I recently received a comment from a reader who said she lived on a fixed income and could not afford to purchase fabric to make quilts and it got my brain cogs churning. The first thing you hear from those who are ‘in the know’ when it comes to quilting is that you must purchase quality cotton fabric for a quilt. I tend to disagree with that statement – mainly because a quilt is a part of a person’s heart, no matter what fabric is used. Of course I do realize that if you are making a show quilt, you want the best-of-the-best fabric to do so. But what if you just want to make a quilt for a hobby? Or for a homeless person? Or for a donation to your church? Does it really have to be 100% quilt cotton fabric?
I know my husband’s grandmother brought a
dreadful colorful polyester quilt to me and asked me to tie it. It was very difficult to do, getting a needle and yarn through two layers of polyester and a layer of batting – but, I did it (with a trusty pair of pliers) and realized once the quilt was done that it would be a super-warm for someone who needed it. I would never make a polyester quilt unless I had an abundance of fabric and lived in a colder climate where my quilted heart efforts would be appreciated by someone who needed quilted heart warmth.
Here are some ideas I came up with for obtaining FREE fabric to make quilts:
- There are a number of towns and cities who offer clothing to the poor. Go through the clothes and take whatever you can cut up to create a quilt.
- Ask friends, family and neighbors to save their worn out clothing and give it to you to make quilts.
- Go to a fabric store and ask them if you can have the scraps they cut away (and usually throw away).
- Make a trade or barter with a quilter! Perhaps you have something a quilter would like and they have fabric you would like.
- Go to the dry cleaner’s and ask if they have clothing that no one has claimed.
- Talk with businesses or your town municipality and ask if they have a lost-and-found that needs clearing out.
- Talk to a seamstress and/or local tailor to see if they have scraps of fabric to give to you.
- Old, worn-out sheets work great – contact the hotels and motels in your area as well as the hospital and nursing homes to see if you can take their worn-out sheets off of their hands.
- Contact quilters and ask them if you can have their fabric scraps.
- Many fabric manufacturers and/or distributors have fabric they have been unable to sell. Ask them for it!
- Offer to make demos for quilt shops, with the understanding that they will provide the fabric, thread and quilting and you get to keep the finished piece, once they are done using it as a display.
- Using social media, simply ask if people can donate fabric to you.
- Enter as many contests for free fabric as you can! These are usually found on various blogs.
I’m sure there are many other ideas to obtain free fabric to quilt with. If you have one, please leave your idea in a comment!