Does anyone actually make their own clothes?

(35 Posts)
Bubbless Fri 22-Nov-13 15:22:49

I'm thinking about investing in a seeing machine to make, mainly, my daughters clothes.....
Does anyone actually do this? How long does it take, she's nearly 1? Does it save any money, equal to buying in places like Primark or cheaper?

OP’s posts: |
Possiblyorange Fri 22-Nov-13 16:09:15

Depends on the kind of fabric you use, but I would say on the whole it's hard to match prices like Primark. What you can do is make far better quality for less money. So I have made clothes at pretty much boden quality (with half decent fabric) for something like 1/2 to 2/3 the actual price, but even by buying cheap fabric I don't think I'd have got it much below, say, M&S prices. By the time you've bought buttons/zips/trims etc it's never going to compete with Primark/H&M price wise, especially if you factor in sewing machine cost.

It is fun though, and you can get exactly what you want rather than compromising. Useful for the inevitable costumes required at school too.

souperb Fri 22-Nov-13 16:21:02

I do a bit (less now I have children). Personally I don't do much the for the kids - they grow out of stuff too quickly and childrens' clothing is so cheap these days and grandparents like to buy stuff. I do the odd dress up costume and never ending repairs. More worth it for me as hard to find tops that encompass my enormous chest without me looking like a tent on rollerskates. I find fabric and trim more expensive than high street clothing, but it fits better and I get exactly what I want.

I knit/crochet stuff in the winter (hats and jumpers mostly, but hoping to move onto socks...), mostly to stop myself eating in front of the television and because it's nice and warm to have a half-finished something on my lap. Again, I don't think it works out cheaper, unless you buy high-end clothing.

Sewing machine is v useful for curtains though, and could be a useful sideline if you ever needed extra cash.

Hopefully Fri 22-Nov-13 16:27:25

Yes, useful to be able to make basic curtains/pillows if you want to redecorate, and knitting can be useful in winter. In fact, knitting has lower start up costs than a sewing machine, so maybe knitted accessories is a good place to start?

Bubbless Fri 22-Nov-13 16:34:42

Mildly fearful of looking stupid..... What can you actually make that's useful by knitting? I'd love to give it a go.. Just not sure!
I figured that the sewing idea might work out more expensive :/

OP’s posts: |
IHadADreamThatWasNotAllADream Fri 22-Nov-13 16:36:21

Here is a fascinating article explaining why making your own clothes is no longer a good way of saving money.

A sewing machine can save you a tonne of money on curtains and cushions though.

Hopefully Fri 22-Nov-13 16:56:28

socks (also good for Christmas presents), hats, mittens/wristwarmers (gloves in theory, but they are a PITA to knit), scarves, I have knitted cardigans but you need to be careful not to buy expensive wool as it takes a LOT.


Slimchance Fri 22-Nov-13 17:12:15

I make my daughter (now 10 yrs) the odd summer cotton skirt and dress. And loads of costumes ... . And lots of things like draw-string bags, bedding sets for dolls cot, dolls clothes etc, and I am now teaching her to sew herself.

I also make quite a few presents for people: mainly wash-bags, make-up bags, book bags, laundry bags etc.

Agree, if you use half decent fabric (and there's no joy in sewing with fabric you don't like) about the only thing you can save on is curtains and cushions ... .

So I would definitely invest in a sewing machine OP (Janome are good!) but wouldn't do so for purely monetary reasons.

BrownSauceSandwich Fri 22-Nov-13 18:24:21

I make some of my own clothes, but because I love the process, and get a better fit... Not because I think it's cheaper. It's an absorbing hobby, and you can offset the costs against the clothes you don't buy instead. You should count on a few false starts (and middles, and ends). Don't cut into your vintage Liberty silk until you've made a few practice pieces out of a charity shop duvet covers (which sometimes turn out to be my favourite clothes!)

Patterns are expensive. You can save a lot if you find a newsagent that sells Burda magazine (monthly, ~£5 each issue for about 20 patterns), but the instructions can be hard for a beginner to follow: you could really do with a decent sewing reference book to help you, and you'll need some big sheets of tissue paper to trace onto.

Fabric is also expensive. If you're in the northwest, check out Abakhan fabrics: they do some very good deals in their stores, but be aware that not everything they sell is a bargain. Otherwise, as hinted above, be open minded about sources of fabric... Some of my most-worn, most admired garments have been made out of an old duvet cover!

Before you invest in a machine, please ask around your friends, family and random strangers... One of them may have a machine gathering dust in their loft. You'll need to get it serviced before you switch it on, but if you hit the jackpot with a 1970s or 80s bernina, elna or Viking, you could end up with a couple of hundred quid's worth of machine for the price of a service.

Shesparkles Fri 22-Nov-13 18:28:44

I've gone back to making my own clothes after making most of my clothes in my teens. I'm fed up to the back teeth of the poor quality of cloth and workmanship in most High St retailers-and that includes M&S and a Next.

umiaisha Fri 22-Nov-13 18:33:24

I have basic dressmaking skills and enjoy making things for DD when I get chance but would say that it is not often the cheapest option.

You can get Liberty fabric at a fraction of the usual price from a shop near Shepherds Bush market.

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 22-Nov-13 18:35:32

Brownsauce sums it up I think... It's something you do because you enjoy it, doesn't save money. I've made a couple of tops and they fit nicely and use fabric I like but by the time I've added up cost of fabric, thread, buttons & pattern etc it's equivalent to high street prices

I do knit socks and get a pair of socks out of £8 worth of sock yarn. I'm wearing some today and they are toasty warm.

souperb Fri 22-Nov-13 19:43:41

Slimchance You are bang on with the doll's clothes. Another area where it is much cheaper to make your own than buy in a shop. "Let's Dress a Doll" by Barbara Drew is brilliant if you can find a cheap copy/borrow from library. She takes into account the comparative massiveness of dolls heads and avoids fastenings that are tricky for young children to do up. Otherwise, lots of patterns free online.

Hopefully I knit mittens generally, rather than gloves. But found a free pattern for gloves years ago where you knit the whole thing sideways rather than wrist to fingertip (if you see what I mean). [[‎ HERE] - somehow this stumps me less?

Knitting smaller things is much more cost effective than a massive jumper because it's easier to find cheap odd balls in charity shops/car boots/eBay - leftovers from other people's abandoned projects. I prefer crochet, but it uses much more wool than knitting as the fabric is denser. So mostly the crochet is afghan squares with oddments these days - can't have too many blankets in our house!

souperb Fri 22-Nov-13 19:45:06

Epic link fail. Soz.

comixminx Fri 22-Nov-13 20:34:51

Ihadadream - I was going to link to the sane article! It's an interesting one, isn't it.

IHadADreamThatWasNotAllADream Fri 22-Nov-13 21:17:32

That's cos I got it from you comixminx smile. I know you IRL - but I change my MN name much more often than you do.

CreamyCooler Sat 23-Nov-13 12:29:46

I like cutting up stuff. Dresses I hardly wear get the top bit chopped of and become everyday skirts.

Slimchance Sat 23-Nov-13 12:44:43

Souperb thanks for "Let's Dress a Doll" by Barbara Drew tip. Will definitely follow that one up.

comixminx Sat 23-Nov-13 21:41:46

Hah ha! Yes, I'm not on MN much at all right now and in any case don't really like namechanging, I just like my "own" name too much... grin

Bubbless Mon 25-Nov-13 21:49:19

Thanks guys, sorry I haven't been back since starting, even busy!! I might still invest, I do enjoy sewing an I hope to teach my daughter too!!

I think il ask around to see if anyone has a machine I can long term borrow!!

OP’s posts: |
AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Mon 25-Nov-13 21:54:53

It saves you money, just about, if you can recycle/refashion your own old clothes that you can't wear any more into children's clothes. But even things like zips and buttons bump up the cost unless you can recycle them too.

If you have to buy fabric, it'll cost you more than Primark.

gretagrape Tue 26-Nov-13 16:37:37

It might not save you money but you'll definitely get a better quality fabric for the same money - I haven't made anything for my 8mo yet, but if I wanted to make a pair of trousers for me, I could buy decent quality 100% wool fabric for them for £10-£15.
I've got tons of zips and buttons so I was really shocked when I had to buy a zip the other day and saw how expensive they are. I generally buy buttons from charity shops as and when I see them.
For zips, it might even be cheaper to buy an item from charity just for the zip!

CommanderShepard Tue 26-Nov-13 17:42:11

I knit, and the cost of yarn is much more than a ready-made item. However:

It's a hobby
The yarn I buy is much nicer quality - even acrylic
I can make something in the right colour, right size, right shape etc

CommanderShepard Tue 26-Nov-13 17:44:02

If you do buy a new sewing machine, I have it on good authority that John Lewis' own machines are actually Janome under the hood.

Lavenderhoney Tue 26-Nov-13 17:50:09

My dm used to make all mine and my party dresses. I used to go to john lewis dress making classes ( skirts etc) but tbh I don't have the time now.
My dm was a fabulous knitter and crocheter though, and often did one off pieces for VIPs/ celebs.

My dd wants to learn and I am embarrassed to admit I don't know how.. It just seemed so dull when I was younger blush

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