Sew…F is for Fabric Sourcing

Fabric Sourcing

When designing a clothing line, you’ll need to find fabrics and order sample fabric yardage.  Sample fabric yardage is important as you’ll need it to test the color, texture, shrinkage, fade, drape, etc.

Not all fabric is available for reorder or permitted to be used in manufacturing.  I knew I couldn’t use Heather Ross’ licensed prints as she uses them for a line of pajamas.  Still couldn’t help but salivate, KWIM?



Neither could I use this awesome Springs’ licensed NASCAR print as it’s not permitted in manufacturing.  Apparently, there’s a bedding company that has exclusive rights to it…ugh!


Some prints are only available to quilt stores for resale to the home market.  I found this to be the case of many fabrics I wanted such as RJR Fabrics and Marcus Brothers.


Others are available, but cannot be reordered.  I was disappointed to learn Robert Kaufman, although they have some yardage available, will no longer be printing their blue camouflage fabric.  It matched another camouflage fabric in my line perfectly.


Many fabrics are simply discontinued by the time you go to production.


Thankfully we have the Internet and Google…I can’t imagine what clothing designers did 20 years ago if they lived outside of the main fashion districts, KWIM?  Anyway, start by Googling wholesale fabric, fabric manufacturer or fabric converter.  Steer clear of fabric jobbers.  They usually have end lots, discounted fabrics and cannot reorder fabric for production.

Here’s some links to help you in your search:

Infomat Fabric Company Listings

Apparel Search

The Cottonworks’ Global Fabric Directory

DMOZ Textile Listings

Fabric Link’s Fabric Company List

Canadian Fabric Sources

Virtual Garment Center’s Textile Company Listings

Davidson’s Textile Blue Book

Fashiondex’s Fabric Directory

Once you find what you’re looking for, call or e-mail the fabric company.  First introduce yourself and tell them what you are trying to source (color, weight, type, etc.).  Ask about their ordering minimums, wholesale pricing and whether fabric is able to be reordered for production.

If you can work within their perimeters, then ask for fabric swatches, color cards (both free) or purchase sample yardage.  Sample yardage often costs a little more than wholesale pricing, so expect to pay it.

You can also go to Textile Shows.  Before going, check out Fashiondex’s How To Shop the Fabric Show.

LA Textile Show (TALA)

Textile America

Material World


Tex World

Premiere Vision



Fashion Incubator wrote a great post about How to Buy Wholesale Fabric.  Check it out!

Fabric Sourcing is VERY time-consuming.  Just when you think you’ve found the perfect fabric, POOF!  It’s gone and you have to start your search all over again.  Happy hunting!

With friendship,





  1. Wow! I am soo glad I don’t have to deal with all that. I suggest you just deign your own signature prints and have them printed exactly how you want on the fabric of your choice! That’s what I do. Or, find someone to design prints for you if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. I had no idea how much frustration and risk I was avoiding! lol

  2. This is a great post and something I have been dealing with over the past week. Had my heart set on a new print, went to order sample yardage and found out that they had already sold out of production inventory…such a bummer!

    Thanks for the great advice!


  3. Lauren…I’d love to have my own signature prints, but I think it would probably be cost-prohibitive this early in the game. I’d love to hear more having prints done for me. Fill me in!

    Hey Amber! It stinks when you find a great print and it can’t be used. But although I had problems with 3 prints in my initial collection, I’ve found 2 to replace them just this week!

    With friendship,

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