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.

There are affiliate links within the post. I may receive some commission with the links provided. Please find the full disclosure HERE.

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)

Ship Shape Quilt

If you want a more modern look, check out this one below by Binita! How awesome is that binding?

Office Stripes

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.

Scrappy quilt


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>  

Vintage Sheet Plus Quilt (Finished)


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)

Quilting on a budget: Vintage Sheet backing Quilt

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:

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.

If you love this post, make sure to pin it or share it!


Do you have a tip to share for quilting on a budget?

Share them in the comments! We’d love to hear it.

Ways to quilt on a budget. Make a quilt on a budget. Quilting can be expensive hobby but it can also not be. Learn 8 ways you can still enjoy the craft on a budget.

Tips for quilting on a budget

quilting on a budget ideas. cheap fabric for quilting

10 Comments on 8 Tips for Quilting On A Budget

  1. I have used all of these tips and then some! They really do help keep costs down. I have a couple more to share. Let everyone you know that you are looking for gently used sheets and clothing, or even cotton curtains and fabric. I have received quite a bit this way! Also, once or twice a year, Joann’s will have 20 yard rolls of batting on sale for around $75-$80 a roll for 90″ wide cotton or poly/cotton batting. You have no idea how much money that saves me every year!

  2. Amira, you always have wonderful ideas and you are very sweet and kind with your responses. I’ve used many of your ideas too, particularly saving and piecing batting bits – thrifty!. I combine larger pieces for quilts and use smaller ones for microwave bowl cozies, hot pads, and potholders, etc. I’m currently working on a rainbow throw quilt all made with saved scraps and strings except for the sashing. I prefer to throw away as little as possible so in addition to my boxes of scraps and strings, I have a small box of fabric bits that I call “littles”. These are left over bits and pieces from when I’m cutting new quilt blocks. They’re at least 2.5″ square or a little bigger, some are triangles sewn together into squares and some are short skinny strips. I press them and lay them in the box to keep them as flat as possible. When I get in quilting overload on a project, I set it aside for a while, take out my “littles” and foundation piece them on strips of 2.5″ paper. I keep the finished strips wound on an old paper towel roll and use them for colorful bindings or additions to modern quilts. They are easy, quick, thrifty and surprisingly beautiful when used with colorful solids.
    Lastly, I have a favorite place to buy fabric at a discount. It’s called in Florida and they have oodles of lovely, quality fabric at $3.99 and $4.99 a yard on average, and are you ready for this….they sell GORGEOUS 108″ backings for $8.59 per yard! I’m lousy at math but I think that would be like buying 44″ wide yard goods for around $3.50/yd. Their shipping cost is always a flat $5.00 and they ship VERY quickly. Even with the shipping you still come out ahead. They also sell 1/2 yard packs of related colors, fat quarters, and much more – all at very reasonable prices. I’m a retiree and my income is limited, so I buy there a lot. I have never been disappointed with color or quality so I wanted to share this with other “quilt-aholics” like me.
    Blessings to everyone.

  3. Great ideas – one I seem to keep using is make your quilt double sided so you can use all those scraps and bargain fabrics both sides.

    • I LIKE that idea!!!!!! I think I’m going to have to do that soon.
      (Well, maybe not too soon – perhaps after I get done my current four UFO’s)

  4. Another idea is to use a flannette sheet as the wadding.I use them like this all the time, they make a soft drapey quilt that washes and dries like a dream.They make great baby rugs too, mums love the washing ease and they fold up well too.

  5. I love your tips on quilting. I have a Janome like yours and I do QAYG due to prior shoulder surgery. I am tickled to have my Janome sewing machine.

  6. I enjoyed reading a couple of your blogs this morning. I have been sewing all my life I believe. I was fortunate to have a mother who encouraged me to enjoy crafts at a young age. I think I was about six when I started making my own Barbie doll dresses. My mother loved to quilt and always used flannel sheets vs batting, and sheets as the backing. I was doing applique before it became popular simply because I didn’t have the money to do it other ways. I used coloring books to get my patterns. I would by flat sheets for my fabric and backing. Then I would make my boys quilts and put an old blanket in them instead of batting. I would tie them off instead because I didn’t know about FMQ yet. One of my boy’s still has the one I made him.
    After our boys left home, a modern day quilter starting coming to our church. We talked her into giving us a class so we could learn to do what she did. From then on I was hooked, but I was working full time and that didn’t leave much free time, but still I managed to practice FMQ and learned a lot. Five years before I retired, I started collecting fabric because I knew I wouldn’t have as much money to spend on fabric once that day came. I have now been retired for four years. I do take some orders, but I mostly just enjoy creating for myself. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t spend time at one of my sewing machines. I love to go to estate sales where the seller used to be a quilter. I have acquired a lot of batting that way for just pennies.
    And now that I have shared my story with you, I just want to say that I appreciate that you are telling us it is okay to use alternative ways to make a quilt. I like that you are saying we don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the craft. One of my most prized possessions is a quilt my grandmother made me for my wedding. It is not so pretty, but it is all hand stitched out of fabric from dresses she wore, and scraps she saved. How precious that is.

  7. All my family and friends know to offer me any old sheets or upholstery they are getting rid of. Old blankets and bedspreads make great filling for quilts instead of batting. Very, very warm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.