Overbuying fabric tends to be par for the course if you are a sewer, quilter, or crafter. But you can clear more space and make money doing it – I made over $400!
We all buy too much fabric – it’s so hard not to sometimes! But eventually, your fabric stash will outgrow the space you have to store it in.
I recently undertook a massive process to declutter my sewing room by re-organizing, making some quick stash-buster projects, and finally selling some of my fabric and sewing supplies online.
Below are links to the first two posts about my process and this one you are reading is all about how I made over $432 selling fabric and tools I was never going to get around to using!
If you are interested in making some extra money and getting rid of your fabric stash (or at least some of it), read on for some tips on how to sell fabric online.
Selling My Unwanted Fabric
As a part of my massive project to clean up my space, I decided to weed through EVERYTHING in my sewing room.
I literally took everything off my shelves and sorted it into three piles:
- to re-organize (as in putting it back on the shelf more neatly than before!)
- to make into a quick project (see the stash buster post linked to above)
- to sell
Get Clear on What you are Selling
Before I listed any fabric or tools for sale anywhere I took a bit of an inventory of what I wanted to sell.
I quickly measured (if I didn’t know already) what exact size the fabric I wanted to sell was and at the same time, I took photos of each piece (more on that below under ‘tips’).
I made a list of each item including:
- Fabric Name and Designer
- 100% cotton or something else (everything I was selling was quilter’s cotton but if yours isn’t make sure you state that clearly)
- Fabric Measurements
- Any flaws in the fabric or strange cuts (like the photo above)
- For tools and other items – used or unused & damaged or undamaged.
Once I knew what I had, it was time to decide where to sell it.
Read on for my Fabric Selling Tips or watch the YouTube Video below
Where to Sell Fabrics Online
Depending on where you want to sell online it is probably a good idea to open a PayPal account if you don’t have one already.
The platform is easy to use and most buyers are familiar with it.
It offers buyer and seller protection and especially if you are going to sell in facebook groups it is essential to keep everyone safe!
There are a number of location-specific Facebook groups dedicated to destashing and re-stashing (for the buyers) quilting fabric.
To find groups to sell in, search terms like ‘fabric destash’ or ‘fabric buy and sell’ in the groups tabs.
Usually, Facebook will only show you groups in your area but double-check before you join that the other members are local enough that you can post to them or meet to exchange.
There is an etiquette to selling in these kinds of groups and different groups will have different rules so make sure you read the group rules before posting anything for sale.
In general, in these groups you need to:
- Have a photo of your items for sale – usually more than one item per photo so you aren’t overwhelming the group with too many photos
- Label each item with either the name and price of the item or with A,B,C, 1,2,3. Then also have a written list of items and prices in your post, i.e. A – 1 yd Kona Solids Snow – $6 (that’s not a price suggestion that’s just an example of how to list your item!).
- Edit your post to write SOLD beside any items that you sell so you don’t get lots of messages from folk wanting to buy the same thing when it is already gone.
I typically like to post in the morning because the posts are there when people log in and it’s produced the best results for me.
Make sure you used detailed descriptions to help buyers know what to expect in terms of postage costs or any other details you think they need to know.
Keeping track of your post and who claimed your listing can be a bit chaotic, but it’s been a successful way for me to sell fabric quickly, especially when the fabric has unique designs or is from well-known fabric designers.
I made the most money selling my fabric on eBay’s ecommerce platform.
It was really easy to do and I had a lot of success. In fact, this has been the most successful way I’ve sold used items and fabric for a number of years.
You can list each fabric individually or create bundles, for example, half yard batches, Fat Quarter Bundles (even if you didn’t buy them together), or a pile of leftover jelly roll strips. Even bags of quilting scraps that are not a standard size can sell well.
I like to include multiple pictures of the fabrics, including close-ups of any patterns or details, as well as the dimensions and fabric content.
Ebay Tips for Destashing Fabric
- Use keywords in the title. For example, Tim Holtz Fat Quarters – Cotton Fabric – Sewing, Quilting, Crafts. Use both specific words that describe exactly what you are selling (in this case Tim Holtz is the designer, Fat Quarter is the Size, and Cotton Fabric is the what) and common terms that help potential clients find your listing (folk searching more broadly for quilting and sewing supplies might also be interested in your listing even if they aren’t searching for that specific piece of fabric).
- Use details for describing your item – size, material, any flaws, etc.
- Make sure you list it in the right category for what you are selling – I usually go for ‘Crafts’ and ‘Fabric’.
- Research pricing for similar items – how much does it sell new or secondhand elsewhere? Price accordingly giving a suitable discount for the fact that you are not a shop that offers returns so folk are taking a small ‘risk’ by buying from you.
- Auction is a great choice, but you can use Buy It Now if you have several of the same item for sale.
- Be aware that if buyers are watching your item or have even put it in their shopping cart but not bought you can nudge them by sending a discount offer on your original price.
Selling fabric on eBay was really easy and a great way to make some extra money.
This is an option that I use for things that don’t sell on eBay or to make a listing where I have lots of one thing – so for example I sold some denim pockets on Etsy because I had over 100 so I sold them by weight.
I bought 25 pairs of used jeans on eBay for less than £15 and have now resold all the pockets and most of the seams (I use the proper denim fabric for denim quilts) for nearly £100 (I am in the UK so I sometimes convert to US dollars for my American readers and sometimes give pounds – sorry for being confusing!).
Opening a new account and shop (essentially your own online store) is free and the listing fees are minimal and then a percentage goes to Etsy only when your item sells.
I put my store on holiday when I have nothing to sell and bring it live when I want to sell.
If you’re interested in advertising, their built-in ads are also an option but you have to opt-in. I didn’t use ads for mine.
- Use SEO (search engine optimization) keywords in titles – that is just a fancy way of saying use the most likely words someone would use to describe what you are selling if they were searching for it on google.
- Use all 13 tags (you’ll find these on the listing setup page) for each listing to help with searches. Use any broader words that could describe your item here.
This is a great platform if you have unique or vintage fabrics that you think might have a higher value or if you have lots of cotton scraps that you can bundle into small batches and sell as and when.
Top Tips for Selling Fabric Online
1: Take good photos
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take photos that sell. The most important thing to remember is to use good lighting on a non-distracting background.
A clean floor or a cutting mat works well.
2: Use keywords
Whether you’re selling on Etsy, eBay, or Facebook, using keywords in your title and description is important.
Use terms that people might use to search for the item as well as specific details like fabric content and dimensions.
3: Set Realistic Prices
Pricing can be tricky, but there are a few general guidelines you can follow.
Make sure your pricing is realistic. No one wants to buy something they can find cheaper elsewhere.
Start with a fair base price, and then add a little bit extra for shipping.
I like to offer free shipping depending on the size of the order. Another option is to build the shipping price in the list price.
If you’re not sure what to charge, take a look at what similar items are selling for from other fabric sellers.
Do be aware though that if you are buying on eBay or a Facebook group it might take a clear discount to urge a buyer to take the plunge and buy.
You aren’t making any money from that fabric sitting on the shelf and you didn’t buy it as an investment did you?
How Much Money I Made Selling my Fabric Online
All in all, I’d say that my fabric-selling experiment was a resounding success.
Spending a little time to make $432 in two weeks was a nice way to sell a ton of fabric and other items that were cluttering my space.
Full disclosure I wasn’t just selling fabric. I also sold:
- June Tailor Kits I was never going to get around to using
- A couple of accuquilt dies I wasn’t going to use.
- Some extra feet from my old Bernina sewing machine.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of the items I sold and what I got for them watch the YouTube video above.
I also have another video on YouTube about how I bought a box of random quilting fabric and supplies on eBay, kept what I wanted, and then sold the rest for pretty much the same price I paid for the whole box! You can watch that here.
What tips do you have for selling fabric online? Share in the comments below!
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