I wanted to write a series of blog posts about being frugal in quilting. Quilting can be very expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Frugal quilting doesn’t mean that you need to buy items that are of low quality. I like to be frugal with my quilting and I don’t spend top dollar for the materials that I work with every time I buy fabric.
This week I wanted to talk about fabric purchases and acqusitions. I have to say that the biggest problem in spending money in quilting is impulsively buying fabric with no intention. Now there are times when I will buy fabric because it is on sale, but it has to be a great buy. I will buy kits with 1//3 or 1/4 yard cuts even if I don’t like the pattern because the collection of fabric can be used in a future project. I try not to pay full price for anything.
I also accept fabric from people who don’t want parts of their stash etc. I have found some real gems in other people’s fabric. I don’t have a problem throwing out or recycling fabric that I would not use in my quilting. So many times these fabrics, that are a bit different from my stash, are perfect for backing a quilt. And I don’t like to piece backs because I am lazy but it will save money so I do it!
Did you know solid fabrics are considerably less money than prints? They are. They are really easy and fun to work with. I mix a focus print fabric with solids in many of my quilts. Solid fabric with a big coupon? Win!
I hear people are finding fabric at second hand shops, I wish we had one here that had fabric but we don’t. If you do go into a resale shop or yard sale don’t forget to look for fabric!
I ask for specific fabric lines for gifts or a gift card around my birthday or the holidays when I want to buy some fabric that I know I will have to pay full price for — Like a new Tula Pink line etc. I think splurging occasionally is a good thing but I don’t do that often. I only do that once a year or so for my birthday or Christmas.
Here are my tips for frugal fabric acquisitions:
- Shop with intention. Shopping impulsively often leads to buying fabric you may never use. Which ultimately leads to excessive money spent. And those costly fabrics being wasted.
- Accept donations of fabric from others when they don’t want it anymore and then purge from the fabric you won’t use or if it not appropriate.
- Shop sales first.
- Shop solids and sprinkle in prints.
- Check out second hand shops and yard sales, you may hit the jackpot!
- Swap and share with you quilting friends if you need a special color. They may have it and want to get rid of it!
- scrappy quilts are lovely shop the stash at home first!
- Watch for people doing “destash” sales on social media such as Instgram. I have seen some great buys there, just calculate shipping in the total cost.
- Coupons can really save you money!
- Shop everywhere – I shop at my local quilt shop, online, big box stores, big craft stores etc. I have a specific plan when I shop and buy what I need. Rarely do I buy off the intended fabric list but if I do I has to be 60 percent off.
- I try to minimize the number of fabrics needed for a quilt. Unless it is intentionally scrappy and I have it on hand, I won’t use 17 shades of white for a background and then go buy it because a pattern says to. One shade is fine with me. Hint : some pattern makers also are selling their fabric line and want you to buy as many fabrics as possible for each pattern. I think that’s cool because they need to make a living and want to show you examples of how to use their fabric but I may not choose to use so many different cuts of fabric if it costs too much money.
- Block of the Month-be careful of the cost. Many times you are paying for the work to cut the pieces for you and that can be expensive when you are trying to be frugal. I once spent $25 for a block of the month that had 5 blocks in it plus paper piecing foundations. The small lap quilt cost $250 for just the top and nothing else but the pattern. Its gorgeous but it was riddled with problems and I still have to invest in a backing and batting. A very expensive lesson learned. A
- Anything precut is expensive because again you are paying for the cost of cutting it., however there is a time and place for precuts if you can get them at a good price . Another factor is time, you time is money too. I love precuts !!! Especially as a GIFT!!!! T
- Try to build a stash of fabrics that will work together over time. Then you can really use it up without feeling like you are always on the hunt for the right shade of blue etc.
- I will work for fabric if it “pays well enough” and accept gifts of fabric. Many times I test patterns or help my quilting friends and they can’t pay me money but they can fabric which is money to me!
- I don’t buy without intention at show. I don’t do Shop hops, sign up for monthly clubs, bom’s because usually it is impulse buying and pressure buying. I wind up with things languishing in my stash bins because everybody bought it and when I get home I have a stack of “what was I thinking” fabrics that I would never use.
I hope this helps you in your pursuit of being a Frugal Quilter. I like to spend money on quilting but I also like to feel good about what I saved!
Please share you tips in the comments and then I can add them to our list which may grow over time so check back periodically!
Quilt on ,