1. Pay attention to price per yard when buying fabric precuts and bundles. $3.50 for a fat quarter may not seem like much, but that equates to $14 per yard! Online stores like Hawthorne Threads and Stash Fabrics generally have non-organic quilting cotton priced at $10 per yard, and Etsy sellers are sometimes even cheaper. When buying a FQ bundle, I expect to pay no more than $2.70 per FQ.
|Patty and I placed a joint order during C&T Publishing's warehouse sale|
2. When shopping for fabric and materials online, bring a buddy! My friend Patty and I will make a single order for both of us to save money. We can split the cost of shipping, meet minimum order prices for a discount (like 20% when you spend $50), or split minimum yardage cuts. A lot of online stores require a half yard minimum cut, so this way we can cut it into a FQ and save a little money. Splitting up bundles is also a good option.
|I used 100% scraps for my Scatterbrain Quilt No.4|
3. Save all your scraps! You know how Smaug is with gold? That's how I am with scraps. If it's bigger than a postage stamp, I save them and use them. It forces you to get creative and can make for some super fun projects!
4. Make your bindings scrappy! I rarely bind a quilt with a single fabric. Instead, I use long 2 - 2.5" wide scraps to make my binding. No more half yards cuts getting eaten up for binding.
|The back of my Obsession Quilt was pieced from my stash|
5. Never pay full price for quilt backs! I only payed full price for a quilt back once, and that was my first quilt. I'll never do that again! Now, I either piece my back from fabrics I'm not super excited about, larger scraps, or clearance bin finds. For my Starfield Quilt, I even used an old flat sheet. Sometimes the money you'll save on a quilt back far outweighs the fact that it won't be as pretty as the front.
|40 yards of batting all for me!|
6. Buy basic materials in bulk! I used to buy packaged batting, but when I thought about it, I realized it would make more sense to just buy a buttload at a good price. When Jo-Ann's had a 50% discount on batting, I ordered a whole 40 yard roll from their website and stacked it with a free shipping coupon. It worked out to less than $4 per yard for the whole roll! I plan on buying thread in cones from now on as well.
7. Save your batting scraps! You can easily zig-zag them together on your sewing machine to make a larger piece. Just but the edges up against each other (do not overlap!), set your zig-zag stitch to it's widest setting, and sew. When your quilt is done, you will never be able to tell the difference. Alternatively, you can use larger scraps for Quilt as You Go projects.
|Fabric scraps sure are tasty...|
8. Ask your friends for their garbage! Different people have different ideas of what constitutes a "scrap" of fabric. As I've said, I will use anything bigger than a postage stamp, but I know people who will trash anything smaller than 3 x 3 inches. If you have friends like this, ask them to save their scraps for you. My friends seem to be more than happy to give me their garbage!
9. Wait it out! When there is a fabric like I want, but don't quite "need," I'll take the risk and wait for it to go on sale. I bought a FQ bundle of Heather Ross' Briar Rose for a great price because Far Far Away was about to go on sale and the shop had put it on sale to make room. You run the risk of the collection selling out if it's a popular line, but sometimes waiting can pay off.
10. Be a pattern tester! Do you know anyone who designs quilt patterns? Offer to be a pattern tester. It's a win-win. You get a free pattern, and you can help your friend make sure it's perfect.