Designer Tip When Ordering Fabric Online

September 30, 2014

[pinterest]I miss the old days of going into a large fabric store and seeing and touching all of the many gorgeous fabrics, don’t you? I used to love to go and pick out my fabric for projects. I could touch it as well as see it.



Our only local store closed and now I have to do everything online. Easy, yes. A lot of fabrics to choose from, yes. But….

Have you ever received fabric in the mail and thought that this fabric is nothing like you thought when ordered online? Much different than the computer fabric.

You know how I always suggest buying small paint samples to try before you buy a large amount? Well I also strongly suggest the same with fabric. Always, always order a memo to see what the fabric actually looks like. Do not pick paint colors based on the fabric yet or make any other purchases around this fabric until you have it in hand.

This happened to me just this week. This is the fabric I ordered online:

BH Silk Ocean

Beacon Hill

I thought it would be perfect for a window treatment project I am working on. This is the actual sample of the fabric I received in the mail:


Can you see the difference?! The actual fabric is much, much duller than the picture, and the blue is not even look like a navy blue.

Nothing like I had expected! Imagine if I did not order a sample and just ordered 8 yards based on the computer photo? Big trouble! I was so disappointed. Here is another example of fabric online:

gh fabric

GH Fabrics

And actual:


Can you see the difference? The online version’s background is gray and the actual fabric background is beige. The flower size also was not what I expected. Such a big difference between the two.

 *Designer Tip: When ordering fabric online, order a sample memo first! You will be glad you did.

One more example to convince you:



GH Fabrics

And here is the actual fabric:


Amazing how different they are!

If you need help decorating your home, contact me today.


  1. What a good warning and tip, Kelly. I can’t believe you don’t have any local fabric stores in your area – I would be terrified to order fabric online! I suppose you can never assume accuracy on computer images, whether it’s paint color, fabric, or rugs.

  2. Very frustrating setup! It takes about 3 days for the sample to get here, and IF it’s nice enough and you want to order more, it’ll take another week or so! Thanks for sharing the pics, Kelley. That’ll teach me not to be impatient 😀

    • I agree Max. Very frustrating to receive in the mail after you have been waiting and it looks like nothing you thought. I might have to roam out of the big state of RI to find a fabric store. 🙂

  3. Your photos make me wonder, why can’t they take accurate pictures?! Online ordering can be convenient and gives you access to many more things, but I sure do miss the days when I could go to a store, see, touch, and feel a beautiful object and make it mine. So many brick&morter stores have disappeared so that ordering online is now the norm. Yes, get samples whenever you can and when you can’t, hope for a generous return policy that includes free shipping!

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