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Readers Respond: Frugal Quilting Advice from Quilters Around the World

Responses: 180

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From the article: Frugal Quilt Patterns
Are you a Frugal Quilter? Do you take steps to keep your passion for quilting from ruling the checkbook? Join the conversation by sharing some of your favorite frugal quilting tips with members of the online community. Share Your Advice

Warm, snugglies

I purchase flannel men's shirts (try for plaid most of the time) take off the buttons and cuffs/hems and then rotary cut the remaining fabric into 4 1/2 or 5 inch squares. I can usually pick up a shirt for $2 or $3 and get at least 20 squares out of them. When I'm in the mood for a flannel quilt, its just a matter of dipping into the shoe box I store them in to make a scrappy flannel TV quilt or blanket - warm and cozy and the last one, including the backing (also pieced flannel) cost me less than $20.00 including the 'remnant' sheet of batting I used by butting ends of 'leftovers' together. I do like the idea of another poster here about cutting 2 1/2 strips for a home-grown jelly roll and I think I'm going to give this a try when I get my next grouping of flannel shirts together! Great idea!
—Guest Marrinb123

Extend the Needle Threader's Life

To help your needle threaders last longer put a drop of super glue where the wire is connected to the main part of the threader. I do this with all my needle threaders and they last much longer. The one I am currently using has lasted over a year with just a drop of super glue.
—Guest judy

Foundation piecing on the cheap

I keep a collection on my nice soft worn sheets and pillowcases to use whenever I foundation piece.
—Guest MrsWolf

Laundry Color Catchers

When using color catcher sheets to catch any bleeding when washing fabric, I let the sheets dry out and reuse them until they are dark blue and cannot hold any more color. Saves money as they last much longer.
—Postcrafts

I make rag rugs from cut off edges

I save all those tiny thin strips that are left after trimming down a block, then tie them together into a continuous strip and use them to weave rag rugs. Where they are too thin, I wrap some leftover yarn pieces around them. I don't have a loom but use a huge piece of cardboard to weave, it works perfectly.
—Guest agi

Make a Little Ironing Board

I made a lightweight little "ironing board" to use at quilt classes with a travel iron. Mine fits in the end of my Featherweight case, where its extension folds up. Yours could be any size. Using an old rotary cutter blade, cut 2 pieces of corrugated cardboard the same size. Put foil between them and glue all together. Wrap with cotton batting, then sew a cover of sturdy fabric. The foil blocks any steam from marring the table.
—Guest Carol Woosley

Don't throw away cut-off triangles

When I trim off small triangles from flying geese or half-square triangles units (you know, those little triangles you snip off into the waste basket), I keep them together and sew them into tiny half-square triangles. They make a great saw-tooth inner border on baby quilts or you can make pinwheels with them. They may be small, but sewn together they are usable as a block or inner border.
—1Cwriter

Our foremothers frugal ways

I loved reading all the posts! Our foremothers would be proud of us all, since this was a way of life for them. I have sewed since I was 5 and have been using all those lovely scraps forever. And getting your friends' old cotton clothing is always a treat in my book. As my girls and their best friends grew up and I made them frilly dresses I saved the pieces in paper sacks with their name on them. When the first best friend had her baby girl I made a quilt out of the scraps from their dresses. When I gave it to her for the baby her eyes got wide and said Auntie those were my clothes! And we reminisced about the days when she was little. What joy that was. Still waiting for my first grandbaby... Pooh! For the last 15 yrs. i have made over 250 small quilts and donated them to the local police dept. for when they have a domestic abuse problem with a child, an the fire department when a child is involved so they all have something to cuddle in those tough situations...Yes I'm proud to have helped... Have A Scrappy Day
—Guest Ellascrap

Pesky Little threads

I use a pink rubber school eraser when ripping a seam. Rub the eraser along the little pieces of thread in the fabric and it pulls them right out.
—Guest Pat

Beautiful old quilt from wool fabric..

My sister-in-law had a gorgeous old quilt her grandfather made in the early 1900's. He was a suit maker, and saved all his fabric scraps. She has a beautiful quilt that is just breath taking..Something to think about. I wonder if some of the men's clothing shops would be willing to give up their wool scraps?
—Jill1204

Ruler Stand

I had a friend cut grooves in the shelf about my cutting table. All my rulers slide nicely into the grooves and they are so handy. It is much cheaper than buying a stand at the quilt fabric shop.
—Guest Pat

Watch for bed skirts at thrift shops

Bed skirts are a great find for the draping around the bed, and you'll see them in all kinds of solids and prints, and in different styles.
—Betty_zoo

Some other fantastic fabric

Check out the wonderful Indo Canadian "suits" and saris that come into thrift shops. Some of the trims are absolutely stunning...great for Crazy Quilts.
—Guest Marilyn

Nana Kay

I use pillow cases in either solids or prints when I can find them in the thrift shops. Often I pay no more than $2 for a nice full/queen pillowcase. Just be careful of the threadcount.
—Guest Nana Kay

Watch for the Sales

I try to buy at sales only and, every once is a while, the cotton devil takes control and I splurge on something that calls my name. Now I'll probably do less shopping, work from my very flush stash, and only fill in when absolutely necessary. Just hope the magazines and books take note and give us more patterns with an artistic flair, less reworked ones with the only purpose of showing off a new line. I addition, I would hope that most of the fabric companies out there wise up and delete the junk and poor designs. I look at this as the opportunity to have years of quilts and patterns worthy of the time and expense involved in their making.
—Guest CIhcVtpPQirDA

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Frugal Quilting Advice from Quilters Around the World

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