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How to make your own clothes? Is it more affordable this way?

Updated on March 30, 2011

When I was first married and had two babies, one after the other, I made all of their clothes and mine. This was a while ago and fabric was quite inexpensive and so were patterns. Over the years fabric has become more and more expensive and the quality is sometimes questionable, but I believe you can still save money. The important thing is, do you like to sew? If it's something that you feel creative and happy doing, it's worth it even if you don't save money because you're clothes will actually fit!

There are some extremes where you can save a ton of money if you're willing to put in the time. A co-worker of mine came to the US from Russia where she had been a physicist. The government made it impossible for her to stay, so she immigrated. She wore very attractive clothes to the office and we all wondered where she bought them. I asked her one day and she told me she made all of her clothes, including underwear! She came from a poor family and learned to sew at a very young age. Their method of making patterns was to lay on the floor, on top of large sheets of meat-wrapping paper and have family members draw around a pattern around each other. They never purchased patterns,which were way too expensive,

Fabric need not always be purchased from a bolt. I made a suit jacket, for myself, from a wool coat I found at the Goodwill. It was part cashmere and the softest, most beautiful fabric I've ever worked with. I figured the coat was from the forties or fifties after researching the manufacturer, and it must have been kept in storage as it was like new! Also,, I bought the coat on half-price day for $4! The unique buttons were an extra bonus!

It will take you quite a while to recoup your money if you buy one of the new uber sewing machines that can embroider your liniens and figure your taxes at the same time. For many years I used an old treadle machine that someone had attached a motor to. Embroidery looks so much nicer when it's done by hand anyway. I now have a table-top Kenmore from the sixties and it works great!

I love to be creative, and choose the colors I like, rather than pick from the two or three, or sometimes one, offered by factory-made clothing. Recycling is a big thing for me, so reusing a piece of clothing and giving it a new life makes me feel great!

If you'd like to try sewing, go to JoAnne fabrics and talk with the sewing teachers. They are very helpful and you can work there or rent machines to see if you like them before making a major commitment.


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