Reader Sewing Advice Needed!

11:00 AM

From my inbox:

I'm hoping that by sewing some of my own things, I'll be able to afford some more of the clothes that I want (I'm on a grad student budget these days). However, I have often heard that with all the supplies and cost of fabrics, you end up spending just as much, if not more than you would shopping in a store (that is, if you are a bargain/clearance shopper). I'm curious to know what you think.

The only thing I can tell people is everyone is DIFFERENT. Prices vary! You could be a Target, Wal-Mart, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Belk, Macys, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, etc... type of shopper. You may be a person that only buys fabric from the $1 table or you may be the type to buy the most expensive fabric you can afford. Sewing is as expensive as YOU make it. I can't tell you if YOU are going to save money from sewing.

As far as me, on some things I do and some things I don't. For me, it's not about trying to save money. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to sew. It's about the enjoyment of the art.

What's your take on this?

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  1. Well, I'm in my 60s and have been altering my purchased clothes since I first learned to sew in my teens. I'm a pear shape and wear one size on top, another on bottom. My arms are shorter than average even for petite sizes. After years of taking out seems to alter (very time consuming) or getting expensive professional alterations, I decided it would be more cost and time effective to make my own garments. Beautiful quality fabrics can be found with a bit of research. Since I love quality, i sometimes search out quality 2nd hand stores for extra large designer clothes and get them for the fabric and notions alone-saving a tone of $ on fabric. I have made several high quality dress pants from the fabric on men's slacks found in thrift shops. I made a great camel jacket from fabric on a size 46 men's. I am petite size 6-8 and have little extra money so must be creative.

  2. Anonymous5:48 PM

    I love the art. My Mom got me
    started because she sewed as a way
    to make extra money. I was always
    with her side by side at the
    sewing machine. Once I got old
    enough to work the machine and my
    Mom feeling confident (but
    overseeing) with me I would make
    doll clothing. At the same time I
    was growing taller and taller - so
    my height and my age were not
    matching and clothing was hard to
    find for a 12 year old who was
    already 5'9". That is the point
    where sewing really grabbed me as
    I wanted to look and wear the
    things my friends were wearing. So
    I got more and more adventureous
    on the machine and my Mom finally
    let me do things on my own. I
    started designing shorts and
    halter tops for me and my friends -
    and creating one of a kind items
    for me. Everyone took notice and
    of course I loved it and just kept
    up with it. No desire to go
    shopping for RTW from all the
    childhood memories of fit or lack
    thereof and fashion limitations
    for a 12 yr old in an adult body.
    Now at 6' (6'4" w/heels)and 140lbs fashion RTW
    still eludes me - sleeves too
    short, fit not right, rise to
    short, pants to short - so for me
    with my love of style and fashion
    and knowing what works for my
    body fit, style and color it is so
    much simpler to create it at home.
    Do I save money, in the short
    term maybe not, because I buy the
    fabric that I feel with create
    the vision that I have. That may
    be a high priced piece of fabric
    or a $1 sale piece of fabric. In
    the long term yes because I have
    dresses that I wore 5 or 10 years
    ago,made an alteration or two for
    the current trend, altered the
    hemline and away we go. I have
    classic suits 10 years old and
    slacks last longer than I ever
    imagined.I definitely agree with
    Erica - you may or may not save
    money but for me I do it because
    I love love love love love to sew.


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