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Fabric SourcingThe Ultimate Guide of 2023

Many of us know that fabric sourcing is associated with making the clothes that we wear every single day. But how do businesses source fabric? 

This article will guide you in the process of fabric sourcing. We will discuss how it is acquired and where to acquire the fabrics needed to manufacture clothes.

After finishing this article, you will know how to source fabrics effectively. Reading this will also allow you to find the best suppliers in the fabric industry. Let’s now unveil the covers of fabric sourcing.

What is Fabric Sourcing?

Before we tackle fabric sourcing, we will have a recap of what sourcing is. Sourcing is the process of finding the best supplier to procure your materials or services. With that being said, Fabric sourcing is the process of acquiring the fabric that you need.

In apparel development, the fabric is the most important raw material in garments. The fabric cost is 70% of the cost of the garment. 

The designer carefully illustrates their sketches concerning the fabric texture, color, and weight. Thus, fabric sourcing has a huge role in manufacturing garments.

Fabric sourcing is the term used by professionals when they will find suppliers to acquire fabrics. The procurement of fabric appears to be a monumental task. However, once you know it, you can navigate fabric procurement vs sourcing with ease.

The one in charge of fabric sourcing is called a fabric sourcing department. The department determines how and where it can obtain the best fabric in the market. The fabric sourcing manager must have a vast knowledge of a variety of fabrics to execute their function efficiently. 


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Questions you Need to Ask yourself Before you Start to Source for Fabric

1. What do I want to make?

You need to ask yourself why you need to make this product be it if you are an individual or you have a business. If you do not know your product, then you will fail to manufacture and sell it to the end-users. 

The people or the industry that is often successful are developed by those who know their industry well. The fabrics that you will source will determine the direction of your brand and the type of product you will make. 

2. Who am I making this for?

For this, you need to have focus. You need to know who you are making these products for. You need to have a target market in order for you to successfully source your fashion fabrics.

3. What Fabrics do I need for my Clothing Line?

The best way to tell what fabric you will need is to check what is already on the market. Checking the existing fabrics in the market will allow you to find a reference sample. This is also called counter sourcing.

Counter sourcing is the best for beginners in fabric sourcing. It is the best way to make sure you get the exact materials you are looking for. Counter sourcing allows you to get the materials easily without looking much further into the technical details of the fabric. 

How to Source for Fabrics?

1. Research for suppliers

Every good sourcing entails researching potential suppliers in the market. This allows you to check if they can match your requirements.

2. Send the cuttings of the fabrics that you like

You need to send the fabrics that you like to the suppliers that you have researched. This is to inform the supplier what you want and if they can supply the type of fabric you are sourcing. 

3. Ask for swatches

The next step is to sourcing fabrics is to ask for sample swatches. The supplier can provide the swatches just from the specifications that you will send to him.

Once the swatches are delivered, you must decide which fabrics you would like. After this, you must buy sample yardage to test the fabric.

4. Order in small quantities for testing

Once you get the sample yardage, you must sew up samples for wash and wear samples. This will allow you to know if the fabric is perfect for your clothing line before ordering in bulk.

5. Order large quantities for production

Ordering in large quantities is risky. That is why it is advisable to sew up samples before buying in bulk. Once you have tested the samples and are satisfied with the result, you can now buy in bulk for production. 

Where to Find Suppliers?

1. Factory Sourced

Factory sourced means that the one responsible for manufacturing is also responsible for sourcing your fabric. Commonly, the factory will work with fabric mills to source the fabric that you like. 

Factory sourced is the easiest approach because the factory already purchases from them resulting in better pricing. 

2. Trade Shows

Trade shows are usually free. This is a great way to source fabric and evaluate vendors to potentially provide for your needs. 

Trade shows are organized in different countries, which is why you should consider travel costs. But, it is a great way to expose yourself to different fabrics during your design process.

3. Referrals

When you know someone in the fabric industry, you can ask them where they get their fabric. This is a good opportunity as you can get discounts when referred by someone. 

4. Search on the Internet

If you are considering the cost of traveling to different locations to source fabric, then this is a good alternative. Google is very helpful in searching for fabrics that will suit your taste. However, you must take note that not all vendors are tech-savvy so be ready to call them. 

4 Important Points to Remember in Sourcing your Fabric

1. Availability

You must check if the fabric that you are sourcing is available when you are ready to buy in bulk. This is to ensure that your production process will not slow down as you procured the materials already. 

It is safer to ask for fabrics in mills directly. Because it can ensure consistency and availability of the products each time you need them. 

2. Affordability

The fabrics in the manufactured garment represent 70% of the garment’s cost. So you need to consider the end wholesale prices when choosing new fabrics each season.

3. Testing and Functionality

You must know that not all that you envisioned come into reality. Sometimes, the garment you will use will not work the way you want it to. 

This is why it is important to create prototypes for wear testing to check the functionality of the design. Of course, you need to test the fabric to ensure that the fibers will absorb any finishing application added. 

4. Sustainability

It is better to source fabric that has a recycle option or functionality. This allows you to reuse the worn garments and make them new again. It also helps the environment and enables the sustainability of fabrics used to manufacture your products.

Frequentlyasked questions

+ What is fabric Sourcing?

Fabric sourcing is the process of finding suppliers of fabrics needed to manufacture their products.

+ Where can I find the right suppliers?

You can find the right suppliers through trade shows, referrals, factories, and even by searching on the internet.

+ How would I know the quality of the fabric?

You can check the quality of the product by getting swatches and making prototypes for testing.

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