Where to find cheap fabric
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If you’re looking to find cheap fabric, you’re in luck! There are a number of great sources for bargain materials, some of which you may not expect. In this blog post, I will discuss several places where you can find affordable fabric. AND – I’ll also provide tips on how to get the best deals at each of these locations. So whether you’re a beginner sewer / embroiderer or a total pro, read on for the best tips and tricks for finding cheap fabric!
Why acquire cheap fabric?
I’ve seen hoarders… and it’s not pretty. The last thing I want is for you to be cramming your living space with a bunch of junk you don’t need.
On the other hand, if you sew and embroider, a lot, it’s great to have extra fabric on hand.
In fact, I’ve experienced the benefits of having access to an excess fabric collection time and time again.
Last minute projects
My grandmother was the ultimate cheap fabric collector, and I’ve definitely been inspired by her ways.
I remember how she was able to come to my rescue with her enviable fabric stash back when I was in the third grade. My problem was that I wanted to be Miss Piggy for Halloween, but I couldn’t find an appropriately glamorous Miss Piggy dress.
So, we headed down to her sewing cabinets and she pulled out a few yards of a blue sateen with a gorgeous drape. And a few hours later, I had my Miss Piggy dress.
I’ve done the same things for my kids. Need a Medusa costume, a backdrop for a video, or an accessory for a play? It’s not a problem. I know where to find cheap fabric. And when I do, I usually stock up!
If you’re into quilting, fabric hoarding is practically a requirement. You never know when you’ll find the perfect print to blend in with some existing fabric you own to form the perfect quilt.
Like quilting, appliqué often requires a lot of different fabrics. It’s helpful to have a stash on hand so that you can easily find the right color or pattern when you need it. And the fun part about collecting fabric for appliqué is that even a tiny piece can play a large role in a future project.
Not too long ago, I visited an independent fabric store in Chicago (which has since closed) there they gave away free fabric scraps. The scraps were small and they requested you only take 5 pieces per visit. But, those little pieces of really cool fabric have made their way into my appliqué projects.
So where can you find cheap fabric?
Now that we’ve discussed some of the reasons why you might want to acquire cheap fabric, let’s talk about where you can find it. Here are a few great places to look for affordable fabric.
The clearance section at your local fabric store
This is a great place to find discounts on high-quality fabrics. You can often find designer fabrics for a fraction of the regular price. Even Joann’s has a clearance section as well as a remnant area where you can find fabric for next to nothing.
You can find all sorts of fabrics at thrift stores, including linen, cotton, and even wool. Be sure to check the condition of the fabric before you buy it, as some pieces may be too damaged to use.
On several occasions, I’ve purchased sheets at thrift stores. Sheets can easily be dyed and turned into a wide variety of Halloween costumes and other projects that require large pieces of fabrics. I’ve cut sheets into strips for mummy costumes and used a dyed sheet for a princess dress.
In addition to sheets, your local thrift store may also have fabric. Be sure to ask.
If you are really feeling adventurous, you can turn used clothes into fabric and make something completely new. For example, if you love the fabric on a dress, but hate the style, you can always repurpose the fabric and make something else.
I am a big fan of using old clothes as fabric to make something new. Check out how I repurposed this hideous corporate blouse.
Garage sales are a great place to find cheap fabric for appliqué, quilting or sewing projects. Sometimes people just get sick of looking at certain fabric – so they offer it up at a garage sale!
If you’re looking for high-quality fabrics, estate sales are a great place to look. Think about it. If a person with a significant fabric stash passes away, what will they do with all the fabric?
Assuming that someone in the family sews or embroiders, they may take it. But chances are, they will want to unload all that fabric, and you could be the lucky recipient.
Ebay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace
These websites are great for finding fabric that is being sold by individuals. You can often find fabrics for a fraction of the cost of what you would pay at a store.
For example, I found a listing on Ebay for 100 different quilting fat quarters for less than $10! Think about all the appliqué projects you could make with all of those cute cotton prints!
Your friend’s rejects
Ever heard of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure?” If you have friends that sew and embroider, they may be fabric hoarders who want to unload some of their fabric stashes.
I’ve been the recipient of many bags of fabric. Sometimes my friends’ trash becomes my trash. But, other times, their fabric trash has become my treasure.
For example, my friends that do a lot of quilting often have small cotton scraps that they deem too small to do anything with. But, since I appliqué, some of these small pieces are just perfect for my needs.
Off season sales at fabric stores
Many fabric stores have regular sales on seasonal fabrics, usually after that holiday has passed. This is a great time to stock up on these types of fabric. Not many people are interested in buying Valentine’s prints in March which means it’s the absolute best time to buy these prints.
Shopping in other countries
If you have an opportunity to shop while you are traveling abroad, you can often find fabrics that you would not find at home. Plus, a favorable exchange rate could mean that the fabric you purchase will be CHEAP!
I’ve bought some of my fabric fabric in places like Mexico, Japan and Thailand. My friends and relatives have brought me back fabric from places like China, Vietnam and India. I love working with fabrics from other countries, especially if I have been there, myself, as it always remind me of my travels.
Where to find cheap fabric online
There are a number of online fabric stores that sell a wide variety of fabrics at discount prices.
This is one of the most popular online fabric stores as well as a great place to find cheap fabric.
Their sale and clearance section goes on for pages and pages. Be sure to click on the “Discontinued” filter to find the deepest discounted fabrics.
Fields Fabrics site is great for scoring discounted cotton and fleece at a fraction of the cost. I often order end of bolt pieces from Fields for a fraction of the price. Check out their clearance section for all their deals.
In addition to their in-store deals, Joann’s also has a pretty extensive sale and clearance section on their website as well. These sale items are not necessarily what you will see in the store.
Plus – if you have a Joann’s nearby, you can order your fabric online and select in-store pick up to avoid paying for shipping.
Yes – you can find fabric at Walmart! But, if your local Walmart does not have a great fabric selection, be sure to see what’s available on clearance online. There are some real steals – especially when it comes to quilting cottons – which are perfect for appliqué projects.
Mood Fabrics is a bit on the pricey side. They are known for their designer fabrics!
But don’t discount the potential for finding bargains on their site. Be sure to check their “Sale” section for markdowns on designer fabrics.
If you are feeling adventurous – be sure to check out their mystery kits! You can buy a box of fabric and supplies to make a designer outfit. The catch? You don’t know exactly what’s in the box until it arrives at your door.
Fabricmart offers a treasure trove of bargain fabrics. They don’t just have a sale section – they have it broken down into multiple tempting sale/clearance sub categories – like $1 fabrics and even a 70% off section.
Hobby Lobby doesn’t just sell crafts. They have a great selection of fabric – including some designer fabric brands.
They offer regular sales both in-store and online. In addition, they offer a 40% off coupon that you can use on one item – either in-store or online every single week! So – if you can’t find the fabric you want on sale – you can always get it at 40% off.
I am personally not a frequent Hobby Lobby shopper – but I’ve been recently surprised by some of the cute fabrics they had in store. I’ve used them to make pillows and belts (don’t ask).
Don’t discount Amazon as a source for cheap fabric. Amazon offers a wide variety of fabrics – including some designer brands. I’ve actually ordered fabric from Amazon because I was able to find a great deal on an end-of-bolt piece that I needed for a project.
Fabricdepot.com has PAGES of discounted fabrics – many of which are “last piece” deals where you can get some unique pieces for a fraction of the original price.
If you are looking for drapery or upholstery fabric for a steal – you should definitely check out House of Fabric’s sale area. I’m lucky to live very close to their one and only location and have bought tons of pieces of fabric from them. In fact, the fabric I used to cover cushion the cushion on my monogrammed chair came from their remnant bin!
If you are into making home decor items and are looking for some cheap fabric – definitely bookmark this site!
So… what are your favorite sources for cheap fabric? Let me know in the comments!
Happy Sewing (and cheap fabric finding)! `