Recently, I had someone ask me why I bothered sewing clothes when I could buy them at the thrift store cheaper than I could buy fabric. I explained to her that sewing isn't a skill that warrants expensive trips to the fabric store. Many times I have someone give me clothes that are a bit out of date or too large or whatever. Usually, my sewing adventures involved re-making things into other things. Here are some things that I have done that keep clothing, household goods, and other sewing costs even cheaper than buying clothing at the thrift store.
1. Re-making what I already have. I had some boho/hippy style skirts that were given to me by my mother in law. They were cute and I love hippy style clothing. However, it doesn't really love me. I am short and a little wider than I would like to be and these skirts made me look shorter and wider than I already am. But I didn't want to get rid of them. So I made them into summer sundresses for me and my oldest daughter by simply replacing the elastic waistband with another piece of elastic that fit around our busts and then adding nice wide shoulder straps. We can wear them loose or with belts to give our waist more definition. They fit great and even left loose are more flattering because they fall in a more even way than they did when they were skirts. They come to just a hint above our knees so don't make us look even shorter than we are. The cost of 5 dresses was maybe 1.00 that I had in thread and elastic. That is about 20 cents a piece. Thrift store cost would have been at least 2.00 a skirt if not more.
2. When I am at yard sales or flea markets I pick up sewing supplies. I am always looking out for sewing supplies. I once bought a quart size Ziploc bag full of black thread for 1.00. That was years ago and I am still using that black thread. There were probably 15 to 20 spools in that bag. Another time I bought 4 large spools of serger thread even though I don't have a serger. I paid about 2.00 for all 4 spools. I use it for handsewing items and I am still using off those spools.
3.Along the lines of remaking, many times yard sales with have nice quality clothing for almost nothing. If the material of the clothing is good quality I try to consider if I can re-make it or re-size it. I have made many skirts out of shirts that were way too large or dresses for my daughters out of shirts that were too large.
4. Clothing that has stains can often be cut apart, the fabric flipped over if the stain doesn't go through and remade into something else. Or it can be cut up and the stained portion discarded, then the rest can be used for some type of home goods craft such as patchwork placemats for the table, or everyday dinner napkins that don't really need to match perfectly.
5. Fabric is fabric, so I am prone to picking up decent quality sheets anytime I can. I had built up my stash of sheets so well that recently when I made thermal curtains for the house I had plenty of sheets for the project. I made curtains for 14 very large sets of windows (4 required an entire kind size sheet to cover) out of maybe 3.00 worth of yard/thrift store sheets. I also made 3 shade cloths for the garden out of some cheaper stained sheets that were actually given to me.
These are just a few of the ways that I can save money sewing. Sewing for our house saves a lot of money and doesn't mean any trips to the fabric store. Recently I was in the fabric store getting my scissors sharpened and while I was waiting looked at the price of fabric. The lady that prompted this post was right. For the cost of fabric, I could buy a whole lot of clothing from the thrift store. But I can do it much cheaper. Blessings, Kat