I like to work with fabric, but fabric can get expensive fast, especially when working with a new idea that you’ve never tried before and might mess up. Back when I watched a lot of HGTV (i.e., I had cable), I had shows to frequently remind me of how to find fabric without spending a lot. These days I sometimes forget about the various places I can look, so I decided to make a list and share it with everyone:
- Clearance and remnants (I’m starting with the obvious here). The Walmarts that still carry fabric sometimes have some fabrics on clearance for as little as $1 a yard. Remnants aren’t usually marked down as much as I would like, but I have still found some decent deals with remnants, especially if I do not need very large pieces of fabric. Sometimes I just collect inexpensive fabric remnants that are pretty for “someday” use.
- Fabric warehouses. In Phoenix, we have a store called S.A.S. Fabric Warehouse. You can find a TON of different fabrics there (as well as lace, ribbon, etc.), and many are very reasonably priced. Check around your area—maybe there’s a hidden treasure like this near you.
- Non-fabric clearance and sales. What on earth does that mean? What I mean is that sometimes you can find fabric shower curtains or window curtains on clearance for a really good price. Then you have this HUGE piece of fabric for way less than you could ever get it at a fabric store. I have seen large fleece blankets advertised for as low as $2.99, and thought “if I were going to make a fleece jacket, I would definitely check those out.” I recently found a burgundy colored velvet curtain on clearance for $5. I’m going to cover my sewing chair with it (I’ll blog it when I do).
- Thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales. Need a small amount of fabric? Look at the clothing. Need larger amounts? Check out the linens. I once found a huge piece of fabric I just loved at an estate sale. I think they charged about $0.25 per yard.
- Around the house. Old clothes, old blankets, old anything—before you donate it or throw it away, perhaps you should ask yourself: can I make something else out of this? I have clothing I tore in an irreparable way sitting in my fabric box just waiting for inspiration to strike. Threadbare sheets can be easily used for trying to figure out patterns (going to do this for our Build-a-Bears) or anything else for which you may want “disposable” fabric for. (I also pillage old, torn items for other re-usable parts such as buttons, Velcro, zippers, etc.)
- Ask friends and relatives. Recently my mother-in-law found some blue corduroy laying around the house from when her sons were young. It’s still in great shape, and even if I never get around to making my son pants, I know it will get used for some sort of project. You never know what other people might have that could be just what you need.
Those are just the ideas I have come up with. I’m sure there are things I haven’t thought of yet, so if you have great places for getting inexpensive fabric, please share!