Welcome to the fourth installment of Frougie Tip Friday. If you missed the other parts go check them out I tell you how to save on sewing machines, patterns and sewing essentials. So what’s next after you have your machine, sewing accessories and patterns? Fabric!!!
There are plenty of places to purchase fabric. Chain craft stores like Hancock Fabrics and Joann, mass market stores like Walmart, online fabric stores and local “mom and pop” stores. Today I’m just going to focus on saving a chain craft stores. I want to start here because these are the types of stores that people are likely to have access to and because they are typically labeled which is best for newbies.
I think by far Hancock and JoAnn are the largest of the chain craft store so I will focus on those. Sure there’s Hobby Lobby and Michael’s, but most of Michael’s don’t carry fabric and all of the regional Hobby Lobby’s are a good distance from me.My favorite chain craft store is Hancock. Nothing against JoAnn but I’ve always received better service from Hancock, there are more locations (in my area) and I feel they have better prices. Whichever you prefer the tips the save at either are the same.
Search the Weekly Ads
Whether you sign up to their mail list, their email list, use Joann’s mobile app or just remember to check in to their website before visiting the store the best way to catch a good deal on fabric is to read the weekly ads. Fabric is ALWAYS on sale! Both stores always have several types of fabrics marked down anywhere from 25% – 60% off. There isn’t any particular pattern as to when certain fabrics go on sale so check the weekly ads frequently. You can however count on some sales at the end of a season you can count on specific discounts. For instance after Christmas you can save up to 80% off fleece, near the end of summer all the linen, seersucker and gingham is usually marked down and after any holiday that cotton fabric in that theme (red white and blue, Easter, Christmas, etc…) are up to 75% off.
Use the Coupons
Again both of these stores feature coupons in their ads. If you get an actual flyer in the mail you can cut those out, but if you don’t (Hancock never mails me ads anymore) you can always go to their website and print out the coupons (Hancock | JoAnn). JoAnn even has an app (apple | android) that lets you just show the coupons from your phone. Hancock has a mobile club that will text you coupons. So if you need linen for a project but only knits are on sale you can still save with a coupon. Hancock almost always has a 50% off any one regular priced fabric item (this means one cut of fabric) and JoAnn often has a 50% off of one any regular priced item (which would include a cut of fabric). Notice the regular price disclaimer, you can not use these coupons on fabric that is already on sale. Warning- Many sewists fell they the purposely put out the highest percentage coupons when most of the fabric is on sale so essentially the coupon can not be used. Though less often both store offer whole purchase 15-25% off coupons and 25-30% off your total fabric purchase coupons, so look out for those and stock up. Don’t forget both Hancock and JoAnn honor each others coupons!
The remnant bin is a great place for beginners to start with. Remnants are smaller pieces, less than 2 yards, of cut fabric that is sold at a discount. They can be the fabric left on the end of the bolt, returned fabric or fabric that was cut but never bought for some reason. Remnants are great for newbies because beginner projects usually require less fabric and don’t want to pay more for fabric for practice. I love the remnant bin as an intermediate sewer for smaller project, for muslin (test fabric) for a garment or even just a portion of a garment or for baby/kids clothes. Anything can be in the remnant bin, fleece, cotton, lace, lycra, ponte or vinyl!
You can catch a great deal on a small project (like a pencil skirt or tank top) at Hancock where remnants are always offered at just $3/yd. Remnants at JoAnn are offered at half off the regular sales price.
Search Flat Fold Fabric Table
This one is specifically at Hancock (one of the reasons they are my favorite). The Hancocks in my area have a table of folded fabrics labeled flat fold,. These fabrics are larger than remnants (up to 7-10yds) and offered for flat rate $4.95/yd. I’ve have seen anything from chiffon to ponte on this table and it varies every trip. Many of the fabrics aren’t anything I’ve ever seen in the store so I’m not sure where they come from. Some stores have a large selection (an 8 ft table piled high ), others much smaller (a couple of 2 ft wide shelves). I’ve found that some locations will let you cut larger pieces to the size you need and others make you buy the whole piece. I’ve scored ITYs, jersey knit, ponte, stretch denim and more from this table.
Spot the Bolt
This is another Hancock exclusive! Hancock typically has a 2-3 tables with bolts of fabrics stacked on top (and sometimes underneath) labeled Spot the Bolt. These fabrics (a subset of which can be found online) are essentially on clearance. The percentage off (50-80%) is determined by the sticker (spot) on the bolt, see what they did there? In store this can be hard to distinguish what the percentage off is for a certain bolt of fabric as there are a dozen or more colors and the sales chart is not easy to read (what you think is gold may really be mustard) so I advise asking for the price at the cutting table before purchasing. A friend of my found a ice cream print knit for her daughter’s first birthday party marked down 80%, which was just $1/yd!!!
This table also goes on a flat price sale (about 4-6 times per year). I’ve seen the whole table priced at anywhere from $2.97 to $3.28 per yard. I stock up during this sale!!!! I’ve snagged stretch faux leather, ponte knit, chiffon, lycra activewear knit and ITY knit at this price.
Now go out there and buy some fabric!!!!
Do you have any savings tips? Where do you find your best deals? Do you have a favorite store? or are you an equal opportunity fabric hoarder? Share in the comments!
UPDATE: This is what I got today! I was only there for thread. All $4.95/yd off the flat fold table.