We are in for another treat today! Gemia from Phat Quarters is our guest blogger telling us how to save money on fabric. Not only does she have an amazing fabric shop (luckyyyy!), she also has a blog with dozens of tutorials and pattern reviews. Let’s hear what she’s got for us today!
Hi! I am Gemia from Phat Quarters. I’m super excited to be here today and to share a little insider’s info with you today on how to save money when purchasing fabrics. I run a small online fabric shop with my friend Leah, also called Phat Quarters. My first tip for saving money when purchasing fabrics for your next project is to purchase the right CUT. So let’s start off with learning about the different cuts that you can find.
In this diagram you will see not only the cut sizes but an example of the cost of each cut (for the same fabric). Your checkbook is not reading this so let’s be honest with each other for a minute – how many times have you purchased just a half yard of a fabric and then three projects later you really want that print again? So…after resisting for a few hours, or if you are really good, a day, you make the purchase again. Not only are you paying for another half yard cut, because you only need a little…again, you are also paying for shipping again. Now, using this beautiful Art Gallery print Nisi Floral Oceanon, as an example, your two, half-yard cuts plus shipping comes to a total cost of $16.50. If you had purchased a one-yard cut to begin with, then you would have only spent a total of $13.95. That is a savings of $2.55 and every penny counts! I know what you are thinking, spend money to save money, not much of a tip, but trust me, I see it happen all the time! I never buy less than a one-yard cut anymore, especially if I have to pay for shipping costs!
My favorite tip for saving money on fabric however, is to use a project budget rather than a fabric budget. I tend to shop sales, buy from the remnant bin, and see a fabric and think I can use this for multiple projects; and so I purchase without a specific project in mind. While this style of fabric shopping might seem to be a budget breaker, what works for me is to label all my fabrics with their price so that when it is time to complete a project I can set a budget at that level and then turn to my stash. This helps me to understand the cost of each project better and keeps me from spending a lot of money on one dress or shirt. This also makes me use my fabric stash for projects rather than finding a project and going shopping for fabric. It is kinda along the same lines of advice as ‘Do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry!’
To keep me within my project budget I use the rule of thirds in regards to fabric prices and color proportions. Most often we think of the rule of thirds as a visual grid but, for color proportions and your budget, it is better explained as the gallon/quart/pint approach. As an example I made the Extraordinary Girl Shirt by Filles a Maman using these three knit fabrics; Paparounes by Art Gallery ($16 per yard), a solid Coral ($10 a yard), and a solid Hot Pink ($4.99 per yard). First, we are going to categorize the fabrics based on price to fill up our budget. Paparounes is the most expensive so we can only afford a pint of it in our budget. The Hot Pink is the least expensive so we want to use a gallon of it. That leaves the Coral for the remaining pint of our budget. This allows us to use all of our desired fabrics but also maintain a balanced budget.
Next, we need to think of the project piece. In a limitless world I would use the Paparounes for as much of the shirt as possible because I love this print so much. But for my budget I cannot, and so I have to choose how to highlight this fabric to get the best bang for my buck! So I am going to use this fabric for the Front Bodice & Sleeves which I feel is a good compromise between what I want (a gallon of it) and what I can afford to use (a pint of it). So I will use this fabric for a quart of the project. Now based off my budget, the fabric I have the most of is the Hot Pink, which was the least expensive. Therefore, I will use this fabric in the gallon amount. To do that I will make the shirt Back and the Lower Front Bodice all out of the Hot Pink. That leaves the coral, which will be used in an pint amount for the shirt – the Pocket.
It is a simple tip, but sometimes a scary one…ASK. Ask if your favorite shop has any remnant cuts that they would sell. Ask if they will give you a discount on price if you order ‘x’ amount of yards. Ask if they would exchange fabric for promotion. I ask everywhere! Fabric stores want fabric to sell, so as long as you are asking for something reasonable and are kind in your approach, the worst that can happen is that they say no. It is worth the try! I hope that you learned something today or at least have a new angle to think about. I would love to hear any tips you have on saving money when purchasing fabrics. Be sure to stick around for the rest of this series! There are going to be many valuable bits of information that can help you stick to your budget and still create beautiful projects! If you want to keep in touch with me, you can find me in our shop, Phat Quarters, blogging at Phat Quarters, on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Thanks for visiting with me today!