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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Buying Fabrics through eBay

One of the primary challenges in my quest to find and refurbish heirloom-quality upholstered furniture is buying great fabrics at low prices. I buy from a number of sources: store close-outs, designer sales, estate and garage sales, discount fabric stores and eBay. This posting is about buying fabrics on-line and gives away another of my secrets - my primary eBay source.
Fabrics already purchased in 2013 - I see a theme emerging!  The source for these pieces is Designer Fabrics - check them out here.
Predicting which fabrics will work (and sell) for my pieces is even harder to do with on-line fabrics because you are not able to feel the fabric and accurately see the color. I have been buying fabrics from this particular vendor, Designer Fabrics, for about five years. Over that time, I have loved some, found others to be OK and disliked a few. Designer Fabrics is the biggest on-line retailer that I've found that offers large sized pieces (as well as small) at reasonable prices. Ray is the owner and he is located not all that far from my house in Canton, Georgia. He provides discounted consolidated shipping so I always buy at least a few bolts to get the discount or he lets me wait until I've accumulated several purchases since all his sales are 7 day auctions. He also provides a 7% discount for purchases using United States Postal Service (USPS) money orders - a discount I also take advantage of.
Here are some pieces reupholstered using the online fabrics purchased from Designer Fabrics - from my 2011 collection.
One of the reasons I like Designer Fabrics (besides price) is the detailed description that he provides with all of his fabrics along with multiple both-side photos.  Normally, composition of the fabric and weight are provided which tells you a lot about the usefulness of a piece for upholstering. I like a weight of at least 1 to 1.5 pounds per yard - less is usually too thin/flimsy for upholstered pieces.

Here is a partial description of one of the fabrics that I purchased (above).
Weight is just under 2 lbs per yard.
Valued at $48 per yard and not available at the retail level.
Pattern in the vertical direction for easy use as drapery or upholstery.
This piece would look magnificent on any window.
100% heavy weight canvas cotton.
Designer Fabrics also has a 14 day return policy which I have used sparingly but it is available. Not all of the fabrics are reasonable enough for me to purchase and, like everything else in life, his prices have gone up over the years. After all, it is a business!

Over the years, I have also used other eBay sources. Several years ago, a woman whose family had a business in the furniture capital of America - High Point, NC - sold italian woven fabrics for about a four months period. I got some GREAT deals and developed a good communication pattern with her including advice and comments about completed pieces.  She quit, however, indicating that she just wasn't selling for enough money to make it worth her while.  Hers were consistently the best fabrics I have bought on-line. I wish I had bought everything she was selling during her brief stint - but who knew it would end so soon.

Some of the great Italian woven fabrics I bought back in 2010 - wish I had more.
So, buying online via eBay does work and give you fabric choices that include some very reasonable pieces. Buying and selling online, as I know, does require faith and perseverance - and as much research and homework as you can do.  I do recommend Designers Fabrics - tell me if you have found any sellers on eBay (or elsewhere) that you would recommend.

3 comments:

  1. Your refurbished pieces are stunning - such beautiful transformations. Thank you for a new resource for fabrics - heading to check them out!!

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  2. I seem to always be looking for fabric because I tend to have my furniture recovered and help my daughters with theirs.I like a change about every ten years at least. One daughter lives in Birmingham and every time I visited we always went to Fabric Jungle. It was like a wonderland of fabrics but ...they are gone after sixty years in a family business. They were not alone in going out of business and this has been a real disappointment. Perhaps when the housing market rebounds (if it does) some fabric shops will reappear.
    I love your stunning transformations and always look forward to the next ones you've done.

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    1. Thank you Connie. I agree about the tragic loss of fabric stores (along with wallpaper stores). It does make fabric shopping for a good deal harder and harder.

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