How To Handle Not Enough Quilt Fabric


Have you ever realized you do not have enough fabric for your quilt pattern? Well don't give up.  We have some of the brightest ideas to help you.

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How To Handle Not Enough Quilt Fabric

This quilting "how to" article is for people asking the following questions:

  • I do not have enough fabric for my quilt pattern, what do I do?
  • How to find more quilt fabric for my pattern?
  • Where to find more quilt fabric?
  • Help with not enough fabric for my quilt?
How To Handle Not Enough Quilt Fabric


Why Not Buy More Fabric?

While it seems to be obvious to purchase enough fabric to begin with, it is not always easy to decide how much you need. Since you will be purchasing many different fabrics for your quilt, you can easily get confused and mix up which fabric you intended for which location. First, make a small drawing of your intended quilt and indicate where you would like each color. Try to give each type of piece a unique name so you won’t get confused. For instance, in the image below, we have named the parts.


Where To Add Fabric To Your Quilt


Fabric Calculators

There are many online fabric calculators that will help you to determine how much fabric to buy. You will find them for backing, batting, binding, and border yardage, and almost any shape, or design you can think of. Look around until you find one that you understand and feel comfortable with.

www mouse


Help From Local Quilt Shop

Your local quilt shop will also be able to help you determine the amount of fabric to purchase. It is always a good idea to get 10-20% extra, so you never run into the problem of running out of fabric. Sometime you can get help from other quilting service providers near you.

quilt shop


Finding More Fabric

If you do run out of a specific fabric, it can be frustrating to find more, especially if you have had the fabric for a long time. Why is it so hard to match a piece of fabric? The fabric industry is unique in that it generally produces a print or collection once or twice, then retires it. There are exceptions to this. Sometimes you can find a print that is a staple for a company, and they will likely have it in stock. Their prints are likely to be backing fabrics or small designs that are easy to incorporate into many collections.


Take A Photo Of The Fabric

If you do run out of fabric, the first step is to take a photo or scan of the fabric. Keep it with you so that when you go to a quilt shop, you can easily check to see whether they have it. Start with the store where you purchased the fabric. It is possible that they still have it, or have some in their classroom stash. They can even check with their supplier to see if they can find some for you. Here is where a good color photocopy of the fabric, with your name, and phone number attached, comes in handy. Leave it with them, and maybe they will run across a piece and call you.



Post The Photo - To Find More!

There are also web sites that help you find and match fabrics. Generally, you post a photo of the fabric you are looking for, along with your desired quantity, and other people can contact you if they have a piece. You might also have something that someone else is looking for, and it is a great way to share your leftovers. Some other sites are selling older fabrics, so you can type in a keyword or upload a photo and search their collection for something that matches.



Search Manufacturers Website

Check the manufacturer’s web site. They often show photos of retired prints, and list stores that have ordered the entire collection. You can try contacting the stores listed to see if they still have any of the fabric in stock.

manufacturers website


Adjust Your Quilt Pattern

Finally, if all else fails, or you just don’t have the time to put into the search you can adjust your quilt. If you are only a few pieces short, maybe you can find another fabric that works well with your pallet. Remove a few pieces elsewhere in the quilt and replace them with new fabric. You can read Adapting Your Quilt Design for Your Desired Bed Size for some ideas.




You can see that by taking the time to plan your quilt and calculate the amount of fabric needed before you begin, you can avoid the time-consuming and sometimes costly mistakes that many quilter’s make.


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The fabric on the back of a Quilt Sandwich (Top, Batting and Backing).

Same As: Lining
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.

Same As: Stuffing, Filling, Wadding, Filler
Binding is used as both a noun and a verb. As a noun it is the fabric that's used to cover the raw edges of the quilt sandwich after it's quilted. This edging fabric is referred to as the Binding (noun). As a verb it is the process of putting on this fabric, and it referred to as Binding a Quilt.
A strip of fabric or pieced strip of fabric joined to the edges of the inner quilt and used to frame it.
A quilter's personal collection of fabrics. Buying more fabric is adding to your stash.
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