and garment construction in our grandparentís generation was often a
necessity for thrifty families. But increasingly, this is no longer the
case. There are so many inexpensive (often cheaply made) clothing
available to most Americans that it is likely purchasing ready-to-wear
at department stores and mass retailers is more cost effective than
making your own clothes. Considering considering fabric (and the
skyrocketing price of cotton) supplies, and $16 patterns...sewing isnít
an inexpensive hobby. Here are a few ways you can sew and save.
Save Money on Fabric, Dress Forms, and Supplies:
1. Look for the best deal.
This may mean--for those who live in rural and suburban areas--doing
research as to the fabric districts in the cities closet to you,
planning ahead, and setting aside a day or two for shopping.
Check on Craigslist to see if anyone is getting rid of
fabric for free or inexpensively. Post a request for free fabric, and
phrase it in a way that shows the deal will be mutually beneficial: you
will pick it up personally and take it off the hands of someone for whom
its only causing clutter. This method has worked for me before.
Donít buy fabric you donít immediately have a purpose
for. You will find that fabric you impulsively bought but donít know
what to do with is now cluttering your residence, and that you have less
money for the projects you do want to complete.
Be creative and make what you cannot afford purchase. You
can search online to learn how to make a dress form exactly to your (or
your modelís) size out of duct tape, muslin, and paper-m‚chť, without
putting out that $500.
Pull a Scarlet O'Hara. Use your unused bedsheets and curtains to your
advantage, whether youíre making a fancy ball gown to swindle a
millionaire, or simply avoiding the cost of a role of muslin to make a
first draft of your new trousers.
If a part of your sewing machine or supplies for your
sewing machine are broken, find out from the company first if they can
send you a free replacement before purchasing one.
Save Money on Sewing Patterns
Purchase vintage and used patterns. You can find these
online on ebay, and etsy, and many other places using a google search.
You can also scout local antique shops, flea markets, estate sales, and
Use free and open source patterns, and free internet
tutorials. The website Burdastyle has many free printable patterns,
given to the public generously by the pattern designers. It also has
hundreds of inexpensive patterns for sale (for about $5). Our website
also have hundreds of pages that offer free tutorials and photographed
instructions (check here and here) as do sites like Craftster and
for the remarkable $1.99 per pattern deals at Joanneís. These occur
almost every holiday that the craft and fabric store is open. They are
often limited to ten patterns per customer, with only one pattern brand
for sale, whether McCalls, Butterick, or Simplicity. When Vogue patterns
go on sale, they usually go for $3.99.
Purchase Vogue patterns online. The $3.99 sales are much more common
online, and you can choose to receive e-mail notice as to when these