For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Monica. I met Crystal seven years ago, and we became friends instantly. Even though we only lived in the same state for about nine months, we’ve kept in touch over the years and have so much in common as wives, mothers, homemakers, and Christians. She asked me to share with you some of my DIY-ness. If that makes sense. I’ve been sewing since I was 8 or 9, so it is the most common way that I exercise my crafty skills. To start, let me share with you a bit about how to make sewing affordable for you and your family.
The most common question I get from people is: “Can you really make things for a better price than you can buy them at the store?
Is sewing really a money saver?” My question is an emphatic, “YES!” But, you have to know how to make it affordable.
So, if you’re thinking about diving into the wonderful world of fabric — here are some money saving tips to help with the process!
This is my best piece of advice. Use fabric from clothes that you already have.
This works best for making kids clothes from adult clothes, but there are many ways this can be done. Have an old curtain? Make a new pillow or bed skirt. Have an old bed sheet? Make pajama pants, t-shirts, and skirts. Have old jeans? Make anactivity mat or a purse. Have old pajamas that don’t fit or have a rip? Make new pajamas for a kid. Have an old sweater? Make mittens or socks or a hat. Have a dress that doesn’t fit right any more? Turn it into a skirt. The sky’s the limit! Don’t have anything you want to repurpose? Go to Goodwill and buy some items there that you can remake for yourself. So cheap and it’s a great way to cut down on waste.
My fabric pile is sort of ridiculous. And let me remind you, it’s not because I buy fabric on a whim. No, it’s because I keep EVERYTHING.
It’s amazing how many ways you can reuse even the smallest scraps of fabric.
I do quite a bit of quilting, so that is the main way I reuse those scraps, but they also work well in a variety of uses. Every project I’ve made has used less fabric than the pattern required. Use that to your advantage! Another thing I’ve noticed is that when people find out you sew, they often give you leftover fabric that they don’t want or can’t use. I have a lot of free fabric because I use other people’s scraps!
USE TUTORIALS OR FREE PATTERNS
This one is sort of obvious these days, but not too long ago half of the expense of a project was buying a pattern. I still like to buy sewing books or patterns when they are on clearance, but for the most part I use tutorials and patterns I’ve found online. Pinterest is your friend. You can use it as a search engine for any kind of project you want to make. I even have a few free tutorials on my blog that you can check out. The internet can be a wonderful resource — use it!
HAVE A PLAN
If you just buy every fabric/pattern/notion that tickles your fancy, it is not going to be a frugal endeavor. I’ve fallen into the trap of buying fabric without purpose and let me tell you, it almost never works out. If you just walk around a fabric store (or browse fabric websites), you will get sucked in. If you are going to a chain store like Joann’s, always go with a coupon. You can always find them online or in the newspaper.
If you plan your shopping trips around those coupons, you can get a much better deal than picking something up on a whim.
And don’t forget to utilize discount fabric websites like fabric.com. Their fabric almost always a dollar less a yard, if not more. Make sure to scour the web once you’ve found a fabric/designer that you like — you most likely can find it for a better price than at your local quilt shop.
Probably the best way money-saving tip I can give you is to make your presents.
The last few years I have made completely handmade Christmas gifts for our family members and friends. I think my budget has been well under $100 total.
I’ve made purses, zippered pouches, craft bags, art books, dresses, wallets, hats, scarves, table runners, napkins, etc. I always make baby gifts: pick up a towel and washcloth from a discount store like HomeGoods and add a ribbon for a hooded towel. Use scraps and some cheap prefold diapers to make burp cloths. You simply cannot buy this stuff as cheap, or as personal, as you can make it!
One way that sewing is economical is that it allows you to buy things that aren’t exactly perfect but might be on clearance or at an outlet.
You can always shorten or lengthen pants, shorts, dresses, skirts. You can take in shirts, skirts, or dresses that are too big. You can shorten straps on shirts, dresses, or bathing suits so they fit just right. Plus, doing the alterations yourself is obviously so much cheaper than hiring a professional!
MAKE IT PERFECT
If you’ve taken all these steps and you find a particular project (like a quilt) is still so much more expensive than buying pre-made, remember that when you make it yourself you are making it just the way you want it. When I make a dress or a skirt, it is actually long enough for my 5′ 11″ frame. When I make a purse it has pockets exactly where I want and uses the material that I like the best. When I make curtains they fit the window exactly how I want it to, and I can make matching pillows with leftover fabric. When I make a quilt for someone, it isn’t about finding the cheapest fabric. It is about creating an heirloom item that will be cherished for years to come.
So just remember, sewing isn’t always more affordable, but when it isn’t, it’s always worthwhile!
Monica is wife to Brian and a stay-at-home mama to three little guys, Parker (almost 3) and Nolan (5 months). They are awesome. She’s a natural-minded, Bible-believing, people-loving, make-food-from-scratch, cloth-diapering, crafting kind of gal who strives to do everything for the glory of God. She blogs at www.deliberatelydomestic.com