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Thrifty Sewing Tips From Our Readers

Trips to the fabric store are tempting, but we always end up buying more fabric than we need. We asked our Facebook readers how they stay thrifty while sewing. Here are their responses!

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Upkeep and Repurposing

  • "If you sew a lot like most of us do, keep your sewing machine clean. Change your needle after about 8 hours of sewing." –Mary A.
  • "When I made my son a new blanket and he wanted to keep his raggy old one, I used leftover scraps to make a pillow and stuffed it with his old raggy blanket. So his old blanket is still on his bed!" –Heather C.
  • "I sometimes use flannel sheets as a quilt back, washing once first to allow for shrinking." –Roberta W.
  • "I use the leftovers from a quilt to make a second one that you can donate." –Mary W.

Shopping Habits

  • "I have grounded myself from fabric stores, using only fabric from my stash for what I want to make." –Jodi P.
  • "There will always be more pretty fabric so take a step back from making impulse buys. Buying stuff doesn’t make us happy, making stuff makes us happy." –Linda B.
  • "If someone offers you free fabric take it, even the scraps." –Mary A.
  • "I always buy the cheapest King-size batting regardless of what I am working on. I always have leftovers. Sometimes, I even piece pieces together." –Von K.
  • "If you want buttons or a certain kind of fastener, check a thrift store first." –Sarah S.
  • "Don’t believe you need every new tool that comes down the pike." –Nancy W.
  • "Visit thrift stores for sales on clothing. You can find 100% cotton blouses that are out of style but are still great to cut up for quilts. It's an easy way to get good variety." –Leslie B.
  • "I only buy fabric for the quilt I am making at the present time." –Christine W.
  • "Used men’s 100% cotton shirts are my favorite. Wash, press, and cut apart." –Sandra Jane S.
  • "Just because you love it doesn’t mean you have to buy it!" –Elaine C.
  • "Don’t worry about matching thread in piecing. Buy large spools for dark, medium, and light gray!" –Carolyn S.
  • "I don’t buy patterns -- I graph out my own." –Vickie K.
  • "I get a lot of my free patterns from Pinterest or from other quilt websites." –Cindy J.

Sewing Tips

  • "Use magazine pages for foundation paper. This works great for strip piecing blocks or crazy quilt blocks. The paper is lightweight and tears away easily when the block is finished." –Ruth M.
  • "Chain piecing, accurate cutting, and attention to detail. Also an accurate 1/4" seam allowance. My machine wants to drift into larger seams, and that makes for wonky blocks that must be resewn." –Linda T.
  • "Chain piecing saves thread." –Kelley P.
  • "Measure twice, cut once." –Pamela W.
  • "Paper clips work just as well as binding clips." –Amy D.
  • "I use freezer paper as stabilizer. Effective and saves money." –Laura H.
  • "Use fusible interfacing and not the sew-in kind. You can piece all the leftover bits together as you iron." –Betty H.