Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Breaking the Bank for Fabric?

Of course it isn't just fabric that is going up in cost. Everything is. I still don't look at the price of milk, because we have to have it. I wear my clothes longer (oh, the cuffs on that turtleneck that is currently peeking out of the trash were actually fraying!). We go out to eat less frequently, and now that I'm working part-time, we're more easily able to go to the lower-priced matinees at the movie theatre. So we're adapting to price increases in many aspects.

It's the fabric that's on my mind today. I'm well aware that living as close as I do to Lancaster County, I pay less per yard than many people do. Nonetheless, I find that I actually pause and think before purchasing yardage. It is harder for me to just buy fabric that I like without having a specific plan for it. I experience minor guilt pangs about not regularly supporting the LQS, but $10 or $11 or even more per yard is vastly different from the $8.59 or so at my favorite Lancaster County shop, but figure Gene's place is Denver's LQS . . . .

Been thinking of ways to not spend as much on fabric and have come up with:

  • Continue to work from scraps (even though this sometimes means buying background)
  • Make smaller projects
  • Tackle the dratted UFOs whether I still like them or not
  • Make rather than purchase more of my gifts
  • Consider rediscovering cross-stitch -- floss has gone up, to be sure, but 39 cents per skein vs. yardage . . . 
Do you want/need to cut back on fabric expenditure too? What strategies can you share?



28 comments:

desertskyquilts said...

Thanks for stopping by, Nancy. A later post shows what I finally settled on for the mittens. =) I'm using some of your strategies, for one thing. I've always been a scrappy quilter, but now it's about 90% of what I do. I also found this place in Kentucky. Whittle's Fabrics First quality fabric, and I often find things I like for $5/yard - civil war repros abound. =) Most of the fabrics that are more are only $7.50/yard, like the Buggy Barn neutrals. I don't buy pre-cuts unless they are on a huge sale, since it's an expensive way to buy fabric. I do shop hops here because they often have 30% off on fabric on those days. I stash less, but I still stash.

Char said...

I am a scrap quilter also. I have a few fabrics that appear in most of my quilts. I have to say I check for sales on the internet. I only buy fabric on sale. I just received an order from Sauder Store. The fabrics were all on sale for $2.79 per yard.

Annemiek said...

We pay an average of $20 a metre over here (!)We don't have sales/coupons etc in quiltshops. Online shopping from the US will cost you $25 shippingcosts and customfees on top.
I do scrapquilts from stash too, but the backing only (let alone the batting)will cost a small fortune.
Count your blessings at $10 a yard..

Mimi said...

Two years ago finances tanked so I pouted for a while and then started shopping my stash. Yes there are things there that I do not like as much as the new stuff in the stores, but hey, it is paid for. Most of my quilts leave the house and the folks that get them don't know the fabrics were not my first choice.. So I am accepting of this and enjoy the sewing. Soon I will have to start buying batting. Hoping to buy a roll at Jo Ann's 40% off.

Suzan said...

Even shopping at Gene's place, I continue to only purchase fabric for which I have a project in mind. (Not to say that every project gets completed.) I usually shop for fabric when I need it. I no longer pet fabric and take it home. Thankfully there is lots of formerly fondled fabric in my stash so that I don't "need" to shop as often.

Chookyblue...... said...

mostly $22-26/metre here in Oz...........imagine the damage I could do if I got it for under $10/metre

if it's going up for you it will be going up for us too...........

Karendianne said...

Great topic!

Whittles is great. Quiltshops.com for sure. Also, and especially unexpected bills. That totally turns me to the stash.

sue said...

I, too, really have a hard time paying top dollar. I just can't bring myself to do it, sometimes. I like to buy fabric when we have area "shop hops." They don't have fabric on sale, but I get the chance to check out more stores' clearance section, usually they give out 20% coupons to use later in the year, they have prizes and they usually give out squares of fabric and patterns. Plus, I spend time with my sister, see different areas of the state and stay in a hotel!

Nann said...

I don't like to pay full price for anything, whether it's quilt fabric or breakfast cereal. (I am a devoted Aldi's grocery shopper.) I have an enormous stash, 90% of which was acquired at less than retail. "On sale" is obvious--whether Joann's-with-a-coupon, or Red Tag Specials @ 50% off, or a quilt shop's clearance shelf. Estate sales are great (I got 90+ yards for $40 this spring). In 2007two friends and I purchased an estate. My share cost $650 and I got over 1700 yards. A deceased quilter's daughter-in-law donated her leftover stash at our guild meeting last month. We put out a basket for a freewill offering. At the end of the meeting (I was on the cleanup crew) I took home what was left. There turned out to be some good pieces. I also shop at thrift shops--a good source for all-cotton sheets and sometimes yardage. (See my blog posts from this weekend.) From November 1, 2011, to December 31, 2012, I bought only 33 yards of fabric. (I used about 300.) That was an exercise in extreme restraint that I will never be able to repeat!

Janet O. said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this subject, Nancy. I have long marveled at women in quilt shops dropping more in one day than I spend in a year. I am known for my remnant table and scrap basket shopping habits. I pick up quality fabrics at thrift stores when I find them--and then, of course, there are the thrift store shirts. I know where the clearance sections are in the quilt shops I frequent, and my closest local quilt shop has their fabrics 20% off all the time. This same shop has an annual sidewalk sale where I have picked up yardage for $1-$2 per. That is when I try to load up on backings. Sometimes friends and relatives give me their scraps and I put them to good use!

Paula, the quilter said...

Nope, I hardly ever buy yardage/fabric. I have been shopping my stash. It is a very good thing that I like string blocks because I make a lot of them.

suz said...

I've started putting projects together with what I have in my stash. If I buy fabric, I try to get it on sale and only because I can't source it from my stash for the project I'm working on. I love Whittle's and get their emails. I definitely take advantage of their $5/yard offers and their other fabrics are reasonably priced. There is a place in Maine called Marden's. They buy end lots of fabric and sell at very reasonable prices. It's hit or miss, but usually you can find a few things - great for backings and borders.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all the others, and to you, for the links to sources. Let me add Connecting Threads. I agree that the buying from the LQS is the ideal but a new one opened near me last month and I ran in for two fat quarters and a spool of thread and the bill was $14. Too much!!
Sue

Barbara Anne said...

I'm with you on using my stash, so that means my quilts will be as unique as my old fabrics are. :) My stash is healthy enough it will be a long while until I really need fabric. Backgrounds and batting are the exception.

With apologies to my LQS, I use on-line sites for the little fabric I buy unless said LQSs are having sales. I also don't buy from on-line sites in my state because I don't want to pay shipping and sales tax.

I hadn't thought of returning to cross-stitch but I do have one unfinished project I'd like to finish and I have lots of floss.

Keep these musings coming! No doubt will sort out the world's problems soon and we do share good methods of coping in the meantime.

Hugs!

Leland said...

I like your suggestions except the one about working on UFOs whether you like them or not. Life is too short, and so is Quilting Time, to labor over projects that don't please you. Maybe you could trade UFOs with someone else--or just cut your losses. I make smaller quilts all the time!

LoieJ said...

A few years ago, a quilt store opened just 1.5 miles from my house. I like the small shop and I like the owner...but I could shop my stash long after I am dead, except for when I need large pieces of fabric (I'm kinda addicted to fat quarters.) But at about the same time she opened, I started making almost exclusively small art pieces, plus an ongoing series of health problems limited my sewing time. Sigh. But I'm really commenting to say how hard I think young people have it today, with high school loans and high insurance costs compared to when you and I were starting out. My son had only health insurance for himself last year. He said that if he added his wife and toddler to his policy, that would take up half of his take home pay. He is a grade school teacher with a masters degree, in his 4th year of teaching, and he earns $33,000/year, with almost no prospect of that rising much because his state legislature has turned anti-education. I know that at the season of the presidential election, you were more political than you usually are, so I hope you don't mind that this comment is on the political side. And, I switched to my quilting blog-name. I am usually PS anAfterThought.

Irenbjor said...

Hi, I live in Moorestown NJ. about 10 minutes from Philly. I have been buying fabric from http://www.dutchlandquilts.com/ They are in Lancaster too. Untill last yr their prices were 4-5 per yrd of Moda etc. Now they ar at 6-8 per yrd but they seem to do well..I save quite a bit from them . Our local stores in Haddonfield and Mt Holly are very expensive and Haddonfield seems to not have a good variety anymore.We buy organic milk because I cannot have antibiotics or growth hormones in milk, it is 6 dollars per gallon at Whole Foods but 3 at Wegmans..

Deb said...

I purchase fabric on-line from Burkholder and Intrepid Thread quite frequently because with the sales they have, even paying for shipping is cheaper than my LQS. I feel bad about not supporting my local LQS as much as I did in the past but their cheapest price is $11 a yard and I just can't afford it any longer. It's a good thing I have an extensive stash, I shouldn't be buying any more material, except maybe a back now and then.

Gretchen said...

This year, I have bought very little new fabric due to change in job status and now the move. After being forced to face all my stash and UFOs by packing it all up, I am ready to focus on finishing projects, giving away quilts, and using up my stash. I miss the days of $7 and $8 a-yard fabrics.

AnnieO said...

I almost never buy fabric unless it is on sale. Backings are hard for me to buy because of the big yardage required--luckily I favor pieced backs so don't have to get those very often. I continually cruise the remnants bins, sample sales, and try to throw as little fabric away as possible. I love scrap quilts!
Saving money by taking the bus, bringing my lunch to work, never buying new clothes unless they are on sale, and eating in are all good savings strategies. I try never to look at how much a loaf of bread costs!

cityquilter grace said...

shopping the stash which is obvious and also planning projects around the stash....

Sarah said...

Hey I live in Australia where quilting fabric is about $22per metre, and our dollar is nearly equivalent to yours, so I'm getting it half price by buying from US shops, even with postage. Often I'll wait til things are on special anyway, and buy it for even less per metre.

Anna McCurdy said...

I do visit LQS but only buy from their clearance sections- the prices are higher here in Canada- not quite as high as Australia but still high if you buy at regular price which starts at 15 -22 dollars a meter. I have a large stash and I do buy on line - especially batting and notions. Connecting Threads is a great place to buy from if you live in Canada. The fabrics are nice and they offer books, thread and notions at pretty reasonable prices. I do try and use my stash more and more as I have built up a substantial one over the last 15 years. It is a juggling act as I would love to support my LQS more but it is just too costly if I had to pay regular price.
Regards,
Anna

Quiltdivajulie said...

Delta Patchwork (online) sells below retail all the time. They are my first stop after I have truly shopped my own stash. (I found that refolding all of my fabric onto open shelves helped A LOT - made it more appealing, much easier to see what I had, and kept me from wanton buying when I could see I had limited storage space).

Swapping with friends (scraps, projects, yardage) is another option (sometimes more fun to play with someone else's stuff).

Accept that there will always be someone trying to sell you something - whether you need it or not. (limit your exposure to the marketing efforts).

Create a fabric wish list - so you don't forget the fabric/seller. A little time helps one think more clearly.

Re UFO/WIP that you no longer love. Box them up and donate them to Margaret's Hope Chest. They have volunteers who will finish the quilts for delivery. Don't invest your precious energy into something that you don't enjoy! Too much good to be done elsewhere.

Great post!!

materialdetachment said...

Nobody has mentioned fabric.com. They have amazing sales of good fabric for $4.95. And there's a section for "fabrics under $6". And free shipping for orders over $35.

I am lucky to have contacts with quilters and crafters of the older generations. Everyone I know seems to have fabric to give away! I accept it all even though I am trying to reduce space in my quilting room, and have a blog on this topic!

There is a lot of fresh, new adorable fabric out there but I love the challenge of making something out of other people's rejects. I'm not sure how to advertise for this -- some of it came to me through an Art Quilt Network that my mother belongs to, when I held an ambitious Sept. 11"Quilt In" (afghans for Afghans) in 2002, 2003, 2004 -- an alternative expression of solidarity for the day when our town was going hog-wild with the bunting. If you have a charity project you might consider advertising with an Art Quilt Network.

Also recommend marshalldrygoods.com. It's all $3.99-$4.99 but the shipping does add up.

sandra said...

I too am from Australia. The cheapest I can buy quilt shop quality fabric here is $17 a metre (roughly 39"). My LQS has fabrics at $26 a metre, so I don't go there.I buy a lot from the US. Don't mind paying $10 a yard but usually find what I want for less. have been buying less lately though because US international postage rates have sky-rocketed.
I think the increasing price of fabric will decrease fabric sales as people use their stash, use thrift shop fabrics etc. You can make beautiful quilts from shirts. Also I see Victoria Findley-Wolfe collects polyester quilts. maybe that's the next thing??? Ugh yuck, not sure I could go there!!!

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