Basics

9 Sources for Free and Cheap Fabric

9 Sources for Free and Cheap Fabric

Cheap fabric that’s low in price and high in quality is every sewists and quilters dream. I have gathered up some unexpected places to find free and cheap fabric, starting with your own home and then venturing out into your local stores. And I’m talking more than just fabric stores!

I also have a list of my favorite online stores that carry cheap fabric and I’ll give you the secrets on how to save even more by watching sales, getting free shipping, and using coupon codes.

1. Free Fabric From Your Own Home

It may sound obvious but looking for fabric around your home is often overlooked. It makes sense to take a look at your fabric stash and see if you have some sizeable scraps for your next sewing project. You can also take smaller scrap pieces and patchwork them together to make a unique fabric all your own.

There are some other not so obvious places around your house that you reuse and use the fabric for a project. Here are some ideas.

Bedding from Your Linen Closet

Unmade bed sheets

Jason Trbovich/Flickr

You don’t need to take the sheets off your bed but if you have an overstocked linen closet like mine you have plenty of old sheet sets that you’ve forgotten about. Maybe you don’t like them anymore or have a different size of a bed, whatever the case they can be great to reuse for fabric.

Sheets have a ton of yardage to them and come in all different colors and patterns. There are a lot of sewing projects you can make out of vintage sheets including quilts, napkins, dish towels, aprons, bunting, robes, pajama pants, and more.

With more contemporary sheets you can make all of the above, but also consider using them as quilt backing, pillow covers, a bed skirt, or even practice fabric for a tricky project.

Tablecloths and Dish Towels

A table cloth with a cup of coffee on it

timlewisnm/Flickr

Tablecloths are also a good choice to reuse as fabric. These are in so many patterns and colors and you probably have a few that you no longer use. These are also easy to find on sale at stores and are particularly good sources for holiday fabric. You can reuse tablecloths to make skirts, tote bags, napkins, zippered bags, aprons, and tons of other items.

While they don’t offer as much yardage, dish cloths and tea towels can be used to make tote bags, napkins, aprons, pet beds, and small pillow covers for a quick and easy project.

Curtains

Colorful floral curtains

Leo Guan/Flickr

Curtains have a ton of yardage to them and you make just about anything with them. While curtain sheers are tough to reuse, cotton curtains can be used in just about any project. Take a look in your linen closet and see if you can use any of them for your next projects such as pillow covers or even children’s clothing.

Take a look in your linen closet and see if you can use any of them for your next projects such as pillow covers or even children’s clothing.

Clothes

Clothes hanging in a closet

Emily May/Flickr

Take a step in your closet, open up a dresser drawer, or find those storage boxes and take a good look at your clothes. You can refashion clothes into something new, take them apart and use them to make a new piece of clothing, or even turn them into bags.

Even clothing that no longer fits or has holes can be used for your next sewing project.

2. Cheap Fabric at Garage Sales, Estate Sales, and Auctions

A garage sale

Sandra Cohen-Rose/Flickr

If you like treasure hunting, you’re going to love this way to get cheap fabric. Garage sales, estate sales, and auctions are all great ways to fabric for almost nothing. Online ads may or may not list that there’s fabric available and you may just need to stop by some to see what they’ve got.

I’ve seen fabric sold a few different ways at these sales. They are either by the piece of fabric, by a box or container of fabric, or occasionally you’ll find a bolt of fabric for sale. If it’s sold one way and you want to buy it in a different way, just chat with the person holding the sale. They’re wanting to get rid of stuff and will most likely work with you.

Don’t forget to look for fabric in other forms too, sheets, curtains, tablecloths, and old pieces of clothing are also great ways to get fabric for cheap.

Remember to bargain, especially if you want to buy several pieces of fabric or it’s late in the day and the sale is almost over. Don’t overlook those free boxes either, you never know what might be in there.

3. Thrift Store Treasures

A woman shopping at a thrift store

David Sorich/Flickr

Here’s another treasure hunt for you! Thrift stores are also great places to find fabric sold as pieces of fabric or other items like sweaters and sheets that can be used as fabric to make something else.

Be sure to ask someone who works there when new merchanidise comes in. A lot of thrift stores also have days where a percentage off is taken from a certain color of tag. These can be great days to stock up on those goodies you’ve been eyeing.

4. Cheap Fabric at Craigslist

Cheap fabric found on Craigslist

Craigslist

Craigslist is a great place to find free and cheap fabric. Visit the for sale section and enter the term “fabric” into the search box. You’ll come up all sorts of cheap fabric available to purchase in your local area. The descriptions often have photos and specific information on the type and amount of fabric available.

You can use the filters within Craigslist to narrow down your local search area, set your minimum and maximum price, and search only new listings to get you closer to what you’re looking for.

5. Freecycle’s Free Fabric

Looking for free fabric at Freecycle

Freecycle

Freecycle works a lot like Craigslist but it’s all about getting and giving stuff for free. You find a Freecycle group in your local area and you browse the message board for offers of free fabric. You can also request free fabric so other members know what you’re looking for.

Every Freecycle group has its own set of rules so be sure you read them before you request any fabric. Sometimes you’ll need to give away something first before you can request something.

6. Cheap Canvas Fabric at Hardware Stores

The front of Home Depot

Mike Mozart/Flickr

Pick a hardware store, whether it be a big one or a local one, and find one of the most coveted cheap fabrics that you can use for just about anything – drop cloth. It’s made of a strong canvas fabric and it most commonly comes in 9′ x 12′ but other sizes are available as well.  Painters use drop clothes to contain messes but you can use it for a ton of projects like curtains, tote bags, aprons, pillows, and many others.

If you don’t feel like leaving the house, you can also find drop cloth at Amazon in a variety of sizes.

7. Cheap Fabric Finds at Big Box Stores

Big box stores besides hardware stores can be gold mines for cheap fabric. Here are a few ideas of where to look.

Walmart

Cheap fabric inside of Walmart

Mike Mozart/Flickr

Many Walmart’s have fabric departments and these prices are very low. Sometimes a clearance sale on their fabric can get you yards of fabric for $1-$3 even! They sell cotton, apparel, and home decor fabric in a variety of styles.

Keep in mind that fabric quality can really vary so it’s a good idea to get a small amount at first and test it out before you invest in a lot of yardage.

Joann’s

Finding cheap fabric at Jo Ann

Mike Mozart/Flickr

Jo-Anns is a great place to find cheap fabric. Check their weekly ad for sales, clip or download their coupons, and you’re ready to find some great deals here. They carry all sorts of fabric for quilting, apparel, and general sewing.

Keep your eye out for clearance fabrics here as well, you can get some great deals on end of the season fabric.

Clearance Racks

Using clearance clothing for fabric

Bell Ella Boutique/Flickr

Take your fabric shopping completing out of the box by visiting your local clothing stores. Clearance racks of ready to wear clothes can be great sources of cheap fabric, just cut them up and use the big pieces of fabric for your next project. You can also alter some of the pieces of clothing to make something new to wear.

If you’re going to use the clothing for yardage, get the biggest size you can to get more fabric.

8. IKEA

Finding fabric at IKEA

Karl Baron/Flickr

Every IKEA store has a fabric section where you can cut your own yardage of fabric in modern designs. It’s a high-quality home decor weight fabric that you can use for all kinds of projects. It’s a great deal for $1.99-$8.99 a yard.

Check out IKEA’s fabric to see what designs they are selling right now. Inventory changes a few times a year so keep your eye out for new designs.

9. Cheap Fabric at Online Fabric Stores

A stack of online fabric

MissMessie/Flickr

Online fabric stores can be great sources for cheap fabric. Keep a close eye out for sales and clearance fabric, online coupon codes, and free shipping offers to save even more. Here are some of my favorite places to buy cheap fabric.

  • Fabric.com – My go-to online fabric store when I’m looking for cheap fabric. They have a great sale section with items being added all the time. Be sure to use a Fabric.com coupon code before you checkout and keep in mind that shipping is free with a purchase of $49 or more.
  • Girl Charlee – If you’re looking for apparel fabric, Girl Charlee is a great place to shop for high-quality but low cost knit fabrics. New customers get 10% off their order and their sale section often has fabrics for less than $2.
  • Craftsy – Yes, Craftsy is more than just online classes. They have a large selection of fabric for sale (and kits too!) that are regularly clearanced out for next to nothing. You can find designer fabrics here for around $5 a yard.
Next article 9 DIY Drop Cloth Curtains and 7 Styling Tips
Previous article How to Use Sewing Machine Oil

Related posts

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Comment

Your data will be safe! Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person. Required fields marked as *