Category Archives: Tips

The Thrifty Baby Celebration

Well, I really thought I would have had a baby by now. I’m 39 weeks today and have never been this pregnant in all my pregnancies! Since this is my fourth baby, baby showers are pretty much non-existent at this point. And, let’s be real, most of my friends have four or more children too, so there’s no time for throwing parties. Instead, I decided to throw a virtual party here on my blog and everyone’s invited! It’s the Thrifty Baby Celebration!

Thrifty Baby Celebration | Sew Thrifty {}

Over the next month there will be tons of great baby ideas that you can sew or DIY that cost next to nothing.


Since my last baby was a girl, I did quite a bit of baby girl sewing.  Here are some great (inexpensive) ideas to get you started:

  1. FREE baby dress pattern

Baby Lap Dress FREE Pattern 6-12 mos {Sew Thrifty |}


2. Upcycled maternity shirt to baby skirtUpcycled Circle Skirt: From maternity shirt to baby skirt! {Sew Thrifty |}


3. Update baby clothes



4. Baby headband



5. FREE Baby shoe pattern

Upcycled Baby Shoes {Sew Thrifty |}


6. Get your baby Halloween ready!BabyCaptainAm-1

Over the next month I’ll have some great bloggers featured here with their ideas for sewing for baby that won’t cost a ton of money. Be sure to follow along!

Using FREE Tutorials to Design Your Clothes

Purple Star Henley Cap sleeve, a Free Tutorial Mash-up | Sew Thrifty {}

Over the past year I’ve been blogging off and on still trying to figure out just what kind of sewing blog I’d like to portray. (And what I have time for!) In the end, I know I want to encourage other potential sewists out there to start sewing, keep sewing, and finding ways to afford sewing. Today, I used four free tutorials to create a unique look for this shirt. No money was shelled out for patterns and all of these tutorials are easily found online. In fact, I’m completely self-taught and find most of what I need to teach myself online.

Continue reading Using FREE Tutorials to Design Your Clothes

Eight Reasons to Invest in a Pattern

Today I’m going to talk about investments. Not the hardcore financial kind with stocks and bonds and all that. No, today I’m going to share with you my secrets to investing…in patterns!

8 Reasons to Invest in a Pattern {Sew Thrifty |}

As a beginnner seamstress, I rarely bought patterns. I relied on websites offering free patterns or tutorials on how to make my own pattern. Even now I still frequent free pattern sites like Melly Sews, Shwin and Shwin and others to see if something free will work before I invest in a pattern.

However, there are many good quality patterns out there that are worth having. How do you know if it’s right for you? And when should you invest your money?

{Note: I have purchased (or was gifted) all but one of the patterns recommended in this post. I am getting no kickback or benefits from these recommendations – I just love these patterns!}

Here are 8 reasons why I invest in a pattern (for kids):

1. It’s unisex.

If you have boys and girls, it’s great to have a pattern you can use for both, right? I have 1 boy and 2 girls, so I’m definitely in the category of needing patterns for both. Even if you only have boys or girls, chances are you have opportunities to sew for the other gender – nieces, nephews, grand-kids, friends, gifts, etc. My favorites right now are the Bimaa and Mini Hudson Pant.

8 Reasons to Invest in a Pattern {Sew Thrifty |}1. Upcycled Bimaa by Sew Thrifty  2. Bimaa Bimaa Bimaa by Sew a Straight Line

MiniHudsons1. Mini Hudson Pant by True Bias 2. Mini Hudson Pant by True Bias

2. It covers a wide range of sizes.

Kids grow. Fast! If you plan on making their wardrobes over the years, you’re going to need patterns that will fit them as they grow. Many patterns are offered through age 8, but there are some out there that span from toddler to teen. My favorites right now are several from Fishsticks Designs. Most of her patterns range from 12 months to 14 years!!

8 Reasons to Invest in a Pattern {Sew Thrifty |} photos by Fishsticks Designs1. Downtown V-Neck 2. Hide ‘n Go Seek Hoodie both by Fishsticks Designs

And please tell me I’m not the only one out there who purchases a pattern and never gets around to using it until 2 years later. Anyone…? Bueller?  Well, if the pattern has a wide range of sizes, then I know I’ll get a chance to sew it up for my child, even if it’s not the same year I purchased the pattern.

3. It offers several pattern variations.

There are two huge benefits to pattern variations.  The first is obvious – the same pattern can give you totally different looks. I enjoy making my kids’ wardrobe varied. Plus, I get a bit bored making the same thing over and over. If the pattern already has built-in variations (short sleeve/long sleeve, square pockets/round pockets, zipper/no zipper), the second and third sews can be quite easy, but also fun to try one of the other variations.

The second benefit is that you can use the same pattern over and over again. This benefit is great since you know the fit of the pattern and can whip out some quick clothes without having to trace and cut new pattern pieces each time! My current favorites with loads of variation are the Recess Raglan and Sand & Sidewalk Boardshorts and Skate Pants.

8 Reasons to Invest in a Pattern {Sew Thrifty |} Photo  of Recess Raglan, pattern by See Kate Sew8 Reasons to Invest in a Pattern {Sew Thrifty |} Photo of Fishsticks Designs' Sand and Sidewalk Board Shorts

1. Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew 2. Sand & Sidewalk Boardshorts and Skate Pants by Fishsticks Designs

4. It provides good instructions and photos.

This one may be hard to know, but can be vital if you’re a new(ish) sewer. Step-by-step directions on the pattern is key to learning how to sew. Unless you already know how to do something or search for videos, it may be difficult to sew up a garment without step-by-step instructions.

If the pattern designer is new or you’re not sure what the pattern looks like before purchasing, you might not be able to answer this one. However, there are numerous Facebook groups, Etsy reviews and other places that you can check to ask others’ opinions of a specific pattern. Some pattern designers offer blog tours of their pattern, and you can read reviews from bloggers and see many variations of the same garment. Since those bloggers have received the pattern free, their review may be tainted slightly.

Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {}Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty; pattern by new designer Stitch and Willow

Another great way to test out a pattern designer and get a feel for the way they make patterns is to use some of their free patterns (if available). Many designers offer free patterns as they get started, and others offer them only in one size. Those free patterns may not fit your exact need, but it will give you an idea about how the designer walks you through their patterns.

5. You’re going to make multiple versions of it.

It’s a bit expensive to spend $8 on a pattern if you only plan on making one item based off that pattern. However, the same can be said even if you only spend $1! Be sure you want to make multiples of the garment before purchasing a pattern.

8 Reasons to Invest in a Pattern {Sew Thrifty |}1. Colorblocked Tank by Sew Thrifty 2. Alligator Tank by Sew Thrifty

And don’t limit yourself to just the pattern and its variations. There are so many ways to hack a pattern. My favorite pattern is the Bimaa and I loved hacking it for spring.

6. It’s timeless.

You’ll never catch me purchasing super trendy things. I’m not particularly trendy in the first place, so you might discount this recommendation, but I like to know I can sew an item for my first child and for my last (and who knows how far apart they will be?). I won’t purchase a pattern for something really trendy, because I just don’t see the value in using it over time. There are so many great patterns that fit the timeless description, but my recent favorite is Heidi and Finn’s Slouchy Cardigan.

8 Reasons to Invest in a Patter {Sew Thrifty |}Slouchy Cardigans by twelve2; pattern by Heidi & Finn

7. It’s something you can’t figure out on your own.

This one is huge for me. I’ve been sewing for 7 years, but I’m definitely still not advanced. I’m beginning to learn how to adjust patterns and this year have actually made my first pattern available for public! But there are many things I’ve never done and just don’t want to waste my time trying to figure out. That’s why people are pattern designers, right?! If it involves zippers, linings, or an advanced technique I’m not familiar with, I’ll be buying a pattern rather than figuring it out on my own.

8 Reasons to Invest in a Pattern {Sew Thrifty |} pattern by Fishsticks Designs1. Self-drafted trainers by Sew Thrifty 2. The Little Fishies Undies by Fishsticks Designs

Or perhaps there’s something you want to make, but don’t want to waste time on trying to get the right fit. This past spring I was working on making my daughter some cloth trainers. I made a few pairs based off her underwear and diapers, but I just couldn’t get the fit right. Luckily, I was using scraps and used fabric, so I wasn’t wasting anything, but it took a great deal of time. Then my friend mentioned, “Wouldn’t it save you more money (and time) in the long run to just buy a pattern you know already has the right fit?” Well, yeah! So, I did. And now I have an underwear pattern that I can use for the rest of my children’s lives. It’s the The Little Fishies Undies by Fishsticks Designs. And I love it!

8. It’s on sale!

Ha, you knew I was going to mention something about saving money, right?! But don’t just buy a pattern because it’s on sale. I can’t tell you how many times people tell me they stocked up at certain fabric stores when they have their big $1 pattern sales. And then never open the pattern, and it begins to clog their drawers. Hey, if you’re going to sew it up, by all means get ten $1 patterns. But I’d rather buy one $10 pattern knowing I’ll make it multiple times because it’s a great pattern, and I’m comfortable with it than a whole bunch of $1 patterns.


But, if I just haven’t convinced you to invest in a good pattern, check out these great links for hundreds of free patterns:

For Babies | For Kids | For Girls | For Boys | For Women

Did I miss anything? Why do you purchase the patterns you do?

Eight Reasons to Invest in a Pattern was originally posted by Sew Thrifty.

Upcycled: Raglan for Boys

Do you ever realize how many free or event-related shirts you amass over the years? Today’s tutorial will show you  how to make use of those shirts for your kids.

This post is the second of my versions of  the Raglan Shirt Pattern by Nap-Time Creations.  You can view my girl’s version of the raglan here.

{Disclosure: These are not our patterns, and we don’t claim any rights to them. They are kindly offered for free by the pattern designers. The patterns and tutorials must be obtained at the pattern designers’ sites.}

Upcycled Boy Raglan {Sew Thrifty |}

Both the gray and lime fabrics came from shirts with over-sized graphics. These are very common with shirts you can receive for donating money, company shirts, or team shirts. Some of these shirts are sentimental, but others are just filling up your closet…or your trash pile. Now, there’s something you can do with them!

Upcycled Raglan for Boys {Sew Thrifty|}

This shirt was a friend’s that she and her whole family had worn in support of March for Babies. An awesome cause, but she didn’t need 5 of these matching shirts past the day of the walk. She kindly packed up this one and many others and delivered them free to my house. Free fabric! Free delivery! I have the best friends.

Upcycled Raglan for Boys {Sew Thrifty|}

Because the graphic on the back was so large, I could only use this shirt for the front in the size I needed. There was still some leftover on the back that I’ll use for other small projects.Upcycled Raglan for Boys {Sew Thrifty|}

As you can see above, I folded my t-shirt and lined up the bottom of the pattern to the bottom of the shirt. Since I didn’t have to bother with hemming the shirt, I could have slid the pattern piece down to account for not hemming. However, I like longer shirts (makes them last longer on my constantly-growing kiddos), so I kept the pattern piece as pictured above to gain an extra inch or so. Upcycled Raglan for Boys {Sew Thrifty|}

For the sleeve, I did slide the pattern piece off the edge of the t-shirt’s original sleeve. I wanted a short-sleeve shirt and nothing longer than that.

Upcycled Raglan for Boys {Sew Thrifty|}

I did the same cutting process for the back of the shirt and cut off the neckband of this gray shirt to use for my final raglan.

Also, since I used the original hem of the shirts, when I serged my shirt together, I ended up with a tail of additional thread. (This will also happen if you’re using a sewing machine, although if you back stitch your seams should stay put.) When using a serger, I use this method to keep my thread tails from coming apart:

Finishing Serger Hems {Sew Thrifty |}



And now the shirt is completely done and ready to be worn!Upcycled Lime Raglan and Baggies {Sew Thrifty |}

Upcycled Lime Raglan and Baggies {Sew Thrifty |}

Upcycled Lime Raglan and Baggies {Sew Thrifty |}

And I know you saw those awesome shorts up there! Don’t worry, those will be coming next week.

Here’s the breakdown:

Upcycled Boy's Raglan {Sew Thrifty |}

Check out what Feather’s Flights is up to today with her peasant style tunic!

Upcycled: Learn to Sew Your Kid's Wardrobe. A Series by Feather's Flights ( and Sew Thrifty (

Have you upcycled any garments for your kids? Tag #upcycledkid on Instagram so we can see all the awesomeness you are creating! Or share a link in the comments.

Kids Clothes Week

kid's clothes week

Kid’s Clothes Week comes around four times a year and I try to never miss it. It’s such a fun week of inspiration, encouragement, and community-building all centered around kid’s clothes! One day I hope to be a contributor for their blog, so maybe if I show how excited I am for this week to start, they’ll pick me…please…maybe?!

What is Kid’s Clothes Week?

A week-long worldwide event where sewers and crafters commit to sew one hour a day for seven days. Recently, the organizers have come up with awesome themes (storybook, upcycling, and this season’s: WILD things) that you can grab onto or simply sew what your kids need for the upcoming season.

Check out all the inspirations here, here, here, and here. Fur, faces, feathers, and more!

Why participate?

Why not? If you sew, want to sew, or are an avid seamstress, Kid’s Clothes Week is a great time to knock out some unfinished projects, get inspired, build a sewing community, or show off your creations! Plus, when you sign up to participate you are automatically entered to win some awesome fabric and a book.

You can go here to sign up. Do it! Even if you’re not sure you’ll be able to sew every day, just join the community and be inspired. Link up your projects for a chance to be featured or peruse others’ works

Kid’s Clothes Week: Sew Thrifty

I will be posting behind-the-scenes goodness over on Instagram and you can post with #kidsclothesweek on any social media outlet. Leave a comment here if you plan to participate and let me know what you create!


See you next week with my first products of Kid’s Clothes Week!