Buying Fabric on a Budget

A lot of people believe that sewing your own clothes is expensive. And it can be, if you buy only expensive fabrics. But what if you don’t have a big budget for sewing? Can you buy fabric and sew clothes and other items without a lot of money? YES! I rarely ever buy fabric at full price, and I love finding inexpensive fabrics to use for sewing garments and other handmade projects. I’ve compiled a list of my best budget friendly fabric sources to share with you, so that you can save money on fabric too!

Thrift Stores


Thrift stores are by far my favorite place to find inexpensive fabric! You can find fabric that has been donated for a steal! The downside is that you can’t go in knowing exactly what will be on the shelves. I don’t find fabric every single time that I shop, but I’ve found enough to make it worth it!

You can find more than just actual fabric yardage at thrift stores, though. You can find bedsheets and other pieces of clothing that can be used as fabric. One of my favorite thrift store fabric sources is also wool sweaters.

Click on the title below to find a whole post about felting wool sweaters and what to make with them:


Upcycling


Using bedsheets or reusing clothes as fabric is called upcycling, and it’s one of my favorite fabric sources! I look around at thrift stores as mentioned above or even in my own house. Clothes that someone has outgrown or sheets and clothing that have been stained or ripped can be cut apart and used as fabric.

Click the title of any one of these posts to give you some great ideas for upcycling and unusual fabric sources:

Clearance aisles


Pretty much any time I’m in a Target, I look at the clearance. I’m not just looking for cute shoes or deals on toys, though. I’m looking for clearance bedsheets and curtains! Several times a year, they will put sheets on clearance (for example, in February you can usually find flannel sheets on clearance). An entire jersey knit sheet can make a LOT of t-shirts! One year I made my kids Christmas pajama pants from a Target flannel sheet and had tons of fabric to spare. Don’t just limit yourself to Target, though – any store that has linens could have good options.

Another great option: XXL dresses or T-shirts are great fabric sources! You can make an entire toddler outfit from a men’s T-shirt.

Click on the title below to see how I upcycled some linen tablecloths and a duvet cover into these pillows:


Sales


The last option, of course, is to watch for sales! Stores like JoAnn Fabrics and Hobby Lobby usually have coupons you can use. Small fabric shops will often run sales or even pre-sales on fabrics they design in house. If you don’t need a specific fabric immediately, you can usually shop around online for the least expensive option or look for a coupon. Get on email lists from shops you like, and you can watch for sales or often get a coupon just for signing up for their emails.

I also find that I save money just by not going into a store to buy clothing! I can usually make a version of a name-brand garment at a much cheaper price. Plus, I’m not tempted by all the other things in the store! So while sewing and buying fabric can be expensive, it certainly doesn’t have to be! Especially when you use all of these options for sourcing.

Happy sewing!

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