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Article 52 - Nov 7, 2011
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Sewing On A Budget

By Jessica Lynn Harris

Dress making and Design - sewing on a budget

     Dressmaking 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.

2. 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.

3. 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. 

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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

1. 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 yard sales.

2. 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 SewMamaSew.

3. Wait 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.

4. 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 deals occur. 


Chic Weekly: on-line Fashion & Sewing Magazine
Founder & Publisher: Judi Harris
Editor in Chief: Jessica Lynn Harris
Art & Photo Editor: Andrew DiMaio
Advertising Sales: (610) 563-8633
copyright 2010-2011 Love To Sew
Article 52 Nov 7, 2011




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