I am constantly on the look-out for fabric!
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite places to find it:
1. Quilt Shop: maybe an obvious choice, but new bolts are coming in....perhaps while you are there! And when you are travelling, nothing makes a better souvenir than fabric you haven't seen at home.
2. Sewing machine shop: They may not have a huge selection, but are likely to have some types of fabric that the quilt shop doesn't carry. Could also be a good place for thread, interfacings, and other sewing needs.
3. Home-Decor shop: Head straight for the remnant bin! Many home-dec fabrics are not too heavy for quilting. If you're making a piece for the wall, anything goes! Be sure to snoop around for remnants of trims, too.
4. Yard sale/ Estate sale: You can't take it with you, and this is where it will end up someday. Enjoy what a fellow fabri-holic has left behind...what was once just stuff may have become "vintage"!
5. Friend's house: Nothing is more fun than a good look through somebody's stash. If you're lucky, you might even convince her she doesn't need that...and that...and how about this one.... (please remember to return the favor!)
6. On-line/websites: Oh, my...fabric shopping 24/7, and you don't even have to get dressed! Keep a list of your favorite places, or sign up for their e-mail notices so you can take advantage of free shipping and other offers.
In order to support your too-easy-shopping habit, remember that e-Bay is a place to sell your excess inventory!
7. Discount store: The Big Box stores don't carry much fabric any more, but some "WLMTs" still carry fabric. It's definately the place to go for that cartoon character fabric your child needs. You may also find a low price on other sewing needs...but beware of getting what you pay for, quality-wise!
8. Fabric store: There are still a few around...the big chains will have some sort of coupon system you can get in on. That 40% off works really well when you buy yards of batting from a roll (if they carry what you want!).
9. Quilt show: Probably the best place to find something unusual, especially the bigger the merchants' area.
10. Thrift shop: It never hurts to look! And here you can afford to buy clothing to take apart for the fabric. Make friends with the staff, and you could get a call if some great windfall comes in. Besides, most of these places are supporting good causes, so everybody wins.
I once found the most beautiful celestial-print fabric in a drug store! They carried fabric on bolts. It was in a very small town.
So be sure to keep your fabric-sensors out, wherever & whenever you go!