Fabric Part 2: Buying Fabric

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Today’s Topic:  Getting the most fabric for your money
Fabric is expensive.  Sometimes it’s on sale, but unless it’s 30-inch wide muslin, it’s pricey.  I really had to learn the tricks of saving money on fabric when I worked in my shop to keep my costs down.  So here are my tips:

If you ever go to Joanns, you will see that nearly everyone in the checkout line has coupons.  I tried to sign up for coupons online, but they aren’t nearly as good as the ones you get in the mail.  To sign up for mailers, you have to go into the store and fill out a form.  They make sure you only shop there with your coupons or when they have big sales.  Sometimes their sales overlap also so you can save even more money.  In general, it’s a good idea to sign up for email newsletters and printed mailers (if available) for all your favorite fabric stores to find out about new items and sales coming up.

Hobby Lobby
They almost always have 30% off their cotton fabrics and other items are frequently on sale as well.  And if you sign up to receive their weekly email, you can get a 40% off coupon as well.  If you show this to the fabric ladies and tell them you want 40% off one cut of fabric (even it it’s on sale already) they will often mark it 40% off.  Did you forget your coupon?  If you have 3g internet on your phone, you can just go to the email and show them the coupon and they’ll take it off for you.  At least that’s how my store is.  But guess what?  You can now shop for Hobby Lobby fabric in their online store!

I frequently shop here.  I love the ease of shopping online and they have a large selection of designer fabrics.  But they don’t have everything.  However, if you spend more than $35 there, you get free shipping.  And if you google “Fabric.com Coupon Codes” right before you checkout, you can find codes to get an additional 20% off.  I bought $300 worth of fabric over Christmas break and with their current special I ended up saving nearly $100 and got free shipping!

Oh and by the way, I’m an affiliate of fabric.com so if you click on that picture over there on my left sidebar and make a purchase…I get money, hee hee!  

So where do I go next if those three places don’t have my desired fabrics?

There are dozens and dozens of fabric supplier on Etsy.  You can see one of them right over on my left sidebar (Skye Reve Fabrics.)  What I usually do is search Etsy for a certain fabric and can almost always find it.  But you have to know the name of it, although sometimes if you just know the designer and the color scheme you can find it.  I love it when the fabric shops show actual pictures of the fabric instead of just the square swatch because you can see what it looks like in real life.  The downside of this is that you can’t really get deals and have to pay shipping individually if you order from separate shops, which I always have to do.  However, you can contact the seller to get custom fabric orders, including getting half yard cuts (which not everywhere offers.) 

Another one of my favorite shops is

The Fat Quarter Shop
They have TONS of Moda fabrics and a great selection of solids.  But they don’t often have sales or coupons.  I find it’s a good place to find exactly what you need, Moda-wise.  You can find nearly every charm pack, jelly roll, layer cake, and whatever other delicious baked good they sell.  Here’s a run down really quick if you’re unfamiliar with these terms (taken straight from www.fatquartershop.com):

Charm pack:  Charm packs are collections of 5″ x 5″ squares of fabric. Their popularity stems from the fact that they are affordable, easy to use, and the size is commonly used in quilting. (Great for puff quilts!)
Jelly Roll:  Jelly Rolls are collections of 2.5″ x 44″ strips of fabric. They typically include 40 strips of fabric but can vary. Jelly Rolls are a wider version of a Honey Bun.  (These are great for strip quilting!)

Honey Bun:  Honey Buns are collections of 1.5″ x 44″ strips of fabric. Made by Moda Fabrics, they are available for select collections and are especially helpful for the tiniest cuts in quilting. Honey Buns typically include 40 strips of fabric and are a narrower version of a Jelly Roll.  (Another great alternative for strip quilting.)

Layer Cake: Layer Cakes are collections of 10″ x 10″ squares of fabric. Made by Moda Fabrics, they are similar to a charm pack but at a larger size. Layer Cakes are available by collection and typically include 42 pieces of fabric, though the number may vary.

Fat Quarter: Fat Quarter Bundles are collections of fat quarters from a fabric line. Fat Quarters are quarter-yard cuts of fabric cut wide (hence the name fat). Their approximate size is 18″ x 22″.

About Minky
No offense, but Joanns has terrible minky.  It’s not nearly as plush and silky as the real minky.  So I buy a lot of my minky at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon, since they have the real thing.  I also buy it from fabric.com.  If you are looking for a huge selection of minky, you can also try Minkydelight.com.

Other Fabric Sources
There are lots of other places to get fabric online (www.fabricworm.com is good but I find it’s frequently out of stock of the stuff I need.)  I’ve also heard good things about Hawthorne Threads, although I’ve never shopped there.  I should…I just always forget about it.  I think it might be nice to have a fabric seller linky party and you can link up your fabric shop if you have one.  What do you think?


Keep your questions coming!  I’ll be spotlighting some other fabric designers through the week, but I really would love to keep answering your questions.  

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  1. Kristyn @ Good Gravy Crafts says:

    Thank you for these posts. I am hoping to learn to sew this year and these will come in handy!


  2. Thank you so much for this post!

  3. Hawthorne Threads is the best! They almost always ship same day (when possible) and you always get your order within 2-3 days. They also have an option where you can find coordinating fabrics by color. In addition to that, you can choose whether you want to find fabrics with a high or low dominance of the color you are searching. If you have pictures of something you made using a fabric – whether you bought it from them or not – you can upload the picture so that others can see it being used. They are also offering $5 flat rate shipping for January right now! 🙂 I have nothing but GREAT things to say about Hawthorne!

  4. I don't buy tons of fabric but when I do I try to keep in mind what bloggers like you have to say about it, so thanks for posting about your specific fabric choices these last couple days!

  5. What about ribbonretreat.com??

  6. Great post! I worked at Joann's for over a year and I agree that their fabric is pretty expensive…even the Keepsake Calico which normally doesn't come in the cutest patterns.

    I need to go into Hobby Lobby more often than I do. I like their prints much better.

    We really don't have many options here. Hancock closed…but have you gone to SAS on 19th Ave and Dunlap? It's a bit of a drive for you..but its a fun place to visit if you are in the Phoenix area:)

  7. banclothing says:

    I like when fabric stores have a clearance section… it's always where I look first and then look around the rest of the store. If I can get fabric for $2/m I don't feel bad if the odd project is a flop.

  8. Michelle Whitlow says:

    I have to agree with Summer, Hawthorne Threads is great. They give you a per yard discount & the more you buy the more you save on your entire order. I've always received my orders very quickly.

  9. Sky Reve fabrics on Etsy is fantastic, and she works with you if you need different yardage than what she has in the shop.

  10. one thing i like to do too is hit the clearance section at Jo-Ann, especially if they're having a sale where all the clearance ("red-tag") fabrics are an additional 50% off. i got a whole bunch of cute flannel prints there a couple of weeks ago…marked down to 3 bucks a yard, so I got each yard for $1.50 each. Sometimes they put their fat quarters on sale for a buck each, too. You just have to watch the fliers and the emails to know when the next big sale is! :o)

  11. JoAnn's also has an iPhone app that you can view/use their coupons. I will never again forget my coupons in the car — and you don't have to delete the coupon after you use it, so you can go back daily with a 40% off coupon!

  12. azHarline says:

    I recently found your blog and I love it! Thanks so much for posting about where to find fabric, I use to just buy all my fabric at Joanns, but now I am so excited to see what every one else has to offer.

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