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Thread: Please share your best money-saving tips for quilters on a budget

  1. #1
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    I'll start:
    I get flat sheets from the thrift store to use as backing for quilts. They're large enough they don't require a seam, and usually much less expensive than fabric from the LQS.

  2. #2
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    Ill hit the thrift stores to find 100%cotton clothing with unique and odd designs....

  3. #3
    Super Member MommaDorian's Avatar
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    I don't have any good tips, but I can't wait to see what else there is!!! :)

  4. #4
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Garage and estate sales.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 4dogs's Avatar
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    I use "bad" fabric (too thin, etc) as the backing on doing the foundation squares for things like strip quilts, and crazy quilts, and etc.

  6. #6
    Senior Member All Thumbs's Avatar
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    I never purchase fabric nor batting unless it is on sale and then I buy quite a bit so I have enough to last a year. Example, I use black to accent a lot of my blocks so when it was 50% off, I got ten yards. Yipes! Yet I know I will use it up. I also watch the free table at Quilting Guild very closely. Word as gotten around that I am the scrap lady--I use almost anything for string quilts for the battered women's center in our county.

  7. #7
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I love that you created this thread. I can use some tips.

  8. #8
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    Use what you have and learn to love and appreciate scrap quilts. I think they're the prettiest anyway. And try not to cut up all your clothing! ;)

  9. #9
    JJs
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    Find someplace that sells name brand fabric from a year or so ago at way low prices. Just today my DH drove me to a place 100 miles from here where I got RJR, Windham, etc for $3.29 a yard. Even if you have to buy online and can't 'feel' the fabric. If you stick with name brands there should be no problems.
    Unless of course you HAVE to have the $13 a yard stuff that just came out....

    Keep all your leftovers for a scrap quilt.

  10. #10
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    stay out of the fabric stores

    let it be known that you LOVE donations (the down side is that you will also get totally unsuitable stuff, too)

  11. #11
    Super Member GrammaNan's Avatar
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    I have used my husbands discarded shirts, my family member's old jeans, thrift store finds, garage and estate sales, Joann's and Hancock coupons. I have traded notions for fabric and traded fabric for notion, have done baby sitting for fabric. I have posted on Freecycle for fabric. I hit the $1.00 per yard fabric at Walmart and hit a goldmine. I tell everyone that I know that I will take any fabric that they don't want. My unemployment has almost run out and I have to really scrounge to get fabric. When you have Quilt Pox you become very creative.

  12. #12
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE! I recycle everything possible, when i hear of someone who just cleaned out the kids closet (or their own) and have a garbage bag or more they want to get rid of i always ask if i can have it first...i go through it, and first off pick out anything in great shape that would be a shame to dispose of that i know someone would love and i set that aside for the person, then i pick through it for any and all fabrics i can salvage. i save all the buttons, zippers if they still work, cut out cute trims, ect. what ever is left i donate to which ever thrift store i am going past.
    thrift stores are a great place to get wools! you can literally save thousands of dollars purchasing your wools in the form of mens old dress coats. cut them apart, wash and dry the wool, it is wonderful to work with, and to buy it off the bolt can cost you anywhere between $20 & $60 a yard.

  13. #13
    Super Member MommaDorian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrammaNan
    I have used my husbands discarded shirts, my family member's old jeans, thrift store finds, garage and estate sales, Joann's and Hancock coupons. I have traded notions for fabric and traded fabric for notion, have done baby sitting for fabric. I have posted on Freecycle for fabric. I hit the $1.00 per yard fabric at Walmart and hit a goldmine. I tell everyone that I know that I will take any fabric that they don't want. My unemployment has almost run out and I have to really scrounge to get fabric. When you have Quilt Pox you become very creative.
    The babysitting part was really funny. I just posted this as my FB status, "Will babysit for fabric." :lol:

  14. #14
    Super Member dotcomdtcm's Avatar
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    I just sorted a laundry basket of scraps by color and got interested in trying something new.

  15. #15
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    join the local guilds.

    guilds typically have a library of books and patterns that you can borrow.

    they also do charity work with donated fabric and you can get experience and scraps by sewing and quilting the charity quilts.

    all the non-scrappy quilters of the guild bring in their scraps for the scrap bin and any of the members are welcome to take as much as they want. i just dropped off 2 tubs of scraps at this weeks meeting.


    members routinely trade fabrics with each other so that's another way to acquire some fabric that you need for a project.

  16. #16
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    Get on the email lists of your LQS's. One of my local stores has really good sales ($4.50 per yd) several times a year, with an extra discount for early birds. Others have weekly coupons, like JoAnns, that are good for 40% off one cut of fabric.

  17. #17
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    Have your pattern in hand. Check your stash 1st and checkout the "sale" isles if you really have to purchase more fabric.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm5419
    I'll start:
    I get flat sheets from the thrift store to use as backing for quilts. They're large enough they don't require a seam, and usually much less expensive than fabric from the LQS.

  18. #18
    Super Member NorBanaquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MommaDorian
    I don't have any good tips, but I can't wait to see what else there is!!! :)
    ditto

  19. #19
    Super Member lizzy's Avatar
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    I also go to thrift stores and garage sales to look for unusual fabric and buttons.

  20. #20
    Super Member DebsShelties's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akrogirl
    Get on the email lists of your LQS's. One of my local stores has really good sales ($4.50 per yd) several times a year, with an extra discount for early birds. Others have weekly coupons, like JoAnns, that are good for 40% off one cut of fabric.
    I bought some blenders this morning from MarshallsDryGoods. They are a wholesaler in fabrics - cost was $2.99 a yard plus shipping. 4 yards for under $20, not bad considering quilt shops are almost $10 a yard along with Joanns (unless they are having a sale on certain fabrics).

  21. #21
    Senior Member All Thumbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    stay out of the fabric stores

    let it be known that you LOVE donations (the down side is that you will also get totally unsuitable stuff, too)
    Ah-h yes, one gets non-quilting fabrics donated at times but when I got several yards of denim and jersey, I gave it to a lady in contact with a local HOSPICE group. They waste absolutely nothing!

  22. #22
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Challenge yourself to use your stash and try different color combinations from what you have WITHOUT going out to buy more. (A lot harder to do than it sounds.)

    Or find a pattern that uses the amount of colors you have to work with.

  23. #23
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I use Warm and Natural batting. I save the left over pieces and then I cut the edges straight and butt them together and use the three step zig zag stitch to stitch them together. The three step zig zag is a stitch the looks like a zig zag but has three stitches one way and then three stitches the other way. The edges lay flat without a "ridge" that a regular zigzag leaves. Once the item is quited. you can't tell it it was joined together or not. Why wast good batting?

  24. #24
    Super Member DebsShelties's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DebsShelties
    Quote Originally Posted by akrogirl
    Get on the email lists of your LQS's. One of my local stores has really good sales ($4.50 per yd) several times a year, with an extra discount for early birds. Others have weekly coupons, like JoAnns, that are good for 40% off one cut of fabric.
    I bought some blenders this morning from MarshallsDryGoods. They are a wholesaler in fabrics - cost was $2.99 a yard plus shipping. 4 yards for under $20, not bad considering quilt shops are almost $10 a yard along with Joanns (unless they are having a sale on certain fabrics).
    Guess what I am saying, I buy on sale or wholesale to keep the cost down on fabric. If I do see something at a local quilt shop or they have a special like one is tomorrow 20% off whole purchase - bag lady day, you take a bag that you have gotten from them to get the purchase, I will go look to see if there is anything that calls my name.

  25. #25
    Junior Member MrsSew66's Avatar
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    This past weekend a friend and I attended a guild quilt show and purchased several bags of "scraps" for $3.00 to 4.00 per bag. It was a good deal--good quality and some of the strips were at least two yards long.

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