How to Find Cheap Fabric for Sewing Projects
Sewing can be an expensive hobby, and fabric is one of the main causes. Here's a guide to finding cheap fabric for your sewing projects. Sometimes you'll find cheap fabric that's just as nice as full price fabric, and sometimes you'll find pieces that you can experiment on without feeling guilty if you mess up.
I've seen a few posts on finding cheap fabric, so I'll try to add to what's out there without repeating too much, and I've included a list of other fabric-buying guides at the end of this post.
Find Cheap Fabric at Antique Shops/Flea Markets
I haven't seen a lot of people mention this one. I think people are afraid that antique shops will be pricey, but I've gotten some of my best hauls from antique stores. You can find cool vintage fabric, sewing machine attachments, and notions. However, stay away from vintage thread because it often degrades over time. I've gotten entire bolts of fabric, lots of sewing notions, multiple yards of fabric, and cool scraps, all for a few dollars each.
This bundle of fabric was only $2!
These were all less than $5 each and were 1 to 3 yards each.
The next two were $1 each, less than 1/2 yard.
All less than $5, up to 5 yards each.
And an entire roll for $8!
Cheap Fabric at Thrift Stores
These are my next favorite places to look for fabric. Salvation Army often has a section with crafts supplies and fabric in their home goods section. They get donations of fabric, but they also cut up unusable clothing/bedding that they receive. These were all only a couple of dollars.
You can also keep an eye out for cool tablecloths, sheets, pillowcases, curtains, and plus size/maternity clothes. These can be cannibalized for other projects, and sometimes you can even keep the hem intact, so some of your work is already done! You can often find pillowcases for as little as a quarter, and you'd be surprised at how many small projects you can get out of a pillowcase.
When you buy used fabric, be sure to wash it right away. If it has a musty smell, try adding a little distilled white vinegar to the wash. Especially with used bedding, you want to carefully wash and dry it in the dryer to avoid any possibility of bed bugs. I've never had a problem with this, but I wash everything as soon as I get it home.
Here are a few more of my thrift store finds, all only a dollar or two each:
Cheap Fabric at Dollar Stores
You won't find large amounts of fabric at the dollar store, but you can get T shirts, tablecloths, curtains, and placemats, which can work well for small sewing projects.
Cheap Fabric at Joann Fabrics
You've probably already got your coupons lined up for Joann Fabrics, but keep an eye out for their bigger sales a few times a year as well. For example, sometimes you can get fat quarters for less than $1 each. Start planning ahead for quilts and holiday sewing projects by stocking up during these sales.
You can also scour the remnants section for smaller pieces (usually less than a yard), which are half price.
Lastly, you have to be careful with this, but some coupons/discounts will stack at Joann Fabrics. When in doubt, check with a sales associate before buying.
Here are a few more useful guides with information on buying cheap fabric: