I have delved into the world of hand dyed fabrics. It is an amazing world full of gorgeous colors and styles, but it is also amazingly expensive. I searched on the Internet and read all of the posts on the stitching groups on Facebook to determine which were considered the "best." I placed orders from each and every one, and I gauged the quality versus the price from each. Now, this is entirely my opinion, but if you scout out the FB sites, you'll read a lot of the same. I encourage you to do your own "experiment" but I hope that I can encourage some of you to be more adventurous in your fabric choices. I know that I'm really happy I took this plunge.
A major issue for me is my location - the United States. There are some great dyers who are in the UK and Australia. The cost of shipping for me makes the fabrics not worth it. One of the dyers not only doesn't serge, but the fabrics still have a smell to them that I can't get rid of. I've washed the fabrics twice, laid them out to get air, etc., but they still smell.
So, I focused on my fabrics that I purchased from people in the US. There are two that stand out, and one that I purchase from over and over.
Picture this Plus is in Kansas. I have loved their fabrics, and each have matched the color that I saw online. It takes them a long while to get the fabrics dyed and out for shipping, so I do not make a purchase from them while I need it for an upcoming project. Their prices are reasonable, and I love that they have very large pieces available on their site. When you try to contact them with questions, you can only get in touch with them via email, but they will usually respond within 24 hours.
Stephanie's Fabbies is in Michigan. I have to say, I saved the best for last! Stephanie Bishop started on Facebook, and I was lucky to be there when she did. She has now taken her business full time, so fabrics are being shipped even faster. Her customer service is awesome! If you have a problem or want a specialty item, just give her a call. Stephanie lets everyone know very quickly if she is out of a fabric for any reason (usually short of supply) as she will let you know as soon as it is back in stock. She auctions off her trials on her FB page, and I've picked up a couple really great custom colors over the last few months.
I cannot say enough about Stephanie's Fabbies. For the price, you get one hell of a deal. If you don't like the color that shows up, just let her know, and she'll get it replaced. She has an assortment of 55 different colors (so far) that she has mastered and are reproducible while explaining that each piece is original. Stephanie is constantly taking suggestions and working to develop new colors based on what we, the consumer, are wanting. It's wonderful to me to have the business owner so approachable and handling my business.
There is no doubt that I am NOT her best client, but she treats me like I am. On a personal level, I am very excited for her that she was able to quit her full-time job to work full-time at home on her fabric dying. I think it's great not only for her and her life, but because the rest of us will have her available to us for all of our fabric needs.
If you have not started with hand-dyed fabrics, I recommend starting with Stephanie's. You can talk to her about the different styles and types, and she can help you determine which you would like better based on your current preferences and experience level. Personally, I love Lugana and Jobelan. I prefer Lugana when I want a lighter colored piece and Jobelan when I want a darker piece, but the types of fabric are similar to stitch on.
Enjoy yourself in this wonderful little world! Pace yourself, however, because it is a very large increase in price from the Aida cloth that I'm sure we all learned on.