I do not live near any good fabric stores. The nearest JoAnn"s is half an hour away and for me JoAnn's is hit or miss. Great for thread and sometimes a great find. I can't count on it. So I buy a lot of my fabrics online. Here's what I buy and a few great resources for where you can find it.
For sewing doll clothes I use a lot of quilting cottons, some natural knits, including bamboo and cotton and occasionally wool. Since it is the fabric that often inspires me, I love choosing it out.
Quilting cotton is a great weight for sewing small, it is not bulky, irons easily, can be used for a large variety of clothes. I am even experimenting with making a few dolls out of tea-dyed cotton (that's for a later blog post). Although small scale prints are easy to find, it can be fun to play with scale and use a larger scale on a small dress. I have several favorite online quilting cotton stores:
Hawthorne Threads: Large variety, often ship the same day as your order. They also group collections together. My only complaint. I like to see some sort of measurement on the photo of the fabric to determine scale and they don't do this.
Fabric Worm: Great collection of cottons, especially with playful children's themes. Large selection of organic cottons.
Cia's Palette: Do not add to their collection as often as others but also have discontinued fabrics.
Farmhouse Fabrics: Have a great selection of quality small scale plaids
I like to use soft squishy knits for tee shirts, leggings and pajamas. I prefer my knits to be from natural materials, this makes them feel good, but to have lycra or spandex, because this gives them 4 way stretch. Four-way stretch helps small hands get doll's clothing on easier. Here's where I find good knits:
Harts Fabrics; Great Selection of Bamboo Knits
Fabric Worm: Great selection of organic cotton knits
Hawthorne Threads: A good place to get the Riley Blake knits, which are super basics
Once and a while I need good wool. Usually for winter coats, winter doll boots or maybe a skirt. I have found only one good source of wool online:
Mood fabrics: The online store is as overwhelming as the real thing in NYC.
Happy sewing small!