The Art of Thrifty Sewing: How to Save Money When You Sew

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thrifty sewingIt’s hard to consider sewing to be a money-saving activity when you add up your costs. After you buy a pattern, full-price fabric, and any accessories, you can easily spend twice as much as you would on the same item – already made – at a discount department store.

Occasionally, buying everything new will be the only way to create what you truly want. But most of the time, if you can be flexible and a little patient, there are some excellent sources out there for sewing supplies at next-to-nothing prices.

Buy Vintage

Thrift stores and yard sales can be a great source of fabric, patterns, notions, and tools. The best yard sales for these items are typically in older, well-established neighborhoods of mixed age demographics. Finding the perfect yard sale for sewing materials can be rewarding for the buyer and seller. While the buyer might be able to purchase several yards of fabric, a mixed bag of notions, and a handmade quilt top for just a few dollars, the retired seamstress could be thrilled to know that the items will still be appreciated.

thrifty sewing

Look Outside the Box

When you find a super sale on table cloths or bedding, consider if these items might be suitable for any upcoming projects. Cotton tablecloths can make unique sundresses. Plastic-coated tablecloths can be used to cover weathered outdoor cushions. Clearance sheets can provide several yards of fabric at a price per yard that is hard to beat.

thrifty sewing

Keep Cutting

This principle is perfect for making children’s clothing or accessories. Remember your old prom dress? How many princess dresses for Halloween or the dress-up closet could you make out of it now? Those wool overcoats with boxy, outdated tailoring that have been stuffed in the back of the closet can become boys’ Sunday pants. Your long, flowing cotton skirts that haven’t fit in years can become girls’ summer dresses. Before donating outgrown or out-of-style clothing, consider if the fabric could be useful for a pint-sized project and store it instead.

thrifty sewing

Never Buy Buttons (or Zippers, or Snaps…)

When you do begin to store some of your old clothing rather than donating it, you will also be building a stockpile of buttons, zippers, snaps, elastic, tabs and pockets. Next time you need a button, you will know exactly where to look.

By using the principles of storing what’s still useful and stockpiling when you find things on sale, you can avoid the temptation to run to the fabric shop when a new project strikes your fancy. In this way, sewing is no longer an expensive hobby. It is instead just what it should be: a rewarding outlet that sparks creativity and also helps the budget.

thrifty sewing

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