How to buy fabric in bulk

Written by brian westover
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Whether you are a home-based sewer undertaking an ambitious project, or a small business owner, creating a line of products, buying fabric in bulk is often the quickest and most cost-effective way to purchase large amounts of cloth. By knowing what you're after and seeking out the best deal, you can easily find the fabric you need at a price you can afford.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Determine your fabric needs. Every project is different and will have its own unique requirements. What sort of cloth and how much will you need? Are you looking for ticking cloth to make pillows, or embroidered silk for blouses? Determine the specific cloth and colours you are seeking.

    Before you order your fabric you will need to know your yardage requirements. If you are using this fabric in a project, determine how much is used in each item and multiply this number by the number of items you are making.

  2. 2

    Shop around for the best price. Some fabric retailers will use words like wholesale and discount, but sell their material at regular retail prices. When buying in bulk, even a small markup per yard can make a purchase far more expensive. Check with several companies to determine the average cost for your purchase and avoid wholesalers that charge more.

  3. 3

    Consult a directory of wholesalers. To find wholesalers and compare prices, you may need to find a wholesaler directory. These specialised listings will often include fabric wholesalers and textile manufacturers as well as vendors for other components, such as buttons, zippers and Velcro.

  4. 4

    Shop for bargains. If you are searching for the cheapest price, consider searching for discount outlets and clearance sales. These sales often feature usable fabric that did not make the grade for a different application, lots that did not sell as expected, and partial lots that need to be cleared out. These sales are especially helpful if the material is being purchased for a single project that won't need a continuous supply of the same fabric.

  5. 5

    Place an order. Once you have found what you are looking for at a price that seems reasonable, all that remains is to make the purchase. While many retailers allow online orders, there are a few that still deal with customers by mail, over the phone or exclusively in person. If you expect to be filling similar orders again, take this opportunity to speak to the wholesaler about locking in a price so that price changes don't drive up costs of your future orders.

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