How To Save Money Buying Fabric

Repurposing fabrics already in your home is the cheapest way to make your own clothes, (Tip: Refashion sheets, curtains, or clothes in bigger sizes found at your local thrift store!) but what about those times when you want to buy fabrics without spending a fortune? Here are just a few tricks for getting cheap deals on quality textiles.

Shop online

Online stores such as Tencel fabric suppliers are great places to shop for good quality fabrics at a cheap price. Such stores tend to be able to offer better prices than physical stores because they don’t have the overheads that come with running a shop. You can’t touch the fabric before you buy, which may put some people off, but generally most sites have good descriptions. Make sure to factor in delivery costs, which could be expensive if you’re buying online from a company based in another country.

One of my favorite places to purchase fabric is from Mily Mae Fabrics. It is a mama-owned business, the selection is beautiful, and the prices are affordable. (Shipping is also very reasonable and she will refund shipping costs if your package costs less to ship!) This is where I got all of these beautiful velvet fabrics in the prettiest pastel colors.

Save money with remnants

Many textile retailers have a remnant bin which is used for leftover cuts of fabric. You can often get discounts of up to 50% on these remnants. Some of these are only just less than a yard in length making them still suitable for making many types of clothes as well as accessories such as scarves. This site Crazy Little Projects offers just some examples of clothing items you can make with remnants.

Here is my remnants bin! Even if you don't end up making anything with them, remnants are very good for practicing new techniques and for testing different sewing machine settings. Every time I change thread colors on any of my machines, I use a remnant piece to test out my stitch.

Use solid colors

While I totally love florals and feminine prints, I believe there needs to be some basics in your closet. (To match those lovely prints of course!) By working with solid colors more, you may be able to save money when buying fabric, since solid colors tend to be cheaper than patterned fabrics. I have provided an example below with fabrics from Knitpop. See the price difference between the solids and prints? These colors may seem boring on their own, but you can always mix them with patterned fabrics using these patterned fabrics as accents. There is a lot of inspiration you can find online for using solid colors. (Pinterest will be your new best friend!) 

Time it right

Shopping at the right time could also help you to take advantage of seasonal discounts. Certain colors and patterns tend to be more popular at certain times of the year and generally more expensive – for example greens and browns are fall colors and patterns using these colors tend to be more expensive to buy during fall and less expensive in other seasons.

It’s also worth taking advantage of sales such as the January sales and Black Friday in which you’ll find discounts on all kinds of textiles. Also, I recommend you sign up for Joann's emails and texts. I'm always getting sale alerts coupon codes all year round!

Shop abroad

While it’s not cost-effective to fly off abroad just to buy textiles, it is worth taking advantage of local markets if you were planning on traveling anyway. What's a better souvenir than fabric? :D I always hit up the Fashion District when I visit LA. One of my favorites to visit is Micheal Levine's (also one of the most well-known), but I also visit all the other small shops around. You just never know what you might find!

You can often find local textiles in their raw form and you won’t have to pay for the import costs that can often push the price up when buying these textiles back home. Certain exotic materials such as alpaca wool can still be very expensive in the countries they come from due to the hype – however you may be able to find cheaper prices by shopping in non-touristy areas.


Pants to Skirt Overalls Refashion

The last time I had some overalls, I was in the second grade, so I was due for a new pair right? I had been seeing these skirt overalls throughout social media, and I really liked them. One day as I was scrolling down Facebook, I saw a short video tutorial of someone turning shorts into overalls, and I thought "hey I could do that with a skirt!" And here were are with my tutorial. 

I sewed these back in October, but didn't get a chance to take photos until Thanksgiving. I decided to finally post this tutorial today, since in my mind, it is the official end of fall. Tomorrow is December, which means the start of all things Christmas. :D (Well, in my mind at least, that's how I see fall and winter).

I had some adorable little daisy buttons in my stash that matched these overalls perfectly, in my opinion. These are definitely going to be my go-to overalls for fall. (Even though these are my only pair of overalls and fall is now over LOL).

There are a few things that I learned for next time and I will share them to help you in your skirt-overall-making journey.

1. I would use a bigger pair of jeans to make my overalls. These were actually my size, but the legs fit loosely. I would use a bigger size next time to have more wiggle room.
2. Have matching fabric for the straps. I don't know how, but I did not even think of the straps until I realized I didn't have any fabric to make them. Luckily I found a matching gold fabric in my stash. (See it does help to hoard fabric!)


Too Big Skirt Refashion

I had this skirt in my refashion pile for the longest time. I just couldn't decide what to make with it. The print was my favorite and I love that it can be worn any season. Right now it is at the end of fall, beginning of winter and I can pair it with my sweaters and boots. The elastic waist makes it extra comfortable, and I am all about comfort all year round!

This refashion was super quick and easy. It took longer to take photos, edit them, and write this post! While I do like to challenge myself sewing-wise, sometimes it is nice to just make something quick. Thrift stores are a great place to find skirts that you can refashion into your size. All you need are scissors and some elastic.

I wanted this to be a midi skirt and leave the original hem alone. (Because who wants to hem again when there's a good hem present??) 


The Benefits of Making Our Own Clothes

Making your own clothes is a fun hobby and a productive way to spend your spare time, but there are other added benefits to doing so, too. If you’re planning on investing a sewing machine, mannequin and giving it a go, here’s why you should go ahead and take the plunge!

There’s more choice

Admittedly, these days we have lots of options when it comes to clothing. But with that being said, why does it feel like every time you go shopping for something specific, it’s impossible to find an item that’s just right? Ever find yourself stumbling upon a great dress with the wrong sleeves, or trousers that would look fantastic if they were a little longer or a different material? I personally always end up finding cute skirts or dresses at stores, but I try them on and they're a tad bit too short. With some sewing skills, you can easily purchase anything you like and simply refashion it a bit to your liking. That is actually why I started refashioning: to make my clothes more modest! :)
 When you make your own clothes, you can fashion them however you want. You can customize them to exactly the styles you’re after, make the fit perfect and you can pick from whatever materials and colors you want. If you’re skilled at making clothes, you never have to worry about finding the perfect outfit because you know you can create it yourself. Whether it’s tailoring an existing piece, or creating it from scratch. 

It’s good for the environment

We all generate far too much waste, and one thing we’re all guilty of is throwing away clothes that are perfectly good. Often it’s just because we don't like them any more, they’re not considered fashionable or they don’t fit. Millions of clothing items get thrown away every day and end up in landfill or incinerated- both are awful for the environment. When you have the skills to adjust the length and fit of things, you’ll find that you waste less, as clothes that would have been no good can now be reused. When you make your own clothes too, there’s less of a demand for companies to create more, and since many use sweatshops this is only a good thing. You know that your own items are made ethically and know where they came from, the same isn’t true of most of what you purchase ready made. More and more of us are understanding the importance of respecting the planet and the people on it, and businesses are following suite by giving us as consumers what we want- products without the guilt. You can buy more fair trade items than ever, and companies like https://diamondexpert.com/brilliant-earth-review/ even offer ethically sourced diamonds. By making your own clothes, it contributes to you doing your small bit for the planet.

This lace top used to be my favorite, until the collar got stained. Thanks to some refashioning, and it's one of my new favorites again! Check out the tutorial here.

You get to improve your skills

Just like any hobby or interest, the more you practice the better you will get. Making clothes is a productive way to spend your time, and as you improve you could even turn it into a business and earn some money. You could make clothes for dogs, fancy dress items for kids, prom dresses for teens or something else entirely! For example, my focus is on refashioning and creating modest styles. There are loads of directions you could go in, whether you keep it as a bit of fun or turn it into a side hustle. I decided to start a blog and through this opportunity I have met so many wonderful people and even sold some of my refashioned designs! :)

Ready to start creating? You can start with making a Pretty Pleated Skirt to practice making pleats, sewing an invisible zipper, and adding a waistband. I'm excited to see what you start creating & designing!

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