Quilting can be an expensive hobby – no doubt about it. There are some essentials that you can’t live without. For me, that’s my sewing machine, sewing table, mat, rotary blade, my general sewing supplies, a fabric stash, batting, threads and the list goes on and on… And we all know just how addictive quilting is! But never fear, there are many ways you can quilt, save money and not miss out on all that wonderful sewing! Here are my 12 tips for how to save money quilting and keep on sewing.
What is your favourite tip for how to save money quilting and keep on sewing?
It’s not all about getting the most amount of quilts finished in a life time. If you want to keep sewing, but can’t stretch the funds far enough, slow down! Start a hand pieced (English Paper Piecing or the old running stitch) project or finsh your quilt with hand quilting. You are still sewing, it will just take you longer to finish each project. And for extra points, hand seeing is easily or table, perfect for taking to your guild meeting, sewing retreats or on the couch in front of the TV.
Borrow books from the library
Become a member at your local public library and borrow craft books. Our local library is an incredible resource and has many craft books to browse or borrow. At my local library, there is an inordinate amount of Kaffe Fassett titles for some reason…? If the library doesn’t have the title you want, ask them to order it in for you as they will often order it in specially and give you first dibs at borrowing. Libraries are certainly a precious resource and I love looking in the craft aisle for books I haven’t heard of yet. Just remember to return your books on time so you don’t have to fork out for late fees!
Stick to your budget
Easier said than done, I mean, what even is a budget? Know how much you can spend on your sewing supplies and stick to it. If you are heading to the local fabric shop or a craft fair, leave your credit card at home and only take cash, That way, you will be forced to limit your spending to the cash you have in your pocket. Sage advice for anyone watching their money.
Destash and restash
Instagram and Facebook often host ‘destash’ hashtags and groups. You can sell your second hand fabric that you will no longer love and make a little extra money to put back into your wallet. If you are looking to buy some fabric on a budget, try buying from theses groups. Like anything, buyer beware. Some people have been known never to actually send the packages, so make sure you pay by Paypal or credit card to protect yourself.
Join a stash club
Sounds counter intuitive, but joining a stash club can be a relatively cheap option to build your stash. You will get your fabric stash hit, while spreading the cash out each month. I have recently joined the Polka Dot Tea Cotton Couture solids club and I can’t wait to get my delicious bundle in the mail next month… What? I promise it’s in my budget!
Shop your stash
Dive deep into your stash, I just know there are some forgotten treasures hiding below. Rearrange it into colour order if you must and take a mental stocktake of what you have. You’ve spent many hours and lots of money carefully curating it, so why not use it? She who dies with the biggest stash definitely doesn’t win. Use it or lose it sister!
Consider the wonders that is scrappy
Who said that your blocks must all be made with the same green print for each block. Why use one fabric when you can use many? Use a whole field of green, why not? Make do with what you have and use your stash to create new and exciting colour palettes. Heaven know I have a thousand variations of teal prints…
Make friends with solids
If you ask me, solids are the foundations of a good fabric stash. They come in every shade you will ever need, will never date and as an added bonus, are cheaper than their printed counterparts. Find ways to incorporate more solids into your quilting to save a little bit more cash for sipping champagne.
Check out your local thrift store
There has been a revival of sorts for using second hand clothes in quilting and with good reason. Up-cycling old clothing is a perfect way to save money and reduce waste. And hey, if it’s good enough for the quilter’s of Gees Bend, it’s good enough for me. I would recommend using 100% cotton materials, which is still in good condition and not threadbare. Although in saying that, many a great quilt have been made with polyester double knit!
It’s not a monster, just a frugal quilter at work! If you can afford to buy batting in bulk and have the space to store it, go ahead! Make use of those smaller piecing by stitching them together with a zig zag stitch. Make sure you don’t mix brands and materials. There are special adhesive tapes out there in the market, but as this is a ‘saving money’ post, I’m not going to mention them.
Go for quality not quantity
Good quality sewing notions will work better and last longer. There is no point buying a $10 pair of scissors that stay sharp for two weeks. If you are buying the essentials, invest in the best you can afford. And I have a similar mantra for fabric. Quality is key. Nobody wants to go to all the effort of lovingly making a quilt only for the fabric to deteriorate or worse within a year.
Think twice before you buy
My last tip is simple. Think twice before you reach into your pocket. Do you need all those gadgets that usually go with a passing fad? Is the chenille rotary cutter really worth it? Really? If you have a lovely friend with that must have gadget, ask to borrow it first to make sure you really want one. And are you really going to use that $2 a meter clearance fabric or will you hang onto it for 6 years and sell it in a destash. Be honest with your self and buy accordingly.