Tag Archives: tips

Savings Made by Sewing {Supplies} with Lulu & Celeste

We are wrapping up this week on supplies with Ula from Lulu & Celeste. Just last month Ula hosted a Canadian Pattern Designers Tour; I love that she highlighted these designers to give us all some inspiration! Today, she’s here to tell us 5 ways to save money on sewing supplies:

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Hi! My name is Ula and I blog over at Lulu & Celeste. I mostly blog about the projects I’ve sewn for my two girls, and from time to time I even share some tutorials I’ve done. Today I’m here with 5 simple tips for helping you to save money on sewing supplies!

5tips

 5 Tips for Saving Money on Sewing Supplies

1. If you’re on the hunt for a sewing machine, doing your research is probably the most important tip out there. While you’re looking for a machine, you may come across what seems like a fantastic deal on a sewing machine that turns out really was too good to be true. Here are a few links to get you started:

Consumer Reports – Sewing Machine Guide

Vintage Singer manuals

International Sewing Machine Collectors Society

Singer sewing machine. Photo by rickpilot_2000 // cc
Singer sewing machine. Photo by rickpilot_2000 // cc

2. After you’ve done a bit of research, check out online sites like Craigslist, Freecycle and eBay. As well, search for yard sale/garage sale groups on Facebook for your area as well as destash fabric groups if you’re looking for fabric. People don’t always have the time to hold garage sales and will sell their items online instead. You can often find people destashing fabric, supplies and sewing machines in these groups for good prices.

Also, check garage sales and estate sales. If it’s garage sale season, it might be worth your while to spend some Saturday mornings going around to garage sales. I’ve found fabric and buttons in the past for good deals. Along that vein, my hubby once found a sewing machine with a table out by the curb.

Check out thrift shops for fabric and machines. The local Value Village has a small fabric section, and the prices there are good. I once found 4 meters uncut of vintage (late 70s) cotton woven fabric for just $3. The clothing they sell is overpriced (like really, why would I buy that slightly stained, used kids’ Walmart brand tee for $5 when I can get it brand new on sale for $3?!), but the fabric is a good deal.

3. Repurpose. I often cut up my now too big tops and pants to make clothing for my girls. I don’t just use the fabric,  but I also remove the zippers, buttons and any other embellishments to be reused for other projects.

upcycled projects
Some projects I’ve done using upcycled fabrics and notions.

4. Keep an eye on the remnant bin at your fabric shop. At my store they will sometimes put together these small packages of notions for cheap. They might include packages of buttons that are missing one or two, a package of twill tape that was opened. Basically, things they can’t sell at full price anymore. They also have remnant fabric for sale and often times for a very good price. Even better is when my local store has an extra sale of 3 remnants for $5; sometimes the remnant is nearly a full meter!

5. Become a member of your local fabric store. Many stores offer special discounts for members and/or will even have member-only sales. Sometimes there is a small yearly fee for membership, but it might be worth it if you make lots of fabric purchases.

Have fun with it! I hope these tips help you out!

link to image credit in cover photo: Damian Gadal //cc

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I LOVE these tips! It wasn’t until this series began that I really thought about using thrifted notions and why not?! How do you save on your supplies?

That’s it for this week. Come back next week for some general tips on saving money and some inspiration!

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

Sewing Machine Maintenance: Savings Made by Sewing {Supplies} with Bernina Sewing Etc.

Have you ever been in a store that treats you like a friend even when you never buy anything? That is my experience with my local Bernina shop. I stop by the shop to swoon over all the amazing fabrics and machines and even though I hardly purchase anything, the ladies there always make me feel welcome. They know me by name and offer to play with my children (and they really do entertain them!) so I can browse their amazing collection of fabrics. They let me know when they receive more knits (my fav!), and one time they gave a $10 gift card for email subscribers!

I’ve particularly gotten to know Cindy through the movie nights hosted by the shop, as well as a t-shirt class she taught. I knew Cindy would be the perfect person to ask about this topic – she works for Bernina and has been sewing and teaching for a long time.  And, just like she is when I’m in the shop, she’s more than willing to go the extra mile to share with all of you about how to take care of your machine.

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Hey, this is Cindy Hampton bringing you information on maintenance and tips on your sewing machine.  I currently work for Bernina Sewing Etc. in Ridgeland, MS.  I have been sewing 46 years and I love to sew children’s clothes, purses, bags and home dec.

Tips for Maintaining Your Sewing Machine. Savings Made by Sewing {Supplies} a series by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

Save money by maintaining your machine

If you take care of your machine, it will take care of you! This is so true. A few simple maintenance steps will help your machine last longer and in the long run will save you money.

Here are a few things you need to do at the end of each project or once a week if you sew regularly (2 to 3 times a week):

1.  Clean your machine

After turning off your machine, clean under the stitch plate (Refer to your manual if you do not know how to remove yours). Using a small lint brush, clean the underside of your stitch plate and around the feed dogs, removing any pieces of thread and lint in these areas. DO NOT use canned air to blow out your machine! This could eventually cause rust because of the condensation and can also blow lint farther into your machine as well as add moisture to your machine.

2. Oil your machine

Oil your machine often. You may need to refer to your manual for the placement and type of oil to use.

3. Change your needle

Again, do this often, not just when it breaks. Your needle should be replaced after every 4 to 6 hours of sewing time. This task is probably one of the most inexpensive parts of your project and one of the most important!

4. Carefully change thread

When changing thread , cut your thread at the top by the spool and pull it out from the needle. This saves wear and tear on your tension disks.

5. Get your machine cleaned

Take your machine in for regular cleanings.  If you bought your machine from a dealer in your area, take it in to them for regular servicing and cleaning. If not, you will need to look for a local repair store. Not all stores repair all brands of machines, so you will probably need to call and ask if they service your brand of machine.

A few additional tips:

  • For better sewing results use good quality thread and needles. I recommend using Schmetz or Bernina needles and Mettler or Gutermann thread.
  • Match your needles to your thread. I normally use a universal or microtex/sharp needle for woven fabrics and a ball point needle (Jersey, Stretch) for knit fabric. The universal needle can go from woven to knits.  I tend to use the 80/12 universal needles on my serger for most fabrics. A good rule to remember is the smaller the number of the needle (example 70/10) use on finer fabric. The bigger the number (example 90/14) use on heavier fabric. An example of heavier fabric would be denim or heavier. On thread it is the opposite.  The smaller the number the thicker the thread, and the larger the number the finer the thread.  (Use 100 weight on batiste and 50 weight for general sewing) I also like to use the polyester thread for my knit fabrics and the cotton threads for woven fabric. There is some great information on the Schmetz website about what needles to use on which fabrics.

Doing all of these things on a regular basis should help extend the life of your machine and over time, save you money.

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Wow, I definitely struggle with maintaining my machine! I am so fearful of having a day without my sewing machine that I hesitate to take it in for maintenance. And I definitely need to clean and oil more often! What about you? Have you taken your machine in for repairs or maintenance? How do you handle the separation?

Check back tomorrow to hear how Michelle from Pretty Practical made her own cutting table!Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

Savings Made by Sewing {Supplies}

Another week begins and another great group of bloggers with their tips on saving money! This week is all about saving money on supplies – machines, notions, organizational systems, tables, and all the things you need to help you sew amazing things.

Savings Made by Sewing {Supplies} | A Series to Help you Save Money Sewing | Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

If there’s anything out there that prevents people from sewing or thinking sewing can save you money, I believe it’s supplies. The upfront cost of a sewing machine, table and other basic supplies can definitely send someone running. But I want you to consider thinking of these costs in a different way.

Rethink the cost of Sewing Supplies

When you think about going out to eat or cooking at home, what factors do you consider? Cost of the meal? Transportation? Cost of the electricity to cook the meal? Time it takes? Cost of tools used? Most of the time we compare the cost of the meal out and the cost of the food it takes to cook the meal if we cook ourselves. For example:

image

We don’t include the cost of the knife to cut the potatoes or the refrigerator to cool the soda or the gas to heat the grill to cook the burgers. So then why do we think about the  cost of scissors, pins, or a sewing machine when factoring how much something costs to make? In cooking all these supplies are a given. Kitchen cabinets, ovens, and knives are all investments one must make in order to cook or bake something at home. Likewise, sewing machines, pins, and scissors are all investments a seamstress must make in order to sew their own clothes and accessories.

Supplies are Investments

For those out there thinking about investing in a sewing machine or another tool to help you sew better, consider it like you would a kitchen tool or appliance. Does the tool provide any new or better way to get the job done? Or can you get by with a tool you already have? Chances are you have something you can use until you find the tool on sale, or wait to have it gifted to you. Beginning to sew doesn’t have to drain your savings. Purchase one or a few supplies at a time and you’ll slowly build up your sewing tools. Just like you do when you rent your first apartment or home – you slowly purchase the gadgets you need as you cook.

Buy What You Can Afford

For everything I purchase, I never go into debt. If I can’t afford it, I don’t need it and won’t buy it. So, when you start your sewing supply shopping, set a budget and stick to it.  Don’t purchase something you have to buy on credit. That won’t save any money if you end up paying for your sewing machine for 5 years plus interest. It will end up costing even more than the original price.

There is so much more to be said on this topic, but I’ll leave that up to the rest of the authors this week. This week we will learn all about how to take care of our sewing investments, how to save money through some awesome DIY projects, and general tips on saving on supplies!

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

Savings Made by Sewing {Patterns} with A Real Life Country Housewife

Today’s guest is not just a sewing blogger – she dabbles in lots of different topics.  Amanda from A Real Life Country Housewife blogs all about living our her family’s dreams in a yesterday-type style. And she’s got lots of tips on saving money in different areas of your life! Today, she is going to share her trick to keeping patterns organized.

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Hi! I’m Amanda from A Real Life Country Housewife! I’m so excited to talk to you guys today about pattern organization on a budget! This is something I used to particularly struggle with, and I’m sure I’m not alone!

When I started sewing a few years ago, I quickly began a never-ending battle of figuring out how to store patterns. If you are new to sewing, you are probably experiencing that overwhelming feeling of “buy all the patterns!” Then, before you know it, you’ll have a million patterns to sort through every time you sit down to sew. As a seasoned sewer, you already know my pain.

Pattern Organization

Each pattern in 12 different sizes, scattered all over the floor of your sewing room, and/or cutting table. For a while I was trying to keep them organized by keeping all the sizes of a pattern together in a stack, laid the opposite direction of the next pattern, all that pattern’s sizes, and so on. You can just about imagine how quickly that became unorganized.

I began researching ways to store my patterns, asking in sewing groups on Facebook, searching every inch of Pinterest, and I finally decided on using an expandable file folder. I know what you’re thinking, “those plastic file folders I bought for my middle schooler last year that fell apart after 2 months?” Actually, no!

Pattern Organization

I found this very well made file folder at Target in the School/Office section for $19! I absolutely love it; it was the best money I have ever spent on sewing organization! Finding a pattern is so much faster now!

I have yet to label my files because I haven’t quite got my process perfect, but I have decided that each pattern will have it’s own file with all of the sizes in each spot. I have been using paper clips to keep together pieces from each size, and it seems to be working out really well for me!

I know not everyone has a Target near them; in fact mine is quite a drive, but you can also find them at Walmart, Amazon, Office Max and Staples.

I hope my process has inspired you to go find a folder that fits your style and get to organizing!

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I need some pattern organization in my creative space! Thanks so much, Amanda, for sharing your tips. What have you done to organize your patterns? Or, are you like me and have them everywhere?

Have a great weekend and stop by next week for tons of tips on saving money on supplies – from buttons to sewing machines – you won’t want to miss it!

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

Savings Made by Sewing {Patterns} with Sew Straight and Gather

Who better to tell us how to save on patterns than a pattern designer herself? Terri from Sew Straight and Gather is amazingly resourceful when it comes to patterns.  If you’ve taken the plunge and bought Ottobre, you’ve got to check out her great tutorial on tracing Ottobre patterns! Today she’s giving us tips on how to save when buying patterns.

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Savings-Made-by-Sewing-banner There is nothing like saving money when sewing! Most “non-sewists” think we sew clothes because it is cheaper than buying retail or it saves us money somehow….Well, we all know that is WRONG! So WRONG! We sew because we love it and we want to take the time to create something beautiful –just like most crafters. So between buying beautiful fabric, a great pattern, all the notions and tools and making sure our machines are working properly — it is not cheaper by any means!

Why buy a pair of leggings for 5 dollars when you can make them for $30…right?! LOL!

Saving money on patterns and really anything else is one of those essential skills we must educate ourselves on as we continue with our craft! This series is going to be jam packed full of tips and tricks — so lets all take notes together!!

Here are my TOP 5 for “Saving on Patterns”, I hope you enjoy!

5. Buy patterns with mulitiple options

Sew Straight for Sew Thrifty

Finding patterns with multiple options is a great way to save on patterns. With these kind of patterns you can sew something different every time or for every season and that is a wonderful way to get longevity from a pattern. My Uptown/Downtown has several options and is super fun & rewarding to sew — you can find more details HERE.

Another amazing multi-option PDF pattern is 5 &10! What a genius idea these ladies put together–REALLY genius! 5 pattern blocks and 10 detailed tutorials for 10 completely different designs. THIS is a great way to get bang for your buck! And if your a pattern altering creative–I’m sure the options are endless! Oh, and did I mention there are designs for girls and boys? Check that out HERE! There is currently 3 volumes.

AND until July 19th! YOU can get 10% off your 5&10 designs patterns using code SUMMERFUN. Thank you ladies for letting me share this today!!

4. Ottobre and other

DSC_0884Pages from 3-2015_alldesigns

OTTOBRE! I LOVE Ottobre! This magazine can be subscribed to HERE. There are two options for purchases, you can either subscribe to it directly from Ottobre in Finland or you can purchase it from individual retailers — which can be found on Etsy or with a simple google search. For me it works out to about $17.00 a magazine CAD and worth EVERY penny. You receive about 35 beautiful childrens patterns in each magazine, all of them are awesome designs. Three things you need to be aware of before you purchase — there is NO seam allowance added to the pattern anywhere, you will need to add your preferred amount to every pattern piece. Second, the patterns are nested together, so they need to be traced out – Check out my TUTORIAL HERE for a quick way to do that. Third, the instructions are all written, there are no photo tutorials for construction so you may need to read over them a few times — I suggest starting simple then moving up to a more complex pattern. I still feel the extra work is worth it. I LOVE these patterns. LOVE!

3. Books

DSC_0879Japanese pattern books are another one of my favorites! They are similar to Ottobre but these books gives you much more detailed & illustrated instructions for each pattern. The designs are clean, modern and have beautiful detail.

The patterns are also nested on the pattern sheet but not to the same extent as Ottobre — so they do need to be traced off. The seam allowance is included BONUS!

You can usually find these books on Amazon or at your local book store!

2. Learn to trace from RTW

SOURCE: Sweet Verbena
SOURCE: Sweet Verbena

This tutorial from Sweet Verbena is a perfect example of how to trace simple RTW garments. Tracing retail clothing takes a little practice but it’s worth it! Especially for simple t-shirts, leggings and skirts. It’s the perfect solution to recreating something you already own and love but want in EVERY color. Knit fabric is a great fabric to start with — it’s forgiving if you make a tracing mistake!

This is a great article on how to trace more complex garments from Threads Magazine

1. FREE Patterns

Girls Sewing PatternDo I need to say more??? You can find FREE patterns everywhere! Do a simple Google or Pinterest search and you’ll be downloading all day. Some patterns are simple and some are more complex but most are patterns you will sew for years to come and there are plenty of them!

I hope that was helpful!! I know there is going to be much more to come, so keep your notepad out! Bye!

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How do you save money on patterns? Have you considered using books or magazines or even creating your own? I’d love to hear!

Tomorrow we’ve got Amanda from A Real Life Country Housewife sharing her advice for keeping all those patterns organized!

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

Savings Made by Sewing {Patterns} with House of Estrela

Today our guest has an amazing collection of patterns that she paid pennies for! Magda blogs over at House of Estrela, and she is one amazing refashion queen. Every year she hosts a month-long blog series on refashioning – you really need to go check it out! But, back to patterns…she’s here today to show you her collection and how she’s stocked up without shelling out.
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Hello Sew Thifty readers. My name is Magda E. I am a SAHM of two, living in the south of sunny Portugal and blogging over House of Estrela. Today I will be telling you how I save on patterns. Believe me when I tell you I have a huge collection, but, if you’d asked me if I bought any of them, I’d have to say, no. When I became a SAHM, I knew our income would get a drastic cut down, and I knew I had to be more careful where I’d spend my money. I stopped buying new fabric, and I didn’t allow myself to buy any patterns because I had already a huge collection of pattern magazines, such as Burda, Patrones, Manequim…
So, how
do I get to save on patterns, and still have a lot of them?!
 
1 – I cut out buying digital and paper patterns – I only get pattern magazines from time to time, because they come with many different patterns for the price of one.
collection of a few of the patterns I’ve tested before.
 
2 – Pattern Testing – By committing yourself with a designer, and helping the best way you can to get that new pattern perfect before it is out to be sold, you get a free copy of the same said pattern. That’s actually how I’ve built most of my pattern collection.

collection of a few of the patterns I have reviewed before
3 – Signing for pattern reviews – Many designers often give away a few of their patterns to different bloggers in exchange of a review of the same one. You just have to sew it and blog about it. Most of them ask for an honest review, and those are the best to work with. If you’re ever given a pattern you don’t like, please respect the designer. Send them a private e-mail mentioning what you’ve disliked and give them your honest opinion on why you won’t blog about it, IF you don’t think you have any good things to say about it. Remember they
are all trying to do their best too.
 
4 – Alter a basic pattern – If you are going to buy any pattern, make sure you go for good basic ones. Those are the ones you will use over and over. Make sure they have a large size range and that it comes with many options and good instructions. When you have a few basic patterns, you can mix and match pieces from the different ones, or you can create new ones from those you already have. I think one of my favorite alterations I did to a pattern was turning the Rowan Tee shirt from Titchy Threads into a short leather jacket for my daughter. To do this, I have cut the front and back bodice pieces to the desired length, making sure I was cutting the same amount from both pieces. Then I cut the front in two vertically, added seam allowances, and extended the right side into the left to create the assimetrical look on the jacket. That was it, simple. And I got a new pattern out of easy changes. 
5 – Free Patterns – There are a huge number of free patterns all over the internet. I do have three of my own that you can use too if you’d like. It’s one for a 18-24m girl blazer, a newborn onesie and a big bag for sports or maternity.  I have also used free patterns from other people, and I have had good experiences with it. 
 
I did this one without an existing pattern and it turned out to be one of my favorite pieces.
 
6 – Copy the pattern from a pre-loved RTW piece – that’s what I did the most when I started, and when I feel like I need to, I still do it. It works better if you are sewing for kids, but you can do it for adult sewing too. You just have to be more careful. I am sharing a tutorial on my blog today on how to copy a pattern. If you’d like to check out my tips, please visit me, HERE
 
Dana, thank you for having me in this wonderful new series. It was a huge pleasure to me being part of it. I hope my post was helpful. 
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As you can probably can tell, Magda and I share so much in common – I love her sense of using what she’s got and never buying patterns. Do you think you could save money by not purchasing patterns? Or are you just starting out and wondering what base patterns to invest in?

Tomorrow Terri is going to share her Top 5 Ways to save on patterns – so be sure to come check it out!

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

5 Ways to Get FREE Patterns: Savings Made by Sewing {Patterns}!

I don’t really have a problem buying a pattern, but lately I’ve been a bit more intentional when I do purchase one with my own money. However, there are so many ways to score free patterns, that I just have to share those with you today!

Savings Made by Sewing {Patterns} | A Series to Help you Save Money Sewing | Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

5 Ways to Sore FREE Patterns, Savings Made by Sewing {Patterns} | A Series to Help you Save Money Sewing | Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}{This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the links noted by an *, I will receive some compensation if you purchase something.}

1. Google/Pinterest

I wish there was a catch-all place for all the free sewing patterns in the world. There’s not. But, many crafters have made HUGE collections on Pinterest. Mine are here: baby’s, girl’s, boy’s, unisex, women’s. And then there’s tutorials too (which sometimes include patterns): baby’sgirl’s, boy’s, women’s, and housewares. There’s thousands (millions?) of tutorials on sewing tips to help you learn how to create your own pattern or hack a pattern or alter a pattern.

2. Subscribe to emails

Some pattern designers offer a free pattern when you subscribe to their newsletter or join their Facebook group. Others have sneak peaks or alert you when a new free pattern is available. My favorites are: Melly Sews, Brindille and Twig, Shwin and Shwin, and Maria Denmark.

3. Pattern test

Can I tell you how much I love pattern testing!? You definitely have to work for these potentially free patterns, but in my case, it has been worth it. A designer is getting ready to launch a new pattern, but they need to make sure it will fit all shapes, sizes, and age ranges.  That’s where pattern testers come in! They send out a call for testers and indicate the requirements: a time frame (usually a week), fabric requirements/suggestions, sizes needed, photographs needed, and experience required. Every tester call is unique, so be sure to read what the designer is looking for before signing up! I have been fortunate enough to test two patterns over the past two months. And I have missed some really great patterns as well, but I don’t let that stop me from continually looking and being ready for another tester call!

If you’re interested in being a tester, check out designer’s Facebook group and (if you sew for boys) the Sewing for Boys group, which is where I hear about most pattern tester calls.

Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}
Gumnut Dress testing, pattern by WIllow & Stitch
4. Blog

As I have become a blogger, I have connected with pattern designers who are looking for sewing bloggers to showcase their new pattern. Or I have joined on a tour highlighting an eBook or pattern. Now, you may not want to be a blogger, but I want to be honest in that I have received quite a few free patterns since I started blogging. Now, that all comes with the “price” of promoting their product. For me, I only sign up for patterns and tours that I truly do like anyway. And, I’m not blogging for the sole purpose of receiving patterns, believe me! But, if you’ve considered blogging about your craft, that is one way to get some free patterns.

5. Ask for gifts

Everyone knows I love sewing. And that’s all I do besides chase after my kids and feed them all day. So, when it comes time for my birthday, Christmas, and Mother’s Day or Monday (hint hint…hubby, want to get me a random gift? ), they know they can give me something sewing-related. Or come make dinner and clean. So, they usually stick with something crafty. Sometimes they ask for specific ideas, and other times I get so excited about something I might be a bit too bold and ask for it myself. Ok, that may have happened on more than one occasion. I mean, they were going to buy me a gift, and I just needed to let them know that you can only buy Pattern Anthology at certain times!

Other patterns I’ve received as gifts from friends and family are from books and magazines: Sewing for Boys*Reinvention*Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders*Growing Up Sew Liberated*, and Ottobre.

5 Ways to Score FREE Patterns, Savings Made by Sewing {Patterns} | A Series to Help you Save Money Sewing | Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

How do you score free patterns? Or would you rather invest in a good pattern? Or do you make your own?

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You won’t want to miss tomorrow with our first guest on patterns – Sew a Straight Line! She’ll show you how to get patterns for just 67 cents!

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

Savings Made by Sewing {Fabric} with Vicky Myers Creations

Today’s guest is an upcycling extraordinaire!  I’m pleased to welcome Vicky from Vicky Myers Creations.  Really, take a look at her Etsy shop; and she does commissions – taking your clothes and turning them into something amazing. She’s not just upcycling fabric either, check out her projects for reusing chip bags! And read on to see what she’s got for us today.

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Hi, My name is Vicky – I am so excited to be taking part in Savings Made by Sewing. I LOVE sewing, finding the process relaxing, challenging, absorbing, plus it nurtures my creativity. But, it is not always that cheap. In the UK fabric is often £14 a meter which equates to $20 a yard in the US. This can be prohibitive, and it is cheaper to buy new ready-made clothes (dependent upon the brands you buy!!)

Another passion of mine is upcycling and reusing so it comes naturally to me to reuse fabric whenever possible.

Sourcing fabric

I live in the UK and regularly use charity shops, car boot sales and jumble sales. In the UK charity shops are relatively small shops with a few racks of second-hand clothes per size and gender. I suspect they are similar to thrift shops.

mu0bY6G

Car boot sales are held weekly; anyone can bring their car and set up a table to sell what they like. Jumble sales are the cheapest but are not as popular as they used to be. They are an event with tables piled high with clothing that you have to rummage through with many others doing the same, elbows at the ready!! Often at a mere 20p an item this is as cheap as it gets.

Other options include signing up to community reuse groups such as freecycle. Freecycle is community-led groups where people give away items they no longer need and search for items they do need. In the UK there is a similiar organisation called freegle.

What do I look for??

Check out skirts and dresses for fabric to reuse. Full skirts once washed and unpicked can surprise you with the amount of fabric. Jersey dresses are perfect to transform into children’s clothes.

Cotton Skirt

This size 14 skirt gave me 74″ by 23″ of fabric for £3 ($5)

Fabric

But you don’t need to stop there; it doesn’t have to be all about making adult clothes into children’s clothes. I love making bags. So I always check out the bedding – sheets and duvets are brilliant as lining fabric for bags, or to make pillowcase dresses for young girls. Plus curtains are a fabulous source of fabric.

fabric sheets

Trousers can be transformed into man bags. These make unique fabulous gifts.

Messenger Bag
Messenger Bag

Or how about a tablet case?
Denim Mini IPAD Case  Free tutorial

Consider the jumper section. A 100% wool jumper with handwash only label can be placed in the washing machine at the hottest setting and felted.

felted jumper

Always consider the quality of the fabric before purchasing the item. Is it worn in an area? Check the whole garment. Is it machine washable? It is no longer a bargain if you have to pay for dry cleaning before you can upcycle your garment!

What are your top tips for second-hand fabric shopping? If you also loving making items out of old, check out the free tutorials on my blog for inspiration.

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These upcycling tips are wonderful! That finishes us out for the week on fabric, but next week we’ll be ready to save money in another area of sewing – patterns. Have a great weekend!

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

Savings Made by Sewing {Fabric} with Phat Quarters

We are in for another treat today! Gemia from Phat Quarters is our guest blogger telling us how to save money on fabric. Not only does she have an amazing fabric shop (luckyyyy!), she also has a blog with dozens of tutorials and pattern reviews. Let’s hear what she’s got for us today!

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Hi! I am Gemia from Phat Quarters. I’m super excited to be here today and to share a little insider’s info with you today on how to save money when purchasing fabrics. I run a small online fabric shop with my friend Leah, also called Phat Quarters. My first tip for saving money when purchasing fabrics for your next project is to purchase the right CUT. So let’s start off with learning about the different cuts that you can find.

In this diagram you will see not only the cut sizes but an example of the cost of each cut (for the same fabric). Your checkbook is not reading this so let’s be honest with each other for a minute – how many times have you purchased just a half yard of a fabric and then three projects later you really want that print again? So…after resisting for a few hours, or if you are really good, a day, you make the purchase again. Not only are you paying for another half yard cut, because you only need a little…again, you are also paying for shipping again. Now, using this beautiful Art Gallery print Nisi Floral Oceanon, as an example, your two, half-yard cuts plus shipping comes to a total cost of $16.50. If you had purchased a one-yard cut to begin with, then you would have only spent a total of $13.95. That is a savings of $2.55 and every penny counts! I know what you are thinking, spend money to save money, not much of a tip, but trust me, I see it happen all the time! I never buy less than a one-yard cut anymore, especially if I have to pay for shipping costs!

My favorite tip for saving money on fabric however, is to use a project budget rather than a fabric budget. I tend to shop sales, buy from the remnant bin, and see a fabric and think I can use this for multiple projects; and so I purchase without a specific project in mind. While this style of fabric shopping might seem to be a budget breaker, what works for me is to label all my fabrics with their price so that when it is time to complete a project I can set a budget at that level and then turn to my stash. This helps me to understand the cost of each project better and keeps me from spending a lot of money on one dress or shirt. This also makes me use my fabric stash for projects rather than finding a project and going shopping for fabric. It is kinda along the same lines of advice as ‘Do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry!’

To keep me within my project budget I use the rule of thirds in regards to fabric prices and color proportions. Most often we think of the rule of thirds as a visual grid but, for color proportions and your budget, it is better explained as the gallon/quart/pint approach. As an example I made the Extraordinary Girl Shirt by Filles a Maman using these three knit fabrics; Paparounes by Art Gallery ($16 per yard), a solid Coral ($10 a yard), and a solid Hot Pink ($4.99 per yard). First, we are going to categorize the fabrics based on price to fill up our budget. Paparounes is the most expensive so we can only afford a pint of it in our budget. The Hot Pink is the least expensive so we want to use a gallon of it. That leaves the Coral for the remaining pint of our budget. This allows us to use all of our desired fabrics but also maintain a balanced budget.

Next, we need to think of the project piece. In a limitless world I would use the Paparounes for as much of the shirt as possible because I love this print so much. But for my budget I cannot, and so I have to choose how to highlight this fabric to get the best bang for my buck! So I am going to use this fabric for the Front Bodice & Sleeves which I feel is a good compromise between what I want (a gallon of it) and what I can afford to use (a pint of it). So I will use this fabric for a quart of the project. Now based off my budget, the fabric I have the most of is the Hot Pink, which was the least expensive. Therefore, I will use this fabric in the gallon amount. To do that I will make the shirt Back and the Lower Front Bodice all out of the Hot Pink. That leaves the coral, which will be used in an pint amount for the shirt – the Pocket.

As I work through this process with my budget and my project, I am able to clearly see the difference between what I want and what I can afford. Sometimes I will cheat a little on the budget (if it is a really special or cool project). Like for this shirt after cutting it out, I decided that I did not like the little bit of pink on the top of the shirt, so I took the shirt apart and upped my budget for this project a little and used the Paparounes on the back as well. I did not scrap the original back piece; however, I just trimmed it into a smaller size and made another shirt, well two more to be exact. I am admitting to this because we all know it happens! And that leads me to my last tip for saving money on fabric that you fall in love with and just have to have.

It is a simple tip, but sometimes a scary one…ASK. Ask if your favorite shop has any remnant cuts that they would sell. Ask if they will give you a discount on price if you order ‘x’ amount of yards. Ask if they would exchange fabric for promotion. I ask everywhere! Fabric stores want fabric to sell, so as long as you are asking for something reasonable and are kind in your approach, the worst that can happen is that they say no. It is worth the try! I hope that you learned something today or at least have a new angle to think about. I would love to hear any tips you have on saving money when purchasing fabrics. Be sure to stick around for the rest of this series! There are going to be many valuable bits of information that can help you stick to your budget and still create beautiful projects! If you want to keep in touch with me, you can find me in our shop, Phat Quarters, blogging at Phat Quarters, on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Thanks for visiting with me today!

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I’ve definitely used my  most expensive fabric for the smaller sections of the pattern, but today Gemia made it all make even more sense as to why I do this.  Thanks for breaking it down graphically for us! Of course, I’ve also been known to just hang on to those quality fabrics I have purchased because they are so nice and I’m afraid to use them. Do you sew up your most expensive fabric or are you too fearful?
As we round out this week, we’ll hear from Vicky Myers Creations tomorrow for an international perspective on saving money on fabric.

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty

Savings Made by Sewing {Fabric} with Mabey She Made It

When Lisa joined in on this series, I was thrilled! She’s amazingly creative and she likes to save money, but have quality outcomes.  Check out her series on Recreating Kate – all about mimicking the royal wardrobe of Princess Kate without the large price tag. Today Lisa is going to tell us all about when to buy or not buy fabric. Take a look!

Savings Made by Sewing {Fabric} | A Series to Help you Save Money Sewing | Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

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Hi, I’m Lisa Mabey from Mabey She Made It, a sewing, crafts, and home decor blog with classic flair. I’m excited to talk a little bit today about saving money when it comes to fabric. It’s something I’ve thought about over the last little while, and my thoughts have actually changed on the topic over time.

I’m frugal by nature. Find me a good deal, and I’m all over it. I learned to sew using things from the remnant bin at 50% off the sales price. But as my skill has increased, so has my philosophy on buying fabric.

It used to be all about cheap prices. I didn’t care what it was, if it was really inexpensive, I would buy it. I’d sew with it, and I’d be satisfied with the results–for about two washings and I’d notice strange shapes, pills, and poor drape. Since I was learning, I attributed it all to my sewing skills, but as I look back now, I don’t think it was ALL my skill. I think some of it was the quality of fabric. So my first tip for saving money is:

Buy Quality Fabric

But wait, you might say, isn’t higher quality fabric more expensive? Yes, but it’s worth it. Since I’m taking the time to make clothes for my kids and myself, I want them to last and look nice for a long time. I want those clothes to last through more than one child. I want the reason I get rid of a garment to be because styles have changed, not that it looks old after a few washes. Another thing you realize when you start sewing with higher quality fabric is that it’s easier to sew with, your results look better, and it’s a better experience all around.

Lower quality knits peel or develop holes easily; cheap cotton wrinkles like crazy. I don’t have time to remake an item or to iron it every time it comes out of the wash. And since time is money, that’s just one more reason to buy quality fabric.

I’ve also been thinking about how to know when you should buy a fabric so that you’re getting good quality. Trust me when I say I’ve had some bad experiences ordering fabric online only to realize once it got there that it wasn’t anything I was going to use. It was a total waste of money, which brings me to my second tip:

Read the Descriptions Online

I see a print I like, I see a price I like, and often I’m tempted to just add it to my cart and check out. But those product descriptions are really important. What are the care instructions? What weight is the knit? Does the fabric type match the project it’s intended for? These are all questions I ask myself before purchasing. I know that I don’t like sewing with lightweight knits, so I avoid them. If I can’t tell from an online description whether it’s a medium or heavy weight knit, I leave it. It’s not worth wasting money on.

This does require that you know your fabrics–something I’m not so great at still. I prefer to shop in a store most times because I sew by feel and drape most of the time. But learning more about fabric types is something on my to-do list as I know it will help me better understand product descriptions and know what I’m getting.

Ask Others Before Purchasing

If you’ve never bought fabric from a source before, use those Facebook groups and your sewing circle to see whether others thought it was quality. If you can’t find anyone who has used that vendor before, consider only purchasing a small amount or swatches so you get a feel for quality before investing in more. It might take more time and possibly extra shipping charges, but at least you won’t have 3 yards of a knit with no stretch or recovery that will sit around forever without being used.

Only Buy What You’ll Use

I’m also learning what fabric I ACTUALLY use on a regular basis. I might like a print, but if I’m not actually going to use it for a specific purpose I’m learning to leave it. This doesn’t mean all the fabric in my stash has a project slated yet; it just means that I know I’ll use it and have a general idea of the type of project it would be good for. I also have learned to match yardage with a general project idea so when the perfect pattern/fabric combination appears, I have enough for the project (vs. not having enough so it sits on my shelf forever wanting to be used).

With these tips, I think you’ll be better prepared to make great fabric choices that lead to amazing projects. And don’t forget to look for sales–quality fabric is even better when you can get it at a killer price! Happy fabric shopping!

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Oh man, what great advice! I know I’ve been a sucker for a great deal – I make something for myself and not 2 washings later the shirt is pilling all over. I LOVE Lisa’s advice for buying quality fabric so your garment stands the test of time. Anyone else have a story to share about fabric shopping failures?!

Tune in tomorrow to hear from Phat Quarters and the rule of thirds for saving money!

Savings Made by Sewing {Sew Thrifty| www.sewthrifty.org} Great tips for saving money and sewing

Fabric:
July 6: Sew Thrifty | July 7: Feather’s Flights | July 8: Mabey She Made It | July 9: Phat Quarters | July 10: Vicky Myers Creations

Patterns:
July 13: Sew Thrifty | July 14: Sew a Straight Line | July 15: House of Estrela | July 16: Sew Straight and Gather | July 17: A Real Life Country Housewife

Supplies:
July 20: Sew Thrifty | July 21: Bernina Representative | July 22: Pretty Practical | July 23: Finn’s Door | July 24: Lulu and Celeste

General Tips:
July 27: Sew Thrifty | July 28: From-a-Box | July 29: Willow & Stitch | July 30: Knot Sew Normal | July 31: Bringing it All Together by Sew Thrifty