When I was in high school in the 70′s, sewing was a lot more economical than buying retail.
I didn’t grow up learning to sew, and was extremely jealous of my girlfriends who sewed with their moms. Two friends, in particular, had mothers who were gracious enough to invite me over to watch when they planned to sew together. What a blessing that was to me! It motivated me further to learn how to sew. Never underestimate your influence as a mom to another young girl. Here I am, 30 years later, talking about it.
Things are different today and have been for a while. Based on retail fabric prices alone, one could not rationalize sewing as an economical option for clothing. Yet, some things are worth more than the price involved.
Learning the skill of sewing is a lifetime gift that cannot necessarily be quantified.
It’s a gift that lasts for years and years and will touch the generations to come. I think it’s worth it. Canning falls in the same category. Frankly, unless you have your own cheap and/or free source of food to can, it can actually be more expensive.
It’s the skills of homemaking that your daughters (children) will take with them, not necessarily what they made.
Once I learned to sew, I saved up for a Viking sewing machine, that I still own today. I wouldn’t give this ‘girl’ up for the world. In my 20′s and before children, I made my own ‘work’ clothes i.e. blazers, skirts, etc. and then my own maternity clothes when I became pregnant with Hailey.
Actually, (funny story here) sewing is one reason that Hailey knows so many Motown songs. I LOVE Motown and I have found that Aretha Franklin’s music kind of grooves well with the rate of sewing. She (Aretha) and I have sewn together for many years. My singing lacks in skill but something about sewing with Aretha just heals my soul! While pregnant with Hailey, I had no other children as well as free evenings to sew to my delight. We (Aretha and I) sang for many hours together as Hailey listened in my tummy. No wonder she likes gospel and soul music.
Over the years, I’ve saved a ton making my own custom drapes. Learning to repair clothing makes what we own last longer. My decision to teach myself to sew was one that has paid off during my life many times.
Rahel, Meredith and I were out over the weekend, trying to buy a few things for them both for the warmer weather to come. Finding modest clothing for young girls becomes more of a challenge every year. Around here, we call inappropriate clothing simply “Hoochie-Mama” or “Hoochie”. For the longest time, Rahel kept asking in her broken English “What ‘hoochie’ mean?”. We tried to explain but always wound up laughing. I think she gets it now.
To that end, good luck finding pre-teen and teen clothes that aren’t “Hoochie”!
I made a decision to drag out my old Viking and fire that girl up this Spring, so the girls and I bought one pattern that they could both use for an Easter dress.
We scoped the clearance racks and found some decently priced fabric for two dresses. Mer’s is the white bodice with zebra stripes and Rahel’s is the cream bodice with the brown leopard print.
I’ll be honest here, even with the sale fabric, the pattern and notions got me. Mea culpa because I haven’t sewn in years and don’t have all the accessories like I use to. I haven’t stocked up on notions for a long time and I got nailed on those things. Had I been better prepared, the cost wouldn’t have been so much.
$48 for all of it, about $25 for each dress. Not bad but not great either. More prep on my part could have made this project half that price. Where it will pay off in the long run is that the girls will learn to sew.
6 Great Ways to Sew and Make it Economical
* Collect re-usable patterns: Purchasing a pattern for one use can very often be a waste.
* Re-purpose old clothing for fabric: Old blue jeans are great for this! I have a whole pile of old jeans that I intend to use to make sturdy tote bags for the grocery and the pool. Just because something has a stain on it and can’t be worn again doesn’t mean it can’t be re-purposed for another project.
* Shop garage sales for fabric: I’ve been surprised to see entire bolts of fabric at garage sales for very little!
* Swap patterns and fabric with friends: This is something that this generation has done a much better job at than mine did….learn to trade and swap! With the advent of Craigslist, Flickr, and I’m sure many other sites that I’m not aware of, folks are not waiting to garage sale their stuff, they get on line and trade it.
* Stock up on notions: Pick up elastics, threads and other notions here and there when they’re cheap! That way you don’t get nailed at the register for incidentals like I did.
* Be patient and plan projects: This allows time to watch for sales and to ask around for materials.
Do YOU sew? Would you like to learn? Did you grow up sewing? How do you save money sewing?