Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 03 Feb 2010 08:46 pm

How to Find Cheap, Unusual, and Beautiful Fabrics for Quilting

Quilters are always on the lookout for beautiful fabrics and supplies for their quilting projects. Sometimes the most unusual and pretty designs can be found in places one wouldnt normally consider.

Some of the best places and tactics to find fabrics include the following.

Swap meets or flea markets are a fun place to shop. On occasion you will find sellers liquidating bolts of materials. Usually these materials are unused and were excess inventory or closeouts. Last Sunday I found a vendor with a selection of 30 different types of materials in bolts of 30 and 40 yards. He was selling each one at fifty cents a yard.

At garage sales, you will find quilters selling excess materials and tools. You may also increase your chances of finding quilters selling items by going to neighborhoods that have a larger population of retired folks. Retirees seem to have more time for quilting and seem to sell off their items regularly. Garage sales in mobile home parks seem to yield good finds.

Online auction sites can reap a great supply of fabrics without leaving your house. Watch out for shipping costs. I like to search for auctions that are in or adjacent states. After the auction, I email the seller requesting a reduction in shipping because of same shipping zone.

Storage auctions are a little bit more hit and miss than the others sources listed above. Check your local newspaper for storage auction dates and times or call the various storage unit facilities and ask about auction dates. The best part is that before the bidding begins, the door is opened and you are allowed to look inside.

Quilting shows are really competitive. Usually the last day, you will find blowout sales and bargains. The sellers dont want to leave the show with excess inventory.

Estate sales can yield some surprising finds. Look in your paper for estate sales. Similar to garage sales, Ive found the best luck in retired residences or mobile home estate sales.

International trips can be fun. I have found great bargains and really beautiful fabrics in faraway lands such as India, Thailand, and Africa. You can even pay for your trip by purchasing extra fabrics and selling it at a quilt show or local quilting guild.

Classified ads can be a way to have people calling you to sell their excess fabrics. You can place a classified ad in your newspaper of penny saver paper stating that you are buying fabric.

This list should help with getting your creative juices flowing. I am sure there are many other tactics to finding quilting fabric. Just keep your eyes, ears, and mind open to opportunities. Happy hunting!

Darren Takenaga is publisher of Quilting Kingdom Ezine. It is Free and each issue contains tips, articles, resources, and anything else of interest to quilters. You may subscribe at: You are also invited to visit the Quilting Kingdom website at: and

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