sewing on a budget

The ultimate guide to finding cheap sewing supplies (not only in Sydney) UPDATED

Sustainable Shopping for a sewist

Sewing doesn’t need to be an expensive hobby. I’ve listed a few specific places in Sydney, where I search for a cheap sewing supplies, but please, look beyond that and search on your continent/ country/ city for shops and centres with similar mission. For a low cost you provide support to your community, small business and save stuff from going to landfill. The best places to visit and shop your values:

The Sewing Basket

  • supplying a wide range of all things needlework – embroidery, sewing, quilting, knitting, toymaking…
  • employing people with disabilities 
  • donated fabrics, yarns and haberdashery, machines, tools and spare parts
  • multiple locations in Sydney

Click to see all locations and opening hours for 👉The Sewing Basket 👈

This is my first stop when I need fabrics, zippers, yarns, or spare parts. More I go there I discover what everything they have, even a sewing machine needles! I bought my overlocker/coverstitch combo machine here. I believe that this is the best place where to find cheapest needlework related supplies in Sydney.

When I meet sewing and crafters I’m asking them if they know about this place. I wish to see more people to support great missions like they have and normalised using second hand stuff.

Op shops

Type of shops that sell second hand clothes and home goods with charitable funds. Different names used in different parts of the world, but basically It’s the same thing:

  • Charity shop – UK
  • Thrift store – North America
  • Op (opportunity) shop – Australia
  • Second-hand shop – Russia, Slovakia

Other place where to find cheap sewing supplies is op shop. Usually, you can find in here a section with needlework, fabrics, patterns, haberdashery and yarn. Very useful in a sewing room can be home goods such as bed sheets, curtains or tablecloths. Or“flip” old clothes to new trendy piece! There is less pressure if you are cutting and learning to alter and upcycle on the piece of clothing that was cheap.

The best way how to find your local op shops is to do a quick Google search of “op shop near me”. And don’t forget to search for an op shop when on business trips or vacations.

Few examples of Op shops in Sydney:

Lifeline, Salvos, Vinnies, Red Cross, Sacred Heart, Save the Children Australia, Goodwill, Australian Red Cross…

Visit Savers: Thrift & Second Hand Store when you’re in South Australia or Victoria.

Maybe you’ll find handy our other blog post: How to prewash your fabric.

Reverse Garbage Marrickville 

  • Accept donations from business and individuals 
  • Industrial off-cuts, over-runs, art and craft materials, stage props, knick-knacks, furniture and other odds and ends.

You can check out their website here 👉 Reverse Garbage 👈

This is the place where I bought materials for my market stall displays. But they have cheap sewing supplies too and much more: rolls of fabrics, overlocker threads, buttons, sample books, tiles, frames, cleaning products, furniture… you never know what you’re going to find and that’s part of its charm.

Fairhaven Op Shopping Village

Sustainable shopping destination on the Central Coast on NSW. There are multiple sheds, focused on certain category. You can check out antiques, collectables, bookstore, fashion, toys and of course craft supplies, where you find things such as fabrics, threads, buttons, sample books, yarns, notions, wood and metal offcuts and more.

You can shop for small furniture, home decor, entertainment, hardware, sport and they even have plant nursery! You can see their website here 👉 Fairhaven👈

Coffee shop is right next doors.

Online Second Hand Markets 

  • search in your local area
  • people often getting rid of stuff that can be useful for a sewist or a DIY-er 
  • fabric remnants, toy stuffing, table clothes, bed sheets, yarn, stash etc.
Few examples of second-hand online platform:

Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Trade Me, Craigslist, also some op-shops have a online shop available.

My first sewing machine was a broken computerised Singer from the Gumtree. We pick it up locally and my husband fix it for me. That was a start of a sewing journey of mine. Since then I bought another 3 sewing machines for my studio, two of them from the Gumtree and one through the Facebook Marketplace.

Read more about buying second hand fabric on our blog.

Craft Stores

Sometimes buying second hand is not an option, but that doesn’t mean to pay a top price. Big Craft stores often offer a free memberships, when you sign up, you’ll get discounts, and coupons that will help you save your money.

Did you hear about price matching? If you find a cheaper price on the same stocked item, some store will match that price or even give you extra 10% off. Don’t be shy to ask in your store!

BONUS for Entrepreneurs

If you have a business registration, you’re eligible to shop from wholesalers. Each wholesaler will have different sets of rules, for instance, process of registration or minimum order.

You can order directly from Birch Creative website, with wide range of craft and haberdashery.

I recently learn about E&M Greenfield, located in Surry Hills Sydney. You’ll find one floor full of notions, from zippers, buckles, threads, buttons, to fabric shears, pins, tape measures, embroidery pieces, bias binding and much more. On the second floor you can shop fabrics, buy what’s left on the roll or pay $5 cutting fee. You can get lost here for hours, better have your shopping list ready!

I understand that buying second hand is not always the option and it’s not for everyone. In that case support small local business and seek ethically made products. Ask questions about the product or service you’re getting. You are the consumer and with your wallet you have the power to choose what practices your support.

Let me know in the comment below if you already knew about these places or if this article inspired you to search for them.

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