Friday, September 3, 2010

The Million Dollar Question...

Does sewing save money?? This is something I've been pondering the last few days. And I think the short answer is this: It can.
On my maiden I'm-going-to-give-sewing-a-try trip to Joann's, with my mom (and toddler) in tow I gasped at seeing the prices for patterns. Fourteen bucks a piece?! Yikes. My mom then told me not to expect to save money by sewing.
And at first sight, she might have been right. If you buy a pattern at full price (which I now realize is quite rare) add up the required fabrics & notions (assuming you buy a new set each project) you could likely already be spending more than what you would spend if you had gone the Ready-to-wear route. And that is without taking into account the time & effort you (lovingly) put into the project.
However, if you get your pattern for, say, $1, buy your fabric & notions on sale (which is the primary way I've shopped thus far) and sew said pattern numerous times...well then, I'd say at the end of the day you've come out ahead of the game. Not to mention you get the thrill of saying "Thanks! I made it!" when you receive a compliment on the what you're wearing.There are other things to take into consideration, too. Many sewers find that it easier to sew their own garments than it is to find RTW clothing that fits just right.
Now, for me, being a beginner I sew because I enjoy it. The entire process. I love watching scraps of fabric turn into something wearable. As of right now, sewing isn't saving me money, but really, it's not breaking the bank either. There are, without a doubt, more expensive hobbies with less return. I did make myself a great pair of lounge pants (the Wear Anywhere Yoga Pants from the Sew Everything Workshop) and though I love them, I didn't need another pair of comfy pants, but then again, who doesn't need another pair of comfy (and cute!) pants??
Let's break it down.

Pattern: $0 (it came with the Sew Everything Workshop book, which I'd say is included in my sewing start up costs, which is another list in itself)
Fabric: $10.49 (with 50% off coupon)
Drawstring: $1.58
Thread: $1.39
Grand Total: $13.46

Ok. $14 for a pair of pants that I really, really enjoy. I don't think I'd spend much less on a pair of RTW pants of this kind. I like wearing them, I liked making them & I plan on sewing this pattern again in the future. As time goes on & my skill set grows, I plan on being able to sew just about anything, and doing it well. It will be then, I think, I hope, that sewing will save me money. But if not, well, it is something that I really like doing.


  1. Jenna, I replied on PR but came here to read the whole post. I agree with you that it is possible to come out ahead in sewing. I like to refashion stuff so many of my clothes have had multiple jobs in their time. Mostly, though, I love to sew and love to be self sufficient.

  2. Hi Jenna! I have been thinking about this lately also! So cool that you posted on the topic. (I found your addy at PR, btw.=D)

    I usually get my patterns for $0.99 or $1.99 too. I LOVE the coupons. We have a fabric outlet here in the Twin Cities called S.R. Harris. Every fabric sold there is 50% off, so I get a good deal. I'm making a summer cotton skirt (even though summer is just about over) and my fabric cost $5. I had to get a zipper and thread - pattern was a buck. With my trim and handwork that I plan on doing - it'll be a $30 skirt! :) I think buying smart is key.

    Then there is quality. If I want a nice basic skirt to last for years to come, I'll make sure I get the right fabric for it to hold up. Even if I pay $50 bucks for the yardage, it's worth it when I don't have to buy a new basic skirt each year. :D

    The last sentence of your entry covers the bottom line though "But if not, well, it is something that I really like doing." I AGREE!!!


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