Daily we hear the cries of sewer's - where can you buy cheap fabric?! Absolutely you want to pay a fair price for fabric and you also want to be able to buy decent quality fabric - prints that do not run, grainlines that are straight, able to wash more than once, cannot see through it etc etc But cheap is obviously not always best and does not always result in the best outcome for your projects.
Being able to sew puts us at a great advantage that we can select fabrics that will last, that will wash well, hang beautifully and help us make beautiful sewing projects or build a wardrobe full of classics, as opposed to the cheap, high street fabrics, that are thin, weak, wash poorly and simply do no last. A bit of lateral thinking when it comes to finding fabrics can take you a long way in your creative endeavours.
At the Dressmaker's Apprentice we fully believe that there should be no barriers to sewing, it should be easily and quickly accessible to everyone and this means that it should not need to be expensive! If you're lucky enough to be able to go and buy metres and metres of beautiful fabric, I applaud you (in a slightly jealous manner) but this is by no means necessary for a beautiful garment or sewing project. We are surrounded by fabric in many forms and a fresh eye can be all it takes for us to see what choices are available and accessible to all.
As a fashion student with no money, for my final collection I was able to get my hands on an old parachute - metres and metres of free fabric. From this I designed and drafted a range of long, flowing, parachute inspired coats, which resulted in me being a finalist at Student Fashion Week that year! I'm not suggesting everyone rushes out for a parachute, but do have a think about what may already be available to you. When sitting at home, look around each room in your house and see what is there - not necessarily to cut up but for ideas!
One of my favourite things for smaller projects are tea towels. Lots of the main supermarkets sell fabulous tea towels, usually in packs and for a few pounds each, some for pennies. I have a fabulous Weekend Wonder project for tea towels, to make a Japanese style bag - link at end. The kitchen may also have tablecloth, napkins, table runners, hand towels, dishcloths - take a look and see.
Your living room will likely have curtains, maybe a blanket or fleecy style throw, cushion covers, fabric blinds. In the bathroom you will find towels of different colours, sizes and textures. The bedrooms are full of fabulous duvet covers and pillow cases, sheets, blankets and throws, metres and metres of fabric! Alongside wardrobes of clothes, maybe ready for a repurpose and upcycle - do they really all fit now?! As before most supermarkets and home stores have duvet covers on sale for £10 and less - a double duvet cover is 2mx2m square - giving you 8 meters of fabric (it has two sides!) plus the fabric in the matching pillowcases.
I'm not suggesting you go and start cutting up the contents of your house immediately but I am suggesting that you become aware of the fabric surrounding you, so when it comes time to change any of it, you look at it in a new creative light, with sustainability and up-cycling in your mind. This also shows how there are so many places, outside of fabric shops, where you can purchase good quality fabrics for less. Fancy making a cotton summer dress, a duvet cover will give you enough fabric plus more - how about one with giant roses, or one in a tropical theme, maybe nautical with blue stripes - all common duvet prints. Want to make a contemporary bomber jacket - how about in a fleecy or felt throw with scalloped or tasselled edge? Making gifts - a bag from tea towels to carry groceries or how about make up wipes from a pillow case and a bath towel. This is even before you consider dyeing your fabric at home, or trying out fabric printing - the creative possibilities are endless.
Our Weekend Wonder projects encourage a sustainable use of fabrics, up cycling and reusing fabrics and fabric scraps that you may already have in the home. All of the project instructions are totally free to download, to encourage this sustainable approach, while also being available as a complete lesson including fabric, we will send you the tea towels! Have fun with fabric, reuse and repurpose the fabrics around you where you can, and always remember there are so many options to purchase good quality, reasonably priced fabric outside of online fabric stores.
Free Tea Towel Tote Instructions: https://www.thedressmakersapprentice.com/product-page/weekend-wonder-tea-towel-tote-instructions-only