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11 Insider Tips For Ordering Custom Fabrics
Our Guide To Choosing a Fabric Printing Company

Choosing a custom fabric printing company for your fabric provider can be challenging. A quick Google search reveals a wide variety of fabric printing companies with many different options to weigh. There’s domestic printing companies and overseas printers, different fabric types, different fabric qualities, different printing methods with varying degrees of color vibrancy and durability, order minimums, varying turn around times on orders. Making a wrong choice with a fabric printing company can be tragic. Nobody likes when an order gets stuck in transit for weeks on ends or shows up with subpar quality. But, when a custom fabric order turns out amazing, Oh JOY!

To help you avoid the tragedy of a disappointing fabric order, we’ve put together a list of 11 insider tips for you to consider when weighing all the different options available and choosing a custom fabric printing company.

11 Considerations When Ordering Custom Fabrics

custom fabric printing company in the us american milled fabric

Know the Turn Around Time For Custom Fabric Orders

Before placing a custom fabric order, make sure you know what the current turn around time is for the printing company. This is especially important if you are ordering from a foreign printing company. But, domestic fabric printing companies also have wildly different processing and turn around times. It is never a nice surprise to have your fabrics show up late!

Ability to Order Sample Swatches of Custom Fabric Prints

test swatches of custom fabric from little cocalico
An order of sample fabric swatches that we printed for a customer

Sometimes it is really valuable to be able to test out a new fabric design before sinking a bunch of money into a larger order. This can help ensure the colors and design scale are to your liking.  If this would be valuable to you, be sure to check with your fabric printing company to see if they have the option to order custom test swatches.

Ability to Scale Designs and Upload Your Own Artwork

While many fabric printing companies offer a wide variety of in-house designs, it can be extremely helpful if you are able to adjust the scale of those designs for your application. For example, if you are ordering custom fabric for baby clothing your design scale will likely be smaller than if you are ordering custom fabric for bedding. It’s also extremely helpful if you can find a printing company that will allow you to upload your own artwork and scale it. This makes so you are not limited to just the designs that they have in-house.

Is Your Fabric Order Part of a Pre-Order or Is Your Order Printed On-Demand?

printing custom fabric for little cocalico customer
Custom Fabric Order Being Printed On-Demand At Little Cocalico

When fabric is printed in-house and on demand both quality control and order speed are greatly improved. Our recommendation is to skip a middle-man and work directly with a company that can serve your custom fabric needs with in-house printing.

Do They Offer Fabric Types and Quality That Will Satisfy You?

stack of custom fabrics american milled fabrics from little cocalico
A Beautiful Stack of American-Milled Custom Fabrics That Are Printed and Ready to Ship

As we’re sure you’re aware, not all fabrics are created equal. Make sure you know the fiber make-up of your custom fabric order and ensure that it will serve your purposes well. Also, it’s valuable to know where your fabric comes from. We’re a big fan of organic and American-milled fabrics and try to make sure we are completely comfortable and satisfied with the fabrics we offer to our customers. If you’re uncertain on the quality of a fabric from a printer, ask them to send you samples of that fabric before placing a larger order. Better safe than sorry.

Support Eco-Friendly Inks or Dyes and Waste Free Printing Processes

organic ink used in custom fabric printing for american milled fabrics
Organic, Water-Based Inks That We Use For Our Fabric Printing Process

It may take a bit of research, but it’s valuable if you can be aware of the different methods used for custom fabric printing and the different types of inks or dyes that are used in that process. Many of the traditional fabric printing methods are done with inks and dyes that are not eco-friendly or healthy for your skin. We highly recommend using fabric printing companies that are committed to organic, water-based inks so you can feel comfortable with the fabric against your skin. 

Traditional fabric printing methods have also generally required massive amounts of water in the printing process that is discarded as waste. But there are other options! We’re proud to use a cutting-edge fabric printer that cuts out all water waste and uses only organic, water-based inks.

Is The Fabric Printing Company Able to Print True, Vibrant Colors?

color map for quality custom fabric printing little cocalico
Using a Color Map to calibrate our fabric printer to ensure true and vibrant colors

Again, this is an area that can vary a lot from printer to printer so it may be wise to order a sample print of your designs to make sure that you will be satisfied with the accuracy and vibrancy of the colors.

Minimum Order Requirements and Discounts for Large Orders

If you’re a small business, it may be hard to meet the minimum order demands of some custom fabric printing companies. But there are some companies, like ours, that have no minimum order requirements.

If you’re a large wholesaler, be sure to check if your custom fabric printer has wholesale pricing or quantity discounts. Sometimes it may be worth it to order 10 or 20 more yards than you had planned on if it lets you meet a threshold that would provide significant discounts.

Will Your Fabric Purchase Contribute to Sustainability

custom fabric printing company us based
Handbag made from custom fabric printed at Little Cocalico

Sustainability. A big word with even bigger responsibility. Supporting sustainable fabric means choosing fabrics that are produced ethically, printed with eco-friendly methods, and provided by companies with ethical employment practices. We encourage you to be a conscious consumer when it comes to custom fabric.

Fabric Wearability

durable fabric from custom fabric printing company
Child wearing clothing made from custom fabric printed by Little Cocalico

Are the fabrics and the inks used to print them going to hold up to the wear and tear of normal life? Will they fade after you wash them? If you are not confident in the quality of a fabric printing company, it would be wise to ask them what process they went through in choosing their fabrics. Did they test the durability of each fabric with rigorous use simulation? You don’t want to be selling products or investing time in your own sewing projects that won’t hold up well.

Quality of Customer Service

quality control for custom fabric orders at little cocalico
Reviewing Custom Fabric Orders Before Shipping to Customers

Last, but definitely not least in this list of tips is customer service. Custom fabric is an investment. Knowing your fabric printer has your back and will treat you with integrity is what everyone desires. Choose a fabric printing company that takes pride in what they do and shows they care about the quality of your project as well as the experience you have as their customer.

So, there you have it. Hopefully, this has been a helpful list of considerations for you to use in choosing a custom fabric printing company to work with. If you’re interested in learning more about our fabric printing services we’d love to help you out. Below are a few links for you to get started.

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