Walmart will be stocking fabric again.

9:15 AM

Bentonville, Ark. - Walmart U.S. said it will broaden its assortment by some 8,500 skus, reintroducing some items it had cut during an earlier bout of editing - including fabrics.

In 2009, Walmart began eliminating fabric departments in many stores as part of its upscaling remodel to lure higher-income shoppers out of food and commodities into its general merchandise departments.
The fabric strategy proved a boom to competitors like Jo-Ann stores, which in December 2009 said Walmart's move was opening up greater market share for the specialty retailer.

Restored products - many of them regional food favorites - will carry "It's Back" flags.

Walmart also will step up its price match policy and is launching a national TV advertising campaign today to support it.


I think this is a great idea. But there are people that disagree:
"And once again, Walmart puts another nail in the coffin of small businesses all across America. Small locally-owned quilt shops have higher quality fabrics and notions and superior customer service, but cannot compete on price alone. And shame on those people who will buy their fabrics at Walmart and then visit their local quilt shops to get help and advice with their projects!"

What that commenter said may perhaps be true. BUT... yes, there's a BIG "BUT"... every person that has an interest in purchasing fabric is not a quilter. AND there are plenty of places that don't have independent fabric stores. A Hancock Fabrics, a Jo-Ann's AND a Walmart fabric department are the ONLY game in town.

I never thought I would, but I miss my Walmart fabric department. Every so often, I would find some gems. So I say the more fabric retail options the better.

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45 comments

  1. I agree. I remember the year I quickly found the fabric to make my Halloween costume at Wal-Mart. A subsequent year I was driving all over looking for something simple and ended up paying 5x as much as I would at Wal-Mart. I do think Wal-Mart is the devil, but every now and then, the devil and I will do some business...

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  2. Good news! Logistically, Wal-Mart is the closet retailer to me that carried fabrics and yarn, and related supplies. But, I'll admit I have a long-standing love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart.

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  3. So glad to hear this!! In my little town, we are fortunate enough to still have a fabric dept in our Walmart, and I have found some real gems there. Our other options are Hancock and Hobby Lobby, so Walmart really fills an important niche, not to mention having the best prices for notions.

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  4. You could not have said it better. My specialty quilty shops average fabrics $10/yard. I can always use coupons at Joanns or Hancocks but I deserve variety too. I use quilting cotton to make my daughters clothing, not quilts. This price is ok for something special but for basic everyday clothes that will experience food and art spills and other outside stains, I need more options.

    And I get my instruction from the internet because my quilt shops (none as close to me as walmart), charge for their time. I have the right to save money.

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  5. Agreed. All I have is a Wal-mart in my town. For apparel fabric, there is only a Jo-ann's in the next largest town, 30 minutes away by freeway. No wonder I have to mail order.

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  6. I hope it comes back to my local Wal-Mart. I don't miss buying cheap fabric (though it's nice for making muslins and children's things). I just want to buy thread! My local independent shop closed last year (the owner's retired). We still have a very small quilt shop here that sells a very small smattering of sewing notions. The closest Hancock Fabrics is 75 miles away. Not the most convenient thing when you run out of thread in the middle of a late night sewing project.

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  7. You can buy "cheap" fabric from anywhere at at any price point. I've bought fabric off of Walmart's $2 table and that garment out lived one that was made from rayon jersey that I purchased from Vogue Fabrics. That one ended up looking like a pilled up piece of crap. Clearly low quality... just at a fancy store.

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  8. I have a LQS here in my rural town, which is fine for those projects, little WM 15 miles away and 45 miles to Super WalMart/Hancocks/Hobby Lobby or 65 miles to San Antonio for Joanns or Hancocks. The best apparel is in Houston, 3 hours away, at High Fashion, but you really need to go in to look. So if the local WM begins restocking at least basics of broadcloths for linings, all C&C thread colors and zips, more yarns, then I can avoid the 45 mile drive. I, too, have love/hate with WM, but sometimes, that's the only game in town. They do still carry linings, quilt fabrics, etc., but had not been reordering the rainbow of colors, so it was becoming limited. And mail order is not always suitable. You never know, sometimes those mystery fabrics at WM are nice.

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  9. Myra,

    I use to by cotton batiste by the bolts to use for linings in the summertime. I can NEVER find it at Hancocks or Joanns. Those are the kinds of deals I miss.

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  10. I'm so excited to hear they will start stocking more fabrics. It's so easy to pick up the little things you need while grocery shopping.

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  11. My local walmart has fabric - sometimes I find good stuff there. Lots of nice cotton for purses I make. There's a JoAnns about 40 minutes from me, and a quilting specific fabric store the next town over. But that's all the game in my area. And that quilting cotton fabric store - the cottons are like $10 a yard! Crazy. I buy lots of interfacing and muslin at Warlmart - can't beat $1.50 a yard (or so)! :)

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  12. Don't we all have a kind of love/hate relationship with the big W? I gave up shopping there for a while, but the fact is they carry a few things I can't get anywhere else without having to drive 40 miles to the nearest major city.
    I too have found some great deals in the Wally World fabric department. It will be nice to have thread, sewing needles and muslin just 12 miles away if I need them.

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  13. When Walmart first came to my town many years ago I loved the fabric section. But over time it became a more depressing place, dusty, bolts akimbo and falling on top of you and a very limited pattern selection. I stopped even looking for bargains. So if Walmart does want to reinstate the fabric section it will need to do some revamping.

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  14. This is exciting news to me! I live a mere 2.5 miles from Walmart (versus 40 miles to Joanns & Hancock in Hoover!) I am a self-taught sewist and it was the $1 & $2 tables at WM that got me started, without the anxiety of huge losses if I made a "wader". In fact my first successful dress was made with a WM black jersey knit with little white polka dots and is still in rotation and holding up marvelously!

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  15. I live in a fairly populated suburb of two major cities, so I have several main chain and independent fabric stores to choose from. With two Walmarts close by that both carry fabrics, it's a win-win situation. I agree, you can buy cheap anywhere. I been fine with what I've gotten from Walmart. It is what it is.

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  16. I hope they bring back the bolts of fabric. Right now my Walmart has packaged 1yd cuts of cotton & fleece fabrics. Great if one is making baby stuff.

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  17. I don't really see how Walmart fabric can really compete with independent quilt shops. I occasionally would shop for fabric at Walmart, but it never took away from shopping at other fabric shops. My aunt only had Walmart in her town for fabric and it really inhibited her ability to sew for her family. I enjoy having more options, especially when they fall in different price ranges.

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  18. Out of the 4 WalMarts nearest to me all but 1 have lost its fabric department. I agree, I've gotten some of my best fabric from there. I sure wouldn't mind having additional options to a Jo-Ann's & Hancock.

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  19. The Walmart in my town never lost its fabric department because there are so few places to buy fabric. The only problem is the quality is terrible even compared to what you can get at Hancocks. I shop at walmart, but I never shop for fabric there except maybe for muslin fabric

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  20. I know for a fact that all Walmarts are NOT created equal. Mine had pretty decent fabric. Just like it has a fine wines section and a great supply of organic food.

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  21. I am admittedly spoiled. But, I'm visiting my parents and Joanns is the ONLY store. And, I passed it twice because it was so small compared to mine. So, wherever you can get it is great.

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  22. I am happy to hear this!!! I really L*VE the one in GA where my father lives...FIESTA :)

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  23. Walmart also has yarns, a nice plus for me. BTW, if you're interested in working at Walmart, there's a section on the application where it asks about what products/hobbies you know especially well. Sewing is one of the fields in the online application. Who knows, the store in your area might need someone who actually knows how many yards it takes to make a skirt, dress and a top. FWIW, I'm tired of the anti-Walmart crowd. We don't even have a Walmart here in Chicago, yet we have high unemployment.

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  24. LOL! I have no interest in working for Walmart! Thanks for the info. I may be of help for someone in search of employment.

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  25. Glad they are coming back, infact the fabric section of the last walmart in my area closed last Oct. and have missed it dearly. The last fabric I got there was a beautiful plaid for $1.97 a meter and funny enough I saw the same fabric at a sewing expo from a high end store for $28 a meter ..... sincerely have been pleased with all the fabric I got from them especially their knit fabric, and have compared it with some I get from say fabricland with higher prices, so it will be nice to have them back with more selection.

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  26. This is good to hear. Although I have several options for fabric here in the Chicagoland area besides Joanns & Hancocks, Walmart fabric dept. was always one of my stops when I would shop there. After they took the fabrics away, I didn't see any reason to go there as much. Maybe it's one of the reasons their profits were down and they figured it out, LOL

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  27. Oh my, this means I may actually step foot into a Walmart again. How exciting.

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  28. I completely agree. I have to bring in all the fabric for my sewing club because the Walmart near the school eliminated the fabric department when the reopened after Katrina. There is no fabric store in the community or anywhere within a 30 minute drive. So in cases like that, it is wonderful!

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  29. I love the walmart $1 a yard bin for test garment (muslins) fabrics. And once in a while you can find really nice oddball stuff for $1 or $2 a yard. $10 a yard quitling stores need to understand that beginners and children learning to sew need to start somewhere and cheap fabric makes sense for those and many other people. I buy at the independent quilting stores, too, but for somethings that don't need to last forever, cheap fabric is a bonus. (And when I decorated for my daughter's wedding I found the perfect color for table toppers in the $1 a yard bin. Can't beat that.)

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  30. This is GREAT news! I miss that WM was carrying fabric. I,too, have purchased some really nice pieces from there. I truly believe they were the end bolts of higher end fabrics. I mean,at $1 and $2 a yd., who could beat that?!
    This shouldn't be a threat to any other stores, specialty or not. This gives any and everyone the opportunity to purchase fabric at their price point and still come away with some good pieces. It's shallow thinking to believe we should only be patronizing certain stores. Consumers are gonna go where they/WE can get the most for our dollar,as long as the quality is good.
    Again, thanks for sharing. I'm passing this along.

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  31. My mother IS a quilter, and she has always looked at every fabric department in every WM and frankly every other quilt shop also! LOL! I truly feel that you'll never know when or where you'll find a great fabric, but if you don't look you definitely won't find it. "Cheap" fabric is great for new sewists to practice on, and as you said, cotton batiste for summer lining is near impossible to find without ordering online-I don't MIND ordering online, but I really dislike having to do so. The WM near me carried brands of buttons no one else in town did, so I had more selection. The decorative crystal buttons on my daughters prom dress came from WM because everyone else in town wanted $7 per button, and I got all of them for less than $4 at WM. It didn't need to last forever, it was a one shot dress that needed some bling-WM buttons were just fine and looked great.

    I just boils down to this-It's a resource, and if you take your craft seriously you never totally discount a resource.

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  32. Schmoomon, very well said!

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  33. the 24-hour wal mart was a life saver when I was in school and needed muslin at midnight! I still prefer Joann and Hancock, but when I need some $1 a yard fabric or some random notion in the middle of the night, it would be nice to have wal mart again

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  34. I understand the point of the small shops losing money. I will go in my local quilt shop for notions that I can't find other places and maybe quilt patterns, but I can't afford to buy fabric there. The last time I bought a border fabric and muslin backing I ended up spending almost $60 for a lap quilt. If I shopped there for all of my quilting needs I'd end up with quilts with more than $100 invested. My quilting bug would be squashed quickly. I'm so thankful not to have lsot the fabrics at my local store. It's also only 10 minutes from my home and all the other fabric stores are 20-30 minutes away. I do buy hard to find fabrics from the specialty stores as well. If the small stores want to stay competetive they need to sell fabrics in multiple price points.

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  35. Wow, I miss the Walmart fabrics, too. I found some good jewels every once in while,too. This is good news. I don't just shop for price (Well most of the time I do) I also want quality. And whoever has the best deal at the time of my need (or want) that is who I'll buy from. I keep my options open and browse them ALL.
    Our WalMarts, all but one, hd no more fabric dept. The one that does, told me they had to sell the fabric that was sent to them because it was precut into 5yd bolts and the company will not accept it back. I got pretty good stuff out that but now they have nothing left but some stuff good enough for muslins or kids clothes that you don't mind them getting muddy in.
    This was almost 4 months ago, and there are still fabric bolts (cheesy though) so, here's to hoping for better fabrics.

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  36. Add another vote for "thrilled they are bringing back fabric, but I love/hate WM". I make 90% of my 8yo daughter's clothing. I still can't beat WM for suitable cottons, cheap, that wear and wear.

    That said, one of our local WMs here in New England never got rid of their fabric counter. They just shrunk it. It's also the one I never get to because it's out of the way... But none the less, it still has fabric. I was lucky to snag $1.50/yd fabrics for her latest round of dresses. : )

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  37. Although there are no WMs in Chicago proper, I do check to see if the suburban stores have fabric departments; haven't had much luck. WM's move won't keep me from the other stores. It will be another one added into the rotation.

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  38. I'm also an apparel sewer (not a quilter) and I live in Austin. Besides the big 3 (joann's, hancock, hobby lobby) we have a small assortment of quilting shops and general fabric shops. Of the one's I've visited, I've seen a very small, poor assortment of prices and choices. I'm not interested in pink and orange owls on cotton for THIRTY dollars a yard, so I'm clearly not their target demographic, but who is?
    People who want to make $60 little girl dresses? Or $300 quilts?

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  39. I for one will be glad if they put back in the fabric departments. I live 45 minutes from the nearest JoAnns or Hancocks. 20 minutes to the closest Walmart.

    To bad back when they were taking fabric out and that online petition that turned over I don't now how many times at 100 thousand asking them to please not take the fabric out of the stores, didn't phase them a bit. I guess the bottom line worked wonders huh ... oh well as long as they put it back. Obviously what we said as customers didn't matter to them but the bottom line did!

    I will be glad if they put the fabric and sewing supplies back in the stores. When you live out in the middle of no where. Well it can save you a ton in gas and time.

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  40. I don't think that Walmart will do an extreme amount of damage. From the small amount of time that i have viewed the blogs of sewists they seem to be about quality and if a shop had quality fabric at a slightly higher price i think they would purchase without regret rather then run to walmart.

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  41. Actually, I am glad to hear Walmart is bringing back their fabric dept. I have found some really good deals and the fabric quality was not bad either. I like the idea of having another outlet to shop. I agree with Erica,"the more fabric retail options the better".

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  42. Hey, Erica. Just in case you did not know, the Walmart in Douglasville lost its fabric stock as well. So if you are in the area, the best Walmart to check for "gems" would be the one in Hiram, GA. Keep in touch. Zina

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  43. I live in a very rural town in PA. Our closest Walmart is a half hour drive. There used to be a JoAnn Fabrics there, too, but they closed that one. There are a number of JoAnn's around, but the 4closest ones to me are 1 hour north, 1 hour east, 1 hour west or 1 hour south. The best ones are a couple of hours away. Walmart was supposed to keep their fabric dept because they were all there was, but they up and closed it--or at least downsized it so that their thread is rarely the right color, the buttons are pretty much worthless, and their fabric is all 2 yard cuts in a package [how much can you do with 2 yards?]. A new quilt shop just opened, but they tend to run about $11.00/yd. Most of my sewing is for clothes for myself or for my grandchildren. I've been upset with Walmart ever since they pulled it, and I will be thrilled to get it back. I like to make trips to JoAnn's, but I can't go that often and I have to go that 30 minutes to do my weekly grocery shopping anyway. I may not be CRAZY about Walmart, but I don't have a lot of other choices and I look forward to getting the fabric dept back again....the scary thought is "what if it doesn't really happen?"

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