Friday, August 22, 2008

A Quilting Idea

I've been praying lately that the Lord would give me some ideas for creative ways to be frugal/earn money.

Yesterday, while sitting in the living room right before having my devotions, my eye fell on a JoAnn Fabric flyer, and I picked it up, intending to just skim it quickly.

And I did. I quickly got to the center section of the flyer, which held coupons for the coming Labor Day sale; the one that caught my eye was "10% off your entire purchase; sale or regular items."

A plan had been formulating in my mind for several weeks, and suddenly it all fell together yesterday morning when I saw that add.

There is a current fad in the quilting world of using "fat quarters" to make quilts. A fat quarter is 1/4 of a yard, but cut differently than if you simply went to the counter and asked for 1/4 a yard from a bolt. It is wider; more like a square. You could cut two of these yourself from 1/2 a yard.

Right now, I have a current quilting project in my sewing area that is made entirely of fat quarters:

This is the beginnings of a baby quilt. The picture is a little out-dated, because I now have the top together, and only need to do some embroidery before I quilt the layers.

Making this quilt was my first time using fat quarters, and I was pleased with how simple it is to work with them.

One thing was a drawback, however; the price! I got my fat quarters on sale for $1, but even that can run up there when you're talking about enough fabric for a quilt. Regular quilting fabric will often go on sale for $2 a yard, which means a 1/4 yard of that would be $0.50 - half the price of fat quarters on sale.

Amazing, how much they charge for pre-cut fabric!

So why not cut my own? I've been thinking about that a lot.

So here's what I've come up with:

On Labor Day, I hope to go to Joann's and pick out 20 separate yards of quilting fabric. That fabric should be on sale for $2-3 dollars a yard. Say it's all $2; that's $40. Then, if I use the %10 coupon, it will only be $36.

20 yards of fabric, cut into 80 fat quarters, is enough fabric for FOUR twin-size quilts. $36 divided by 4 is $9.

Nine dollars per quilt.

That is not a bad price for a quilt top; at least, not compared to what I've spent before. Of course, if I didn't want to invest $36, I could buy 10 yards of fabric, and make two quilts, just using the fabric twice in each quilt. After using the coupon, that would still be $9 a quilt, but I would have spent only $18 instead of $36.

But if I figure in the hours of time spent making the quilts, and remember that if I use assembly-line methods to piece them all, making four quilts is better use of my time than making two....

I don't know yet what I'll do. This is all still in the planning stage. Of course, the store also must have 20 separate fabrics that actually match each other. At our little store, that will be a challenge. I was hard pressed to find matching fabric for the baby quilt.

Then I must figure out if I can afford the backing and batting for 4 quilts.

All these things to consider.

But I thought the main concept was a pretty cool idea. Do any of you have ideas for tweaking the plan?

Oh, by the way click here to see if your area is having any good JoAnn sales.


Leah said...

Amber, this sounds like a great idea! I haven't done much quilting so I can't give you any suggestions but it sure sounds good. : ) Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Could you order online for a better selection? They often have free shipping.

BarbaraLee said...

Looks like you'll be having fun for awhile. I love sitting down to the fabric & go at it.

Sarah said...

The colors in the quilt you are making are just beautiful! I love them! Will you be sharing a photo when the quilt is finished?

I was just looking through the Jo-Ann sales flyer, too, and saw their great deals! Your idea for purchasing fabric sounds like a good one! And hopefully they will have many coordinating prints for you to choose from. :)

Anonymous said...

My sister in law told me she plans to make quilts and craiglist them as a part-time job. The quilt pattern she has on her queen sized bed is selling for almost $1000 in the Puget Sound area.