A question I’ve been getting a lot recently is where to find good jersey knit fabrics for my sewing patterns and tutorials. I know it can seem a little tough trying to find knits at first, but don’t be disheartened!!
My absolute favourite way to shop for fabrics is online. Online stores tend to have better prices, quality and selection – all of which are important to me!
One of my favourite places to get knit fabrics is from fabric.com. They’re cheap, they almost always have discount codes going, and if you spend over $35 (which i always do), then you get free shipping. I absolutely recommend ordering swatches of all fabrics first though. As much as I love this site, I find that the fabrics often vary quite a lot from what I think they are when I see them on the site – but if you’re happy to take risks, just go for it!
My absolute fabric fabrics to sew with are their Bamboo Jersey fabrics. I like them because they have an excellent amount of stretch and drape, and they’re really comfy and soft. As well as the fact that Bamboo is a really lovely breathable fabric. This is my go-to fabric for Wrap Around Maternity tops, Pina Dresses & Tops, and Ruched Maternity Tees.
There are literally hundreds of jersey fabrics on this site though. You might need to do a little sifting and a little swatch ordering to find what will work for you – but the good news is that once you do, almost all the fabrics are re-orderable. Which means they won’t disappear should you fall in love with a particular one.
Vogue Fabrics is one of my all time favourite stores. The quality of their fabrics and their customer service is outstanding. I’ve used a lot of their jersey fabrics, and they’re really great. Once again my favourite are the bamboo ones. Yes they are significantly more expensive than the bamboo jersey from fabric.com – but it’s because the quality is better. These knits are thicker and last better. I’ve used them for all of my patterns, and they’ve worked excellently. Though I prefer not to use them for Wrap around tops, just because of the cost.
If you live in Chicago, they also have brick and mortar stores as well as a warehouse store that is apparently excellent.
Another option is brick and mortar stores. To be honest, i haven’t had a huge amount of luck with stores like this. But it’s entirely possible that it’s just bad luck, and you might find something awesome!
I’m admittedly not a huge fan of Jo-Ann fabrics. I wouldn’t recommend them for knit fabrics – but I have found a few good ones in store. Normally their Rayon knits are quite good- I’ve used them for wrap tops and perfect nursing tops with great success. But I do feel they are a little overpriced, and their amounts of stock are unreliable. But I say give it a go if you have a Jo-Ann nearby – you might find a deal on their sale wall!
I hardly ever find anything good at Hancock Fabrics – but it’s possible that I’ve only ever been to bad ones. I’ve been lucky enough to find a good knit there once or twice, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
This is a Washington DC area store – so I know most people wont’ be able to shop here, but I still want to mention G street, because it’s got an excellent selection of knits. The best I’ve seen in a brick and mortar store. I would highly recommend them – especially since they have a huge remnant wall – i always clean up there!
Lastly, Markets. I am not lucky enough to live somewhere with a fabric market, but I have a friend in California and she always get insanely good knits in markets for next to nothing – so it’s always a good idea to check out of your local area has a fabric market scene. Back in 2007 my husband and I visited Paris, and I was lucky enough to visit the fabric market there (the only photo i have is above, boooo) – and I still use fabrics I got there. They were cheap, and gorgeous.
I often like to repurpose fabrics from other garments or even linens. I often use men’s Tshirts for my maternity clothing tutorials, and so I always like to have a lot on hand.
Something clever i figured out a while ago is that jersey knit bedding is often really soft, really stretchy, and for some reason cheaper by the yard than if you bought it. Weird huh? So when I see a cute coloured set of sheets at a good price – I buy them to cut up! My favourite places for jersey sheets are Target and Walmart – but i’m sure other department stores have similar cheap products
Thrift stores are an excellent place to find tshirts to sew with. They’re cheap, and you can often get really oversized ones, which is great for making maternity wear! Keep an eye out for any special deals your local thrift store does – mine often has $1 bag days, so I always make sure to stock up on men’s tshirts then.
Old Navy is a great place to find cheap tshirts. But not all the time. Every once in a while they have huge sales where they sell plain T’s for peanuts. I always grab a couple then, and put them away for later projects. Also keeping an eye on their online store is a good idea, but I find that they have more deals in store.
Four Way Stretch
I often say to look for fabric with 4 way stretch when speaking of maternity clothing. This tends to make people freak out every now and then. Honestly, it’s not that scary or hard to find!!! All it means is that the fabric doesn’t just stretch width ways, it stretches length ways too. The reason this is important is because when you’re pregnant your belly doesn’t just grow width ways, it grows lenght ways too! And a lot of the reason i say it is so that you can cheat a little on your pattern placement – so in actual fact, most of my patterns can be made with a 2 way stretch, they just won’t be stretchy as garment you made from a stretchier fabric. All the fabrics I’ve linked to in this post are 4 way. In general, look at the fabric contents – 100% cotton will not be as stretchy as 97% and 3% spandex. things that have spandex or lycra, are the stretchiest. But nothing beats actually feeling a fabric – so when it doubt always always order swatches!!
Think outside the category
Don’t be afraid to look outside the specific section you think you need. Sometimes fabrics classed as swimwear or dance fabrics are actually perfect for apparel, and in my opinion are just being classed weirdly. The other day I found a really great matte black jersey, with great drape and stretch in the “swimwear” section. It looks and feels nothing like swim fabric – but made a perfect top!
Go for quantity
Sometimes buying jersey knit can be tough – so my philosophy is to always buy more than I need. If i think i want to make one top, i buy double the required yardage. That way, if I like the fabric and want to use it again – i can!
Got a tip?!
If you’ve found a great source of jersey knit fabric, or have a tip on where to source some, please please leave a comment!! I would love to add your suggestions to this post