If you are new to sewing then you have no idea what you’re in for… Mwahahahahaha
It’s a little-known fact that fabric breeds like rabbits. One day you only have a few yards sitting in your sewing room; within a short amount of time it is falling off of your shelves, piling up on flat surfaces, and being stuffed into any bag that you can find to put it in.
I would post about the various ways that you can organize it, but I haven’t even figured that out for myself. Instead, I will give you some tips on how to increase your fabric stash while not breaking the bank.
If you haven’t looked at fabric lately it might shock you to know that your typical yard of fabric is going to be priced around $6/yd. That’s for your basic plain cotton. If you want some of the fancier calicoes or patterns then the price goes up from there. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to buy material at that price. I am cheap and I REFUSE to pay that much for material.
Tip #1 – Become a frequent visitor to your local fabric shop’s clearance area. You really never know what you’re going to find. Unless it’s really calling to me I won’t pay more than $3/yd for fabric. The plaid material above was originally priced at $6.99/yd, but I found it at Hobby Lobby for $2/yd. Knowing that I can use it for my Dresses for Missions I bought what remained on the bolt. It ended up being a little over 6 yards… so instead of paying $42 for that cut I only paid $12.
The sunflower material was one of my best bargains! Isn’t it adorable?! As soon as I saw it I KNEW that it would make the most adorable little dresses. When I saw the price I became greedy like Gollum (however you spell his name) from Lord of the Rings; I petted it and was heard to be mumbling “My precious…” It was $1/yd!!!! I think that the original price on the bolt was $5.99/yd so I really got a great deal on this. Where did I find it? Wal-Mart! The woman who FINALLY arrived to cut my fabric (that’s the bad thing about Wal-Mart, you’re going to spend at least 15 minutes standing around waiting for somebody to show up to cut your fabric), she gave me the weirdest look when I told her that I wanted all of the material on the bolt. It was a large bolt. I ended up with a little over 10 yards of fabric. Do you know how many dresses I can make out of that material?! And it’s adorable!!
Your fabric stores will clear out fabric after each holiday, after each season, and about once a year they will do a deeper clearing out of stuff that has been around for a while. If you don’t have an instant need for fabric then this is the best way to shop. You are going to start collecting fabric anyway, so you might as well do it on a budget. If you see Easter fabric that is adorable and on clearance for $1.50/yd, but you don’t know what you would do with it, buy a yard of it. You never know what’s going to come up that you might find a use for it.
Tip #2 – Use the store’s coupons!
Hobby Lobby and JoAnne’s Fabrics always have coupons available where you can get a certain percentage off of one item. They will count a cut of material as an item. If you’re working on a project and need five yards of a blue cotton, but it’s not on sale that week and there’s nothing on the clearance rack that will work, use the coupon. It’s not going to be as great of a deal, but at least you’re not paying full price for the material. If you have a smartphone you can download apps that will pull the coupons up on your phone. I do this for Hobby Lobby. There is a Hobby Lobby just around the corner from where I work (VERY dangerous!!), so if I get the hankering for a Hobby Lobby run I always have a coupon on me. All I have to do is pull up the app when I’m at the store and give the cashier my coupon code.
If you don’t have a smartphone you will just need to plan ahead a little better. If you go online to the store’s website there’s usually a spot where you can download coupons and print them out. Or, use them on the store’s website. Either way, you don’t have to pay full price.
Tip #3 – Keep an eye out for clearance linens at department stores.
My mom likes to use flat sheets for her quilt backings. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to get a big expanse of fabric. What is great is when you can find a king size sheet for a great price. Again, I was at Wal-Mart and they were marking down their bedsheets to make room for the newer patterns. I paid $7 for this flat sheet. My mother-in-law gave me a feather down comforter, but I need to make a cover for it. I bought two of these sheets and plan on sewing them together and putting some Velcro at the open end. I have just spent less than $20 on a king size comforter cover. Nice!
Tip #4 – Shop at thrift stores.
If you recall, back in June my mom and I went shopping at a Goodwill-by-the-pound store when we were visiting my sister. This was a GREAT way to add to our fabric stash. Whether you purchase sheets, skirts or shirts you have a large amount of material at your fingertips for a tiny bit of money. This is great especially if you’re into making scrap quilts or other items that require small cuts of material. My mom shops the large man’s area to find as many 100% cotton shirts as she can. If you scope out your local thrift store you can find out what day they have the best deals and go shopping then. At my local Salvation Army store Wednesday is the day when they put a lot of the colored tags at 50% off.
My mom makes rag rugs, including ones made out of denim. Last month she had me go to the Salvation Army store and buy as much light weight denim as I could find. I went to the woman’s section and found the largest denim dresses that I could find. I was purchasing size 22W and 20W dresses for around $2 each. There is a LOT of material in those dresses!
I’m sure that there are other ways to score cheap material, but these are the ways that I use most of the time. The important thing is just to keep your mind open and think outside of the box. Good luck!
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