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Fabric Donations

Old 08-29-2020, 03:50 AM
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Default Fabric Donations

Has anyone ever contacted fabric manufacturers in the U.S. about donating fabric for charitable groups? We make comfort quilts for cancer patients and most of our supplies are donated. Someone in the group suggested contacting fabric companies so I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to do so. Thanks.
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Old 08-29-2020, 04:50 AM
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I would think fabric companies are like most every other company and they are asked by many, many groups seeking donations. My dad always said, " Nothing beats a try but a failure." So asking can't hurt. You have nothing to loose and may gain some fabric. I might also suggest having your local paper to do a small article on your goals and ask for local support either from money donations or fabrics. Don't forget to specify the type of fabric you need or you will get everything from sheer curtains to upholstery fabric! I applaud your efforts.
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Old 08-29-2020, 05:47 AM
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Most of what I do nowadays is donation quilting and I mostly buy fabric at the thrift stores for $1-2/yard. It helps that I live in a relatively affluent part of the country and I am lucky enough to find wonderful bits of yardage, along with a lot of rather strange prints that I am able to use for backing. No, it doesn't work if you are looking for a specific amount of yardage for a specific piece, you have to be able to pick out the good stuff, buy it no matter how large and collect it until you have enough for a project. Around here all the thrift stores have sales on the weekend, basically they get more stuff than they can keep so items are only in the store for a month, as they come in they are given color coded tags, after a month everything is super marked down and then shipped out of the stores. People like me go weekly, we typically have a route -- lol you get to know your competition. If there is something I really want, I buy it "full" price, but I try to wait and see if it will go on tag.

I suggest looking/placing an ad on Craigs List or similar places looking for donations, again as Lena said specifying what you want. There is a "Wanted" category which is the proper place, there is also the "Arts + Crafts" category. I currently have half my couch covered with fabric donations that are NOT quilting suitable for a specific recycle group but they are closed due to Covid. The ladies in my group are often contacted with handfuls/closets of fabric and we go through them separating out the usable from the non, the worthwhile and the not. Some stuff we are given are just trash ultimately, but we are making informed decisions. If you go the ad route you might also be contacted about "stuff" like, we are cleaning out grandma's house and there is a closet of sewing stuff. That might involve machines in various condition or other things to deal with or know in advance you don't want the contents of old sewing kits.

When I was stash reducing a church group got several bags of yardage, scraps and UFOs because of an ad on Craig's List. Girl Scouts got a bag. A local theater group needed ties... I had ties from a quilt project. All of my craft supplies went to an elementary art teacher (budgets have been slashed). During lock down, a "curb alert" (free stuff sitting outside) was put out for quite a bit of fabric suitable for quilting or mask making (hundreds of yards it looked like) -- not by me and I didn't get any because I had plenty but I did look at the ad and thought about going over.

I've greatly reduced my stash, largely by giving fabrics to individuals and groups and most of those are local and I've found on Craig's List. I've achieved most of my reduction goals at this point and don't have any I can offer your group. I have one last box going to a hospice group of nice but dated 80s prints that don't work so well for the kids charities I'm usually doing projects but work well together. When I send fabric, I typically send it for free at my cost. I can tell you postage adds up, I use the flat rate boxes and it's $20. This will be my third box to the hospice group, and I just don't hand out $50 checks, but I'm doing more in that via postage.

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Old 08-29-2020, 08:57 AM
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When you contact the manufacturers to ask for donations, it might help if you offer to pay their cost (if you can). I have a friend who owns a business, he gets a lot of requests for donations. If he gave everyone who asked what they were asking for, he'd be out of business. But he will give consideration to those who ask to pay what his cost is.
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Old 08-29-2020, 11:27 AM
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yes--my guild acted as instructor for a kids class one time at the KCRegional Quilt Fest and a local company was also a sponsor--so they willingly donated fabrics for the kids to use making a tote--and then they all got picture and the company used it for PR. That being said, I think you'd have better results by getting into local newspaper/news with story and giving link to donated fabric. Most fabric companies sell the "old" (previous years designs) fabric to a wholesaler that marks it down a lot and sells--imagine many of us know those stores in our areas that have fabrics that were a year or more ago designs now selling for about %60 of original price or less. Fabric Co. rely on that business too.
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Old 08-29-2020, 04:15 PM
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I make lots of donation quilts. I use my stash and buy wide backing, solids,blenders and battings myself. I like the feeling knowing it is truly my donation. I only use brand new materials. I provide my own threads, all bought by me.

I donate to foster kids in our County.

For you asking couldn't hurt.
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Old 08-29-2020, 05:42 PM
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I would suggest if you do, proactively send documentation of it being a 501c3 organization or some other legitimate charity for tax deduction purposed. Be assured there are lots of folks contacting manufacturers trying to get freebies that aren't truly for charity.

Claiming to be doing this for charity is insufficient - you must provide documentation.
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Old 08-29-2020, 08:56 PM
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We had a scrubs manufacturing plant sell their scraps by the pound to the general public. It was good sturdy cotton fabric. It made wonderful baby quilts. Stands up to a lot of love and a lot of washings. It was so popular they had to send out cards to invite people at different times. They stopped selling altogether now - don't know why.
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Old 08-30-2020, 07:15 AM
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It doesn't hurt to ask-all they can say is "no". My LQS gave fabric if we would make masks with it and return to the shop. I think this was a good idea and I was happy to help out.
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Old 08-30-2020, 09:58 AM
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I would more likely ask local quilting stores or even chain stores if they would donate fabric to you group. Be prepared with proof of your efforts over time and where the donations will be going. Then every 3 to 6 months send them a thank you and a photo of the quilts or folks working on quilts with the donated fabrics. Good PR and can be used by the shop to show their involvement in the community too.
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