Where can I find cheap fabric for quilting?
Quilting is an amazing hobby. Once started, you can't quit. Quilting has taken hold of you, but if you think that fabrics are very expensive, in this article I will tell you where you can find cheap fabric to make patchwork and why patchwork fabrics are expensive.
You can use your old clothes
First of all, you may not need to buy fabric for patchwork. Although 100% cotton fabrics are normally used, you can evaluate all kinds of old fabrics you have. I recommend using fabrics with similar properties together. Similar material, similar thickness. I think the most suitable fabrics are those from men's shirts. Great projects are also made from old jeans. Since jeans are thick, they do not allow you to play with the fabric too much, you may not be able to create every pattern from denim fabrics at every scale. I also saw very interesting projects from old silk men's ties.
Above @laralittlescissors's (Damla) sampler quilt made by old clothes.
Above @nordiccrafter's (Irina) wall quilt made with old shirts.
Above another @nordiccrafter quilt from old jeans. You may read the back story of her quilts from her blog
You can also find beautiful projects made of velvet or flannel. I am often asked whether patchwork can be made from combed fabric, It does not allow you to make all kinds of classic patchwork blocks on stretchy fabrics, but there is no limit to your creativity.
Patchwork that you will make by mixing silk, lace and denim fabric may not be very useful for blankets, but no one will tell you not to do it for wall panels or artistic works.
Above two picture are from @kikitekee (Kiki Borgström)'s quilt made by silk tie bows.
The patchwork blankets of my childhood in our house were made of thick coat fabrics. The winter coat fabrics of 40-50 years ago were very different from today. In winter coats, thick woolen fabrics were used, not fluffy fibers. My mother had made blankets by cutting old thick coats and joining the edges with lace.
You can use existing fabrics to learn new difficult blocks. The old shirts that @laralittlescissor uses as a test block, or @nordiccrafter's wallboard of old shirts, aren't they gorgeous? You can also look at the rug made by @nordiccrafter from denim fabrics.
One thing you should pay attention to here is that fabrics made of natural materials, whether cotton, linen, silk, have a lifespan. As you know, linens and duvet covers that are used for a long time will tear on their own. How old and worn the fabrics you use will determine the life of the new things you will make from those fabrics.
You can dye your fabrics
Dying fabric is not that difficult. In this way, you can enjoy even more while doing the things you design yourself. I have friends who make amazing patchwork projects with the fabrics they dye in the fabric dyeing courses they attend. However, since the dyed fabric is a bit more raw cotton or linen type, you may have difficulty in very tiny patchwork models. You should also pay attention to the fixation of the dye on the fabric, so that the dyes do not mix in the first wash or the dyes do not fade after a few washes.
IKEA, Eurokangas, Sinnelli (Finnish Shops)
I have patchwork projects that I made with cheap "DITTE" cotton fabrics I bought from Ikea. The color scale of fabrics in Ikea is very limited, (DITTE 4 colors) fabrics are a bit thicker and harder than normal patchwork fabrics, but it does happen.
You can find beautiful pieces at Eurokangas. It's good to stop by once in a while. You can also find cheap fabric bundles from Sinelli. I made another of my first projects with fabrics I bought from Sinelli. I still can't believe how so much dye can come out of one fabric. You won't believe how much dye came out in the first wash, even though I washed it quickly with cold water and ironed it. Unfortunately Sinelli's bundles are cheap fabrics from China.
You can buy from abroad
Of course, America is the paradise of cheap fabric for quilters, I will talk about that later.
You can also buy fabric from countries such as Turkey, Egypt, India and Pakistan. Since these countries are cotton producing countries and cotton fabric production dates back to ancient times, you can also buy cheap cotton fabrics from these countries. You may not find the rich color range of classic patchwork fabrics in these country fabrics, as fabric dyeing techniques and materials are a bit more limited. I recommend you to be very careful while washing the fabrics you bought from India. In the first few washes, the dye will come off all the time.
Japan, Indonesia, Korea... these countries are actually countries where great American fabrics are printed, you can get great fabrics at really affordable prices.
America, I think it's the country to go shopping. One of the reasons why the prices are so "affordable" in the USA is that all the manufacturing companies and raw materials are in the USA. Another important reason is that there is no VAT in the USA, and of course, there is a cost for shipping products to Europe.
You can also buy fabric from England at a cheaper price. But VAT on fabrics used to be lower in the UK, it's no longer as cheap as it used to be. But it is still possible to find a relatively suitable quilting fabric in the UK. This is because the UK market is larger. The large transaction volume helps the prices to be relatively cheap. Let me give an example, if I'm bringing 5 meters of fabric, the price I'd buy from the supplier is different from the price I'd get if I were bringing 15 meters, but in truth, I can sell 15 meters of fabric in a very limited number. Tilkkunen prefers to bring a slightly more expensive but wider range of fabrics, rather than a slightly cheaper but limited edition.
Unfortunately, you pay VAT for the products you buy outside the EU.
To summarize, the dimensions of your creativity are beyond the limits, you can do beautiful things with limited materials. But considering the effort and time you will spend, I can say that you will get your money's worth with quality materials or fabrics made for patchwork. The cheapening of quilting fabrics for Finland is not possible by opening more shops and lowering prices with competition, but by increasing the number of people who are interested in patchwork and buying more patchwork fabric.