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Quilting made Cheap!

Quilting isn’t cheap!  However, there are ways to trim costs while still making beautiful quilts and quilted projects. Let’s dive in to some tips on making our hobby less expensive!

  1. You don’t need all the things. 

Really. You don’t. You need the basics. I’m talking about a good ruler, (my favorite is Omnigrid 6.5” x24”), a rotary cutter and mat, thread, pins, fabric and a sewing machine. And none of it has to be fancy. There are so many tools and gadgets out there, but they aren’t necessary. Get these things and you’ll be set:

  • Sewing machine
  • A large ruler
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat
  • Straight pins
  • Thread
  • Snips
  • Fabric
  • Iron and Ironing board
  • ¼” foot or tape

  1. You don’t need all the fabric either.

While it’s tempting to buy all the fabric, especially when there are limited collections, it’s not necessary. I try to buy what I need with exceptions for collections I absolutely can’t live without or have something in mind. 

  1. Go thrifting.

There are so many gems for quilting at the thrift shop. Anything from sewing machines, and books to thread and sheets for backings. For fabric finds specifically, check out the material section, the bedding section (including pillowcases), and men’s shirting. 

  1. Watch out for sales.

Get on your favorite fabric stores newsletter and get the inside scoop on sales. Some shops have clearance or remnants sections, while some sell scrap packs too. 

  1. Check out Facebook groups.

Facebook is filled with destash groups. Often you can find discounted prices, or even some folks giving away bags of scraps if that’s your thing.

  1. Go to the library.

I love my library! You would be amazed at the things your local library may have to offer that you weren’t aware of. At mine, there is a sewing machine and serger, you just need to book an appointment to use them. There’s also a ton of books for ideas or to help you progress.

  1. Check out what your favorite pattern designers have to offer.

Quilt pattern designers usually have a lot more than just their paid patterns to offer. Check out their blogs for tutorials, and sign up for their newsletter for possible discounts and offers. 

  1. YouTube University.

So many quilters learned how to quilt by YouTube University. Quite literally you can find projects, tips and techniques and learn without spending a dime.

  1. Upcycle.

Ok, so that fabric that you bought forever ago isn’t your style so much anymore. Or maybe that awesome vintage shirt has a hole in it. Use it! Make it your own. Cut up that shirt to use in your quilt top, and spray some bleach on the fabric or experiment with ice dyes or tie dyes. Get creative!

  1. Save those scraps.

Don’t get rid of your batting scraps! You can sew them together or use scrap tape to secure them. You can also use all of your interfacing bits and of course, fabric scraps for future projects

  1. Check out local auctions, garage and estate sales.

Oftentimes auctions have huge lots of sewing tools and notions. You can find sewing baskets filled to the brim with thread and goodies. Auctions and estate sales are also wonderful places to find sewing machines at a lower price point. 

  1. Head to the dollar store.

The dollar store surprisingly has a lot to offer for a quilter. Anything from gardening gloves to use for quilting gloves, or buying Elmer’s glue for glue basting or EPP, or even to grab some lint rollers. 

I hope you’ve found some of these tips helpful to you and your wallet! Until next time, keep it quilty!


10 Responses

  1. I recently made several large quilts including the 100 blocks in 100 days. I would have had to either piece the backing with quilting cotton (not cheap) or buy 108″ wide back fabric (~$25/yard). I would have had to buy about 2 1/2 yards so almost $65!

    Instead, I bought thrifted sheets costing less than $10. I may have pieced the backing with a single seam – I saved a ton of money, enough to buy more fabric for another quilt!

    Anyway – thrifting is a fantastic way to get those backings done!

  2. So appreciate your news letters. I agree with you 100%. I learned the hard way, bought fabric I just thought I HAD to have it…. II learned the hard way.

  3. These are great ideas! Hoping I can find some flannel sheets for backing. About the public library, ours has a “makers space” and also has sewing machines, cutting mats etc available – a wonderful resource. My favorite “tool” there? The big tables for fabric cutting and quilt trimming, it may not save money but it saves my knees 😁

  4. Being thrifty with quilting brings us closer to the history of quilts made from worn-out garments and fabric scraps from garment sewing – for many folks quilting was a way to make the most of whatever was available while striving for something decorative as well as useful – just getting back to the roots of quilting. Every home would have a “rag bag” to turn into quilts, rag rugs, potholders, towels, patches for worn clothing – and sometimes doll clothes were made from scraps and old clothes. When nothing else could be done with a piece of fabric it really was a rag!

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