Sewing on a Budget: Bargains Galore on Buttons, Trim, Lace, and Fabrics

Enjoy sewing even if your budget is tight. Frugal shoppers can find ways to cut expenses. Here are some suggestions to keep your sewing machine humming along.

Bargain Trims and Lace

Trims, lace, and similar items are sometimes found at clearance sales. However, thrift shops and rummage sales tend to be good sources. Visit thrift stores often as there is usually a quick turnover of the best merchandise.

Generally, yard sales aren’t a great place to find trims and lace. The exception is when moving sales offer things at bargain prices.

Bargain Buttons

Expand your button collection without spending a lot. Before discarding old worn clothing, remove and save the buttons.

At yard sales and rummage sales, there will often be a free box. Go through this, and take any clothing with buttons.=

Recycling Bandanas and Scarves

If you have scarves or bandanas you no longer wear, use them for home décor projects. They make great pillow covers. Update sheer window panels by adding bands of accent using colorful scarves.

Save Fabric Scraps

In tough times make your money go farther by saving all usable scraps. Narrow strips can be used for postage stamp or doll quilts. Small squares and rectangles and odd-shaped pieces are good for appliquéd and pieced projects–especially crazy patchwork.

Bargain Fabric

As with trim and lace, thrift stores and rummage sales are always worth checking out. The pricing varies widely. In some cases, entire bolts are reasonably priced. At some rummage sales fabrics are sold by the bag (whatever you can fit into the bag for $2 or whatever). Some Goodwill stores charge $1.50 or so per single piece of fabric regardless of the size.

It is also worthwhile to shop for remnants at fabric stores. In addition, they have seasonal clearances and discontinued fabrics at closeout prices.

For home décor projects, consider using sheets instead of fabric. These are suitable for lots of different decorating projects. Examples include throw pillows, slip covers, pillow shams, and window coverings of all sorts. Linen outlets usually have sheets on clearance. Thrift stores sometimes have new sheets still in their original packages.

Choose Fabrics Carefully

Trendy fabrics can become dated. Whether it is for home décor or clothing, choose timeless fabrics that won’t go out of style. Classic fabrics and neutral colors won’t be affected by current trends. For clothing, it helps to select fabrics that can be worn year-round.

When buying prints, choose geometric designs that are easy to mix and match. Plaids are an example.

Unless you buy them at clearance prices, designer fabrics are expensive. Use these sparingly. Choose projects that require a yard or less. A single swatch is usually enough for a decorative pillow or a tote.

Take Advantage of Savings

Shop sales at fabric and craft stores, and take full advantage of coupons. Several times a year Hancocks has a 10% coupon in its sales circulars. The discount applies to your entire purchase. Other stores, such as Michaels and A.C. Moore, occasionally have similar coupons offering as much as 25% off.

Also, make use of weekly coupons. Michaels and A.C. Moore coupons give 40 to 50% off a single item. When you’re buying staples, such as quilt batting or buttons, the savings can add up over time.

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Be sure to check out our article on the Best Serger Reviews and Buying Guide!

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