No matter which country, state, or city you live in, many may be experiencing hard economic times. Experts report that things are expected to get worse before they get better. With many struggling to put food on the family tables or clothes on their backs, they are putting more thought into how they can still enjoy their hobbies without spending their life savings. If sewing or crafting is your hobby and you find that fabric and notions are quite expensive, here are a few tips and pointers that will ease the burden on the pocketbook.
1. Recycle. Before throwing out clothes that are too small, showing signs of wear, or aren’t the latest style, think about how you can repurpose the item. Zippers, buttons, and elastic can all be used again and may be just the perfect match for future endeavors.
2. Use up what you have. Most people who sew have accumulated fabrics over time through bargains, coupons, or the fabric that you just couldn’t live without. Dig through your stash and revive those fabrics, patterns, and pattern books that have been accumulating dust and use this opportunity to be creative.
3. Take advantage of bargains and coupons from sewing centers and websites to purchase patterns and designs that you have been eyeing for months. Check the clearance corners for phenomenal deals on fabrics and other items. Thrift stores, garage sales and exchanging with friends can turn up fabulous sewing finds. However, thread is something that you will want to pass on at garage sales or thrift stores, as thread weakens over time and will not produce quality stitches.
4. Freebies. Free items are always the best! The internet is a treasure trove of free patterns and tutorials. You just need to be willing to hunt and search for them. Pinterest is the latest and greatest site to find ideas, patterns, tutorials and numerous other visions.
5. Used sewing machines are a great way to get started. You don’t need a machine that costs more than your car until you see if you enjoy the hobby and are creative and capable to follow-through and finish projects. You may lose interest which also means your investment is lost. The more simple the machine, the less to break or go wrong. And simple machines can last for many years.
6. Do your own alterations. Simple alterations can make ready-to-wear clothing fit much better by adding simple darts and seams to blouses, dresses, and pants. Hemming pants or making simple dresses can be very beneficial to a budget. Introducing the craft of sewing at a young age can also be advantageous because there is less intimidation of a sewing machine and a sense of accomplishment when your project is complete boosts self-esteem.
7. Be resourceful. Thrift stores are phenomenal sources for fabric. For instance, menswear has become a huge trend in home décor items. Items such as a plain or pinstripe men’s shirts can be made into a cute throw pillow or a white canvas crafted into a couch slipcover. Buttons and zippers can be removed from old clothing to save on the cost of sewing notions. Bed sheets can be used for pattern making, and oftentimes garage sales have bags of fabric and other items for a few dollars.
8. Enroll in sewing classes, tutorials, or teach yourself. Many sewing centers offer classes for all levels and often give discounted rates with the purchase of a sewing machine. It is important, however, to remember that there are many free online sewing tutorials to view. Once you learn the basics, you may be able to teach yourself.
9. Buy basic and embellish. Buy a simple shirt at your discount store and embellish to fit with the times. Beads, buttons, and ribbons can do wonders in making something look flashy, classy and up-to-date.
10. Sew your basic needs. We all need a few basic accessories such as scarves, hats, towels, blankets, and mittens. If you find discounted fabric, you can make a blanket in 15 minutes or less and, if the fabric is durable and of good quality, it will last for many years. Make up some items to give as gifts or re-engineer some older stained shirts or jeans into a t-shirt or blue jean quilt and gift it as something they will treasure and use for many years to come.
So, instead of always stepping out for retail therapy, try a creative, crafty therapy instead. Create your own clothes or household items. Buy from thrift stores and make an old drab shirt come to life again, or snip and stitch for an afternoon and make up some Christmas gifts for your sister-in-law, mother, husband, or kids.
It’s a tough world out there and a penny saved is a penny earned. As an alternative to spending your afternoon shopping at the Gap for the perfect color of a t-shirt, reclaim your fabrics, fashion-forward and embellish your garments for the latest retro fit and design. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll save money while you energize yourself with some creative juices. Who can argue with that?