Hi, I don’t have a huge fabric stash but I don’t have much storage space in my apartment. I don’t have a dedicated sewing room or fabric on shelves. My fabric is in a couple of bins and some bags. So I decided to experiment and try destashing fabric online specifically via Facebook and Instagram.
I went through my fabric and found several yards of six different cotton fabrics that were impulse buys or were intended for projects that I never started. I told myself that I would not get any new fabric until I sold some of my existing fabrics. Then I went outside to shoot in natural light, taking many photos, including shots with a tape measure so people could see the size of the design. I also had to measure each length of fabric and document the info, if any, on the selvage.
Destashing fabric on Instagram
I decided my sale would start on Friday, July 21 on Instagram and started a few days before that date, I created a new account – @csews_destash – and posted photos there. I decided against posting photos on my @csews Instagram because I didn’t want my followers there to feel like they were being spammed by fabric sale photos. One of my @csews followers @liblib, suggested that I have a separate destash IG account, commenting “Spam destashes drive me crazy!!” I decided that was good advice. Thanks, Libby!
It took me a while to take all the photos and I didn’t want to start my @csews_destash until all the photos were done. I took multiple photos of each fabric, including a close-up shot of the design, a shot with a tape measure and one of the selvage, if there was printed information there. I also searched the hashtags #destash, #destashfabric and #fabricdestash to see what other people said in their destash posts.
It seemed best to just describe the fabric and include information about the amount of fabric, such as 44 wide, 4 yards. I also mentioned that it was stored in a nonsmoking, no pets home. I told people to comment SOLD to claim the fabric and DM me to pay. I gave people the option to pay via PayPal or Venmo. I limited sales to the US because international shipping costs are so expensive, especially when you factor in customs. Here’s what I said about this fabric:
I didn’t make any sales over the weekend.In retrospect, I could have posted just one photo in the account long before the sale and said that more photos were coming. Then I could have had some followers before the sale began. After all, it’s hard to sell anything if you only have a few followers, right?
But I did sell this cute fabric about five days after my initial post.
The buyer is someone I know because she’s a member of the Bay Area Sewists meetup group, which I organize. She commented that she wanted it and then sent me a DM on IG and told me she could send me payment via Venmo and wanted to pick it up locally, which saved her the shipping fee. I sent her my info and received the money. We’ve arranged for me to give her the fabric at the next Bay Area Sewists meetup on August 6, which is, appropriately enough, a fabric swap.
Setting a price for destash fabric
I really didn’t know what to charge for these fabrics because for most of them I didn’t remember how much I paid. I did some searching for the fabric to see if anyone still sold it but I’ve had some of them for more than five years so I didn’t find them.
Nearly all of the fabrics were quilt-weight cotton wovens. Two had Timeless Treasures printed on the selvage. I did a quick search online and saw that sale prices for that fabric were around $7.50/yard, full price was $10.60. So I decided that about $4 to $7 per yard + shipping, was fair.
Destashing fabric on Facebook
After I posted all my photos on IG, along with the descriptions, I realized that I may not sell anything via Instagram so I searched Facebook groups and found some private US groups for selling destash fabric. I requested to join Fabric Marketplace Destash, Sew Its for Sale Fabrics (sic, it’s spelled without the apostrophe), Fabric Addicts Destash, and Stashbusters Destash Sale Group, a sister group of the Stashbusting Sewalong Group. They all responded fairly quickly so I could now post my photos there.
I started with Fabric Marketplace group because it was the first one that accepted my request. I decided to start a photo album and upload photos of the different fabrics for sale. Facebook seemed to take a long time to upload the album so I decided it might be better to just upload photos for each fabric as individual posts. I listed my PayPal email in the album description and then one of the group admins told me that I needed to get the PayPal email of the person buying the fabric and invoice that person. Oops.
I did not read the group guidelines in the post pinned to the top. Sorry! The way most of these FB groups seem to work is that you agree that by posting to the group, you agree to use PayPal and invoice the buyer. Once you receive payment, you agree to send the fabric in 48 hours to the buyer.
Once you’ve posted something to sell in a FB group, FB makes it really easy to sell to repost your info to another group. All you have to do is click on the blue button that says “Post to More Places.” Then a new window opens listing all the buy/sell FB groups you are a member of. Just check the groups you want and voila! It’s automatically posted there. I used that button to post to Sew Its for Sale (sic) group.
Sew Its for Sale has very detailed group rules and asks people to comment “agree.” The posting rules ask members to provide detailed information about destashing fabric and to post your own original photos, no photos from other sites, and reminding people that it’s a site for fabric not completed items. I posted my photos there on Saturday, July 22 and two days later I got a message from a woman in Colorado asking if this fabric was still available. I said, yes. I priced it at $15 for 4 yards, 44 wide.
Then she sent me another message saying she was interested in this fabric, too. I was selling about 3 yards of this for $15. it was 56 wide.
I told her they were both available and that shipping would be via a US mail, medium flat-rate box $13.60. She sent me her PayPal email so I could create an invoice and then she could send me payment. I marked them sold in the Sew Its for Sale group and then its status as a sold item was automatically updated on the Fabric Marketplace Destash group.
Once you post something for sale on a group page, it can be tricky to find your posts, depending on how the group uses FB. For example, it was very easy to find my items on Sew Its for Sale because on the left side of the group page, it says “Your Items” directly beneath the “Items for Sale” link. I clicked on that link and all my posts appeared.
Fabric Marketplace Destash group doesn’t have a link for “Your Items,” which means you have to search the posts to find your item. I haven’t sold anything there yet.
Stashbusters isn’t really active. With less than 300 members, there’s not much going on there so I decided not to post anything there. I just posted my fabrics to the Fabric Addicts Destash group so I don’t have anything to report there.
The destash fabric
Here’s a closer look at my fabric that still for sale on IG and FB.
Update: This pink and green fabric is now sold.
Quilt weight cotton – the selvage says: Windham Fabrics presents Le Poulet by Whistler Studios, Pattern No. 30797.
44 wide, 2 7/8 yards, 2.6 meters, uncut – $9 + shipping. This fabric has been prewashed.
The fabrics below are still available.
This border print is called Natural Effects and was designed by Michele D’Amore. The stripes and leaves (brown background) repeats on the other side of the flower design. It’s a quilt-weight cotton. The selvage says: Windham Fabrics presents Le Poulet by Whistler Studios, Pattern No. 30797. This fabric has been prewashed and is uncut.
44 wide, 3 yards, 2.7 meters, uncut – $15 + shipping
I got this unusual dyed fabric from Britex Fabrics. It was a remnant so it still had the tag on it. It’s very hard to photograph purple. I tweaked it in Photoshop to get it closer to the actual color. The lightweight cotton is finely woven.
2 2/3 yards, 44 wide, uncut, $20
My conclusion is that it’s easier to sell destash fabric on Facebook rather than Instagram. I think Instagram would work if you had a big following for your destash account. I don’t plan on selling a ton of fabric there so I don’t see how I’d get a ton of new followers. Destashing fabric on Facebook and IG takes a bit more time and thought than you think but it’s likely easier than doing it on Etsy and eBay, especially if you don’t plan on making it a regular business.
Have you tried destashing fabric on IG or Facebook? Did you sell anything? Please feel free to comment below and let me know what groups worked for you. And if you’re interested in buying one of the fabrics still for sale, please comment below or on my IG destash account @csews_destash.
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