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is it REALLY cheaper to make your own clothes?

(24 Posts)
Cappuccino Sun 03-Aug-08 21:23:32

I got the sewing machine out for the first time in forever - well, about 8 years - to make a costume for dd1

and then I was in a shop looking at a book that was 3 patterns and 'how to sew' and I got sucked in

I really, really need some new clothes but have no money and none on it's way. So if I could start making my own would that save money, or is it actually more expensive? I do remember making a couple of things ages ago that didn't really cost any less, but I really can't remember

and can you really make easy quick things from the same pattern that don't all look the same? Even if, like me, you are stupid?

expatinscotland Sun 03-Aug-08 21:28:24

I think it can be IF you have the ability to make clothes that would cost a bomb here.

For example, one of my two best pals in the world, back in Denver, works a second job as a professional seamstress making formal wear.

She makes all her work clothes. She works as a paralegal and even there, quality work clothes for that climate would cost a lot.

But she's able to source high quality wool and silk to produce trouser and suit skirts for about half the cost.

She doesn't use patterns all the time, but she's also very skilled and has a very good sewing machine (which she bought for professional reasons and business expensed).

LittleMissBliss Sun 03-Aug-08 21:32:33

I'm not sure depends on the item of clothing i guess. But when i have a dd (if i have a dd) I want to make her smock dresses! With material like this Which would be much cheaper than buying lots of little girls dresses which can be expensive. Just re-use the same pattern with lots of different patterned materials!

blithedance Sun 03-Aug-08 21:33:10

Well, like all things it depends. May not be cheaper than Asda. And patterns are not cheap either, although you may find special offers. But once you have a pattern sorted out that you can re-use, and a reasonably priced source of material then it's probably a good way to sew things like skirts, dresses, blouses. And they will be of a lasting quality too.

Most patterns have a variety of "looks" in the same pattern eg. long/short sleeves, trim and neckline variations.

What sort of things did you have in mind?

I brought my machine out of retirement to make a dress last month and it's got me thinking along the same lines too.

IME the best source of cheap fabrics and sewing supplies are proper old-fashioned market stalls, much cheaper than sewing shops or John Lewis. Good haberdashery stall is a goldmine.

blithedance Sun 03-Aug-08 21:33:10

Well, like all things it depends. May not be cheaper than Asda. And patterns are not cheap either, although you may find special offers. But once you have a pattern sorted out that you can re-use, and a reasonably priced source of material then it's probably a good way to sew things like skirts, dresses, blouses. And they will be of a lasting quality too.

Most patterns have a variety of "looks" in the same pattern eg. long/short sleeves, trim and neckline variations.

What sort of things did you have in mind?

I brought my machine out of retirement to make a dress last month and it's got me thinking along the same lines too.

IME the best source of cheap fabrics and sewing supplies are proper old-fashioned market stalls, much cheaper than sewing shops or John Lewis. Good haberdashery stall is a goldmine.

blithedance Sun 03-Aug-08 21:34:30

I wish there was a way to cancel multiple postings!!! blush

LittleMissBliss Sun 03-Aug-08 21:34:49

I really want to make a cupcake dress!

blithedance Sun 03-Aug-08 21:36:12

Watch out the bunting will be next...

ranting Sun 03-Aug-08 21:37:14

No it's not cheaper but.... you can make better quality clothing cheaper than buying off the peg iyswim. Eg, it's very rare to find a lined dress nowadays in the cheaper outlets but once you make one, you realise that a lined dress hangs better and looks and lasts better.

And yes market stalls are fab for good haberdashery.

thisisyesterday Sun 03-Aug-08 21:38:19

it can be.
I have a friend who makes the most fantastic dresses for her dd out of old shirts and stuff.
brilliant

LittleMissBliss Sun 03-Aug-08 21:39:10

Not for me! For a little girl (that i don't have). Maybe i should make one for a friends dd's Birthday....... Littlemiss run's to fish out sewing machine.

ranting Sun 03-Aug-08 21:43:20

this book if you can stretch to it, has three basic patterns in it (blouse, skirt and trousers) with some alteration ideas and instructions in, that gives you lots of wardrobe options. That and a decent dress pattern should be all you need to make a whole wardrobe of differing clothes.

SNoraWotzThat Sun 03-Aug-08 21:44:03

I like to recycle clothes, and if you have a sewing machine, all the better.

I made dd2 a pair of shorts yesterday from some old trousers that were too short. I made the binding for the hems from the left over legs and added some buttons as decoration. So a new pair of shorts for £0.00.

There are so many great blogs and things on the net, to get you started.

Cappuccino Sun 03-Aug-08 21:44:47

that was the one I was looking at!

but tbh I am around Oxfam pricing now, so maybe not...

ranting Sun 03-Aug-08 21:45:17

And fabricland do cheap as chips fabric that's not to be sniffed at, plus if you line something it will make it look more expensive anyway.

ranting Sun 03-Aug-08 21:46:59

Very good book that, although I think a couple of the reviews said that the patterns were a bit on the small size but if you are a 12 or under, they'll be fine.

blithedance Sun 03-Aug-08 21:52:14

Well why not use your sewing machine to alter/customise Oxfam finds? Or re-use material?

You quite often find really good quality clothes (next, M&S at least) in charity shops and they can easily be updated. There was an article in Good Housekeeping called "wardrobe doctors" or something, two women who went through a woman's wardrobe shortening skirts and sleeves, changing buttons etc to bring her clothes up to date and make them more wearable. They were quite radical, such as cutting the top off a dress to make a skirt, or shortening a dress from ankle length to knee length.

ranting Sun 03-Aug-08 21:55:13

Talking of Oxfam, ours gets dressmaking patterns in and our local independant charity shop sells dressmaking patterns for 50p but, you have to read the back for measurements to make sure they are the right size. Size 10 in a 60s pattern is more like an 8 today.

moocowme Sun 10-Aug-08 20:29:50

yes i find it way cheaper and the clothes fit so much better as well .I am a 34G so its hard to buy fitted clothes and making them is really the only option.

I buy most of my fabric at the market stalls and a bit on ebay for the nicer stuff. my local market guy periodically has a whole table or two of £1 a metre fabric off cuts. I buy loads of this so it does not matter if I stuff up.

I also buy Burda magazine every month as this is way cheaper than paper paterns and they seem to fit a more womanly figure.

most of my clothes cost less than £5 each and a lot are under £3 sp I think its definately cheaper than asda and a lot more individual.

I have always made my clothes since I was in my teens and that was all i could afford but now I enjoy doing it. It takes no more time to whip up an item than it does to go out shopping for the better half of a day and much nicer when its cold and wet in winter to stay how and sew with family around.

i shall prbably be sewing still when I am at the retitrment home!

saltnshake Tue 12-Aug-08 09:02:30

free patterns http://m-sewing.com/

FioFio Tue 12-Aug-08 09:04:25

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FioFio Tue 12-Aug-08 09:04:37

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SueW Tue 12-Aug-08 09:10:04

The greatest benefit IMO is that you can make what you want and it will fit. And no-one else will have the same thing.

E.g. I have been looking for a black wool skirt for my new job. I couldn't find anything in the shops that was right. I found a beautiful fabric in a shop in town and lining material. That, together with the pattern, cost me approx £27 which is quite expensive. But the end result is a skirt which fits me perfectly. It's also cut on bias and has been left to hang before hemming to allow the fabric to settle which will ensure an even finish - something some mass-production factory is unlikely to do.

I have to admit I'm still not great at making time to do my own stuff. I used to when I was younger but my mum still does things for me, and DD. blush

moocowme Sat 16-Aug-08 21:45:00

agree with SueW individual clothes that fit well are better than any cheap stuff you can buy.

I have just made myself a complete outfit today. 2 metres of red linen with sparkly bits for a bias cut long skirt and 1.5 metres (£5 total) of nice embroidered white cotton with lace trim for a top that fits my 34G chest quite nicely. plus a copy of burda magazine for 4.50 i think they are now so overall I don't think I could have bought a new outfit for this much, plus they are unique and fit well.

i think if you want to make your own clothes you need to shop around for fabric and build up a bit of a stash, although I could stock a whole habadashery shop with my stash so far!

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