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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Do it Yourself Discussion! => Topic started by: stashgrower on October 24, 2016, 08:21:34 AM

Title: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: stashgrower 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?
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: purl 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/ (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!
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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").
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Cranky 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: stashgrower 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: halftimer 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
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: sparkytheop 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Cranky 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: lizzzi 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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 :-).
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: stashgrower 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Cromacster 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/ (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/my-secret-and-successful-journey-to-making-my-own-clothes/)

Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: stashgrower on October 26, 2016, 08:47:36 PM
Thanks Cromacster, I wasn't aware of SkyRefuge's thread. Very neat and good motivation.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Cranky 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: stashgrower on October 28, 2016, 09:41:58 PM
oh I see the problem! Sigh yes, cute tablecloths. But good to know about that option.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: hyla 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. 
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: deborah 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: AMandM 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: stashgrower 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: sparkytheop 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: MsSindy 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)
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: deborah on November 23, 2016, 05:14:54 PM
http://www.foundationsrevealed.com/articles/bra-making?start=9
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: stashgrower 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Poundwise 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!
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: mc6 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. 
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya 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.

Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: sparkytheop 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: dorothyc 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: dorothyc 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
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: deborah 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Linea_Norway 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: dorothyc 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya 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
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: TrMama 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Sherriscott 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: HildaCorners 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Goldielocks 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Linea_Norway 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Flouride 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% . . .
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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 :-).
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: pink_shears 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!
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: HappierAtHome 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: start_at_the_beginning 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).
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Linea_Norway 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.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya on October 16, 2017, 09:31:12 PM
My latest successes are buying really big sweat pants from thrift store and making my DS pants that fit. two pairs for $8 in "fabric" and $3 in elastics. I do need to find a cheaper source for elastics.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on October 19, 2017, 03:20:19 PM
I just found that one of my thrift  stores has a section for cut fabric! I got a whole giant piece of plaid for $2.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Imma on October 20, 2017, 12:19:36 PM
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.

This is what I do. I love Burda as well, I think their patterns look the most professional. I have learned how to draw my own patterns. I draw my own basic pattern and I alter it according to a Burda pattern or a bought garment that I like. Once you have basic pattern drawing skills, it's easy to adapt patterns to your own size. I always keep my patterns so I can use them again.

I saw someone above mentioning spending $50-$60 on fabric for a dress. I have never spent that much on fabric. I don't think I've ever spent more than €10/meter on a fabric for regular clothing and even spending that much is an exception. My normal price range is €5-€7,50/meter and very few projects require more than 2m. A friend of mine made her own bridal dress for about €100 and she looked amazing.

Recently, I've made a 1950s style dress for myself. I used 2 m of fabric that cost me €5/meter. The buttons and belt buckle were expensive but I wanted them in exactly the right colour. I spent €12 on them. I still need to buy 1 m of elastic for the belt, which will be max €5. The thread will have cost me something like €1,50. All in all that's €25-30 for an extremely nice, made-to-measure timeless style dress that I will wear for years to come. I will likely re-use the pattern and if I choose the next fabric well, I can use buttons from my stash. Similar dresses are easily €75 in the shop and shop-bought dresses never fit perfectly like this one. And I think this might be the most expensive piece of clothing I've ever made.

If people know you're into sewing, they start donating you stuff. I've received countless piles of fabric and spools of thread from friends who have bought too much, people who are clearing out a deceased relative's sewing room, people who have quit sewing. I think 2/3 of the contents of my sewing room came to me for free, if not more. I'm in weekly sewing group, so projects don't lie around endlessly. When I'm stressed out from work I made easy things, like simple skirts or pyama pants. I do a lot of mending, also for other people. My s/o is a bit clumsy and he has a physical job, so he turns up with small holes in his hoodies, rips out a pocket, etc. I can fix most things and most of the times I can even fix them invisibly.

It's a shame so many people don't learn these skills anymore. I'm glad my mother and grandmothers passed them onto me. I remember the look of astonishement on a roommate's face when he was going to throw out a fairly new pair of expensive chinos because a small seam had ripped. When I fixed that invisibly, he dug up a pair of jeans from his room without a button. Could I magically fix those as well? And I could! He made me nice food as a reward for showing him my magic skills.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: GuitarStv on October 20, 2017, 12:30:20 PM
My wife always laughs at me for my needle and dental floss "man sewing".

I find myself tailoring a lot of clothing to fit better rather than sewing clothes from scratch.  This gives you many more options when rummaging through the local thrift shops or discount bins.  Just flip it inside out, pin it, sew, and cut off the excess material.  You would never know it had been altered afterwards.

It's great for sports clothes if you're an odd size too . . .  All of my cycling shirts have been taken in by me since I've got a bigger upper body than most cyclists and don't like flapping material around my waist.  I've done a cycling jacket too to get the trunk and sleeves just right.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Evgenia on November 02, 2017, 02:33:21 PM
I knit and sew a lot, for myself and others. I also love what's called "visible mending" and genuinely enjoy darning socks. I am mostly motivated by fit and fabric quality, and longevity of wear. The majority of fabric used in cheap, fast fashion type garments today is absolutely crap, and made of toxic, polluting synthetics. 

I've noticed that, in H&M garments for example, the fabric often comes apart before the well constructed seams do, e.g. the garment construction isn't worth the fabric it's made of. Suffice it to say, this does not jive with my Mustachian ethos, and I am not going to spend hours upon hours of my time fitting and sewing something made of poor quality fabric, no matter how much I enjoy the process.

I have found much of my high quality, vintage fabric at flea markets and on Etsy. The fabric made in this country decades ago is a DREAM. I've also gotten some on Freecycle, just by asking. And, I splurge on fabric made of fibers grown in the U.S., i.e. that are 100% U.S. throughout the supply chain, because I like that.

Karen Templar, a slow fashion blogger, recently had an interesting post on the costs and payoff of handmade clothing you might enjoy:
https://fringeassociation.com/2017/10/23/the-cost-and-payoff-of-handmade/
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on November 06, 2017, 12:35:26 PM
...
I've noticed that, in H&M garments for example, the fabric often comes apart before the well constructed seams do, e.g. the garment construction isn't worth the fabric it's made of. Suffice it to say, this does not jive with my Mustachian ethos, and I am not going to spend hours upon hours of my time fitting and sewing something made of poor quality fabric, no matter how much I enjoy the process.
...

Yes! I have an H&M dress that my mom bought for herself but then decided would look better on me. The seams are fine but the fabric is pilling all to hell. I might disassemble it so I can trace the pieces and re-create with better quality fabric.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: TheWifeHalf on November 08, 2017, 09:09:04 PM
If a Joann's Fabrics is local, they often have patterns for 1.99.
There are places online that sell fabric for as little as 1.99/yard. 
If you made 4 tops from a pattern, 1 yard each, that makes them $2.50 each.

I have a Husqvarna machine that I bought in the 80's.  If anyone is just starting sewing, a machine is going to be the biggest expense. I have found machines identical to mine on Ebay for less that $100 and have bought a few because
1. I figured that there were parts in this machine that can't be found anymore and I wanted parts available when I need them- thing is, all the machines work!
2. Why did I buy so many? I had a traumatic brain injury 10 years ago and one of the effects is that I have a really hard time learning new things, my short term memory is awful.  I'm not sure I could run a new machine without a lesson every time I sewed. I remember my old machine, plus, it's an old all metal machine, a real work horse.

I've been sewing since I was 9 (59 now) and amazed that my sewing abilities survived the accident.(long term memory is as good as it was before)
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Imma on November 09, 2017, 01:56:44 AM
Those old metal machines will last a lifetime. I have an 1980 Bernina, my mum bought it when she married. Those machines are indestructible and they sew through multiple layers of thick fabric without any problems. In fact, friends with modern cheap machines will sometimes ask to use it to sew fabrics their own machine can't sew through. I think you're better of buying a good brand 1980s machine and have it serviced than buying a cheap plastic new machine from a big box store.

I don't buy up old machine, my sewing machine maintenance guy does that for me ;-) . He's a real lover of machines, he's in his 50s now and he grew up in his parents' sewing machine repair shop. He knows every machine inside out and he has a workshop full of salvaged old parts.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Cali Nonya on November 09, 2017, 10:09:29 AM
+1 on the donated fabric.

Sewing seems to be a thing that is loosing traction, so if you openly identify as someone who sews, I am surprised at the amounts of fabric that get handed off for free (in my case mainly from aging distant relatives).

I seldom make real clothes anymore but I get lots of request from family for house projects that need a specific fit (curtains, cushions, covers).  And very random things like shopping bags or dog coats.  And in my previous city what I made was lots of little draw-string bags for mystery-grab bags sold at the county fair.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Evgenia on November 10, 2017, 09:27:53 AM
Yes! I have an H&M dress that my mom bought for herself but then decided would look better on me. The seams are fine but the fabric is pilling all to hell. I might disassemble it so I can trace the pieces and re-create with better quality fabric.

That is a great idea. You'd have reusable pattern pieces for as many versions as you'd want. I like it!

Imma, I loved your post on old machines. I have my deceased MIL's 1967 Kenmore and, with a simple fix of the dial for different settings, is a dream. I couldn't bear NOT to take it. Yes, I have two sewing machines, not very Mustachian, BUT it has turned out to be quite handy. I can loan a machine to a friend who isn't sure about buying yet; it's easy for friends to come over and have a sew-along; and when making something like jeans (or anything else with top stitching), I thread one machine with the seam color thread and the other with the top stitching thread color, and just bop between the two of them.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 13, 2017, 01:49:45 PM
DH is sewing himself a nice vest/jacket. He owns two commercial ones and drew the pattern from one of them to make a new from a piece of cloth that we got from his mother. It just fitted, using a different cloth on the inside of a pocket.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: MrsPete on November 30, 2017, 01:25:33 PM
I'll begin by saying that I don't personally enjoy sewing as a hobby -- if you do enjoy it, that's a whole different kettle of fish. 

I agree with those who say that sewing for the home is absolutely worthwhile!  Drapes and bedspreads are SO EXPENSIVE!  Fabric to make these things isn't cheap either, but you're really talking about straight lines everywhere.  A pillow would be a great starting project. 

Hemming and mending is totally worthwhile! 

But making whole outfits -- the value is questionable.  By the time you buy a pattern, fabric, all the notions, you've spent as much as a finished item.  And unlike a finished item, you can't try it on before you commit to owning it.  I don't know about you, but I OFTEN find that I don't like something once I've tried it on. 
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: frompa on December 11, 2017, 07:49:37 AM
I see the "sew or not to sew" question as more complicated than whether figuring whether making items out of new fabric makes economic sense.  One more thing that a few people mentioned in passing, is this: Going to second hand shops and finding an item that has some use, I can tell how well the fabric is going to last, and whether I like it after its "new clothes" sheen has worn off.  I then take the item and use my sewing skills to custom fit whatever it is.  Doing this, I have made some really fine skirts, jackets, shirts, etc. that fit and my curves perfectly. For example, last year I made a heavy olive green denim jacket out of very big men-XXL size shirt. I cut off the sleeves and reduced them considerably; removed the sleeve cuffs, shortened the sleeves to fit and put on cuffs with a soft flannel I liked; took in the side seams by about 8 inches; and put darts up the back and front, so that the jacket fits my curves.  I love this, it's one of a kind, it was dirt cheap ($2!) and I wear it all the time.  And it was great fun to work on. 
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Linea_Norway on December 12, 2017, 01:50:46 AM
@frompa: Yes, buying new materials is expensive. The best strategy is to buy some in advance when you see a good bargain in a shop. The danger is that you'll become a hoarder with a closet full of materials that you may ever start using.

DH is sewing me a nice indoor jacket made from a hand printed cloth that he found in his mother's sewing room. MIL must have bought it on a discount in the past. I specified that I didn't need a zipper. He only used some vlieseline (Not sure what the correct English word is, fleece line?) and thread that we already had.

He also sewed an indoor jacket for himself from another piece of cloth that came from MIL. It was a very short piece of cloth, it was probably therefore cheap for her to buy. He just had enough to make the jacket with a little improvisation.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: kei te pai on December 12, 2017, 02:20:56 AM
I sewed most of my clothes as a teenager, stopped for many years, then started again in the last decade. Most of my fabric stash is accumulated from op shops (thrift stores). I love making clothes, even when they dont turn out quite as I imagined. Its like relaxed concentration, if that makes sense.
There are heaps of young indie pattern makers on line, and the sewing blog community is great for inspiration. I have just bought a pattern from a Melbourne fabric store as a download, and got it printed by a local copy shop/printer, for less than the cost of a traditional paper pattern.
I think sewing is a good mix of creative, problem solving and hands on technical skill. The economics go beyond whether you could just buy something for less. Everything you make adds to your skill. You also learn how to assess quality fabric and construction in ready made clothes.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: hoping2retire35 on December 12, 2017, 06:37:34 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.

Do you have any recommendations on how to sew with waterproof materials. If this is seriously viable option for waterproof homemade clothing...i am just not sure what to do with myself. I guess I will be getting out the sewing machine!

On another note, I think I have the same upper body problem as skyrefuge. General question for everyone, do you typically just take a shirt you own and tailor it or do you really need to use new/unused material?
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Linea_Norway on December 12, 2017, 07:00:26 AM
My husband typically sews outdoor clothes in goretex and paclite, 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.

Do you have any recommendations on how to sew with waterproof materials. If this is seriously viable option for waterproof homemade clothing...i am just not sure what to do with myself. I guess I will be getting out the sewing machine!

Yes, I have a recommendation. Instead of using needles, use painter's tape to stick the fabric together. You can sew right through the tape and then tear off the tape. I mean this kind of tape:
http://shop.meilink.eu/Tesa-Tapes/TESA-schildersplakband--chamois-/artikel.785

DH buys his materials at https://www.extremtextil.de/, where they sell these fabrics for a good price. They often only have one or two colours, so you'll need to accept what they have.

DH thinks it is easy material to work with. The only thing is that you have one chance to do it right. After that there are holes in the fabric. You'll need to tape the seams. This is done with an iron. Tex-materials seem easier to work with then traditional waterproof fabrics that are stretchy.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: frooglepoodle on December 12, 2017, 07:38:43 AM
I sewed most of my clothes as a teenager, stopped for many years, then started again in the last decade. Most of my fabric stash is accumulated from op shops (thrift stores). I love making clothes, even when they dont turn out quite as I imagined. Its like relaxed concentration, if that makes sense.
There are heaps of young indie pattern makers on line, and the sewing blog community is great for inspiration. I have just bought a pattern from a Melbourne fabric store as a download, and got it printed by a local copy shop/printer, for less than the cost of a traditional paper pattern.
I think sewing is a good mix of creative, problem solving and hands on technical skill. The economics go beyond whether you could just buy something for less. Everything you make adds to your skill. You also learn how to assess quality fabric and construction in ready made clothes.

It's interesting to me that you found indie patterns less expensive than traditional paper patterns. I use them sometimes, but the major fabric store chain here runs sales every few months where paper patterns are between $1.99 and $3.99 depending on the brand.

I recently made my own bridesmaid dress for my best friend's wedding. She had simply asked the bridesmaids to find a long dress in a style they liked that matched one of the fabric swatches she sent us. I made a very simple floor-length dress in a lovely, soft bamboo jersey for about the price of a clearance department store dress.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: kei te pai on December 12, 2017, 05:13:33 PM
Paper patterns are all imported from the US or Europe now, and the price in the our only local shop now selling them is generally over $20 NZ. I collect them from op shops, but sometimes pattern pieces are missing. I can mail order for a little less cost, but that doesnt really help when the urge to sew strikes suddenly!
I also find many of them a bit uninspiring in style.
I find Pattern Review is a great site for seeing patterns made up in real life.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Chesleygirl on December 12, 2017, 05:35:35 PM
It's definitely not cheaper to sew clothing anymore but that's largely due to the proliferation of mass-produced clothing from overseas sweatshops. My mom sewed in the 1970s and it saved money. Not anymore. A pattern and cloth can cost more than to buy a similar finished item at the store. Although it might be made better and be better quality. A lot of clothing from Ross, TJ Maxx, etc is such poor quality. Not made to last. Buttons falling off, hems not sewn in, I've even seen threads unraveling on the new clothing at these stores.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Linea_Norway on December 13, 2017, 12:31:29 AM
We just ordered a stretch of completely windproof, but highly breathable fabric, some zippers and some extra stuff. All from extremtextil.de. I chose the English version of the site, but the site still showed a lot of German text. Luckily I can understand most of it.

This will replace my old Windstopper skiing jacket that is worn through. We will draw a pattern from the old jacket.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya on February 08, 2019, 08:12:18 AM
I've been sewing a lot more basics for the kids and I'm trying to make my own wardrobe this year. 2nd hand clothes are still cheaper (and less effort) when I can find them, but there are not a lot of options for 4-7 year old boys. They are tough on their knees!

My biggest score this year was a charity fabric sale where all the fabric was $1/m. I bought way too much ($50 worth) and I'm still working my way through. My goal  this year is sew most of it up, have plans for what I don't and then donate back what I'm not using or was not the quality I really wanted.

Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: kei te pai on February 08, 2019, 05:09:12 PM
Ive started downloading patterns from some of the great indie pattern makers . I get them printed at the local print shop, and that way can have multiple sizing of the same pattern on good quality paper. Mostly there are well illustrated instructions online.
once you find a good pattern, its fun to make several different versions, knowing they fit and you like the style.
I find sewing is a meditative practice, with just enough challenge to keep me engaged.
Not so much about money as process and outcome.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya on February 11, 2019, 07:57:59 AM
@kei te pai what are your favourites? I absolutely love Jalie. They helped me like sewing as everything I made previously to sewing with them turned out huge. Their patterns actually fit.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: chaskavitch on February 11, 2019, 08:44:39 AM
Ooh, now that this thread has been revived - what are the most important things you look for in a sewing machine?  Favorite features, reliable brands, etc.?

I have an older one (can't remember the make/model right now) that was given to me secondhand probably 10 years ago.  Even though I've gotten it serviced, the tension is always a little weird, it doesn't do well sewing through any sort of thick fabric no matter what needles I use, it jams up often, etc.  I don't LOVE sewing, even though I enjoy making things for people or mending clothes for myself, so when issues come up that are machine-related, I get frustrated quickly and tend to leave things half-done.  I'm sure a lot of it is lack of knowledge on my part, but I'm having trouble remedying that.

My husband INSISTS that I buy something for myself (not allowed to be $ applied to my Roth IRA) with money from his bonus this year, so I figured a new or new-to-me sewing machine might be good.   Possibly I should take a class or two at a local vac and sew store as well, to give myself a better basis for my self-taught sewing skills.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: PoutineLover on February 11, 2019, 10:20:22 AM
I want to start making and repairing my own clothes. My mom used to make handmade clothes for me when I was little and my grandmother was a seamstress, but until now I've only been able to do small easy fixes. Got a sewing machine as a trade for a few plants and now I need to learn how to set it up and start making and altering things. If I save money, cool, but I mostly want to be able to make stuff fit me better and lessen my environmental impact, so I think I'll try to alter stuff from thrift stores or find good trades for fabric and make nice stuff that will last a long time.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: kei te pai on February 11, 2019, 12:23:42 PM
Maya- I am currently keen on Papercut patterns (Palisade pants, such great pockets!), and Tessuti patterns. They are a Australian fabric store who also do some patterns of their own, and a great blog too. The Tamiko pants have been my summer uniform. I am eyeing up Marilla Walker  but havent sewn anything from there yet.
By Hand London has a free top pattern (the Polly top) which is a summer favourite.
Frankly the world of internet sewing blogs and patterns is almost as bad as MMM forum for soaking up time.

chaskavitch - When it comes to sewing machines, I have a basic model Janome which is just fine for most things. More important for me is the amazing guy I bought it from. Old style sewing machine shop, he is a great trouble shooter, and repairman, Im just terrified he will retire!

PoutineLover - the internet is a great resource, try looking up "refashionista". I think sewing is a creative, mediative exercise. 3D sudoko! A well running machine makes all the difference though. Have fun
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: PoutineLover on February 11, 2019, 12:53:43 PM
Thanks for the recommendation! I can't wait to get started
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya on February 12, 2019, 07:30:47 PM
Oh man I hear you on the time suck if sewing blogs. Spend way too much time admiring other people's work and not enough making my own.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: halftimer on February 13, 2019, 09:07:32 AM
Happy this thread is revived!  I do some sewing from scratch, but often find the patterns and material very expensive and yes I have finished projects spending many hours and $$ and then not liked how it looked on me only to give it away.  Mostly I like to work with thrifted textiles and refashions - the button plackets are done, sometimes you can keep the hems or other seams intact and it can be a big or little job. And some projects go through multiple incarnations over time (change length first, add darts after a few wears, change neckline, and so on). Now I'm definitely saving money as I combine not buying too much new or thrifted, and keeping my family's items going with visible mending, invisible fixes, and full overhauls as needed.  A button up shirt had a worn out collar - flip the collar! Later, remove the collar for mandarin style (added darts and changed sleeves at that point too), later the shirt might become a patch for something else.

@kei te pai @PoutineLover I second the Refashionista reference - also Coolirpa for easy/quick fixes and slightly bigger projects.  For more elaborate projects with very polished results by a variety of people see the series the last few years on Makery.co.uk and the related hashtags
  #therefashioners2018  inspired by various designers & influences (the last year they plan to host it)
  #therefashioners2017 refashioned suits
  #therefashioners2016 refashioned denim
  #therefashioners2015 from button up shirts/blouses
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Imma on February 14, 2019, 01:46:12 PM
I have worked on my pattern drawing skills for the last couple of months and just went through my stash today and found some pieces of cotton to make a few nice summer blouses and dresses. I think most of them were gifted. I haven't bought any buttons or thread in years and don't expect to need to buy them for these projects. I also found a 1/2 yard of novelty print flannel and I think I'm going to use that to make my friend's kid a pair of PJ pants and sorted through an old pile of worn out jeans. I cut off the legs for a quilting project I'm working on and cut off the back pockets for another project and recycled the remainder.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: NVDee on February 17, 2019, 10:48:16 PM
As a lifetime sewer (over 30+ years) I can say that sewing has saved me money over my lifetime.

Last spring I made a lovely denim/leather jacket that easily would be 100s of dollars. I used leather that was stripped off my 25yo beige couch, re-dyed the leather and voila a new amazing jacket.

For those new to sewing I highly recommend Burda Online, they often have free patterns as well as free sew-alongs that include the pattern,videos and wonderful instructions.  I heart their gal Meg for all her pattern videos.

Another often missed fabric store is Ikea, their fabrics are a great price especially since the width is usually 150cm.

My biggest challenge has been finding fabrics.  Very few shops in my area left, and many focused on quilting/cottons.

Regarding machines, I have three, the original one I learned on (purchased from my mum back in the 80's) which mum had bought the year before I was born.  I was given a free serger, and I just bought a modern machine from Canadian tire as I wanted a machine with a free arm. In total I've spent $250 on machines, none have needed servicing that I wasn't able to tend to myself.


Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya on March 03, 2019, 07:44:11 PM
Sewed up some swimsuits for our recent trip. Pictures on my blog. Nice to use up the fabric I bought for it.


https://www.ourfinest.ca/2019/03/capsule-wardrobe-swim-suit-edition.html?m=1
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Malkynn on March 04, 2019, 05:03:45 AM
I've found that the cheapest and simplest way to use my sewing skills is to buy used clothes and then customize them.

This way it's infinitely less work as I don't need to construct collars, button holes, cuffs, etc. And when shopping, I don't need to care if it fits. I just look for nice details, and fabrics and then change the shape of the garment as I see fit.

It's a fraction of the time/energy/cost of sewing from fabric, and it makes thrift shopping much simpler because nothing needs to be tried on.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on March 04, 2019, 04:18:20 PM
I've found that the cheapest and simplest way to use my sewing skills is to buy used clothes and then customize them.

This way it's infinitely less work as I don't need to construct collars, button holes, cuffs, etc. And when shopping, I don't need to care if it fits. I just look for nice details, and fabrics and then change the shape of the garment as I see fit.

It's a fraction of the time/energy/cost of sewing from fabric, and it makes thrift shopping much simpler because nothing needs to be tried on.

I think it's harder to learn, though. Any tips for getting started?
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Malkynn on March 04, 2019, 04:28:20 PM
I've found that the cheapest and simplest way to use my sewing skills is to buy used clothes and then customize them.

This way it's infinitely less work as I don't need to construct collars, button holes, cuffs, etc. And when shopping, I don't need to care if it fits. I just look for nice details, and fabrics and then change the shape of the garment as I see fit.

It's a fraction of the time/energy/cost of sewing from fabric, and it makes thrift shopping much simpler because nothing needs to be tried on.

I think it's harder to learn, though. Any tips for getting started?

Destroy about $50 worth of $2-5 items until you get the hang of it, lol.

I just played with my sewing machine and serger until it started making sense to me. I wear mostly stretch jersey fabrics, so the tailoring demands are less complicated.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya on April 07, 2019, 08:37:02 AM
oups added my reply to the wrong thread. copying it over to the current one. sorry about the double post:

ODS needed an extra set of summer pjs so I made him a T-shirt and a pair of matching underwear briefs. After I made them I realized I had enough fabric left for 2 more pairs and as an added bonus he could likely do with some more underwear as he's been growing lately. Now to convince him to wear the underwear durning the day and that it's not just pjs LOL. 

Some pics are on my blog: https://www.ourfinest.ca/2019/04/fabric-harvesting-summer-pjs.html
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Cranky on April 09, 2019, 06:11:45 AM
I've sewn clothing on and off for... forever. LOL

Now that I'm retired I find that it interests me again. I'm amazed at how much nice fabric I've found at the thrift store, plus old sheets so that I can cut muslins.

I'm having a good time with this - I can see it being my winter replacement for gardening!
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: skp on April 09, 2019, 07:21:38 AM
I have sewn off and on for years.  I agree that it  doesn't  "pay" financially to sew for most things. But it does make them more special. And I treat it more as a (useful) hobby. It only pays if you enjoy doing it.   I try to pick projects that are reasonably cost effective.   I have made both my mother of the groom dresses.  I think I came out financially even/ ahead plus I had the satisfaction of wearing something I was personally invested in. The first one was a long skirt with suit jacket made out of linen I got at Joann fabric.  It cost about $50 total to make.  For the second I made an empire waist halter top style gown out of a Italian cotton/silk $30 a yard fabric I bought on line.  Boy was I nervous to cut into that!!.  That dress due to the expensive fabric was more like $125 to make.  I know I could not have bought similar dresses for that price.  I probably could have bought the dresses at a second hand store cheaper but they wouldn't have been mine.  I think my linen suit turned out better. 
Right now I am quilting a baby play mat out of scraps.  I wanted my grandbaby to have something specially homemade by grandma.  My husband is going to make the baby gym out of scrap wood.
Total cost (I had to buy a few things)- $10. 
I always pick easy patterns- I check out the reviews of the patterns on Pattern review web site and see how the finished product looks on real people.  I would like to learn how to alter the patterns to fit me better.  I would like to learn how to make jeans.  When I grew up there were sewing lessons everywhere-  I learned at Sears.  I can't find anyone to teach me locally.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Maya on April 10, 2019, 05:15:48 PM
I  recently did the jalie Elιonore jeans (they are pull on) super easy and super comfortable. I was lucky that they fit right out of the envelope with no adjustments. That was a rare and exciting moment. I likely linked to them upthread. If not they can be found on my blog Linked in my signature. Great way to dip your toes in making jeans.

I've mostly learnt now from online ressources. I've also heard good things about the ginger jeans from
Closet case patterns and their jean course.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: GreenToTheCore on April 11, 2019, 03:04:30 PM
Alrighty mighty mustachians, here's a question:

Husband used bleach to get a stain out of my off-white cotton-woven dress, and it worked. The stain is gone!
But now the whole dress is white-white, I'd like it to be it's original off-white. Anyone have any experience with using tea as a dye? Any suggestions on a different solution?
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: sparkytheop on April 11, 2019, 10:02:45 PM
Alrighty mighty mustachians, here's a question:

Husband used bleach to get a stain out of my off-white cotton-woven dress, and it worked. The stain is gone!
But now the whole dress is white-white, I'd like it to be it's original off-white. Anyone have any experience with using tea as a dye? Any suggestions on a different solution?

I've seen both tea and coffee used as dyes, but the results aren't always even throughout the fabric.  You might look into RIT dyes (found at many craft and fabric places), since they are specifically made for dying fabric.
Title: Re: DIY clothes (sewing)
Post by: Goldielocks on April 11, 2019, 10:05:31 PM
I have use tea on a whilte dress.  It worked.   Depends on the fiber content, and I would try to test an area first.  You can start very weak, and repeat to get the colour desired.   I can't remember if I did a final vinegar soak or not, but I usually do when I try to stop dye transfer for other things.