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Quilting on a budget!

Quilting on a budget!

Old 03-17-2010, 11:44 PM
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Location: New Zealand in the South Pacific
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Just wondering if there are other quilters out there like me, working within a tight budget? I do buy the odd fabric remnant at the sales etc but mostly I use fabric scraps or off cuts from my sewing to make my quilts, I buy recycled clothing from stores like Red Cross or the Salvation Army. It is difficult finding the 100% cotton garments these days as I think other quilters have the same idea but I am always on the look out where ever I shop for that special piece! Some of the op shops sell odd lengths of fabric to that is always an exciting find!! I wash all the garments unpick them and press the fabric ready to use.
The challenge is that it can take a while longer to gather all the fabrics together which are need to make a full size quilt! I got my patterns from books in my local library or off the net.
I make rag rugs and it was from this that I thought some of the fabrics were good enough to use for quilting. I like the scrap quilts and the country or nieve quilts for this reason, you can work with the smaller amounts. I wait for the fabric sales to buy the calico for the backing and all threads and notions etc to try and keep the cost down.
Having to keep to a tight budget has its drawbacks and can be a challenge but to complete a quilt within those restrictions is a very satisfying reward I find, to make a pretty, functional quilt with what others might throw away, well, I now know what those clever old timers must have felt like, very proud indeed!!!
Would love to hear if there are any other quilters out there who enjoy doing similar.
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: tacoma, wa
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I know what you mean. I too am a tight budget quilter and have found some ways of collecting material that might work for you. I use sample books from furniture stores and wholesale furniture makers. They have pretty fat quarter size blocks and smaller blocks in them if you can get enough. My niece, who lives in Georgia, brought my sister and me bucket and bags of material and books from this furniture makers warehouse. They were throwing it away. We make beautiful quilts from the material.
Also, I ask at my church for any one who plans on getting rid of old clothes, especially men shirts, print skirts, etc. I lucked our on that also. I recycle a lot to get my quilts made. This might help. My challenge is stowing the material and using it up before I am bombarded with more. Happy quilting.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:02 AM
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I'm on a budget. I watch for fabric at tag sales, buy off Ebay or recycle old clothes. I like texture so I mix fabrics. I just make sure they can all be cleaned the same way. I live in a warmer climate so I rarely buy batting, I use muslin or an old sheet.

It's a blessing that I have to work on a budget, it requires that I have to be more creative. I embellish my quilts with embroidery, beads, lace, buttons and such.

My challenge is I want to make thread art quilts and the thread is expensive.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:27 AM
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I also buy sheets at thrift stores, yard sales, etc., then you can use them either for the fabric or backing. I've bought blankets and those quilted mattress pads at thrift stores and used those for the batting. I can't afford to put real expensive stuff for batting and such, since I donate most of my quilts.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:59 AM
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I find 100% cotton sheets for backings at thrift stores and garage sales for $3 or less. My fabric stash is large and most of it is from thrift stores, I rarely pay more than $1 a yard there. I still do buy some fabric from the big fabric stores but only on sale. I brought home at least 40 yards of nice fabric from our vacation in Tacoma, great stuff at Value Village and a store on 72nd Street.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:21 AM
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I have a good stash, so I try to use what I have on hand. If that doesn't work, I ask my sis if she might have what I need.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:41 AM
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I find great fabric in mens's shirts at the thrift stores. Get to know the workers there and they will be on the lookout for what you like. Yard sales are great for bags of thread and assorted notions. I read all the estate sale ads that are in my area. If I see sewing machine or quilts listed, that usually means fabric and notions may be in the misc. pile.
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:29 AM
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This is a going to be a great thread!!!

Even though I can afford to go out and drop the money on $10 a yard material I just wont do it! I usually will buy my material when it is on sale and I can score it for $5 or less a yard.

But after working on a copy of a quilt that my MIL did 30 or so years ago I have a different view on quilting.

It was a utilitarian quilt made to keep a family member warm and used fabrics that she was able to glean because my wifes family was poor.

Then I looked at some of the quilts that my dads side of the family made out of necessity because they were a bunch of goat roping moonshiners and share croppers. So everything was made from flour sacks, sheets, or what ever they could trade for.

Now I am enjoying the "utilitarian" type of quilts, hand tied because it was quicker than hand sewing, different types/textures of fabrics, and I love the scrappy look!! Plus they tie in with my use of treadle sewing machines and the whole vintage shabby chic feel.

I do use sheets for the backing material and when Target has their "White Sale" I can get them for super cheap. I will buy sheets and curtains that are cotton at yard sales and thrift stores and now I am going to start buying cotton clothing for fabric.

This doesnt mean I wont visit the fabric stores for the sales or I am not going to keep making the pretty quilts out of the magazines or my own patterns. But for now I am going to go back to the root of quilting and enjoy the fruits of my recycling and gleaning.

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Old 03-18-2010, 06:55 AM
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My budget might not be as tight as some but I only buy full price for a very, very special quilt.

I have my list ready for my annual trip to the Lancaster PA Show(next week, yeah!). Don't usually buy fabric from the show venders but we do stop at the many fabric shops in the area. They have top of the line fabircs at about $6 per yard but first I head for the Sale Section. Last year at Zook's I picked up over 7 yds of a great fabric at only 79 cents a yd. OK, that was a one time thing because most of the yardage I bought was at 2.99. Picked up 5 yds at that price of a great beige print for backgrounds. Saw the same fabric at my LQS for 10.98. Joann's remants are 50% off the price on the label and I usually pick up some whenever I'm there, just make sure the cashier gives you that 50% off. Haven't success at Thrift shops but that doesn't stop me from checking them out.

My Guild makes tons of pillowcases for kids in hospitals and there is usually 2" strips leftover that I use for scrappy log cabin and string quilts. Guild also has a big stash that members are welcome to add to or take whatever they want or need. Most of it is old and sometimes thin but I like the thin fabrics as foundations for my string quilts. Of course, I give the fabrics a really good washing and dry them in the dryer.

Someone suggested posting that you want cotton fabrics on your local FreeCydle message board. May in Jersey
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:11 AM
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I am loving this thread! I shop garage sales, thrift stores, and especially estate sales...I picked up 30 pounds of fabric and scraps plus almost 100 quilting magazines a couple of weeks ago at an estate sale and only paid $10.00 total. I'm loving the 1960's and 1970's fabric, and am slowly savoring each magazine. Delicious! I tell everybody I know that I am a quilter, and will take all fabric and scraps. I use the polyester pieces to make heavy, easy washing quilts for the homeless shelter. Bigger, bright pieces I make into quilts and pillowcases for the battered women's shelter. These things cost only my time, as many people have been very generous to me. I check freecycle and craigslist often and have found lots of goodies in these sites! Happy Hunting to ALL!
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