Are you starting to notice how much you’re spending on your quilting hobby? Or are you currently trying to learn how to quilt but have a limited budget?
Do you know that quilting doesn’t have to be so expensive?
Well, at least there are options I would say.
Of course, you can go all out and buy all the best things out there for your quilting craft, but you’ll soon find out that it can be quite addictive and costly to keep this hobby.
In this post, I’ll share 8 ways to make quilting work on a budget.
I started quilting when I was a graduate student, and I have tried lots of ways to keep the spending to a minimum. Which involves lots of thrifting and yard-sale hunting and just winging it with whatever I have in hand.
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See here goes.
8 ways to make quilts on a budget
1. Make quilts using used cotton shirts and dresses
Just starting out and realized how much good quality cotton costs. Yes, they can cost quite a bit but it’ll be worth using good cotton to make your quilts.
However, if you are short on budget or just testing out the water with the art of making a quilt, there is always the option to use recycled materials.
In this case, I am suggesting using cotton shirts or dresses. You can use dad’s old shirts or purchase some from the second-hand store or even ask friends and family to donate. I am sure there are plenty of shirts needed to be gone.
Cotton Shirts make the perfect man’s quilt.
See this quilt for an example.
You can also make it a big project and have fun with it. I particularly love reading projects like this comes to life.
Here is an awesome photo tutorial how to cut shirts for a quilt.
The photo below is another example of a shirt quilt by P. blogged here. (original photo in P. ‘s Flickr)
If you want a more modern look, check out this one below by Binita! How awesome is that binding?
Dresses into quilts
Whereas, if you want to add in more florals, try and find cotton dresses or skirts. They’ll be more feminine and makes a great quilt for women.
Or make a sweet baby girl quilts out of her old dresses.
Check out this quilt below and this post about the making of the quilt. So sweet!!
Photo is from Patchwork Daily Desire’s Flickr
2. Using scraps
Of course, if you have been quilting or sewing for a while, you’ll have plenty of these. Make use of them and stop buying more fabrics.
You can make a quilt using all scraps or you may also add in a few yards of anchor fabrics to bring the scrappiness together.
I personally love Bonnie’s blog for inspiration whenever I am making a scrappy quilt.
Here is an example of a scrappy quilt my mum made with her own scraps. She’s not a quilter, but she makes one or two quilts. These are scraps from her dress-making, sheet-making, and a few bits of other things thrown in there. Most of them are cotton though.
3. Using cotton sheets on sale as backing
Use cotton sheets on sale for backing.
Target or Michaels usually have them on sale.
Or scour down the local op-shop for well-used quality cotton sheets.
Quilt Backing can be quite expensive as we need yards and yards of fabric for it.
Using sheets can really cut the cost plus, you probably won’t have to piece it together to make it big enough for the quilt top!
In this quilt below, I used a handmade sheet I bought from the local op-shop.
But you can always find a new one on great sales.
This is my recent quilt, The community Sampler, you can read more about that HERE>
I have also used sheets as backing for another quilt HERE>.
4. Using vintage sheets and pillow-cases
Vintage sheets can be found at the local Charity Stores/ Second-hand Stores. Or you might have some in your mum’s attic.
You can use vintage sheets for the quilt top, cut them and piece them back together patching various patterns and colors. I love the pastel-looking vintage quilt.
Whenever I think of vintage sheets, I always have Jenny in my mind. She was the one who kind of introduced me to this world of vintage sheets via her blog here. There are also some tips there for buying vintage sheets. Mind you though, vintage sheets could be priced more than the new fabric, so in the intention of keeping on a budget, I’d say go for the lucky find ones that are priced way cheaper.
Below, is a beautiful quilt made by Natalie of the Hideaway Girl. You can see more of Natalie’s work on Vintage Sheet Quilts on her blog HERE>
Use vintage sheets as quilt backing material is one of my favourite quilting on a budget tip.
I do like using vintage sheets as the backing materials as they usually do come in big sizes already. The smaller pieces can be used for the quilt top while the larger ones, I use for the backing.
I have had no issues using these sheets as backing and I pretty much love the pretty vintage patterns.
Here are some of my quilts that were backed with vintage sheets :
- Scrappy Trip
- HST Sampler
- Modern Medallion (shown below – sorry, this quilt photo is all crinkly, I just realized that the earlier post about this quilt never had the backing photo of it, so I went to snap it just for this post – and it had been sitting around to get laundered for quite a while :P)
5. Using flannel sheets as the backing
This may not be suitable for all of you. But I think the purpose of the quilt is to warm the body. It makes sense to use materials that are warming.
I have never tried this, but flannel sheets as with the cotton sheet I mentioned above can be way cheaper than the yardage. So, go scour down the target aisle. They may have them on sale in season.
Here is a post by Emily on her review of making backings using Flannel Sheets.
Save money quilting – Flannel Sheets as quilt backings
6. Skip the batting and go for a Minky backing instead.
Another warming material is the Minky.
You can skip the batting and just back the quilt with Minky materials instead. That way, you can save by not buying the batting. However, the quilt has a different weight and flow. So put that in mind.
And would it still be a quilt? get it quilted and I think it just missed the batting. It’s in between a quilt and a blanket.
Here is a great tutorial for using Minky backing.
Video is on youtube by Laura of SewVeryEasy. Check out more of her online tutorial HERE.
7. Use batting scraps
Save your batting scraps. Especially those long ones that you cut off when trimming your quilt after quilting. I love patching them back together and using them again in another quilt. If I have smaller pieces, I still keep them for smaller projects too.
Try buying batting by the roll too although they can be quite pricey initially, they are still cheaper than buying each time you make a quilt. Besides, you can cut them exactly to size and make more efficient use of it.
Check out the price of cotton batting on a roll HERE>
Here is a tutorial for patching up the batting scraps together:
The video is on youtube by Laura of SewVeryEasy. Check out more of her online tutorial HERE.
8. Make the quilt from start to finish yourself
This means, trying quilting it yourself instead of sending it out to a professional. I am not against professional quilters at all. They do a great job and most of the time, I do envy the finished look of the long-arm quilted quilts. The flatness of the quilt and the crispy quilting stitches.
However, I have never got the budget for it. I seem to rather spend the budget I have for fabrics to make more quilts. And that is why I am passionate about making free-motion quilting on a domestic machine work for me.
If you have never tried, I have many tutorials on the blog for that:
- Free Motion Quilting Foot
- Common Free Motion Quilting Problems and how to solve them
- How to Avoid Fold/Pleats/Tucks when quilting using a domestic machine
- Free Motion Quilting Large Quilts on Domestic Machines
If you feel too overwhelmed by the free-motion quilting idea, don’t worry, there is always simple straight line quilting that can give a beautiful finish too!
Check out this class for more ways on quilting using just a walking foot. You can watch it for FREE via Bluprint Trial.
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Do you have a tip to share for quilting on a budget?
Share them in the comments! We’d love to hear it.