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When you’re out shopping, you can try on clothing in a dressing room to see how it looks and feels. How can you make the right choice when shopping for garments-to-be? Follow this simple guide!

• Bring your pattern! It’s easy to get distracted and overwhelmed in a fabric store, so having a picture of your garment and fabric guide on hand will help keep you on track. Triple check the instructions to make sure you get the right length of fabric for your size.

• Bring a mirror with you. You don’t want it to be too small- magnetic locker mirrors are a good size and can fit easily inside a purse. Most fabric stores do have wall mirrors, but it’s always a good idea to look at your fabric under natural light before getting it cut. Fabric (especially the color) can look drastically different in daylight than it does under harsh fluorescent bulbs or dim lighting. Bring the fabric over to a window.. Even better, ask the sales associate if they will let you step outside! Take out your mirror and get an idea of how the true color will look on you.

• Get a feel for your fabric. Roll out a few yards of fabric from the bolt, lift it up and see how it hangs and how it moves. Determine if the fabric will work with your pattern and has the right weight, drape, texture, strength, etc. Scrunch it up to see how it wrinkles, and check for any stains or imperfections.

• Be practical as well as creative when selecting your fabrics. For example, you can usually find quilting cottons in a wide selection of fun novelty prints. While you may be head over heels for the fabric, it’s properties may be all wrong for your garment. Don’t worry… there are still plenty of cute accesories to make with those must-have fabrics! When you do find a suitable print, imagine how it will look as a finished product. Think the design may be a little much for an entire garment? You can always pair it with a more subtle fabric and use the print as an accent, such as a collar or waistband.

• Read the label! Usually there will be a sticker at either end of a bolt listing the fabric’s fiber content and care instructions. You need a fabric that’s compatible with your lifestyle. Snap a picture with your phone or jot down the details so you’ll remember how to keep your garment looking it’s best.

• Think about your existing wardrobe. What pieces you be pairing with your garment? If you have a specific combo in mind, bring that clothing item with you! See which color, print and texture fabric suits best.

• Get a second opinion. Ask a friend, a sales associate, or even a fellow shopper what they think of your selection. They may have useful suggestions or ideas you’d never thought of!

What’s your fashion-fabric shopping routine?

Photo: Getty Images


  • Missing

    Apr 17, 2014, 05.02 AMby kangell50

    Q for the Burda team.

    Your fabrics are pretty awesome. Specifically the German version, with English text, magazine.

    Do you buy the fabrics in Munich? Is there some place online that we can find them? Or a physical store we can visit?

    For anyone interested in getting away from Joann’s: I have 2 online sources for fabrics:http://tessuti.com.au/http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/home.php

    And then, for actual stores, I go to downtown LA. There’s a fabric district there that makes NYC’s look super expensive and small. It’s filled with leather, lace, cottons… Every time I visit new stores have opened. It can be a bit chaotic but if you’re willing to explore and bring cash it’s worth it. (think cottons for $2-3/yard/55")

  • Nerida_img_1581_bw_large

    Apr 15, 2014, 02.36 AMby purplegoat

    There are steps to buying fabric? I usually purchase based on what I respond to, then find something to make from it at a later date. The downside to this is that I have a MASSIVE fabric stash…. :)

  • Purplefan_large

    Apr 14, 2014, 01.58 PMby purplefan

    I have not bought fabric online-I do advise you to take note of the photo or fabric credits in BurdaStyle magazine issues and visit the suppliers’ websites. For example Alfatex-if you like the fabric used in a Burda Style pattern, either the fabric or a similar style one is shown on the website. Then see if you can purchase from Germany or look for similar fabrics from closer suppliers’ websites.

    Generally speaking, many Alfatex fabrics used in BurdaStyle tend to be very good choices (it’s not easy to find them here in Canada)!

  • Missing

    Apr 14, 2014, 09.49 AMby kimberley28

    But what about buying fabrics online? The fabric store in my town doesn’t usually have fabrics I like and it isn’t often convenient to travel to a bigger city. Do you have any tips for online fabric purchases?

  • Purplefan_large

    Apr 13, 2014, 01.08 PMby purplefan

    Fabric retail stores tend to be staffed just for basic level of staffing-the chances of anyone saying yes to allowing fabric roll or bolt outdoors is 0. However, until fabric stores follow the decor stores useful fabric sample books or sample patch ring, maybe the fabric shopper should bring some swatches from home that are known to look good in natural light and see how they look in the store of interest. Then a new fabric can be judged against swatches with the knowledge the new fabric will look more red/blue/yellow/darker/brighter when in natural light. Not a fan of most retail lighting environments, especially in stores that are situated in buildings over 40 years old. Lighting upgrades seldom happen. If anything, white LEDs are making things look colder.

  • St_patty_90x90_large

    Apr 12, 2014, 04.18 PMby Mokara

    I see a fabric and it kind of talks to me :)) it tells me what it wants to become – your suggestions are great and maybe by experience I look at a fabric (or sometimes just knowing the type of weave) I already know how it will drape and what type of garment it will be good for. It’s a GREAT idea to take a picture of the care suggestions.

    • This is a question
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