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Monday, April 14, 2014

Does Sewing Save Money?


Have you heard the wonderful myth that sewing your own clothes saves money?  Well, after spending more money again today on one of those little outings that are not meant to cost much - a bit of fabric to fix something, and a few buttons for the cardigan I am knitting, and a bit of fabric for next years summer dress I am planning (while it is on sale) etc etc...

It all started innocently enough.  I have had this nice boiled wool jacket in my wardrobe for about ten years - and I rarely wear it:

Why don't I wear it?  Because I don't like the old gold buttons.  They don't suit my colouring, so I don't wear the jacket - I look cheap in it.

This got me visiting good old Spotlight after work for buttons - and of course, while I was there, one or two other things.

I bought these buttons for the jacket.  They were not what I wanted, but there is limited selection at Spotlight.


So I spent $10.00 approx on buttons (plus another $5.00 on buttons for the jacket I am knitting -and they may or may not be the right size, but if I don't get what Spotlight has now, chances are there will not be anything remotely suitable when I want them).  Then I went to have a look at one or two other things.  Then I had a thought.

I had seen some faux snakeskin - pvc on polyester - soft and pliable.  I immediately passed it up as something I would never wear - then I had a brilliant thought.  This stuff was ideal for making self cover buttons for the cardigan jacket I don't wear.  It will give it a slightly urban modern edge. 

And then I needed some self cover buttons - so it soon became the best part of $40.00 for some cotton, buttons, strip of faux, and self cover buttons.  I could have returned the original buttons I choose, but I do like them, and they do go with some fabric I have in my stash.

On my way home, I pondered - does sewing save money???  How much has that stash cost, the patterns, the notions, the bits and pieces, the scissors, the cutting board, the machines, the thread, the power.

Does sewing save money?  I sometimes tally the cost of my extravagance, and conclude not.

But one day, I think it will!!!

I am going to work on that - start working out the cost of each garment, start counting up the cost of bits and pieces I buy.  Of course, I buy very little, because it does not often fit - and when I do, I am always surprised by how much nicer things cost.  So maybe, sewing might save money. But I've never really counted the cost.  Until now.

What about you - does sewing save you money?  Do you have a sewing budget?  Do you know what your garments cost to make?

I would love to know :)

Sarah Liz

P.S - my purchase today is worthwhile though - the jacket was half price in the first place, and will soon look lovely - so that sort of pays for all the other buttons and bits and pieces bought today.  That's a cheering thought :)

26 comments:

  1. Comparing like for like, then yes I save a lot of money. My wedding dress cost me 20% of the cost of retail dresses. My wool work trousers are a lot less than retail wool trousers. However my wool trousers cost more than the cheaply made poly trousers available in the shops.

    I like natural fibres like wool and linen, I have a strong preference for wovens and sharp tailoring. I sew because I need clothes that fit and I can make them more cheaply than I can buy them.

    I also enjoy the tactile 3D creativity involved.

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  2. hello Sarah,
    Now,i am sure to save money with sewing for me and my doughters.When i bought my Pfaff,i thought it was very expensive,and for each garment i was calculating the price and compare to the same article in a middle quality.So my Pfaff sews only with electricity,and i buy the fabric during sales.....
    I have the pleasure to wear a unic garment,to follow fashion or only what i like,and the work finisned,i am happy,ready to make other project!

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  3. Sewing is definitely not cheap, but you can save money if you sew your own well made clothes from quality fabrics - when you can find clothes with those qualities they usually are pricey (with still no likelihood of good fit)

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  4. I think sewing is definitely cost effective when you compare QUALITY. Like Kristy said, the price you pay for quality fabric and construction is usually MUCH more for retail vs self made. You can buy cheap, disposable clothing for less than the cost and time to sew them but why bother...

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  5. Thank you for your lovely comments. I definitely save money because I love scouring op shops for fabric and notions.

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  6. I absolutely budget all of my sewing purchases. I think sewing saves money if you make high-end clothing. Besides just the cost, many of us sew to get a good fit.

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  7. I definitely don't save money because I abhore clothes shopping! I sew so I have something to wear :D x

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    1. Initially I left a way too long comment when all I wanted to say was what a brilliant idea about the faux snakeskin self-covered buttons! That sounds like it will look really cool! I've recently changed out buttons on a jacket too and love to wear it now. And yes, I do like to track the cost of my handmade garments, but find I sew for many different reasons than simply what garments cost.

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  9. Hmm - interesting question. I just purchased another 2 large storage boxes for even more fabric I have purchased. I have so much money tied up in fabric and notions. However I just completed a major wardrobe overhaul and got rid of most of my clothes and my wardrobe now consists of about half self made - not bad!

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  10. My fabric is very inexpensive as I buy it mainly when it's on sale. In the last year all my fabric has come from my stash which is so old it has grey hair and wrinkles (like me). It's the bits and bobs that go with the fabric that cost the money, but it's so much fun whittling the stash down and so satisfying using some of those patterns I have bought that I don't mind at all.

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  11. it saves me money in a roundabout way. I am short so I inevitably would have to shorten everything I buy or pay 20 dollars to have it shortened. I used to stay away from t-shirts and stuff, because the Kmart basic ones were fine and knit fabric in Australia isn't that cheap, except that this season they are significantly longer then before so now I actually need to start sewing some as well.

    Add to that that I am pear shaped and the current trend of skinny pants and slouchy tops doesn't do much for me, so I'd have to shop at more expensive stores and sewing is still cheaper than them. Having said that though I don't count my time when calculating the cost of an item, because it's a hobby not a job :-)

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  12. I don't count the cost in a direct garment sewn versus bought way - rather I consider the pleasure I get and the fact it is my leisure activity. When my children were little I sewed to save money and found it cost effective - small bits of fabric etc. At that time bought clothes were expensive but now days with the Warehouse Kmart etc it isn't so cost effective especially for everyday clothes.

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  13. Sewing does save money -- you get quality, fit, and a garment that is unique. I have been meaning to venture into more utilitarian-sewing (like under garments, camis, etc).

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  14. I don't know if I save money or not, only because I am a fabric hoarder. But I do know I never find anything in the stores, so I go straight to my pattern and fabric stash when I need something.

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  15. I think to have well fitting clothes in the style and colors that you select is priceless!!

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  16. I agree with most of what has been said. Sewing does not save me money. I shudder to think of what money I have tied up in sewing machine, notions etc. I started sewing to get good fit in good quality. I'm not there yet. But one day I will be! It was priceless when I made a dress for my youngest daughter and she loved it. Even though she is of the Primark generation, their clothes don't fit her and the quality and fabric is not what she wants. I made simple skirts for my middle daughter (student) and she wears them all the time. So price per wear is pretty good although initial cost at least as much as shop bought. The cheap shoddy skirts were not that inexpensive. I'll carry on sewing. I won't count the cost, much, though I'll try for fabric on sale!

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    1. Price-per-wear is a great concept to work from!

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  17. If we're speaking strictly in financial terms, then sewing does not save me money. After one considers the cost of machines, fabric, notions, and time, making clothes is not cheap. There are ways we can become cost conscience, but it's hard to beat buying a pair of jeans at Old Navy for $15. However, if we consider quality, creativity, sanity (when not wielding a seam ripper), and the joy we get when we can say, 'I made it,' there is no price that can be attached to this.

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  18. Sarah, such a good post.. I think "sometimes" it does save money. And sometimes it cost more?? I am one of those fabric hoarders, and one reason is because... buying fabric when I find it on sale. I also ,try to use coupons and buy patterns on sale.. And "sometimes"... it cost more because I see a fabric , that I just WANT...regardless of price..
    Sewing is such a great hobby, and such A great stress reducer... So, my final conclusion---- It is money well spent.ha

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  19. Hi everyone - I love all your replies and instead of replying to you all here, I am going to do a reply blog and include all of your thoughts :)

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