In today’s economic climate, starting a new hobby may seem like an expense that your budget just can’t support. Between gas and groceries, becoming a quilter just doesn’t seem like a wise financial choice. I’m here to tell you that being a quilter doesn’t have to be expensive. Over the years I have become an expert at stretching my dollar to support my quilter’s habit. The following are my favorite ways to get the most for my limited allowance:
1. Borrow a Machine
If you are looking to make your first quilt, and don’t already own a machine, borrow one from someone that you know who has one that they don’t use. Borrowing a sewing machine has the added advantage of giving you a chance to figure out which features you would like your own machine when you go to buy one. Specialized quilter’s machines can be expensive, and you may decide that you don’t need one.
2. Be Coupon Friendly
Joanne Fabric and Michael’s regularly send 40% off coupons to people on their mailing list. These coupons can be used to purchase the more expensive tools that you might want but would rather buy at a reduced price. With coupons, you don’t have to wait for your wanted item to go on sale.
3. Shop The Sales
Big box stores and quilt shops constantly run sales on their wares. Fabric might be on clearance by 30 to 50% off. The rotary cutter you covet might be free if you buy a particular ruler. Shop around and be aware of what’s out there, and what might be offered in the near future. Fellow quilter’s always seem to have their ear to the ground on this front and can help give you a heads up.
4. Go to Garage Sales and Estate Sales
I have found some of the most wonderful fabric and quilter’s notions at simple estate sales. Estate sales are like a garage sale on steroids, and the prices are generally similar. I’ve seen some amazing vintage quilts that people are just looking to get rid of. The holy grail of garage sales, of course, is one that your quilting buddy is having…
5. Keep a List
Make sure you have a list of the items on your wish list when you’re out and about. You never know when you’re going to run into a deal at Walmart on batting—but if you forget that you’re going to need it for your current quilt project, it does you absolutely no good.
In a short time you’ll have every tool that you really need to begin quilting. After your necessities are purchased, you’ll have a blast finding the perfect materials for your individual projects. Quilting doesn’t need to be expensive if you’re a savvy shopper.
You’ll discover quilting can be an adventure. Anyone with the proper directions can create an heirloom quilt that will stand the test of time.
Fortunately, with proper instruction, quilting is as simple as following a proven set of steps. Take the first step and learn how fun and easy creating heirloom keepsakes can really be.
Erin is a nationally known quilt pattern designer and instructor. For more information, go to