Sustainable Sewing Tip #1: Meet Libby, your new BFF, courtesy of your local public library

How much do you spend each month on magazines? What happens to those magazines once you’ve finished reading them? Even if you clip projects from the magazine, how often do you ACTUALLY make the item?


Libby is a free reading app available through your local public library. [It’s the grown-up equivalent of SORA, if you have kids who are doing summer reading for school.] You can borrow books, magazines and audiobooks for FREE! Each library subscribes to various packages of magazines via an electronic serials provider, so the titles may vary from library system to library system; however, here’s a sampling of sewing/quilting magazines available via Libby through my library consortium:

Quilt Sampler
McCall’s Quilting
Make Modern
Simply Sewing
Love Patchwork & Quilting
Quilting Arts Magazine
Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting

Quilter’s World (and other titles available via Annie’s Publishing)
Sew News

Note that there are over 3,000 magazines available on a variety of topics in Libby.

What I like about using Libby:
(1) I can set up automatic notifications when a new issue is available.
(2) I can read the issue on my phone, tablet or computer at my leisure over the next 3 weeks.
(3) The item is automatically returned at the end of the loan period.
(4) I save money by not buying so many magazines (almost $100 on the titles listed above alone!).
(5) There’s no stack of used magazines to recycle, donate or sell.

Noticeably absent are American Patchwork & Quilting and Quiltmaker magazines. Not to worry – these titles are often available on the newsstand at your local grocery store. Don’t know about you, but I still go to various grocery stores on a frequent basis to try to find things we need that are sporadic due to supply chain issues. Reward yourself by spending 5-10 minutes flipping through the magazine of your choice. I’m willing to bet the magazine stays at the grocery store unless there’s something in there that REALLY grabs your attention!

If there’s any magazine that you REALLY like that’s not available via Libby, then subscribe to it to save the most money. My husband gifts a Quilt Folk subscription to me each Christmas. It’s one of my favorite magazines to sit and savor. And worth every penny. I’m planning to sell the back issues once I’m finished with them.

The not so-fun part of reading magazines online:

Electronic access to my fave quilty mag is great…but what about the project templates? Copyright law and the publisher drive this bus.
(1) See if you can print the templates directly from your device.
(2) Read through the project directions or general quilt making directions often included at the back of the magazine to see if there are instructions on how to obtain a printable pdf of the templates from the magazine’s website.
(3) Call/visit your local library to see if they have a print issue where you can photocopy the project templates.
(4) If the above suggestions don’t work, buy a physical copy of the magazine.

The Libby app can help keep you sustainably sewing by saving you time, money and precious natural resources needed to make paper and gas.