much! I have a question, are all these fabrics good for clothing? I am not new to sewing but new to sewing clothes for myself. I just had a baby and this new fashion style doesn't do anything to hide my bump. I want to sew some tops for myself. Thanks in advance!

  • Made by Niki:

    Yes, these fabrics are all great for clothing. Any of them would be perfect for skirts, dresses, tops, tunics, etc. Good luck!

  • Modal is a fairly new material but I have to say that I bought a couple of shirts made out of it at Reitmans a few years back and they were REALLY comfy. It feels heavy but when you have it on it drapes nicely. The only issue I had with it is if you get water on it it will leave a mark until you wash the whole shirt. Kind of not cool if you have kids who are constantly drooling all over you! =)

  • I want to add to what Amanda said. Ironically, I had read your article earlier today and have recently spent the evening organizing my closet. I came across a dress from White House | Black Market that is 92% Modal, 8% Spandex. It is almost IDENTICAL to the rayon/spandex blend we know and love. Modal is actually a type (brand) of rayon, like Lycra is type of spandex.

    This dress has great drape, super soft and comfy to the max 😀 It's not thick or heavy. I'm not sure if maybe it was the Modal/cotton mix that led to a poor fabric, but don't give up on Modal yet!

  • Wow, just found a Modal/Cotton blend shirt. Who knew I had so much of this? Anyway, this one is even lighter than the Modal/Spandex. I'm really curious why the Modal you got was so heavy… I'm worried to order some now, haha!

  • What kind of patterns do you use and where do you get them? I have become so discouraged by them.

  • Beth,

    I typically don't use real patterns when I sew. I usually just use my own clothes as a pattern and then make any changes as I cut the fabric out.

    But if I really do want to use a pattern for whatever reason, I just find ones on sale at Joann's. Several pattern lines have an "easy" line, and most of those are pretty good.

    Hope that helps!

  • Beth,

    I typically don't use real patterns when I sew. I usually just use my own clothes as a pattern and then make any changes as I cut the fabric out.

    But if I really do want to use a pattern for whatever reason, I just find ones on sale at Joann's. Several pattern lines have an "easy" line, and most of those are pretty good.

    Hope that helps!

  • The cotton blended in the modal is probably what made it heavier than normal. Modal is a fabric very similar to rayon. It is typically a ridiculously soft fiber that is lightweight and has a nice hand perfect for draping. I use rayon and modal for maxi dresses. They hang like a dream and are like wearing a night gown all day!

  • Hi there,

    I was just wondering, do you think using 95% cotton, 5% spandex is better than cotton/Lycra blends?

    I am trying to decide which fabric would be better to create a gentle stretch and stitch to 100% cotton.

    Any help you could give would be so appreciated!

    • Hi Anita,

      I would recommend the spandex blend over the lycra blend. Lycra blends tend to curl at the edges, which makes it difficult to handle. The spandex sits flatter and is much easier to work with. Hope that helps!

      Merrick

  • Lycra is just a DuPont brand name for Spandex; they're the same fiber. It's probably the other fibers, or the structure of knit, that makes the edges curl on your Lycra knits.