Blog-hopping. Not sock hopping, and not bar hopping...Blog Hopping.
When Kelli asked me to put together a post about online fabric shopping, I was flattered and a little surprised. The amount of information out there can be daunting, and it can seem difficult to know where to begin! I am no expert; I don't have a secret list of fine fabric distributors or designers memorized. What I do have is a mind that likes to jump around, a good internet connection, and a small obsession with finding something new. Which brings me back to blog hopping, because that's how I stumbled onto all my favorite fabric sites.
And yes...my list of bookmarked web sites is out of control. Just ask my husband.
Blogs are a wonderful resource because someone else has already done the work for you. It's like being in middle school again and going straight to the encyclopedias for your "primary research". Many times people will tell you the designer and sometimes they will also tell you where they purchased it. Made By Rae (where Kelli entered her Spring Top), for example, always notes what fabric she uses - I might not have great taste, but I can sure mooch off those who do!
Kelli and Rian have also shared two great fabric sites through posts on this blog: Z&S Fabrics and Bee Square Fabrics. Once you visit these sites, take note of which designers you like. Most of the time they will have their own website where you can get a larger selection of their designs. They might also have links to vendors that sell their products, which would include web site addresses. You can also visit local stores and check out designer names (don't underestimate places like Joanne's - you can often score something great for very little - but if I'm looking for something unique I always look up "Quilting" stores versus fabric or craft stores). Sewing books are also a good diving board. They always credit their vendors at the end of the book and usually list web sites as well.
There are web sites like Purl Bee and SewMamaSew who run their own shops. These are excellent places to start as they will feature a smattering of designers, ranging from small and independent to large and established. There are often also advertising sponsors somewhere on the site so don't forget to check out their sidebars! As with any purchasing experience, it is best to shop around, watch for sales and be smart. We are in a recession, right? Sometimes there is a quota you must purchase to received free shipping. Tip: Try teaming up with friends in your area; purchase together and save on shipping!
Blogging is all about networking and sharing. Sharing photos, accomplishments, life events, and INFORMATION! Remember, people want to share! Blog hopping really gives a sense of how the world wide web really does connect us all and satisfies my need for always finding something new. Here are some more links to get you started, almost all of which were discovered through blog hopping:
Art Gallery Fabrics
Crafting a Greener World
Michael Miller Fabric
Nani Iro (it's Japanese, but the magic of google = translated web sites)
The Fabric Shopper
I hope these prove helpful to you. It was difficult to pick only those few, but I don't want to spoil ALL of your fun! Let blogrolls be explored, blog archives be searched, shops be browsed, your imagination be sparked, and your blog hopping adventures begin!