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Thread: The price of fabrics.

  1. #1
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    I've just been reading about someone picking up some fabrics for $3 a yard.

    I nearly fell off my chair! We can only dream of those sorts of prices here.

    Good quality quilting fabric costs anywhere between $24 - $28 a metre (which is only a fraction longer than a yard).

    We have a bargain / bulk fabric store, but the material is generally of lesser quality, and often not worth it. Every now and then there is good quality fabric at a bargain price, but they're few and far between.

    I have bought online, and off ebay, but once the exchange rate and postage is added in, it's only slightly cheaper.



  2. #2
    Lisa T's Avatar
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    I have heard that in other countries fabric is prohibitively expensive. I live fairly close to the Canadian border- and was surprised recently to hear that quilters cross the border to buy fabric in the States because it's half the price here.

    Wow! And I thought $9 a yard was bad.

  3. #3
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    lol

    We'd explode with excitment at $9!

    It can be a very expensive hobby here. There are always ways to keep costs low if you have to, but if you want really good quality, you've got to pay for it.


  4. #4
    Lisa T's Avatar
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    I guess I'd be cutting up shirts and stuff at that point. A whole quilt would cost a couple hundred bucks! Is batting/wadding more also?

  5. #5
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    Yep... for a large quilt you're looking at several hundred dollars worth of fabric. And the more complex the design obviously the more fabric required.

    Backing is slightly cheaper, although I use a lot of polar fleece and faux fur throws as backing because the kids love the feel of it.

    I've never really paid much attention to the price, just bought what I wanted (gotta love that credit card! lol) but things are getting tight over here too, so I'm starting to pay more attention to what I buy.

    Luckily I have a rather lovely big stash so the weeks where money is tight, I can still sew.

  6. #6
    Lisa T's Avatar
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    I thought I had a pretty big stash too, but then I started seeing these ROOMS on Flickr and blogs, and I realized I got nothin'! LOL! There are some stashes out there that make me just green. I can't complain though. I could make 20 quilts with my stash I bet.

    (But I don't think I will ever have "enough" fabric.)

  7. #7
    Lisa T's Avatar
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    You know, this gets me wondering how much it really costs to make a quilt. I am going to have to start keeping track better. I do buy some fabric at thrift stores, but also do buy some of the nicer stuff. The last one that I went to Joann's and just flat out bought everything I needed, my total was about $120. I did have some fabric left over, but not all that much.

    I have a lot of people ask for quilts as gifts. It's getting to the point where I think I will start buying the cheap ones at Walmart and saying I made them. LOL!

  8. #8
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    LOL

    Yeah... I've seen some rooms posted on here and nearly died. Maybe one day! :-)

    I read somewhere once of a group of older women sitting around at a quilt class one day, chatting as you do, and several were saying how they had to stop spending so much on their stashes. The oldest piped up and said something along the lines of she wish she'd never slowed down on buying fabrics. That since she'd been retired money had been tight and she was unable to buy as she used to. She wished she had built a bigger stash as her "retirement fund", and that these women shouldn't be thinking of their stash as a guilty secret, that it was an investment in their retirement.

    I susbcribe to that theory, and at this rate, I'll need to live till I'm 112. ;-)

  9. #9
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    I have issues with the 9 $ a yard fabric, I can't spend that much on fabric :roll: I don't make hardly anything from my parents, so I go to thrift stores.....

  10. #10
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    Quilter101-there's not a thing wrong with getting your fabric from thrift stores, I have been known to do that, not because I couldn't afford the fabric but because I love the dress/skirt/whatever fabric and bought to take it apart.

  11. #11
    Super Member nanabirdmo's Avatar
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    quilter101, the most wonderful quilts i have ever snuggled with were scrappies made with cut up clothes. such a wonderful selection of fabrics. thrift stores, garage sales. many times when i tell the garage sale proprietor that i am making a quilt and including their skirt in the fabrics they will throw in a bunch more stuff. especially on the last day of the sale. it's great!!!!! quilters are champion recyclers. :wink:

  12. #12
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilter101
    I have issues with the 9 $ a yard fabric, I can't spend that much on fabric :roll: I don't make hardly anything from my parents, so I go to thrift stores.....
    Tell your parents you need a raise!!!

    And there is nothing at all wrong with going to thrift shops, yard sales, etc. I probably have enough fabric to least two lifetimes BUT there is always some fabric that I find that I just can't live without.... :roll: :roll:

  13. #13
    PrettyKitty's Avatar
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    Bluechicken, I TOTALLY feel your pain. I LOVE this board but am green with envy every time I read a post about how cheap someone got their fabric.

    My Aunt is an all round sewer, she says that the price of Fabric in the UK reflects

    A) the people who buy it - tends to be more 'mature' women who are usually retired and have a comfortable income of life savings + pension, kids have left home, mortgage is paid off, not a lot of financial outgoings. I.E They can afford it!!

    B) Popularity: fabric shops and haberdasheries used to be commonplace, as it used to be cheaper to make your own clothes. Now clothes are made in Asia and cost next to nothing, no one needs to buy fabric any more.

    I wish I lived about 30 years ago!

  14. #14
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    Bluechicken, Prettykitty and others--I feel so sad for you :cry:

    I have at least a dozen quilt shops within an hour or so drive from my house-each having their own "style". I am able to shop their sales and check out their bargain rooms. I would LOVE to shop for you and help you out in any way I can. Just ask Quilter1962--she will tell you that I purchased fabric at a great price and shipped it to the UK for her. (My LQS was having a $1 fat quarter sale!!) PLEASE-PM me if you would like to take me up on my offer-it is sincere.


  15. #15
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    When I see good fabric on sale I buy it. I have reason to think the price of good cotton fabric will reach $15 and more a yard in a couple of years. And then production will come to a standstill, no demand for it at that price which means no selection to pick from. Remember when cotton fabric was all calico? Any hobby you have, I think it would be a good idea to stock up on basic supplies you need to enjoy it while they are available and affordable. Just my opinion. :?

  16. #16
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    BellaBoo, I think you are right in thinking prices will only go up! When is the last time you saw something decrease in price!
    The biggest problem is that I ALWAYS see something gorgeous in the stores, and NEED (?) it! Then I Have to have the right fabrics to go with it! It is a compulsion. I could sew all day everyday for a year and not use up what I already have! :?
    I DO like good feeling nice fabrics, and don't want to waste my time with starched muslin or cheesecloth for my quilts. Even for charity quilts I feel bad if I don't think they are going to hold up to much abuse.

  17. #17
    Lisa T's Avatar
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    When I buy expensive fabric, I usually buy it because of the design as opposed to just the quality. I would be so upset if I couldn't get the "good" stuff anymore. I wouldn't be able to afford much at $15 a yard. Yikes!

    I already try to stretch my dollar by buying a small amount of the expensive ones and then mixing it with a sheet from Goodwill, or some less expensive mixers.

  18. #18
    Super Member Sharon M's Avatar
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    I guess we don't know how lucky we have it sometimes until we hear how much some of you have to pay for fabric....WOW :(
    We are so big on yard sales / garage sales / rummage sales here do you do that in New Zealand or other countries?? I know some people made out like bandits at my sale last fall...got rid of all kinds of craft supplies that I am no longer interested in, since becoming so interested in quilting. Had to clear out my space for a material stash :D

  19. #19
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I am SO lucky that my WalMart still carries fabric. I got several pieces at $2 a yard and 1 piece at $1.50!! All are 100% cotton and feels like the more expensive stuff....

  20. #20
    Super Member Sharon M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewjoyce
    I am SO lucky that my WalMart still carries fabric. I got several pieces at $2 a yard and 1 piece at $1.50!! All are 100% cotton and feels like the more expensive stuff....
    oh lucky you! None of the Walmarts around me carry material anymore :(

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I think cotton fabrics have always been cheaper in the U.S. because we have the land and climate to grow cotton on a large scale, plus the mills for manufacturing thread and fabric. I think the U.K. has to import most of its cotton. I would imagine places like Australia and New Zealand have the land and climate to grow cotton, but maybe not the mills, so they end up exporting a lot of raw cotton.

    Didn't cotton prices go up dramatically in England during the revolutionary war with the states? I think that was because England lacked raw cotton.

  22. #22
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    My friend took a Quilting 101 class this fall and several young women signed up, then nearly went broke buying all the necessaries. At their age, I too would have been hard put to buy all the rulers, scissors, rotary cutter and mat etc. and I won't even go there on the subject of machine costs! I think by the time I totted up the cost of the Q101 course I took last year, I had spent $200, and that was using 50% off coupons at Micheal's whenever I could for notions. Fabric here is CAN$12-17 per metre. And by the end of the course I realized my gorgeous sewing machine was bad at one thing...sewing 1/4" seams. I was able to find a nice used Bernina I could afford, just for the way it pieces so nicely.

    My feeling with fabric is: get what you want. You are going to put so much labour into the piece, you should not waste your time with poor quality fabric or ugly fabric.

    That said, I have real sympathy for quilters on a budget because increasingly it is getting to be a really expensive hobby. When people say "Wow, what a beautiful quilt! Would you make one for me?" I wince, because they don't know even a lap quilt takes me hours and hours, and the materials are expensive. They all seem to think we get our fabrics for free! Grandma may have had a scrap bag, I do not!

    I am glad I spent some time building my stash this winter as it looks like my husband's company is going down thanks to the economy. Like the lady who said build it for retirement...buy when you can, and try to choose coordinates that won't date too much.

  23. #23
    coldtoesinmi's Avatar
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    May I ask a dumb question?? I was always told that you get what you pay for in regards to fabric. I was told to stay away from cheap fabric because " you do not want to make this beautiful quilt that took so much time and then have it start fraying and not holding its stitch or fading". Ever since then I have saved and bought in QS mostly.

    What puzzles me is all the quilts that our grandmas made where certainly not QS quality fabric and they have lasted a century in some cases. Made of skirts, shirts and old dresses and bulk fabric from the merchantile. What's up?????

  24. #24
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    I get most of my fabric from Walmart(as long as it holds out) and have taken critisism for using "inferior" fabric. Too bad! I cant afford to be a fabric snob.People on fixed incomes like good stuff as much as anyone else,but you get what you can afford. I see a lot of gals on here that get theirs at Walmart too,and Im glad!! I feel more at ease !!

  25. #25
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    First, you only see the quilts now that DID last! All the ones made badly or from bad fabric are long gone.

    I think the quilts that lasted were made from great fabric. And my sense is, the base level of fabric available to them was better than some of the really shoddy goods we find now...why? I think it was much harder in that smaller, more personal world to remain anonymous as a manufacturer, and I think your average housewife was quite knowledgeable about fabric and fabric quality, since most people made at least some of their own clothes and household goods.

    Now, any shyster can get a run done in China and flog it to the bargain wholesalers. There is much less feedback from the end consumer.

    I did have a very pretty quilt given to me when I was in my 20's, made by a local lady. My mom bought it for my birthday, and the thing totally self destructed. The cottons used were cheap, very low density and they frayed and fell apart. It was the classic example of poor materials and probably poor workmanship as well.

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