Fabric Organization for Cheapo's

This is Australia.  

I felt the need to write that so you know where I’m coming from.  I’ve found that when it comes to quilty stuff discussed on blogs and in quilt information forums that are north American centric all too often these items are readily available in the U.S. market but are either unavailable here or if it is, it’s expensive here.  Since I’m American having immigrated to Australia I get soooo frustrated and frankly pissed off when I find items I could buy right out of the grocery store in the U.S. (freezer paper is a perfect example...) for less than $5 but have to pay $20+ for here from a quilt store.  Yes, I know retailers have to add their shipping costs and a fair market profit but I still think 20 bucks is unreasonable.  Which leads me to my cheapo post....

I’ve been following a lot of blogs lately talking about organizing fabric collections which is an exercise I need to do desperately.  How desperately was brought home to me just this week when I went on the great fabric hunt for a print I KNEW I had but had no idea where it was located in my stash.  After pulling out containers upon containers of miscellaneous fabric, I just got too exasperated and gave up and went out and repurchased what I just know I already have - somewhere.  So in an attempt to save myself money the next time this scenario rolls around I’m going to begin a fabric organization project.

I love the idea of putting your fabric on shelves in the same way fabric stores do – on bolts.  Quilt blogs have discussed purchasing comic book boards for a very low costs that is perfect for this as they are acid free.  One woman said she bought 10 boards for $2.  Great I thought.  Just up my low cost alley.  So I looked up a comic book store in town and called them.  Yes, they said they had comic book boards.  They come in packages of 50 or 100.  Knowing how much fabric I had I asked how much their 100 pack costs.  I just about fell over when the guy told me $52.50!  Oh come on!  Really?  I said thanks and hung up.  

Now you may be thinking I’m a tightwad and that I only buy things on the cheap.  This isn’t the case.  I always weigh the quality of the item irrelevant to cost.  I’ve found that in most cases you get what you pay for so if you buy cheap, you get cheap.  My mother always stressed to me that there is a great difference between inexpensive and cheap.  Inexpensive is value at low cost and cheap is never value at any cost.  Wise indeed.  So when it comes to my quilting life where I have no trouble paying for a quality item I plan to keep for years I hesitate to pay a large amount for an item that is basically a consumable and inexpensive to produce.  Quality is always paramount when you want something to last.  But in other areas of my quilting life costs makes a great difference because I honestly don’t want to pay top dollar for something like comic book boards that are essentially heavy duty, acid free cuts of cardboard.  My frugal meter goes into the red on this one.  So I’m thinking what are my options?

I have a wonderful resource at home at my disposal.  I have a husband who can build a shopping mall with nothing but a penknife and tooth picks.  He is a mechanical genius.  I don’t exaggerate – much.  Over the years he has built me the most beautiful furniture and has always come to my rescue in fix-it emergencies.  When it comes to quilting, well what can I say?  He’s built me my own king sized quilt rack and a specialty table that cradles my sewing machine giving me a huge recessed area for sewing.  And I can’t even count how many miscellaneous do-dads he’s worked up for me over the years whenever I come across a quandary in my sewing needs.  He’s my Sewing Super Hero.  So of course when my brain kicks in thinking how I can overcome the cost prohibitions of simple fabric boards, I called him.

To make a very long story short, we’re going to Bunning’s tonight (Bunning’s is the Australian equivalent of Home Depot in the U.S.) to hunt down light-weight, narrow board that he can cut to a custom size for my needs.  This is soooo much better than buying readymade boards because I’ll have the ability to get multiple sized boards to fit specific spaces.  I’m certain we’ll find a suitable material at a reasonable costs that will satisfy my need to keep my quilting habit costs as low as possible.  

 I’m thankful everyday for a good husband.


  1. Yay for a sewing super hero!

    What a dreadful price to pay for cardboard - I like your plan to DIY!

  2. It IS a terrible price, isn't it! I found the perfect substitute at Bunning's and SSHH (that's Sewing Super Hero Husband) cut it all up for me. What's funny is that we purchased two really large sheets that were eventually cut into 46 boards and I used them all up in a course of an hour and it didn't even put a dent in my stash! Back to Bunning's I need to go.....


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