We all need fabric, where should we buy it, are we adding to landfill sites, where can bargains be found and can we justify buying anymore? My recent blog The Price is right – for who?, made me consider the impact of buying fabric, here are a few ideas.
Recycle, repurpose and blag some swag
Have a mooch through your scraps and sort into similar sizes, have fun matching patterns and make a basic patchwork item. These make nice gifts as they are complete one offs.
Scrutinise old clothes, bedding, table wear and curtains to see what can be recycled: don’t discard buttons, zips and trim. Look for the above at car boot sales and charity shops, children’s duvet covers featuring retro designs are my favorite. I am currently on the hunt for tweed items as I have an urge to make teddies with it.
Whilst we are on the bedding theme discount shops like Primark have nice bedding and throws. Buying it new can be cheaper than buying some fabric. I used Ikea bed throws to make full wall sized curtains. I also bought two fleece throws in the sale for £1 each and have used it for children’s clothes and as wadding.
Fleece T Rex for my grandson Louis & play mat for my niece Maebh, both using an Ikea throw
Tell everyone that you sew, maybe not everyone but most, people often have sewing swag taking up space. Be prepared for the patronising ‘oh I don’t have time to sew, I’m far too busy’. Like we lounge around on satin sheets all day, eating chocolate whilst sewing a french seam!
Try crazy blocking, create your own designer fabric and use up scraps. Use bias cut remnants for contrast collars Check out Freegle or your own local equivalent, people often want to find a good home for sewing supplies.
The details of current sales are always shared at the sewing directory, lots of links to independent retailers with adorable fabric & haberdashery who currently have sales. Look out for online discounts, Hobbycraft offer 15% discount if you join the Craft Club, Abakhans offer member discounts too.
Sign up for emails, retailers will let you know when they have sales or special offers don’t be afraid of spam, the emails are useful reminders. Elephant in my handbag often have bolt end sales. I bought some beautiful apple & pear print at a great price, there was enough for a dress for Scarlett.
Take a gamble and buy a lucky dip remnant bag from Abakhans, I have always been delighted by the choices made by the fabric fairies. My last bag contained two yard pieces of sweatshirt fabric in red, blue and white for around a tenner! I like to soup up bargain fabric and simple patterns with applique.
Seek out local markets and have a good look around, you may be surprised by what you find. I took a short cut during my break at work and discovered a fantastic stall selling sari fabrics and poly cottons amazingly cheap. I regularly stock up there, the poly cottons are £1.50 a yard and I have bought lots of embroidered Indian cotton at £3.50. If the fabric seems a bit thin use it for reversible projects like the tunic below. You can use the savings to splash out on trim like rick rack!
Check out the fabric where ever you go, a quick internet search or find one shop and ask for tips can unearth some treasures. On a recent short break to Brighton I had a wonderful few hours fabric shopping. Included in my swag was some beautiful coloured elastic, very hard to find.
If you love it buy it, there are so many beautiful fabrics around and you deserve a treat now and again. Supplement cheap fabric with a quality fat quarter, making a little go a long way. Make baby clothes as you don’t need much fabric for a small project like a newborn tunic and bloomers.
This outfit was made using two fat quarters and some wadding scraps
Go on you know you want to, do what you need to do, fabric buying is one of life’s essentials & it’s cheaper than therapy & you deserve it!
Links to some of the sites I have mentioned:
I would love to hear about any of your fabric buying tips, happy stashing