Friday, October 26, 2012

My Secrets to Finding Inexpensive Fabric

I always feel a little sick inside when shelling out big $$$ for fabric yardage. It really can get expensive. I do splurge every now and again for special projects, but when it comes to making things for myself or my kids, I always try to find the cheapest possible way to get as much yardage as I can. Today I'll let you in on my secrets...shhh!

Garage Sales
I have found some of my favorite fabric from yard sales -- especially estate sales where sometimes there are boxes and boxes of vintage fabric. When looking at yard sale descriptions, look for those who advertise craft supplies, or more specifically, fabric. I went to one yard sale because the advertisement said they were "cleaning out their craft room." TOTAL score that day. Yard and yards of fabric for less than $1 a yard.

Yes, I found all of this (pictured above and below) at one yard sale. She told me to stuff as much fabric into a grocery bag for $1 as I could. I did just that. I came home with upholstery, minky, cotton, fleece and flannel fabric.

Local Fabric Stores
  • Never pay full price for fabric at a big-box store like Jo-Anns. They ALWAYS have a coupon for 40% off a cut of fabric. If you don't already subscribe to their emails, sign up. Almost every email comes with a digital coupon for 40% off a cut of fabric or one item. Sometimes I'll get 50% off coupons.  Many local fabric stores put out similar emails with discount coupons.  
I used my 50% off coupon to buy the fabric to re-cover this chair.
  • If you buy the end of a bolt, a fabric shop will usually give you a discount. If I am looking for a few yards of fabric and one bolt looks like it's almost gone, I always go for that one and score a percentage off. 
The vinyl for the top of this giraffe table was the last of the bolt so instead of $5 a yard, I got it for $2.
  • Don't pass up on the clearance aisle of fabric either, you may just stumble upon something fantastic. I got the fabric to cover my office chair for $5 a yard (normally $20 a yard):

L.A. Fabric District
You can read about my full experience with the wonders of this place HERE.

 All this fabric for $26? Yes, please!

Online Fabric Stores
 If I need to purchase a ton of fabric, like I did for my chenille blanket and my chevron place mats, I will turn to online sources. Etsy and are my favorite stops. runs sales constantly on their fabric and you can usually find a free shipping code through

Thrift Stores
Savers and Deseret Industries both have a fabric section. Savers sells theirs by the piece, usually $2-$3 for a large piece. DI sells theirs in grab-bags for $4 or so. These are the only thrift stores in my area, but I'm sure that others like Goodwill and Salvation Army have a fabric section as well with similar prices.  I even stumble upon fantastically-priced notions.

All of these zippers were $0.25 each. Maybe not the right colors for a sewing project, but perfect for a zipper page in a quiet book.

BUT where I always score big is in the curtain and sheet section. Instead of thinking of them as curtains and sheets, think of them as yards and yards of fabric for $2.

Can you guess what my little girl wants to be for Halloween from these two fabrics? I'll give you a hint...I'm figuring out how to make a tail, fins and a seashell bra.

How about you? Where do you go to satisfy your fabric needs without breaking the bank?


  1. These are awesome tips! Do you store your fabric in hanging files (it looks like that in the first picture). That's a really good idea.

  2. Thanks! Yes, I wrap all of my fabric around hanging file folders and keep it in a filing cabinet. It totally cuts down on the clutter!

  3. Great tips! I sometimes look for sales in my local Toronto fabric stores . I recommend checking it out, there are times during the year when all is reduced to half price. You can also negotiate the price as staff is usually open for it at these stores.


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