The answer is... it all depends! I know that is a bit of a cop out - but let me explain. My experiences with ordering from OS - basically the USA - has been mixed but on the whole positive.
I can only speak from my experiences. The longest it has taken to get fabric has been 4.5 weeks and the shortest has been 5 days - yes 5 days all the way from the USofA. It seems to depend on what company you order from and how much you order.
I used to order a lot of fabric from DenverFabrics.com. I have read lots of bad reviews regarding the customer service from this company but I never had to contact them as all of my orders were filled correctly and I was impressed with the fabric I received. The reason I stopped ordering from them is the cost of shipping. Often a lot more than the cost the fabric itself. I worked it out and with the escalated shipping costs from this company you don't really end up saving much. And you don't know how much it is going to cost you in shipping until after it ships and they charge you. It takes approx a month for delivery from here.
I wanted to order from FabricMart.com - they have lots of lovely looking fabric - however the level of customer service I received when I made an enquiry about shipping left me cold so I struck them off the list.
I have had good experiences from fabric.com - both with queries and products. I find that if you put items into your cart and go to check out - change the country to Australia it will tell you how much the shipping costs will be and you can make your decision then. I tend to split my orders so that I pay $24 odd in shipping and I can usually get about 10 yards or so of fabric for this cost. When you go over 10 yards (or so - I guess it also depends on the weight of the fabric) the costs go up to around $70 odd. It will go up from there. Bottom line is - if you go even half a yard over the cut off weight the cost of shipping over doubles - so I just take things out of the cart until I get to the $24 shipping (I play around until I get it just right amount as the more fabric you order for your $24 shipping the more value for you). I have found it to take 5 days for these deliveries. NOTE - if you put less in your basket and the shipping costs go under this amount they send it a different way and it takes weeks to arrive.
Let's talk about patterns. Now Suzy - I don't know where you get your patterns from but sewingpatterns.com have cheap patterns and the shipping is reasonable - NOTE - it does take weeks to get here and if you order so many that it takes more than one envelope they split it and the second envelope can take even longer. I did get one order that went missing but the company resent it at no cost so I am happy with their service.
Remember - you do run the risk of not getting what you think you ordered, not receiving your order or having other problems and I have heard some shocking stories regarding customer service. You do run the risk - but for me the risk has paid off with some gorgeous fabric that is a lot cheaper than you can get here - I often order matching cotton as well as that is cheaper too. If the fabric you receive is not what you wanted - often the cost of returning for a refund is not worth it.
Hope this helps - does anyone what to share where they get cheap fabric?
I thought I would show you 6 of my favourite fabrics that haven't appeared on my blog yet. Do you have favourite fabrics that you can show on your blogs?
PS - I had to buy another storage crate to store my purchases (this makes 3 x 81 litre full to brim).. However when my family complained I just showed them the blogs of Shannon at Hungry Zombie Couture and Sewphisticated Lady and they shut up!