How to Buy the Best Fabric For a Tight Budget

How to Buy the Best Fabric for a Tight Budget by The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

The Best Fabric for a Tight Budget

A trip to the fabric store is a daunting prospect for me. I love to have materials on hand to make crafts and simple sewing projects. However, making your own often costs more than purchasing new products. That’s why I try to find the best fabric for a tight budget.

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Save Money on Fabric!

Does a trip to the fabric store leave you gasping for air? Are you shocked every time you add up the cost of fabric for a new dress? Maybe you’ve given up on creating your own clothing and other fabric projects because it costs so much. I hear you.

I love visiting fabric stores and checking out the lovely material, but I rarely buy unless there’s a deep discount. Instead, I look for fabric in more unusual places. Oh, Joann fabrics still gets a slice of my pie, but I save a lot with these tips!

  • Sign up for sales and coupons from your favorite fabric store
  • Shop the clearance rack for marked down fabrics (check at Walmart)
  • Look for marked down curtains, tablecloths, sheets, blankets, towels, clothing, and throws
  • Check at the dollar store for items made with a large piece of fabric
  • Look through your own used items
  • Shop thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, and Craigslist
  • Check on Freecycle

Tips for Shopping New Fabrics

Before you head to the fabric store, read through the instructions for your project. Make a list of everything you need. Take a look at the store’s online coupons and sales to see if you can get a deal.


Check through your fabric stash to see if you have some of the needed items. Also, look through your giveaway pile or ‘rag bag’ for upcycling potential. Make a detour to the thrift store or discount store before you buy new.

Try out new projects on old fabric if possible. This way you’ll have a better idea of how it will work out and what’s the best fabric for your project.

Check out suggested crafting books and products on my Amazon Storefront!

Best fabric for a tight budget - from a thrift store!
Check at the thrift store for unique fabrics!

Upcycle Used Fabrics

Check for clean, usable fabrics that may be re-purposed. Here are some items that lend themselves well to DIY crafts and sewing projects…

  • Curtains
  • Shower curtains
  • Sheet Sets
  • Pillowcases
  • Tablecloths
  • Fabric napkins
  • Blankets
  • Comforters
  • Quilts
  • Mattress pads
  • Fleece throws
  • Bath Towels
  • Dishtowels
  • Scarves
  • Sweaters
  • Skirts and dresses
  • Jeans
  • Work shirts
  • T-shirts
  • Socks
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Bandanas
  • Drop cloths
  • Feed bags and burlap
Best bargain fabrics for throw pillows

How to Create New Fabric Goods from Old Items

Each of these sources for reclaiming fabric may work better for different purposes. Check out these ideas for creating new projects from those old or marked down items!

  • Curtains from sheets or tablecloths
  • Throw pillows, quilts, table runners from dresses and skirts
  • Reusable grocery bags and totes from pillowcases and feed bags
  • Purses and bookbags from jeans and t-shirts
  • Mittens from wool sweaters, socks, fleece scarves
  • Gift bags from dishtowels, cloth napkins, bandanas, and scarves
  • Wreaths, table runners, and decor from burlap or work shirts
  • Puppets or doll clothes from socks, handkerchiefs, sweaters, and work shirts
  • Quilts from jeans, work shirts, t-shirts, bandanas, handkerchiefs, tablecloths, cloth napkins, etc
  • Quilt batting from old quilts, mattress pads, and comforters
  • Beach bags from towels, jeans, and t-shirts
  • Microwaveable heat pad for your neck from towels, dishtowels, fleece, blankets
  • Tarps, plant covers, and garden tool totes from feed bags
  • Dog beds from comforters, quilts, and mattress pads
  • Outdoor cushions from shower curtains
  • Curtains and upholstery from drop cloths
  • Un-paper towels from dishtowels, bandanas, and work shirts
  • Rag rugs from just about any of these fabrics!

These are just a few ideas for sewing projects and crafts that may be created with used cloth. You can also give new purpose to cloth items from a thrift shop or the clearance aisle in big box stores. Be creative when looking for and using fabric!

Best fabric for a bargain - to make a quilt!
Tips for Re-purposing Second-hand Fabrics

Before you start creating, make sure you follow these tips for the best results…

  • Wash thrift store fabric items thoroughly in the hottest cycle they can handle
  • Use a seam ripper to remove old stitching
  • Iron fabric to remove wrinkles
  • Use like fabrics for a project (knits with knits, cotton with cotton)
  • Dye fabrics if they are too faded or stained (wash again!)
  • Use the best fabric for your project

Did you get any new ideas for bargain fabrics? I’m sure I missed some! If you have more ideas, please leave a comment!

Here’s an idea for using leftover fleece from another project!

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12 Comments

    • Lisa Lombardo
    • Lisa Lombardo
    • Lisa Lombardo
    • Lisa Lombardo
    • Lisa Lombardo
    • Lisa Lombardo

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