Author Topic: DIY clothes (sewing)  (Read 3587 times)

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: Australia
DIY clothes (sewing)
« on: October 24, 2016, 08:21:34 AM »
MMM sewers, what is your take on making your own clothes? At first glance I don't see how it'd be financially more viable than op shops given the materials cost. But I will get satisfaction from the creativity and would be happy for better-fitting clothes.

How do you source materials? Can you recommend books or web sites to progress from basic skills to being more confident at dressmaking?

purl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Location: Atlantic Canada
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 12:58:51 PM »
I think you're right that it's cheaper to buy used clothes than make them yourself, but everyone should know how to do basic mending and alterations. Home decor sewing is one area where it is usually cheaper to make curtains etc. yourself. For me, the satisfaction and enjoyment I get out of making my own clothes is worth it.

I think that the bigger problem is with the idea that clothes are disposable, and it'd be more sustainable to have fewer well made clothes that are well taken care of and last longer. I think home sewing definitely has a place in this way of thinking.  Slow fashion October https://fringeassociation.com/2016/09/14/slow-fashion-october-2016/ is a great intro if this is an idea you're interested in.

I've found a couple ways to reduce the cost of fabric. Thrift stores sometimes have fabric, but I've had better luck altering or buying things second hand just for the amount of fabric and then refashioning. You can find fabric and old patterns at yard sales or craigslist. My city has an annual charity fabric/yarn sale that is amazing. Fabric stores usually have regular sales, coupons or discount sections where they sell the ends of bolts. I'd recommend trying to get quality fabric made of natural fibres, because the cheaply made stuff won't last and gets pilly really quickly. 

The best way to learn is to have someone teach you in person, especially if you've never used a sewing machine before. There's a smaller specialty fabric store in my city that has workshops, so you might want to look for something similar in your area. I use craftsy for learning new techniques, they have a few free beginner sewing classes you could try out to see if you like learning this way.

Good luck!

frugalparagon

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2854
    • The Frugal Paragon
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2016, 01:03:26 PM »
I think the advantage of sewing your own clothes from scratch is that you wind up with exactly the 1 thing you wanted, instead of several things you kind of almost wanted. Lends itself to a smaller wardrobe.

I like to make clothes from library books! Love at First Stitch is perfect for starting at the Very Beginning (with advice like "How to Behave in a Fabric Store").
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

Cranky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 635
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2016, 02:03:29 PM »
Clothes are so utterly cheap now that it's hard to beat prices by home sewing. OTOH, the result is that much ready to wear is sewn so poorly and made with such cheap fabric that they are meant to be disposible, and won't hold up for long.

Sewing is fun, but not an immediate money saver, much like vegetable gardening. Mending is great, though, as is altering thrift store garments.

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: Australia
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2016, 08:40:45 PM »
Thanks for the details, that helps a lot! Keep 'em coming :)

Yes, I'm in favour of a lot of things mentioned in each of your replies: finding thrift store fabrics or repurposing (thanks for the other great ideas on where to look!), learning to make alterations, quality clothing, making things well so they last longer, natural fabrics, and having exactly what I want so my wardrobe is smaller!

Now that I see the pluses laid out more explicitly (instead of randomly in my noggin), I think I'm sold on this. Cranky, the vegetable gardening analogy is a good one there. Next I need to learn how to sew better. Thanks for the book tip, FP, and to purl for the tip to learn in person. I wasn't sure about books versus lessons.

FP - I saw your red polka dot skirt photo and LOVE it. It inspires me.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 08:42:25 PM by stashgrower »

halftimer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 75
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2016, 08:59:49 PM »
A great way to learn to sew and make your own clothes is to learn the basics of your sewing machine from 1 or 2 hours of hands on training from a friend or at the sewing machine store where you will learn about tension, different stitches, and a few basic skills. Then try lots of things with inexpensive fabric from sale racks or thrift stores. A simple full project from scratch for women to start with is a skirt which can be very quick and forgiving. Learning to do alterations will be one of the most useful skills.  Here is link with a chart explaining what types of fixes are easiest to more difficult. Start with the easy ones and you will have wearable clothes very soon. http://www.puttingmetogether.com/2013/02/wardrobe-from-scratch-part-3b.html

sparkytheop

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2016, 10:10:51 PM »
I had my mom sit down with me for a few minutes with a sewing machine, and then I started with flannel pj pants.  I don't pre-wash fabric for quilts, but I do for clothing.  You don't want it to shrink weird on you.  For flannel, I usually wash it and dry it twice to make sure it's done shrinking.

The pj pants were good because I could learn some basics (sewing straight lines, curves, using the button hole attachment, sewing elastic).  I learned how to play with the pattern a little (make the legs longer, the waist shorter).  And, even if I didn't do a great job and made mistakes, they were still usable since I don't plan to wear them in public.

Next project was a shirt.  I can wear that one in public :)  If it's stretchy fabric, use a "stretch needle" and a zig-zag stitch, so that it can stretch with the fabric when needed (collars, sleeves...)

And then an apron-- more curves, learning how to gather the fabric, things like that.

Now I'm making a vest for my son.  Yes, he could go out and buy one, but they aren't cheap, I never see them second hand around here, and he got to pick his own colors (grey vest, deep red lining).  To test the pattern, I've only cut the lining so that he can try that on.  The fabric was less expensive, so if it's too small, I didn't waste the more expensive fabric (and, in the end, I still wouldn't waste it as I could use it for other projects, pockets, etc).

I'm also just starting, but those are things I've done.  If you have a JoAnn Fabrics in your area, sign up for their emails and also get them online.  They almost always have sales/coupons, so I only pay full price for anything if I absolutely have to.

Cranky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 635
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2016, 05:42:41 AM »
One thing that *does* pay for itself when sewn at home is underwear-  panties are easy to make and a great use of thrift store t-shirts.

lizzzi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1737
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2016, 06:06:40 AM »
Sewing Halloween costumes is a great way to practice. The costume lines can be very simple (witch's long dress or cape, vampire cape, the long, white dress for Princess Leia, etc.), and you can always purchase accessories and masks. And you can make use of gorgeous, beautiful fabrics that you would not normally buy...sparkly stuff, satins, etc. for a fairy-tale look.

frugalparagon

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2854
    • The Frugal Paragon
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2016, 09:26:16 AM »
...

FP - I saw your red polka dot skirt photo and LOVE it. It inspires me.

Thanks! That one is from The Essential A-Line, which is PRETTY easy--maybe for a second or third project :-).
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: Australia
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2016, 09:10:57 AM »
I didn't know panties were easy. Great idea! I'm thinking to start with a skirt???

I went to the library and got Love at First Stitch.

Cromacster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1396
  • Location: Minnesnowta
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2016, 09:21:01 AM »
One forum user, SkyRefuge, made some of his own clothes and did a great job.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/my-secret-and-successful-journey-to-making-my-own-clothes/

Mustachians are not the sort of people who sit around moaning about how the government is keeping them down.  We’re the people who look at what we got, figure out what we don’t like, and fix it.
~Mr. Frugal Toque

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: Australia
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2016, 08:47:36 PM »
Thanks Cromacster, I wasn't aware of SkyRefuge's thread. Very neat and good motivation.

frugalparagon

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2854
    • The Frugal Paragon
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2016, 08:56:28 PM »
I didn't know panties were easy. Great idea! I'm thinking to start with a skirt???

I went to the library and got Love at First Stitch.

I don't see why you couldn't, but maybe practice your stitching on some scrap fabric first! And DEFINITELY make a muslin--this is when you get cheap fabric (muslin, see) and make a practice version of your intended garment to check the fit and make sure you understand the directions :-). Love at First Stitch will talk you through all the skills. I have it out, myself! I'm going to make (I think) a black polka-dot dirndl with pockets.
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

Cranky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 635
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2016, 03:46:53 PM »
I didn't know panties were easy. Great idea! I'm thinking to start with a skirt???

I went to the library and got Love at First Stitch.

I don't see why you couldn't, but maybe practice your stitching on some scrap fabric first! And DEFINITELY make a muslin--this is when you get cheap fabric (muslin, see) and make a practice version of your intended garment to check the fit and make sure you understand the directions :-). Love at First Stitch will talk you through all the skills. I have it out, myself! I'm going to make (I think) a black polka-dot dirndl with pockets.

I keep buying cheap old tablecloths at the thrift store with the idea of using them for muslins, but then they are too cute to cut up! So I just have a lot of tablecloths, but it really is a good way to get a big chunk of fabric.

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: Australia
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2016, 09:41:58 PM »
oh I see the problem! Sigh yes, cute tablecloths. But good to know about that option.

hyla

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 173
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2016, 11:48:47 AM »
I agree with other posters that knowing how to mend and make simple alterations can actually save you a lot of money on clothes, whereas sewing clothes from scratch is usually not cheaper buying clothing than thrift stores or discount stores.

That being said, there are a few situations where sewing clothes can be frugal.
- If you have classy tastes and can't stand fast fashion polyester tops, mismatched plaids, and poorly made linings, sewing can be a way to get really high quality clothes without high end prices.  Quality stitching, finishing, and pattern matching is something that takes extra time, but not extra money.  I've been able to get extremely nice silk and wool to sew with by buying shapeless, too large thrift store garments, cutting them up, and using the fabric to sew new clothes.  Or even if you do need to buy new fabric, high quality fabric is usually still cheaper than high quality store bought clothing. 
- I think sewing has the potential to shift our attitudes towards clothing from the typical modern trend following wanting lots of clothes attitude to a more frugal and sustainable focus on wanting fewer well fitting and quality items.  First, when you sew, you can make clothing that fits you perfectly and is exactly the style that you like, and it kind of gets rid of that "I don't 100% love this dress so I need to buy a new one" attitude that often happens with store clothes.  Second, when you see the amount of work that goes into clothing, I think it does shift your attitude away from thinking of clothing as disposable.  You become more likely to consider your purchases and buy/make only clothing you will actually wear, take care of the clothes you have, and mend clothing with holes to keep it longer. 

deborah

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5737
  • Location: Travelling
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2016, 02:18:13 AM »
Sewing skills can save a lot of money if it's not clothes. Curtains are very easy to make (unless you make ridiculously slow-to-make pieced curtains like me), and you save a lot of money. Often sofas have cushions that are covered separately, and you can easily repair or replace the covers when they wear out (especially if you buy extra fabric when you buy the sofa), because the rest of the sofa doesn't wear nearly as fast. Tablecloths can just be hemmed pieces of material. Cushion covers are dead easy, and cushions are so expensive!

I disagree with panties being easy (they are, but not as easy as a simple skirt), and why bother with muslin if you are using cut up t-shirts - use the first pair as a trial and then sew the rest to the same pattern. That way you are using a fabric that drapes the same way as the final item - and you know exactly how it will look (for instance, whether it is see through when you put them on).

I make most of my clothes (including bras), and have for many years. Yes, it seems a bit of a waste when clothes have gone down in price so much (particularly here, because we used to have extremely high tariffs), but I really like to sew, and mustashians are about enjoying simple pleasures.

AMandM

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2016, 06:39:30 AM »
One thing that *does* pay for itself when sewn at home is underwear-  panties are easy to make and a great use of thrift store t-shirts.

This surprises me.  I can buy underpants for about $1 apiece on sale.  If I made them out of thrift store t-shirts, I'd have to buy elastic as well as the t-shirts.  I think I'd about break even on materials, and to me sewing with elastic is tricky.  But I have the impression that the thrift stores in my area aren't as thrifty as other people's.

I'll add another intangible benefit of sewing for yourself: it makes you appreciate the work that goes into making clothes, and makes you less willing to buy clothes made in sweatshops or other inhuman conditions.

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: Australia
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2016, 07:22:10 AM »
I like the "appreciation" benefit! Yes.

Deborah, do you have a bra reference that you could share? It sounds quite tricky to me.

I plan to op shop soon to sniff out the local fabric landscape.

sparkytheop

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2016, 08:38:00 AM »
I just finished up a fleece bathrobe for my son last night.  It's so nice and soft!  The only problem I had was when it got to a point that had a few layers overlapping, I had to be very careful (completely release tension, etc).  It barely fit under the foot of the sewing machine.  I had to hand sew a few spots because it didn't fit under the foot, but it's done and I'm happy.  It will hopefully last him for many years.

MsSindy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 512
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Philly Burbs
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2016, 09:27:42 AM »
I sew my own clothes for the following reasons (and in order)
 1) I just plain enjoy it!  It's creative and satisfying - mostly relaxing, except when I get stuck, or have to rip out something
 2) I love having unique clothes - I got tired of seeing the $120 jacket that I purchased at WHBM walking down the hall toward me at work - everyone seems to shop at the same place around here.
 3) I love having clothes that fit - I'm 5'2", with curves, but not overweight.  Finding things that fit my body type can be hard

You'll notice there is nothing in there about cost.  However, once you get really good and you can make your own outerwear, fitted jackets, etc., you will have a quality wardrobe that will make you look really polished and pulled together - great if you're still trying to climb the ladder.  Or making sexy dresses if you're in the dating pool.

I will say though, that everyone's learning curve is different, and you need to practice your skills to get better.  Sewing is easy, fitting is tougher.  Start with PJs, then move on to an elastic skirt, t-shirt or simple woven shell blouse.  Once you get those down, decide if you want to get better at knits or wovens, and then practice those skills.  Again, it will be fitting that will be the challenge, not actually using your sewing machine.  Re-using XXL clothes from thrift stores is a good way to practice your technique, even if you don't see your self wearing the item because of fabric choice.  Also, never pay full price at JoAnn's - always a sale going on.

Good luck and I hope you join the fun!!  (also, there are a ton of blogs out there - look for ones that match your style)

deborah

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5737
  • Location: Travelling

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: Australia
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2016, 02:01:06 AM »
Thanks, MsSindy, your list resonates with me. I definitely want to get good at fitting :D

oh thanks, Deborah. I have trouble finding bras that I like. This is golden.

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 769
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2016, 06:15:41 AM »
I'm very sorry to say that sewing, as a frugality, has not really panned out for me.  The problem is that I tend to accumulate fabric and incomplete projects, which are a waste of time and money.  The projects that I have completed have been a savings and great source of satisfaction.  However, I would say that monetarily it's a wash... I saved money but it was all spent on fabric and notions, which take up storage space. But maybe that's because I have kids, so it's hard to find a big block of time to really make those careful measurements and focus on project completion. I find I get the most bang for my buck on housewares and decoration (curtains, throw pillows, napkins)... I even reupholstered an old couch, so that probably saved us $600 right there.

A way to use sewing to save is to learn one pattern (such as a robe or baby sling) and make several as gifts.

I will put up another vote for being able to do your own alterations.  One way to save is to buy nice used clothes, and to be able to alter them to fit.

Also, as a hobby, sewing is fun and satisfying so if you enjoy it, go for it!

mc6

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 226
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2016, 02:50:44 PM »
In my experience, the value comes in being able to mend or alter clothing that someone else produced.  I have purchased fabrics from Ebay which I believe were estate sales or closed fabric shops going out of business.  I also have 2 ladies in my charity stitching group who work part-time at Joann Fabrics and share the info about their really good sales.  I would suggest trying to find a meet-up group that focuses on sewing to get real-life help vice virtual help.  Every thing I tried to make from Pinterest/Youtube turned out pretty unusable but your milage may vary. 
Join Robinhood and we'll both get a share of stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint for free. Make sure you use my link.
http://share.robinhood.com/jennifc287

Maya

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 199
  • Location: Canada
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2017, 07:40:03 AM »
I'm trying to see if i can actually save some money making the things the kids and i need. So far I'm in the negative for the last month. Spent $178 on patterns and materials and made about $110 worth of stuff if I'd bought it new. I often try to find it on sale or second hand. Though $25 of what I spent was to renew my sewing membership so I can save a bit more on fabric. I really want a serger if I'm going to start sewing a lot more.

This month I made a swimsuit for dd (material cost $4 and I have enough to make another one) first attempt and it came out really nice. (Love Jalie.com patterns they are awesome for teaching new techniques and have great fitting patterns!)

Made a hoodie for each of the kids (bought zippers and pattern but used up fleece from my stash so this was super money saving) $10 for the pattern and $7.50 for the zippers because I screwed one up. The fabrics were all leftovers from other projects so count those as free.

The sweatpants needed a new pattern too so $10 for the pattern and $5 for elastics. I have enough fleece left over for one pair and bought some XL men's pants to make another  I do need to learn to wait for the sales at the thrift store as these were $10 which seems really expensive. I also thought I might get two kids pants out of them but only 1 with some leftovers.

Next up is to convert all his holey pants into shorts for the summer. I patched up a couple pairs this winter but it's quicker to sew a new pair and make the other one shorts.

Other spending for this month was 4 other new patterns to use up some of the fabrics in my stash and fill in holes in my wardrobe.

MMM fail but maybe win, bought two other pairs of sweatpants at the thrift store to make a hoodie for me but thought I'd try on the pants when I got home before cutting up and the XL women's fit. Oh the joys of a 7 month pregnant body LOL. I'll wear them till it's too hot or I give birth then chop them up LOL.


sparkytheop

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2017, 08:22:41 AM »
For pajama pants, I use either flannel or fleece (fleece are for the really cold days).  At the local Joann Fabrics, they remnant out fleece when a bolt gets to 1 1/2 yard.  That's enough to make a pair of pants (up to about XL, maybe 2XL).  Here, the remnants are 50% off sale price (if they are on sale).  Fleece often goes 60-75% off, so if it's on sale (let's say $5/yard), a 1 1/2 yard remnant will be $3.75.  I use about a foot of 1" elastic, and sew drawstring ties to it from the leftover fabric rather than sewing elastic in the entire waistband.

Flannel remnants come in up to 1 yard sections, so not enough for an adult sized pair of pants, but sometimes you can find coordinating or matching remnants, so you can get material really cheap there too (right now solid flannel is on sale $1.79/yd, snuggle (printed) flannel is $2.49, so a remnant would be half that).  I'm pretty sure a yard is enough for a pair of shorts though.

dorothyc

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 244
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2017, 08:28:34 AM »
I make almost all my own clothes, with the exception of some outerwear and technical fabric clothing.

Some things that can save money:

Unpick and reuse jeans zips from jeans too badly worn to mend.

If you are patient, trace off patterns before using them so if you find you need a different size or want to make multiples you haven't committed to one flimsy tissue copy.

Mending and alterations, definitely. I found a 75% cashmere, 25% wool, made in England, ladies winter coat in a Manchester, UK thrift store for 10 pounds last year when I was on holiday. It needed shortening about 9 inches, it was lower calf length and frumpy. The buttons were mismatched in color to the wrist buckles and too small for the buttonholes, so I bought new ones and replaced them, and it had a few stitches pulled out in the side seam that I resewed. It now looks great.

I have made knickers, but find them fiddly and it is difficult to find fabric I like, but I make all my skirts and T-shirts and unstructured cardigan type jackets.

I'm a difficult body type for store bought clothing - too full busted for standard sizes, which are always drafted for a B-cup, short in the torso and narrow shouldered enough to be a petite, but 5'6" with long arms and legs. I can sew things that fit.

Commercial clothing isn't preshrunk and often has to be dry cleaned to preserve the size or finish.

A great resource is Silhouette patterns and their Youtube channel. The owner, Peggy Sagers has a clothing industry background and shows a lot of shortcuts and fitting tips. Don't be put off by the rather outdated photos on the pattern envelopes. They make up much nicer than they look. Just be aware that they use a 3/8" inch or 1cm seam allowance to eliminate trimming and make the seams easier to fit together around curves.

I just love to sew. It is a great wind down from being on a computer all week and I'm finally confident enough to tell people "Thanks, I made it" when they admire something I'm wearing.

dorothyc

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 244
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2017, 10:16:37 AM »
To my mind, the argument that clothing is cheap so why make it is the same thing as saying gasoline is cheap so why not drive. Clothing is only cheap because we aren't bearing the environmental costs up front.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/its-second-dirtiest-thing-world-and-youre-wearing-it

frugalparagon

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2854
    • The Frugal Paragon
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2017, 07:14:50 AM »
To my mind, the argument that clothing is cheap so why make it is the same thing as saying gasoline is cheap so why not drive. Clothing is only cheap because we aren't bearing the environmental costs up front.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/its-second-dirtiest-thing-world-and-youre-wearing-it

But while walking, biking, or taking public transportation has important environmental benefits, I don't see how making your own clothes would reduce the environmental costs of the fabric, the sewing machine, etc.
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

deborah

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5737
  • Location: Travelling
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2017, 01:22:59 AM »
Let me count the ways...

There is plenty of second hand fabric around - and there are clear environmental benefits for someone using such fabric.
Thrift stores often have garments that can be repurposed, or you can repurpose your own family's garments.
Having the skills encourages people to mend stuff.
If you have made a garment, you are more likely to wear it out, and mend it as necessary. It may fit you better than anything you can buy.

I'm sure there is more if I just thought about it for more than five minutes.

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2017, 01:30:52 AM »
My husband typically sews outdoor clothes in goretex and packlite, or hiking trousers with lots of attributes. Those things usually cost a small fortune in the shop and are not always designed in the way you want them. He buys the material in a German shop, Extreme Textile, that sells these garments in typically one colour for a good price. The things that he sews would probably cost 2-3 times as much as bought from a store and he makes them exactly the way he wants them.

dorothyc

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 244
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2017, 01:27:08 PM »
Out of 77 sewing projects I did last year, 26 of them were mending or refashions.

I also try to buy mostly mill end and closeout fabric from Silhouette Patterns and EmmaOneSock.

When I make something for myself, I only make the item I need, rather than stores which make hundreds of the same item that might remain unsold and just be disposed of if no-one wants them.

I know it's not perfect but I'm doing what I can to build a mindful wardrobe.

Maya

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 199
  • Location: Canada
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2017, 06:27:09 PM »
I'm trying to embrace the possible money saving aspects and the reusable aspects. My son has worn through most of the pants I bought him (2nd hand) in the fall. I'll cut them off and hem them and make them into shorts.

After the summer is done I'll add long sleeved onto his tshirts to get a bit extra use out of them

frugalparagon

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2854
    • The Frugal Paragon
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #35 on: April 05, 2017, 07:12:44 AM »
I know there CAN be benefits, I just don't think that people who are not into sewing need to feel guilty. They can do almost as well for the environment by being very careful where they shop and what they buy.

I stopped buying cargo pants for my kids because they are too hard to mend/turn into shorts.
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

TrMama

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1791
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #36 on: April 05, 2017, 12:06:44 PM »
I used to sew the majority of my, and my children's clothes. I enjoyed it and it probably saved some money.

When I made underwear, I always used 4-way stretch fabric. The resulting underpants are so much more comfortable. Using this type of fabric also allows you to skip using elastic in the waistband. Just use a doubled over strip of the same fabric, just like you'd use for a t-shirt neckband.

A couple years ago, I moved on to other hobbies, but I'm starting to feel some urge to make things again.

Sherriscott

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #37 on: April 05, 2017, 11:11:32 PM »
Really great idea. I can't recommend you any of it. I saw some of the tutorials of DIY's and made my old clothes look new. Sewing is all new ideas you gave me thanks for it.

ZCademy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Professional Polymath
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2017, 06:42:36 AM »
I've been sewing since I was in my teens, many decades ago. I grew up in a family where sewing was considered a basic "housewife" skill.

These days, I don't sew as much, but when I do, it's to make very high quality clothing that fits me well, for a modest expense. For example ... I have an hourglass figure, and ready-made skirts that fit my hips are always too large in the waist. Skirts are fairly easy to sew ... I can turn $40 of material and notions into a $100+ skirt that actually fits my body. I could buy 2 $20 skirts from Target or a thrift store, but they wouldn't fit, look nearly as nice or last as long.

For patterns, I really like Burda magazines. You need to carefully select issues with lots of patterns you like; tracing off the patterns is a skill in itself, and the magazines are hard to find in the USA ... but when everything aligns, you can get 8-10 patterns for $10.
Been there, done that

Goldielocks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4291
  • Location: BC
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2017, 03:14:27 PM »
I just completed a summer robe and night dress for hot weather.   I could not find anything in light woven cotton that was modest, for a reasonable amount of money...  it was all silky polyester or knit fabrics, but without AC here I needed something i could wear while watching TV with the family, or at an airbnb with a shared washroom.

In the past, curtains were huge money savers, but you have to wait for a good 50% fabric sale.

Otherwise, buying an extra large men's shirt and reworking it for my figure works very well, as does taking in my own pants from thrift store finds in expensive technical fabrics.

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #40 on: August 15, 2017, 01:15:46 AM »
I did repair my handbag (small leather rucksack). I had to hand sew through a few layers of leather. Was a bit time consuming, so I didn't make many stitches. For for the time being it works again and I don't need to buy another one. Before the summer I also smeared it in with shoe polish to make i black again, as it had turned grey. Bag is good to go for some time ahead.

Flouride

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2017, 03:37:24 AM »
Did save some trousers by buying $2 kit, and investing 10 minutes of my time. During these 10 minutes I did learn on my own much better strategy how to sew. Next time it will be still 10 minutes, but stronger by three fold. But when I see clothes in store for $30 in average (for my wife), I start to plan to sew my own one. Damn it. That fabric must cost them like $1.7, and $0.3 for the kid who do the sewing, some cents for large container, taxes, and the profit is 900% . . .

frugalparagon

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2854
    • The Frugal Paragon
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #42 on: August 22, 2017, 07:48:00 AM »
Did save some trousers by buying $2 kit, and investing 10 minutes of my time. During these 10 minutes I did learn on my own much better strategy how to sew. Next time it will be still 10 minutes, but stronger by three fold. But when I see clothes in store for $30 in average (for my wife), I start to plan to sew my own one. Damn it. That fabric must cost them like $1.7, and $0.3 for the kid who do the sewing, some cents for large container, taxes, and the profit is 900% . . .

The fabric might cost THEM that little, but RETAIL fabric is pricey. Like the fabric for a dress, maybe $30-$50. Sometimes you can do a little better with a coupon, but you're not really going to save money over shopping fast fashion. You could learn how to tailor Goodwill clothes to fit--there are cost savings there--and when you get good, you can make nicer stuff than what you buy at Old Navy, but it takes time and practice.

Glad you saved your trousers. I used to fix the XFP's frayed hems. I had this thought the other day that the new wife probably doesn't know how, but I'll let them worry about that :-).
I blog about Mustachianism during the child-raising years at frugalparagon.com.

And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

pink_shears

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #43 on: August 23, 2017, 03:09:27 PM »
I make about 60-70% of my own clothes and have done that for the last 4 years. I love it. I find it's a relaxing hobby that allows me to be creative. I also get clothing that fits better and lasts longer than store-bought. I make clothing for others too, like my husband's boxers which he raves about  to others because they last so much longer than the ones he used to buy in the store. That being said, I have begun to amass a fabric stash because I find fabric I like and have uses for so I buy it...but it sits waiting for me to make it into something! I don't have numbers, but for me I believe I save money sewing over buying clothing. I very rarely shop for clothing now and when I do I often don't buy anything because I know I could make it with better quality and at a lower price than what the store wants me to pay. Also, if you're buying cheap clothes you have to realize that 1)the person making those is not truly getting paid a living wage and 2)the clothing will probably wear out faster and be of cheaper quality and 3)the materials are probably made cheaper (reduce labor wages, or reduce quality). There's always a trade off.

I've also branched into sewing and doing alterations for other people as a side business. If you get good at sewing you can definitely make money doing it since it's becoming a lost art in many areas.

As for resources, definitely check out books at the library (the Built By Wendy book series is good). There are a lot of good youtube tutorials (Melly Sews) and blogs with free tutorials. Just watch out on the blogs or youtube when you're making clothing - sometimes patterns are not drafted well so they won't fit and it's not YOU, it's the pattern, so don't get frustrated!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 03:15:24 PM by pink_shears »

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5499
  • Location: Australia
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2017, 04:06:37 AM »
MMM sewers, what is your take on making your own clothes? At first glance I don't see how it'd be financially more viable than op shops given the materials cost. But I will get satisfaction from the creativity and would be happy for better-fitting clothes.

How do you source materials? Can you recommend books or web sites to progress from basic skills to being more confident at dressmaking?

You already know my answers to this, but I want to participate in the thread :-)

I'm a beginner sewist. I'm yet to try making my own clothes. I do not believe it will be cheaper than buying options shop or other cheap clothing. However, I will be able to make exactly what I want, it will be well constructed (French seams!), and as you say, it will be so satisfying.

For me personally, it was well worth paying for classes at a local sewing school to get me started.

start_at_the_beginning

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2017, 05:24:04 AM »
I've had very good luck buying fabric on Ebay- especially when you buy it in pre-cut lots that someone is getting rid of (rather than direct from fabric sellers, although that's also often cheaper than in store). This does require you to be rather flexible- what I tend to do is have a rough idea in my head of my next 5 or so sewing projects, and have an idea of what kind of fabric I'm looking for (e.g. 2ish metres of wool suit fabric, 1.5ish metres of a thin silk fabric- you can probably be more confident of fabric quality with something high end, rather than with polyesters that can vary a lot and are hard to judge through a screen)), then every week or so do a quick eBay search to see if anything matches and is cheap enough- i generally won't pay more than £7 or £8 per metre for high quality fibres, and less for cottons etc. I may have to be flexible with colour/ print but that's generally fine. The trick is to resist the temptation to grab bargains without a clear plan in mind- i have a self imposed restriction of no more than 3 unsewn fabrics sitting in my pile! Pattern are often very cheap on Ebay too. (This is in the UK, though, where good fabric stores are concentrated in a few big cities).

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2017, 04:53:20 AM »
Not clothes, but my DH sewed himself a new replacement hip belt for his large frame backpack. The old hip belt was worn through (probably 40 years old). His new one really looks good and professional.