sourcing inexpensive dressmaking fabric

Top tips for finding cheap fabric to practice your dressmaking

Do you want to practice your sewing skills but you’re nervous about cutting into the lovely fabric! In our new series Dressmaking for Beginners we’re going to be looking at basic skills you need to begin making your own well-fitting clothes.   In this post, we’re looking at a few ideas for sourcing inexpensive or free fabric you can use to get started.

skill builder sewing magazine

Our pattern brand Simple Sew Patterns was created especially for beginners through to intermediate sewers and dressmakers.  We try and keep everything simple with easy to follow instructions and in our magazines we always have ‘Skill-Builder’ and masterclass articles by sewing experts, which help you develop your skills each month alongside a project to try it out on.

Love Sewing comes with at least 2 cover gift patterns each month (patterns worth a guaranteed £18) on the cover so you can start building up your pattern collection as well as all the projects to sew inside. You can find all of our back issues still available in our web shop – buy back issues

sourcing cheap dressmaking fabric

Finding Cheap fabric to Practice Dressmaking

Sourcing fabric can be one of the most fun parts of making clothes, everyone loves a trip to the fabric shop! (ok well maybe just crafty types like us!) Dressmaking fabric can be very expensive, which is one of the reasons we believe people are so reluctant to have a go.  Here are a few ideas for where you can find cheap fabric to practice your dressmaking –

Bedding – sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers – either old (clean) ones that you no longer use or cheap bargain offer duvets from supermarkets.  You can sometimes buy double duvets for under £10 when they have been reduced.  Don’t think about whether you ‘adore’ the pattern just see it as test material for trying out your new techniques.

Table Cloths – one stain and a tablecloth is rejected, so much fabric you can use for your practicing!

Old clothes – we’d recommend giving in tact clothing to charity shops but if they’re no longer fit for purpose, then they are ideal for transorming into something new.  See below for a couple of great ideas for transforming large shirts.

Curtains – not every curtain will be ideal for turning into wearable garments, but some lightweight curtain fabric will work.

Charity Shops – worth a regular root around your local charity shops to see if there’s any fabric, or items that you can upcycle.

Friends and Relatives – if you’ve found slim pickings in your own house, put a call out to friends and family, they may be delighted to get rid of the stash of fabric they have left from an elderly relative or the piles of old clothes they haven’t had time to take to the recycling yet.

Freecycle – Post an ad on freecycle saying you’re after some fabric…  you’ll be inundated!

Remember, this is just for getting started, if the fabric isn’t exactly the kind of thing you’d buy don’t reject it, it’s so much better to make mistakes on cheap fabric that won’t make you cry when something doesn’t go quite right! You’re biggest problem is not finding fabric to practice your dressmaking, it’s finding somewhere to store it all!

We’d love to hear where you find cheap dressmaking fabric to practise your sewing skills!  let us know in a comment or post a pic of your upcycled make on our Facebook wall.

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Categories: Learn to Sew, Machine Sewing