Have you ever looked at a bed sheet and thought, wow that’s a big piece of fabric, wait a second! I could use this to make stuff. Well I’m going to talk to you about places to get fabric other than the fabric store/department. We all know how expensive fabric can be, so using a commercially made flat sheet might cost you $8.00 at say Wal-Mart but a comparable large piece of fabric might have cost you $6.99 yard and you just scored three yards for a little more than the price of one yard. Let’s do some research together, shall we?
Pillowcases, flat sheets and even a fitted sheet can be a great source of fabric. They are generally a heavy cotton that would be great to make curtains, tote bags, table cloths, or even the backing for a quilting project. The more elaborate sets that have brocade fabric or satin, would make a nice accent pillow, or a cute clutch. Let’s not forget about flannel sets that you could make clothing from, like a shawl, hats, pajama sets, some comfy accent pillows or how about a soft stuffed toy for a child.
Also, lets not forget about blankets. When I say that, I don’t mean lets cut up a down comforter, but I’m thinking more like quilts and fleece blankets. Just think, quilted fabric costs at least $14.99 a yard at a fabric store, you could get a quilted blanket set for $20.00 or up depending on where you purchase it. What you can do with that is make place mats or a quilted tote bag or purse, maybe turn it into a seat cushion. How about turning that fleece blanket into a cute bathrobe for a child or winter hats and gloves?
You want to get fancy with your fabrics? Go here: to the window decorating section. Drapes, curtains, and valances, depending on what you’re planning on making, you can get a small piece of fabric or a really big one. They’re all made from home decor fabric which is one of the more expensive fabrics you can get in the fabric store. Get creative and if there is fringe or beads, work it into your project. There are some really interesting fabrics that they make curtains from, in addition to plain cotton you can find: brocade, chenille, jacquard, damask, sheers, and blackout material. You know if you have a small window that needs a curtain on it, you could cut down a larger set of curtains, hem them up and you just made your own custom window covering and even make matching place mats or pot holders.
Bathroom Decor Section
You need something made that needs to be waterproof? Try the bathroom section. Use a plastic shower curtain and make it into a waterproof beach bag or tote you can put wet bathing suits in. There’s fabric shower curtains too, maybe use a cute kids one and make a travel diaper carrier or a diaper changing mat for a mother to be. You can also use bathroom towels to make things like baby bibs- use the flannel out of the bedding department for the front of the bib and use the terry cloth for the backside for better protection. If you just need a small piece of terry cloth, this maybe more economical than going to the fabric store where its $9.99 and yard.
A tablecloth is a lovely large piece of fabric. You could cut it down and make napkins, seat cushions, or place mats. Cloth napkins are also usable, I’ve seen all kinds of sewing tutorials that use cloth napkins. Kitchen hand towels or tea towels can be used to make an assortment of things, maybe a grocery bag holder or a bread warmer.
If you need a small amount of t-shirt fabric, this could be a score. You can buy plain everyday t-shirts in the largest size you can find and for maybe $5 bucks you have two pretty good size pieces of fabric. Flannel shirts can be turned into pillows, just look at Pinterest. Go to the purse section and you’ll find an assortment of bandannas that you can make wallets and zipper bags. Check out my blog “Cargo Shorts to Messenger Bag” and see what you can do with a pair of cargo shorts.
Not everyone will do this and I totally get it, but you can find all of the above a Goodwill or thrift stores. You’ll get it for a fraction of the price and you may even find actual fabric too. My Goodwill has crafter’s that donate because I find all kinds of goodies at mine, but the key is frequency. If you go on a regular basis, you will get it before someone else does, but if you just go once every couple of months, we’ll it’s all luck at that point.
Old/Used/Too Small Clothing from your own family
You can recycle your families treasures into lots of things. Look up “up-cycling” and you’ll find all kinds of ideas and tutorials that will help you turn things like sweaters into a winter hat.
Here’s some different tutorials on the subject:
A man’s t-shirt new life as a bib: Shirt Bib
A braided belt out of t-shirts: Braided Belt
Baby hats out of sweaters: Sweater to Hat
A ruffled purse out of t-shirts Ruffled Purse
Recover an ottoman with a pillowcase Pillowcase Ottoman
Turn a pillowcase into a tote bagPillowcase to Tote Bag
Pajama pants out of bed sheets Pajama Pants
I hope I’ve given you some inspiration on where you can get fabric. I know writing this article actually gave me some ideas that I need to try. If you have a great tip that I didn’t mention, please let us all know!