Frugal Quilting Tips
Backing - You do not have to use a solid piece of fabric for your quilt back. The backing can also be pieced. Use large squares and rectangles to make it fast and easy.
Block Size - The larger the block, the faster the piecing process. You will also have fewer scraps and less waste.
Batting- Always save leftover pieces of batting. You can use the bigger pieces for wall hangings and small projects, and the scraps for stuffing pillows. You can also tie a piece around the end of a stick and use it to pick up threads from the floor so they don't clog your vacuum cleaner.
Also, use them to make Swiffer replacement pads. They are great for collecting dust. The polyester cotton blend of batting works well for wet jobs
Blankets - Wash old blankets and use them as the filler in quilts that you are planning or tying or doing some simple machine quilting.
Buttons- Buttons are expensive. When you go to a thrift store, take a quick look at garments with good buttons. Sometimes an item marked for $2.00 will have $10.00 (or more) worth of buttons on it. If you use buttons for sewing clothing, or embellishing quilt projects, this is a good way to build up a stash. You can buy a button organizer, or just use egg cartons, safety pins, or twist ties.
Ebay - Cut leftover pieces of fabric into squares and sell them on ebay, or sell by the pound.
Estate Sales - Find the estate sale of a quilter, and you will find incredible buys on fabric.
Marking - The most inexpensive, and accurate way, to mark some lines is with your iron. When you fold you square in half, whether it is on grain or diagonal, and then press it, you get a perfect line without distorting the fabric.
Needle Disposal- You can use old needles to hang pictures. If you want to throw them away, be careful, as they are sharp. My favorite way to dispose of them is to place them in the plastic containers that come with SoftPics for your teeth.
Pin Cushions- Pin cushions are easily made with pieces of leftover batting. However, another option is to use a candle stump, the bigger the better. The wax keeps the pins from rusting and it helps them easily slide through fabric.
Recycle - Whether it is the fabric for the top of a a quilt project, the back, or the batting, look for items that can be recycled. Blankets make good batting, clothing is fabric. Sew two shoulder pads together, cover them with fabric, and you have a potholder.
Selvage Strips - When you tear the selvage off your fabric, keep it and recycle it. It is very strong, and can be used like a lightweight rope.
Thread - You don't need to collect a lot of different colors of thread for piecing. You will need white, and a putty, beige color for the rest of your fabrics. If you machine stitch the top, you can pick out multicolor thread or a special color to match your quilt top.
Be mindful of the weight of the thread you use with your sewing machine. A medium weight thread if best (50 weight). If you use a thicker thread, the extra bulk of the thread will reduce the accuracy of your patchwork.