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!
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:
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.
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!