Super Cheap Fabric for Test Run on Pattern

dragonflyspitJune 16, 2008

What is the cheapest possible disposable fabric available and where would I find it?

I'm a new sewer and haven't mastered the art of the perfect fit (or style). So as not to waste my nice fabrics, I would like to find a really cheap fabric from which to test the patters for size, fitting, style. etc. I've been told to use muslin, but when I searched muslin on the web, it wasn't all that cheap. Suggestions?

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There are several grades of muslin, but none is truly CHEAP.

The main thing to take into consideration when making a muslin (Fitting garments are called muslins, even if the fabric isn't actually muslin. The saying goes "...make a muslin") is to use a fabric with content similar to the fashion fabric for your muslin. For instance, use a polyester muslin if your fashion fabric is polyester, but use a cotton muslin if your fashion fabric is a natural fabric like silk, cotton, linen or wool. Often you can find printed fabrics for $1.00 a yard, but it is harder to see your adjustment markings on a printed fabric than it is on plain fabric such as muslin.

It's amazing how different fabrics affect the hang and fit of the finished garment. I have favorite patterns for skirts, dresses and slacks that I reuse often for myself and adult dtrs, and different fabrics make a big difference in whether the garment becomes a favorite or not. A dress will be gorgeous in one fabric, and not even cute in another.

What kind of garments are you constructing?


    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 6:28PM
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How about buying a few cotton sheets at the Salavation Army or Thrift Store to make samples? My local stores only charge $1 a set.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 6:25AM
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Just go to a Walmart with fabric. Mine has $1. and $2. a yard stuff. Then take the fabric home and press it with an iron with lots of steam. Once the fabric is steamed, it should shrink a little and stabilize.

I would chose a solid color fabric as it will show all your errors.

Have fun.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 3:10AM
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Hi - I 2nd the thrift store suggestion - I often find great fabric remnants for only a few bucks - or less - @ my local thrifts. & those remnants are often @ least a couple of yards - I often find muslin as well - for a LOT less than new @ the store.I've collected many yards that way. If the store has no fabric, old curtains & tablecloths can be just as good.

I hesitate to recommend sheets coz percale can be difficult to sew, since it has such a tight weave - but cheap, flimsy sheets don't present that trouble = J


    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 11:42AM
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Thank you all very much for the suggestions and lessons. The learning curve to sewing garments is a bit steeper than I expected, so your input is greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 2:19PM
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Muslin was $1.99/yard at Joann's today. With a 50% coupon sometime, you might want to stock up on yards and yards of muslin - that makes it $1.00/yard.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:36PM
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I live in rural TX and running to my local fabric shop is not always an option with gas being as high as it is now :) I have could shop all day online for fabric and have found some great buys at, they have some cute prints for $1.95. Your tester may turn out cute enough to use

Here is a link that might be useful: Fashionable Fabrics

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 3:11PM
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