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Crafts, Embroidery

Essential Embroidery Tutorials for Beginners

May 19, 2010

Getting started with any kind of new craft can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have anyone around to teach you the ropes. Luckily, the internet can be a good, if imperfect, teacher. I’ve put together a collection of links that can help you get the supplies, stitches and techniques in order that you need to make awesome embroidery.

From Floresita

Supplies

Check out these posts for advice on what you need to buy to get started.

Stitches

Embroidery is all about the stitches and these videos, articles and photos will explain how to do both basic and advanced techniques.


Patterns

You can use these patterns for embroidery for free which is a great way to start without making a big investment.

Other

These tutorials cover a wide range of topics both specific and general.

Books

If you need further instruction, these books are a great place to learn about embroidery and offer some truly inspirational images as well.

Crafts

30 Great Places to Buy Fabric Online

May 10, 2010

You can make the greatest stuff with your sewing skills but if you don’t have great fabric to work with your projects just won’t turn out as well. Finding fabric that is perfect for your needs can be a bit of a hassle and it’s often a task that’s best done in person so you can gauge weight and texture. Yet, some of the best deals on fabric, especially imported or designer fabric, can be found online. Here are a few sites that I’ve found to be particularly useful in finding and buying great fabrics.

UPDATE: I appreciate all the comments and recommendations, but please check out my follow up post for additional sites. Many more suggestions appear there! 30 More (and Then Some) Great Places to Buy Fabric Online

Big Sites

These sites offer wide selections suited to basic sewing needs.

  1. Joann Fabric and Crafts: You’ll find pretty much the same collection of fabrics on the Joann site as you would in the store. You can also use those fabulous 40-50% off coupons they send you in the mail with your online orders as well, making it pretty simple to save big on fabrics from this store.
  2. Hancock Fabrics: Like Joann, you’ll find a wide selection of fabrics on this site, with separate galleries for decorator, fashion and quilting fabrics.
  3. Fabric.com: You’ll find just about every kind of fabric you could want on this site and it often has pretty good sales. The only drawback is that is can be a bit of a pain to navigate.
  4. Buy and Create: This online fabric depot has a pretty solid collection of fabrics online, and the way they photograph the fabrics makes it easy to tell what their texture is like.
  5. QuiltHome.com: While it’s geared towards quilters, this site sells a wide variety of designer fabrics that would work well for any household project.

Budget

Need to do some design on a dime? These sites can help.

  1. Fashion Fabrics Club: Lots of fabrics some nice and some, well, not so pretty. They do run daily specials, however, that can be quite a good deal.
  2. Fabric Blowout: (UPDATE: It appears fabric blowout has shut down. Bummer.) Check back with this site regularly to see if any of the $3.50 per yard fabrics they have strike your fancy. I think it’s a better resource for quilters than for home decor, but that’s just my take.
  3. Fabric Depot: You’ll find pretty decent discounts on fabric and sewing supplies on this site.
  4. eBay: Not the first place you’d think to buy fabric right? But it’s a great place to get some deals on fabric. Sometimes you can even pick up real vintage prints.

Specialty and Imports

These sites are some of the best for designer and imported fabric.

  1. ReproDepot Fabrics: Holy heck this site is cool. If you want vintage reproduction fabrics, few sites do it as well as this one. They also sell cute buttons and ribbons that are worth a look as well. UPDATE: Sadly, this store closed its doors summer of 2011. Hopefully an alternative will open up soon.
  2. The Needle Shop: I think I’m biased because this is a Chicago store, but I do really love the designer fabrics they sell. The cute shop is fun to visit but if you don’t have the time you can pick up many of the fabrics they carry online at their Etsy shop as well.
  3. Etsy: A simple search through the “supplies” category on this site will yield all kinds of fabrics, many of which can be picked up in small pieces or ordered in larger cuts if you need them. You’ll find a wide range of import and specialty fabrics as well, many of which might be hard to find elsewhere.
  4. FabricWorm: Great site for imports and specialty fabrics to inspire adults and kids alike.
  5. Superbuzzy.com: This is one of the best site that I’ve found for ordering Japanese import fabrics. They have loads of designs and cute accessories to match.
  6. Phat Fabric: You’ll find some big designer names here and some really stylish Japanese imports as well.
  7. Sew, Mama, Sew!: There are some seriously cute fabrics on this site as well as patterns, imports, ribbons and other notions to check out.
  8. PurlSoho: There aren’t many designers or styles you won’t find on this great New York shop’s site. Super cute and very easy to navigate.
  9. Just Scandinavian: If you love all things Scandinavian (they are pretty good at design) then you’ll appreciate the fabrics listed on this site.
  10. Pink Chalk Fabrics: This is a great source of designer fabrics no matter what you’re working on. Plus, they have an amazing selection of patterns.
  11. Fat Quarter Shop: This site specializes in smaller cuts of fabric, which sometimes is all you need. You can get larger cuts if you need, however, and they have some great designers.
  12. Contemporary Cloth: Visit this site for organic, hand dyed, and otherwise specialty fabrics.

Designer Sites

If you want to browse by designer, check out these sites. Not all sell the fabrics directly but they will tell you where to go if you want to buy.

  1. Amy Butler: You’re unlikely to find many fabric designers that have as much exposure as Amy Butler– and for a good reason. She has loads of beautiful and coordinated fabric collections to choose from, as well as bedding and household items that have already been constructed.
  2. Joel Dewberry: I have to confess that I am hopelessly in love with many of the fabrics Joel Dewberry produces. They’re bold, interesting and often have a vintage charm without being kitschy.
  3. Alexander Henry: This designer’s fabrics range from the cartoony to fabulously fashionable. You’re bound to find something that strikes your fancy.
  4. Anna Maria Horner: I didn’t know much about this designer until I was looking around for fabric to make throw pillows (I settled on her Sketchbook print in blue). Definitely worth looking through.
  5. Kokka: Frankly, I am a little obsessed with everything Japanese and this amazing fabric design company is no exception. While many of their fabrics are designed more for fashion than home decor, some of them can easily do double duty.
  6. Heather Ross: I love, love, love the whimsical designs this children’s book illustrator comes up with. They are ideal for making things for the little ones or just fun things for yourself.
  7. Erin McMorris: Cute is the word of the day when it comes to this textile designer and illustrator’s work.
  8. Marimekko: If you haven’t heard of this Finnish (as I was informed by many angry Finns when I called it Icelandic :) ) company you’re missing out. Their fabric doesn’t come cheap, but it’s super stylish and bold.
  9. Heather Bailey: This designer undoubtedly has cool fabric but her other products (paper crafts, patterns) are awesome as well.