Let’s Talk Fabric Part 1: Thoroughly Thrifty Thursday

Thoroughly Thrifty Thursday

One of the common excuses I hear from people about sewing their own clothes for themselves or their kids is that they can buy an outfit from the store for cheaper than they can buy the fabric. Often that can be true, but there might be a way to get fabric for less too. For the next few weeks, we want to talk to you about ways to get fabric for a lot cheaper than you might think.

Last week, Mom and I went on a quick two hour fabric run. We have to drive 45 minutes to the closest Joann (gasp!). So, when we go, we have to make it count. After the typical stop to the bathroom in the back of the store (c’mon, it’s a long drive), we headed to the cotton fabric. We started picking out some basic solid colors and were happy to see that they were on sale.

After picking out several bolts of cotton, we switched to the notions side of the store to pick up some needed supplies. On our way back to the fabrics, I spotted a bin with yellow and bright red. Now if you are an avid shopper at all, you know that red and/or yellow means SALE! This particular bin held dozens plus of rolled up remnants of all colors and blends ranging mostly from 1/2 yard to 1 yard of fabric. We found a whole stack of 100% cotton flannels and cotton solids and prints. We even found three or four of the colors that we had originally picked out of the bolts in the cotton section.

Jan checking out the fabric.

Jan checking out the fabric.

I checked the sign again, and it took a store clerk to convince me that it actually was 50% off the price of the fabric per yard and not the price that it said on the tag. Not only that though, we found out while getting our other fabric cut that the 50% off was AFTER the sale price if that style of fabric was on sale! On top of that, at the register, we were able to use a $10 off $50 or more coupon. Most of the remnants ended up being around $1 each!

WARNING: Double check the original price on the remnant. We picked up a really nice piece of pink that when we were looking at our receipt later had been $19.99 a yard (and not on sale). Yikes! Thankfully, we only paid $9.99 since it was 50% off, but that’s not really the deal we had been going for in our fabric purchases that day.

So after you have found these great deals on fabrics, you want to keep as much of it in tact as you can when washing it. Make sure you finish off the cut edge somehow to keep them from unraveling. There are a few techniques to try depending on the equipment you have available to you.

Pinking Sheers cut a zig zag edge on your fabric. You lose a little bit of the fabric with the extra cut.

The Pinking Shears can do a pretty good job if its a tough fabric as you can see with the red, but doesn't work as well with a more delicate fabric like the flannel.

The Pinking Shears can do a pretty good job if its a tough fabric as you can see with the red, but doesn’t work as well with a more delicate fabric like the flannel.

Zig Zag stitch is great if you don’t have Pinking Shears or a serger. Set your sewing machine to the widest stitch width and regular length. But the sturdiest option, if you have one, is to use your serger to finish off the cut edge.


When fabric shopping, depending on how much fabric you are needing for a project, always check the remnant bin first. It’s not just the obscure fabrics left in there. You can find some cute pieces if you check often enough.

And you might get the added savings if that style of fabric is already on sale!

What great deals have you snagged at the fabric store lately?

Check out all the Let’s Talk Fabric posts:



Let’s Talk Fabric Part 1: Thoroughly Thrifty Thursday — 1 Comment

  1. Loved the advice! I always look at the sales section, but haven’t tried the remnant bin yet…and usually for the kiddos I’m needing a yard or less. A,so love the advice about the zig zag stitch since I don’t have a server yet. Keep the great ideas coming!