My shop grooms a lot of dogs. Up to 150 a week. As a result we go through a lot of fabric for bandannas and I have become rather expert at buying fabric in inexpensive ways and hunting it out in all kinds of locations and amounts.
I am really good at finding bargains. I also am fortunate in that I have 5 locations in my town that sell fabric. We have a Walmart with a fabric department (and one without), Joann's, Hobby Lobby, a private quilters shop and Michael's (they sell strips and fat quarters). I stop in each place at least once a week and look at the bargain racks, the remnant tables and the clearance sections (different than bargain racks).
I also signed up for Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Joann's newsletter online. I get coupons for fabric all the time in my inbox. This week, my Joann's coupons were for 50% off a regular price item, and 15% off your total purchase! Cannot argue with that at all! Also, I was able to pick up two sales flyers this week at Joann's and they had a 40% and a 50% coupon for this week. I will definately use them! Now they are not good on anything that is already on sale, but I can always find something that is not on sale to use them on. Yesterday I saved $35 on 5 yards of GA Bulldog material using the coupons I had.
Joanns has an app for your smartphone that will give you even more coupons delivered directly to your phone. Hobby Lobby allows you to use their online coupon without printing it out, simply by showing it to the cashier on your smartphone. I did not know that until I saw someone do it the other day and asked about it.
Flea markets, GoodWill, Salvation army and yard sales are also great places to buy fabrics. You can find bags of scraps and boxes of fabric for next to nothing and by washing and ironing it, you can use it and no one will be the wiser. Also, many times you can find decorative sheets that you can use, curtains....anything flat and fabric can be cut into bandannas. Many folks use white sheets and tye-dye them. The sky is the limit and you are only limited by your imagination.
I do not have time to work that hard buying fabric and choose to stick to the conventional places to buy it. I look for the best deals I can find and never pay full price for anything. I even look at fabric on Ebay, and have gotten my summer fabrics, including some cheesburger, BBQ, beachy and patriotic picnic fabric that I got there last week for under $5 per yard including shipping. You cannot beat that any more with the high prices we are seeing in the stores, and it was fabric I had never seen before!
In my opinion, cotton fabrics, like quilters use, are the best for bandannas. I do however use stable knits (printed) and some flannels, corduroy and even some sheer materials. Because I serge the edges with my serger-sewing machine I can use fabrics that otherwise fray. Flannels and corduroys are typically not great for using if you do not finish the edge, because even with a pinked edge it will fray and look sloppy.
Cutting bandanas seems to be a challenge for many people. I wrote this article to explain how to do it: Cutting Bandanas
And I did this video clip today using a Rotary Cutter, which I normally would have said not to use:
Here are some photos of the tools you will need to use a Rotary cutter to cut fabric with:
The 60MM rotary wheel will go through at least 8 layers of fabric at on ce, and in some cases I have used it to cut through 16 layers. The zigzag wheel takes more pressure to go through the same number of layers, so I just choose to use it on less fabric at a time.
Knowing how much your bandanas cost to make is critical to budgeting in the grooming salon. Calculating cost per bandana is important as well so that you know what you are getting for your money: Cost Table
I organize my cut bandanas in plastic storage drawers like these by season, color or boy/girl/unisex. I take off the wheels though because fabric is heavy and it will collapse the wheels if you load up the drawers. These come in a variety of sizes and you can go small/medium/large or any other way you need to make your life easier.
I read someones post on a message board one time that said "If you don't do bandanas, how does the doggie know they are finished?" Truer words were never spoken! I love to see how excited the dogs get when you go to get the bandana! I would not give up this item for anything in my shop. Speaking of which, I have a coupon for Joanns! Time to go shopping!