Over the years, I have met many quilters. Lots of them admit to being frugal to make their quilting budget stretch further. I watched, asked questions, and can agree that it is possible to be a frugal quilter.
I always encourage quilters to stick to their budget. However, buy the best fabric, tools and sewing machine that the budget can handle.
Choosing to be a frugal quilter means there is little or no waste – time, supplies, or fabric.
However, it can also be a fun way to make yourself explore different uses for scraps and left-over fabrics. I look at my scraps as a challenge to see how many ways I can find to use them in quilts.
Remember that Quilters Cache has free patterns. Visit this site to see what you can find to make.
Maybe you are one of the lucky few who do not have to budget. For most of us, we have a good idea of what we can spend on our quilting addiction. My monthly budget for quilting is $50. If I don’t spend it all in a month, I save to use another month.
Most months I do not spend my entire quilting budget. I am not cheap or a miser. However, I am careful with money.
Some ideas for being a frugal quilter:
Buy used cotton clothing in fun prints or colors you want/need. The clothes need to be in good condition, and the bigger the better. You can easily cut out zippers, buttons, pockets, and any worn areas.
Trade some of your fabric for other fabric from another quilter.
Buy flat sheets as backing if the quilt will be machine quilted. This is a huge saving over buying fabric for backing.
Use large scraps of batting by sewing or hand basting them together to make a large batting.
Buy neutral threads such as black, navy, gray, white, and cream instead of threads in a lot of colors.
Be organized – know what tools, fabrics, threads, etc. that you have so you do not buy unneeded duplicates. I think that it helps to have fabric stored by color family on open shelves so you can see what is there.
Go to library book sales or used stores (like Goodwill) to search for quilt books. At least half of my quilting books have been purchased used. They are in good condition, and it is a huge amount of $$ saved.
Use your scraps up. Be creative and have fun.
“Shop” your own stash before buying new fabric.
Getting silk cheap:
I love the feel of silk. In my opinion, it is wonderful for applique. It is also expensive and usually way out of my budget. However, I discovered long ago that Goodwill has silk shirts and dresses. If colors I like are available, I buy those items, wash them, cut out the seams, and have lots of silk for applique.
I am such a regular customer at Goodwill that the manager holds back silk clothing until I look at it first. This is a small thing, but it never hurts to be kind and polite to people. They remember and will be more willing to help you.
My daughter collects Indian saris, and she gets most of them from Ebay or Etsy. And usually, they are beautiful silk.
Frugality isn’t just a US thing:
There have always been frugal people. The reasons are different for each person. However, it is not just a US thing. I recently ran across this video from a quilter in France who is a frugal quilter. The same quilter also has this video. And of all things, she is a fan of Bonnie Hunter!
There is also a Facebook group that is for frugal quilters. There are sure to be quilters from all over the world. I am not in the group, but please check it out if you are interested.
Can you (or I) be a frugal quilter?
With rising prices, most of us are making cuts and trying to stretch our pennies. Quilting is wonderful, but it can be very expensive if we don’t find ways to make it cost us less. The suggestions above are just a few ways to stretch the money a bit farther. I bet you have other ideas, and please put them in comments below.
Being a frugal quilter makes me happy. I enjoy the challenge of finding nice fabric for little expense. Maybe being more frugal in your quilting will make you happy too.
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.