Whether you’re just dipping your toes into the quilting waters or swimming in the deep end, we all like to save money where we can. Here are some helpful tips to keep you quilting without breaking the bank!
Tools of the Trade
You don’t need every tool available, just good quality basics – especially if you’re just getting started! Take your time and do a little research before making larger purchases. Other quilters are the best source of information out there, and there are plenty of quilting forums, videos and blogs waiting to give advice, but make sure that purchases make sense for you and your projects.
Count your thread as a tool, and think quality basics here, too. You don’t need every color under the rainbow. Most of my piecing is done with light or medium gray thread. For basic piecing, most quilters can get along nicely with white/off white, light gray, medium gray and black threads. If you’re quilting your finished tops yourself, that’s where you can focus on different colors.
Shop Your Stash and Use Your Scraps
Using the fabric that you already own is a great way to make your wallet happy. Before starting a new project, I look through my collection and pull fabrics I think might work. I’ll go through them again to fine-tune my selections, then fill out with new purchases only as needed. You can also go to your own collection to inspire a new project. Do you have way more orange in your collection that you realized? Look for a project to tap into that resource.
And don't be afraid to take a look at what fabric scraps can be used for applique, small scrap piecing, or smaller projects like pillows, mug rugs and placemats. If you’re looking for ways to tame your scraps, check this blog post for inspiration.
Featured Pattern: GO! Love Note Pillow Pattern (PQ11834)
Sew With a Buddy
Do you have a sewing buddy? Well, I do, and we’ve saved each other a lot over the years! We’re often drawn to similar projects, especially for small, seasonal creations like wall hangings and table runners, so we share our fabric. A little from my stash with a little from hers and soon we have a great project underway. Over the years, we’ve found that this really helps boost our creativity, too!
What about friends or family who used to quilt or who have inherited quilting fabric and supplies? Ask around, you may find some treasures just looking for a good home!
Featured Pattern: GO! Flying Rainbow Geese (PQ11075)
Batting Meets Frankenbatting
As quilters, we hate to waste anything, including batting left over from other projects. If you find yourself floating in a sea of batting scraps, take a little time to sew them together. Some quilters will overlap their batting scraps and sew together with a wide zig-zag stitch. I prefer to match mine edge-to-edge and sew together with the same stitch. Whatever method you chose, creating new batting from your scraps can be a big money saver. Keep smaller scraps separate so you’re ready for little projects like mug rugs, too.
I have commitment issues when it comes to picking backing for my quilts, and I think that one reason is the expense that can be involved. Over my quilting years, I’ve discovered just how much easier it can be to work with the 108” wide backing fabrics. The added bonus is the fabric that’s left is sure to work for another project.
I’ve also learned to make pieced backings to add interest to the flip side of my quilts and put extra fabric from the top to good use. Another economical idea is to use sheets, although the difference in fabric and tread counts can vary greatly. Some quilters swear by this method, seeking out good condition sheets at thrift stores and garage sales for this purpose. If you are working with a long armer to finish your quilt, be sure to check with them prior to selecting this option, as some will not work with sheet backings.
Save on Fabrics
Are you starting the new year by cleaning out your closets? Well, stop and take a look at the clothes that you’re getting rid of for any that are 100% cotton and would work for future quilt! Don’t overlook your local thrift shops here either, you never know what you’ll find!
You can also save fabric dollars by depending on more solids and fewer prints. Take advantage of sales to stock up on solids, but also to get your best deal on those focus prints.
Cut Your Own Pre-Cuts
Buying pre-cuts like jelly rolls, charm packs and layer cakes give you a great variety of fabrics to work with that you know will all work together, but you can pay a premium for this. With so many projects calling for these standard sizes, you can cut them yourself out of your fabric collection. AccuQuilt offers dies to make cutting them quick, easy and accurate!
If you’re hunting for your next project, don’t overlook free patterns. You can find these on a wide variety of websites and magazines. Be sure to check GO! Quilt for over 1,700 free patterns that you can colorize yourself. AccuQuilt offers this free design tool on their website. You’ll find a wide variety of projects from different sources.
When it’s time to quilt a finished top, where do you turn? Quilting it yourself can same some serious money, but pick these projects wisely. If you aren’t used to quilting on your domestic machine, be sure to start off with a small project. New to free motion quilting? Practice makes perfect, so use those fabric and batting scraps to make some practice quilt “sandwiches”. Look for tutorials on YouTube to help you get started. Saving on the small projects can allow you to use your favorite long armer for your larger and most special quilts.
Featured Pattern: GO! Qube 9" Patch Party Sampler Quilt Pattern
Last but not least, consider using scrappy bindings, like this one on the GO! Qube 6" Party Patch Sampler. Use the fabric from your quilt top to make a fun and thrifty binding for a unique touch that’s a great use of extra fabric, too. Talk about a win/win!
Be sure to share your favorite money saving tips below.