Shopping Small in the Fabric World

We all know that there’s fabric to be found at Joann Fabrics, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and large online stores like fabric.com and fabricwholesaledirect.com. Even Amazon carries fabric! But if you’d rather buy locally, sustainably, ethically, or just want to try something new, don’t think you’re out of options! You might be surprised at the amount of other places you can “buy small” and still find great fabric for your projects. Here is a list of a few of my favorites:

Start with what you have!

Before you go anywhere, try using a critical eye and be amazed at what you have around your home that you can use to sew. Old sheets and curtains, clothes past repair, couch pillow covers that need a refresh, scraps from old projects, even discards from friends and family (hint: your grandma might have a stash of old fabric!)

Sweet baby booties from an old sweatshirt!

Also, especially if you already have a fabric stash, consider deciding only to work within the realm of what you have currently available when starting a project. Sometimes the greatest creativity can be found when having to operate within limits!

This banner was made completely from fabric already in my stash. The mosaic birds cover up stains on this well loved tablecloth background!

Local Thrift Stores & Antique Shops

Luckily I have a local thrift store not to far from my home and an antique store just down the street. Buying from there means I’m not just buying secondhand, but the money I spend there goes back into our community. Look around for thrift stores near you that are either run locally or part of a bigger chain. It may take some extra time and digging, but treasures can be found there! I often use button down shirts from thrift stores to line my tote bags.

Shirt lined tote bag – already made pockets are always a plus!

Online Thrift Stores

There are also online thrift stores that specialize in fabrics, both vintage and overstock.

A Thrifty Notion, based in Manhattan, Kansas, is both an online and brick and mortar second hand fabric store. They have great finds and also take fabric donations if you’re looking to destash. I love checking out their features each Friday, but they sell out quickly!

Queen of Raw is a place to find unused, high end fabric, called deadstock fabric. This fabric is generally from companies that ordered more than they needed for projects and the excess would sit in warehouses if not for organizations like Queen of Raw. It ranges from luxury leather to interior decorating, to linen, to pretty much anything you could want!

Local Quilt Shops

Local quilt shops are wonderful places. My daughter and I attempted our first quilt after winning a fabric “layer cake” from Experience Quilts. They cheered and helped us every step of the way! Nothing beats quality fabric and a personal touch!

Some other quality small quilt shops are Debbie’s Quilt Shop & Gifts, Calico Hutch, and Fenceline Fabrics.

Our first quilt! All fabric from our local quilt shop!

Online Small Business Fabric and Quilt Shops

With the ease of e-commerce today, many small quilt shops have been able to either expand to online or sell there exclusively. Here are my online go-tos:

Experience Quiltsclosing soon, so there’s a big sale going on right now

Simply Love Fabricsgreat deals on their FB and IG accounts

Fenceline Fabrics the “new fabric” side of A Thrifty Notion mentioned above

Zipit Zippersnot a fabric store, but my favorite place to buy zippers

These bonnets were made with a combination of locally bought fabric, discards from friends, and upcycled shirts from a thrift store.

Think Outside the Box

One other site that’s been fun for me to use this past year has been Spoonflower. The flexibility and creativity in being able to design exactly what you want for a project is a blast! The lining of the pouch below is a combination of a painting and handlettering by my kids. They love seeing their art on fabric being used in my work!

You can always go beyond fabric, as well. The embellishments on this zip pouch are cut from old feedsacks and a coffee sleeve! There’s hidden art everywhere you look :).

I’d love to hear about your favorite places to go fabric hunting!

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