This year, I stumbled upon some cotton velveteens from one of my favorite vendors, whose Company has for the past 70 years represented a number of mills from Italy. The value of the Euro to the US Dollar on the day ordered required that I price these velveteens at $34.95. Not bad for their rich print and excellent fiber quality.
As I was anxiously waiting for their arrival from Italy, a vendor who sells remainder inventory to a discount on-line fabric source stopped by our Santa Barbara fabric store. Remainder inventory are fabrics that are left-over, or have not sold through other outlets. Sometimes you can find great classics at bargain prices from vendors that specialize in these goods, but you have to know what you are buying.
Our remainder inventory vendor pulled out of his suitcase swatches of some cotton velveteens that were pleasant in color, sophisticated in design, made in Italy....... They were even designer goods, "Made for Calvin Klein." I could feel my eyes get larger as I thought about the velveteens on the ship from Italy that I was going to have to sell for $34.95 per yard, and here were some "not bad" velveteens being offered to us at a whopping $2.00 per yard! Had I been had?
I composed myself and focused my eyes to discern the truth about these velveteens and their too good to be true price. These discount velveteens were not quite as exciting as those I was importing for FineFabrics.com. They were a little dated in design and color.... and that was the key question I had to ask. "How old are these fabrics?" My vendor responds, "Oh, these are from the 1970's. We're cleaning out our warehouse and have some things here at a good price from all the way back to the '50's."
Vintage hounds may find this interesting, but if you have ever visited a fabric warehouse in New York, you know that the fabrics are not preservecd like your mother's vintage wedding dress. And, if you have ever tried to use cotton thread from your grandmother's sewing box, you know that cotton deteriorates. And the poor, unwary sewer that falls victim to purchasing these velveteens from one of the discount on-line sources, at the bargain price I see of between $5.00 and $11.00, will have no bargain when the cotton deteriorates, shreds and splits after putting their time and creativity into their garment.
I've sat next to chain store and on-line discount fabric buyers ordering before. I've heard them say, "We'll take everything you have in quantity that is under $1.97", while I am there handling and inspecting each piece we are considering to buy.
We're as excited about finding a real bargain as anyone, but our vendors and clients know that we accept only 1st quality goods that are worth your time and creativity.
And, that is what you pay for at FineFabrics.com. We ask the questions for you.