Sewing your way to savings

But be warned, the costs can add up

Purchase Sewing your way to savings

Contact Jane

CALGARY, AB, Mar 28, 2015/ Troy Media/ – Can sewing your own stuff save you money? The short answer is, ‘maybe.’ Let’s look three scenarios to see where sewing cuts costs.

Scenario One: You’re scanning for deals in a designer clearance outlet, hoping to spot a new winter coat for next winter. A clearance rack catches your eye. One woollen beauty, from a label you love and marked down from $500.00 to $100.00, begs you try it on. So you pull it off the rack and head to the mirror to get a look at yourself. You love most of what you see, the design is funky, the colours brighten your features. But this beautiful bargain is an inch too long at the hem and about a half inch more snug than you’d like it to be.

Sometimes sewing is the perfect fit

Takeaway: Knowing how to sew a hem, and move buttons closer to the edge of the fabric makes this deal a perfect fit for both your body and your budget. The skills also help you extend the life of your wardrobe without racking up bills at your local alteration shop.

Scenario Two: You can sew buttons in a stitch, and you’ve been hemming your pants for years. You decide to save a few bucks by sewing an outfit to wear to your kid’s high-school graduation. You budget $50 for fabric, pattern, and other materials to make your new dress.

Weigh the costs of sewing before you start!


Saving money in this scenario is no sure thing. You may wind up with your own designer original, at a fraction of what you’d pay a tailor to make it or pay for a ready-made dress in a high end shop. On the other hand, you can find dozens of sale priced dresses for less than $50 at your local mall this season, especially if you keep your eyes open for clearance and bankruptcy sales.

Takeaway: You’re almost guaranteed to pay less for a ready-made outfit that you buy on sale than what you’ll rack up buying fabric, facing, thread, a pattern, and zippers. Worse, if this new special event outfit is your first do-it-yourself design projects, it could flop, and send you scrambling to the mall, looking for something decent to wear.

Scenario Three: You’re painting walls, replacing furnishings, and changing wall coverings. You pleased with the results so far, but the room still needs a little something – although you’re not sure what. So you head down to your favourite interior design shop to pick up accessories to match your new drapes. You spy a set of designer cushions that you’re certain will give your room star power. But as you bend down to check the price, you nearly keel over in shock. They are $30.00 each. Sure that you can make them yourself for less than half the cost, you squeeze in trips to the fabric warehouse and your favourite thrift shop before heading home. Your new pillows wind up costing less than $5.00 each.

Takeaway: You can save big creating your own home accessories – pillows, throws and rugs – especially if you reuse fabric from your closet or your favourite thrift shop. While you’re there, looking for sewing materials, check out the bins for nearly new ready-made designer pillows and home accessories.

Sewing can stretch your budget

To sum up, sewing skill can cut costs if you take a pragmatic approach to each project because the costs and benefits of every sewing project are unique. But, in general, mending and altering your clothes stretches your budget. So does designing with re-cycled fabric. On the other hand, ‘from scratch’ projects made from new fabric may be as pricey as ready-made items.

Weigh the costs before you start!

Jane Harris-Zsovan offers her readers practical money advice for the real world. Jane is the author of Eugenics and the Firewall: Why Alberta’s UFA/Social Credit Legacy Matters to 21st Century Canadians.

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