Thrift Store Fabrics – are you in? Tips for scouting and using second hand fabrics


Do you admit to picking up fabric everywhere you go? I do. Pretty fabric, at least. Here’s a stack that I came home with the last time I browsed my favorite thrift shop. I love finding fabric treasures at yard sales and thrift shops.

Here are 5 tips and tricks for finding great thrifted fabrics and using them too.

Tip #1: Shop Small

I think most of the big thrift shops (the franchise ones, anyway) get rid of the fabric that comes in.

My favorite one is a small thrift shop linked to a charity. They have a great fabric and crafts section.

Whenever you see a small church or charity run thrift shop, take a quick peek inside to see what treasures they have. It could be a big win!

Tip #2: Look closely at the bundles

A lot of thrift shop and yard sale sellers put fabric stacks together in bundles for easy sale. My favorite shop stacks up about 5 yards for $2. I usually have to buy the whole bundle to get one piece I really like, but for that price, who cares? 

I browsed through my pictures for this blog post, and found lots of projects made with thrifted fabrics. Like the heavy blue duck cloth on the car cozy above.

And the nice red knit that I made this top out of.  That ended up being a super find… about 3 yards (plus other stuff in the bundle) and I really, really like the quality. 

Tip #3 Wash It!

I always throw my stack of thrifted fabrics in the wash as soon as I get home. That helps get rid of any funny smell, plus I find out how it’s going to hold up. If it can’t make it through one wash, then I want to know now.

Tip #4: Look for Vintage Sheets and Tablecloths!

I’m sure you know that fabric can be found in other departments too… this nap mat came from a thrifted sheet. Lots of people use soft vintage sheets for quilt backings too.


Tip #5: Get the Solids

In general I look for good quality solid fabrics when I am scouting out thrift stores and yard sales. It’s easier to make them look modern when I mix them with my favorite designer prints. If I have to buy other fabrics because they came in a bundle, then I use them for practice projects.

Bonus Tip: Purse Handles Too!

And there’s more… I often find amazing purse handles at thrift stores too. I’ll cut the handles off an old bag and sew them onto a new one that I made. Here’s how.

What about you? Do you admit to buying thrifted fabrics? Where do you find them and what do you use them for? 



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