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Readers Respond: Frugal Quilting Advice from Quilters Around the World

Responses: 165


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.

Free Bag bases

If you want plastic for bag bases go to your local xray clinic and ask them for the sheets that come in the packets of xrays. They give them away for free.

Confetti Quilt Blocks

Save all clipping of fabric, thread, ribbons, etc for these blocks. Cut a backing and a sheer fabric to desired size; sew up three sides and fill with your confetti. Stitch over the content to stabilize securely and sew blocks together.
—Guest ShirleyR

You havn't seen frugal until

At $25-$28 a yard for fabric in Australia, I now save every scrap. I like to trim up scraps into different size squares or rectangles. Store beside the machine and piece 2 scraps each time you end a seam on your project. At the end of the project you have a mini scrappy quilt started.
—Guest Linda

Grandma Janet

Quilt binding............awhile back I learned in a class at church to double the width of the size of binding........fold in half lengthwise; treat it as single piece. Reason the binding gets the most wear and tear....so double it to last longer.
—Guest Guest Janet

saving cotton thread

Use a scrap piece of fabric at the end of a run of sewing quilt pieces together run, or anytime you can. This saves yards/metres of cotton ending and starting a project.
—Guest chunkycheese

cardboard flat material centres

These are thrown away by shop keepers after they have sold all the material wrapped around them. I use them for the base of bags. The latest was to carry the weight of a sewing machine! Worked great.
—Guest chunkycheese

yarn scraps

those tiny pieces I cut off a finished hat or scarf....save to throw for birds to make nest. When weather allows, I like to comb my hair outside and let it fly for the birds to use.
—Guest Janet

Frugal Tips

I like to find old sheets as well as old ironing board covers. I use old sheets for cutting any size squares then sewing fabric scraps onto it. The ironing board covers will be the bottom of hot pads....great! You can buy this in fabric store, it is silver and resists heat.
—Guest janet

Dryer sheets

I do a lot of crafts, and I am very frugal... I remember a few years ago when there was a hot debate over whether or not to use dryer lint as batting for doll blankets.... dryer lint is very flammable.... and some people had been warned against using it. My local firefighter told me if I was that worried about it, I should install a sprinkler system in the doll house. In other words, a fire is a terrible, destructive force and dryer lint or dryer sheets aren't likely to be the make it or break it factor in the devastation of a house fire. Use them, they really do work like fusible webbing (which, by the way, would react the same way in a fire).
—Guest Antmom

Fusible frugal

I love to applique and do quite a bit of it with the help of fusible web. So I always have a great selection to work with. I apply the web as I go to the scraps of fabric I am cutting for other things. Pieces as small as 2" square can yield a great amount of applique pieces. I store them all in a shoe box I covered in scrap fabric with mod-podge and bits of trim. That is another fun project you might enjoy - the possibilities are limitless. I also save all my thread and string cut-offs, mix them with fiberfill and stuff that in onion bags. Hang it from a tree and the birds will pick it empty for their nesting materials. To smart34- if this is going too far I guess you better scoot over because I'm going with you - and I'm bringing a few friends!

Make a Charm Quilt from Your Stash

Cut a 2 1/2 inch square of every scrap and fabric you have in the house and sew together, with no two exactly the same, I have 640 at the last count and 3 more bins to go through -- and an interesting quilt top or backing. Always buy the best quality fabric you can afford, especially if the quilt is to be used by children or in a nursing home, as these are very harshly laundered and well used. Always lock-stitch the beginning and end of all seams tol prevent the piecing from coming loose as it is washed. To date I have made 107 quilts for family, friends and donations. Save all scraps - cut to sizes you prefer and save in clear plastic boxes with lids. I sort by prints, plains and certain projects I am planning. Paper piecing, log cabin, 2 1/2 inch strips etc. Keep a small notebook in your purse and attach small samples of fabrics you want to co-ordinate when you shop -- this saves a lot of time and money. Use all cotton thread -- polyester, rayon and nylon will cut cotton fabric in time.
—Guest bonniebee

I love the internet!

I love experimenting with new patterns but can't afford to buy an expensive quilt book for one new idea. So I subscribe to free quilting newsletters and cruise quilting websites, usually during the commercials when watching tv. I now have an enormous collection of internet patterns I've saved to various folders like log cabin or pinwheels or sailboats. I even rate them so I can easily get back to my favorites. This frees up money for batting and fabric I use in my charity quilts. Many thanks to Janet Wickell who has the best website of all.
—Guest ThriftyQuilter

negatives of bed sheets for backing

As a long arm quilter, I refuse to quilt any customers quilt that uses sheets for backing. The sheets make it more difficult to work with and the results are not as nice. They also dull the needles much quicker. I understand being frugal, but why destroy your hard work. You time has more value than the item.
—Guest gf

Stick those threads away

I use a sheet from a lint roll remover and fold a corner stick it on my sewing table behind sewing machine and with every snip of threads put them on the lint remover paper threads stays on the paper will help from getting on your floor also helps keep sewing table free of loose threads.
—Guest dawnhardee


I have recently seen a quilt that was made from selvage edges. It looked like a book shelf and all the selvages were the book bindings. Very talented and frugal.
—Guest ellie0817

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