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I recently took up quilting as a hobby to keep my hands occupied while watching tv or waiting for the train. It’s a great little hobby because I quilt by hand, and it’s easy to tuck a few pieces of pre-cut fabric into my bag and work on the quilt in small bursts. It does mean that I am always looking for more material to add to my fabric stash, so I’ve sourced places where I can get free or cheap fabric swatches and samples.
The Best 17 Ways To Get Free Or Cheap Fabric Swatches & Samples Are Below!
- Some online fabric shops offer a limited amount of fabric samples, and you will usually only need to pay for the postage.
- Furniture stores sometimes offer upholstery fabric sample booklets. It’s also possible to ask them if they have any discontinued swatch books they can give you.
- Stores (both online and brick-and-mortar) often have sections with discounted roll ends, and you can pick up bargain fabric here.
- It’s worth asking your local fabric shop – which may not have an online presence – what their sample policy is. They may offer free or cheap fabric swatches.
- Several fabric stores will charge a small amount – around $1-$3 – per swatch and limit their orders—this is useful for getting cheap swatches of expensive fabric.
- Check thrift shops for fabric sample books or bedding and curtains which can be recycled into cheap fabric swatches.
- See community sites such as craigslist, freecycle, and other local papers and sites for free offers. Usually, you will only need to cover the cost of your collection.
How To Get Free Fabric Swatches and Samples
Free swatches and samples are generally only limited to a few samples, usually to allow customers to choose between different looks for upholstery and linens. The quality of available swatches varies, and some stores will even have free samples of leather and expensive brocaded upholstery fabric.
While you can get free samples, you will likely have to cover the cost of packaging and postage, so ensure the fabric you choose is worth this additional cost. I’ve listed some places where I have found free fabric samples.
1. Emma One Sock
Emma One Sock allows you to select up to five fabric swatches free of charge. They also allow more swatches at an additional cost. Emma One Sock sends their swatches via Frist Class Mail, usually on the same day or the next, and you can order your swatches alone or add them to a fabric order.
This online fabric shop has a vast selection, with stock items, new arrivals, and a section for sale fabrics worth looking at for discounted fabrics. Join their fabric mailing list to hear about special offers.
2. La-Z-Boy Home Furnishing
La-Z-Boy, best known for their recliners and sofas, also has swatches to help buyers decide on their furniture’s upholstery, and you can request three free swatches and have them delivered to you at no extra cost. Most of the fabric is plain rather than patterned, but it’s an excellent way of getting natural shades and neutral fabrics in linen, denim, and even leather.
However, La-Z-Boy is not a fabric shop, and if you decide you like a particular swatch, you will be unable to order a roll of fabric direct from them.
3. Hell Gate Fabrics
Hell Gate Fabrics are an online shop specializing in beautiful, natural fabrics made in countries with fair labor practices. They will send customers up to five free swatches. You can contact them with the names and colors of the swatches you would like and the address you want them mailed to.
If you prefer to add your swatches to an existing fabric order, you can put the swatch instructions in the ‘special instructions for seller’ box on your order page, and they will add them in.
4. Marcy Tilton
Marcy Tilton is a Southern Oregon fabric store with a carefully curated collection of high-quality fabrics, ranging from cotton blends to silks. They organize their stock in collections, patterns, and fabric types.
You can request three to five fabric swatches at a time, with the proviso that some fabrics may have sold out by the time your swatch arrives, as stock can be limited.
You can choose any fabrics you like from their list, add them to your cart, and checkout. You will have to pay for USPS Express Shipping if you order more than fifteen samples.
By joining Freecycle.org, you can search for free offers in your area. You will need to be a member to respond to offers.
People often list fabric scraps for crafting, which is an excellent way to get different material selections, including discontinued fabric sample books from upholstery and fabric wholesalers.
7. Loom and Stars
Loom and Stars is an online fabric shop specializing in natural fiber fabrics from Japan and India. They aim to provide artisan-crafted materials that have been responsibly sourced. Loom and Stars is the fabric shop for you if you’re looking for sustainable, handloom fabrics.
Due to the nature of handloom fabrics, Loom and Stars only offer swatches at $1 per swatch, and you can order up to six swatches and get them delivered free. The money is not ‘lost,’ as the swatches’ cost applies to your in-store credit of a fabric purchase of over $40.
8. Crate and Barrel
You can request up to five swatches from Crate and Barrel by visiting in-store and speaking to an associate, going online, or calling them on 800.323.5461.
Please look through their catalog to see the selections of available swatches.
9. Maker & Son
Maker & Son is an exclusive furniture shop that offers up to eight free fabric samples to help you choose the best upholstery textiles for your furniture. The fabric is plain and comes in velvet, linen, corduroy, and denim. If you’re looking for earthy, natural tones and shades, go to their sample page to order.
10. Recycle Bedding, Curtains, and Tablecloths
You can easily recycle your unwanted bedding, curtains, and tablecloths and use them for free fabric. If you are redecorating, there’s no need to throw out your old soft furnishings. You can reuse them for craft and sewing projects.
Depending on the size and quality of the original material, you can recycle curtains, sheets, and duvet covers into clothing for children and smaller craft projects. One of the advantages of using sheets for craft and sewing is that the fabric is wider than most average fabric bolts, making them perfect for large projects such as the backing on a quilt.
11. Mood Fabrics
Mood Fabrics is an online shop with various fabrics and sewing essentials. You can search their shop by color, texture, visual trend, stretch, fiber type, and skill level. Buy discounted fabric on their sale page if you’re looking for cheaper fabric in larger sizes than swatches.
You can order cheap fabric swatches from Mood Fabrics at $1.00 a swatch. If you shop there often, it’s worth noting that you can earn free swatches. You qualify for a free swatch when you spend $10 online ordering fabrics or sewing accessories. Their limit to each order is five free swatches (a $50.00 order.)
How To Get Free Fabric Swatches and Samples
There are also ways to get cheap fabric samples, with swatch prices ranging from $0.99 to $3.00. While these are not free, it can be a way to get quality samples for low prices.
12. Stylemaker Fabrics
Online fabric shop Stylemaker Fabrics has a vast range of prints and knit fabrics. You can order swatches of your desired material with average prices ranging from $1.51-$2.90. Swatch prices are dependent on the cost of the fabric per yard.
The fabrics for sale are high-quality fashion fabrics from the garment districts of Los Angeles and New York. The site organizes fabric by fashion trends and fabric type, so if you’re looking for the hottest new fabrics, Stylemaker is an excellent shopping option. Check their Selvage Yard for discounted fabrics.
13. Organic Cotton Plus
Established as a family cotton farm, they expanded into their sister company Organic Cotton Plus to sell 100% certified organic cotton fabric to their customers. Their selection has grown and includes fabric, fiber, dyes, and yarn.
Organic Cotton Plus allows you to purchase a swatch for $0.99 per swatch. Select a swatch sample from the fabric you are interested in, and add it to your basket. You will need to pay for the delivery of your order at checkout.
14. Online Fabric Store
With a massive range of fabrics at excellent prices, the Online Fabric Store is a beautiful place to get a bargain with discounted fabric at low prices. Some of the higher-priced fabrics will have samples you can add to your order. Expect to pay about $2.00 per sample.
If you would like to buy a more significant amount of fabric for a project, it’s worth checking their fabric on sale as these change regularly, and you can get fabric for as low as $2.75 a yard, while some fabrics will have discounts of 25-75% off.
15. Britex Fabrics
Britex Fabrics was established in the garment district of New York and has six decades of experience sourcing exquisite high-end materials for discerning lovers of fabric and fashion.
Swatches of fabrics from the online store can be purchased for $2.00 a swatch and are limited to less than ten swatches. The shipping is via First Class USPS and will cost you $5.00. Considering the cost and quality of the fabrics, this is an excellent way to get cheap samples of expensive brocades, velvets, and silks.
Check out their clearance fabric for discounts on more significant amounts of fabric.
16. Thrift Stores
Thrift stores often have sections for fabric remnants, swatches, and even discontinued sample books. Look through your local thrift shops to see what they have available.
Just like recycling your bedding and curtains, you can do the same with goods bought from the thrift shop, so it’s worth seeing what places like Goodwill have in stock for curtains, table cloths, wall hangings, and bedding.
17. Discounted Roll Ends
Many online and local fabric shops will have fabric remnants at a discounted price. These are the last lengths of selvage on a roll that measure less than a yard or half-yard. You can usually get these at reasonable prices, and some shops even give you free samples of non-discounted fabric. It’s worth asking your local store about their free and cheap fabric samples policy.
Online fabric shops will also list their remnants and roll ends at discounted prices. Most online stores will have a dedicated sale/discount section, which is a good way of getting the lower-priced fabric.
What is the Purpose of a Fabric Swatch?
Fabric swatch or sample books in the cloth industry is a way for textile designers to show off new textile designs to potential wholesale clients. These tiny samples also allow decorators and fashion designers to build up sample books for projects.
Samples are also a way for individual buyers to get an idea of the look and feel of the fabric before committing to buying several yards of an expensive fabric.
What Size is a Fabric Swatch?
Fabric swatches do not come in a standard size, and it will depend on the shop policy as to the size. Fabric swatches from online stores can range in size from 2″ x2″ to 2″ x3″. If you want larger pieces of mixed fabric for a project, you might be more interested in purchasing fat quarters.
What is a Fat Quarter Fabric?
If you’re looking for larger swatches of material for craft projects such as quilting, you might be more interested in getting fat quarter bundles. A fat quarter is a piece of fabric approximately 18″ x22″. You get four fat quarters from a single yard of fabric – hence the name.
Fat quarters are not the most economical way to get fabric samples, but if you are looking for a lot of small pieces of different fabrics, you may find fat quarter bundles are an excellent way to go. It’s worth looking through the bundles on offer at Amazon.
Where Can I Get a Custom Fabric Printed?
If you want to print up a sample of a custom fabric design to see what it will look like, several fabric companies provide custom fabrics printed on demand. Some, like Papilo Prints, also have sample books of different textile options to help you choose the correct fabric for your designs.