fabric buying on Ebay

vintage floral fabric

It's fabrics like this that make all the time I spend on Ebay worth it. I was discussing this with a friend recently—how overwhelming and frustrating Ebay can be when searching for vintage fabric. Let's not even talk about the bad photos and vague descriptions from sellers. Or the listings with no pictures at all. Like I'm going to buy something I can't see.

The big problem is that fabrics are listed in several places (Antiques, Collectibles, and Crafts) and there are several subcategories within those groups. It would be logical to find all the vintage fabric in Collectibles>Linens,Textiles>Fabric, but all of the fabric categories are a crazy mix of stuff. Sellers don't always put things in the right place. And some of the fabrics aren't technically vintage at all.

I love to work with vintage fabric but, really, I'm all about how it looks. So, I've gotten to where I can skim the listings very quickly and I just look at ones that catch my eye. Typing vintage in the search box within a category does a pretty good job of weeding out the newer fabrics. You'll still get some reproductions here and there. But, if you're looking in Collectibles>Textiles, Linens>Feedsacks don't use vintage in your search. All feedsacks are vintage because of the years they were produced, so using a search word like vintage won't help much. Sellers don't use the word in their titles because they don't have to.

My very best deals have been from sellers who list their items in the wrong categories. You have to really work it to find them, and most bidders won't go to the trouble, so you can find some amazing stuff.

Probably the best way to search is to be very specific with your search words. Love 60s fabrics? Then use search words like 60s, 1960s, mod, groovy, hippie, or boho. Looking for larger quantities? Search for "yardage". Fun prints? Try "novelty".

And if you're worried about the uncertain nature of Ebay, don't. The sellers who specialize in fabrics are some of the most honest and trustworthy on Ebay. They know their stuff, sell excellent things, and are really pleasant to deal with, too. I've rarely been disappointed, and, if I was, it was usually my fault for not reading the description thoroughly. My favorite sellers? Sorry, I'm not giving away all my secrets :)


texcilla said...

try 36" as in width! this works too. As a seller, I try to put lots of info in the titles and this is a big help to buyers.

janet said...

Excellent suggestion, texcilla! Vintage fabric tends to be narrower in width and it's a good indicator that something is vintage.