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6 ways to save money sewing

6 ways you can save money in your sewing so we can all continue to do the things that we love and benefit from!

The world is moving through uncertain times, you don’t need me to tell you that. I’m sure you have looked at your grocery bill or the digits when you fill up the car with some concern.

I know things are feeling tight for you. Pennies are being pinched everywhere, even in your sewing room.

But, I also know how beneficial sewing is for you, how essential it is, in some cases.

Through lockdowns over the last few years we rode a high in the creative community – so many people dusted off old machines and discovered a love for sewing! You found joy in mindfulness, productivity, environmentalism and sparking creativity! Not to mention the finished garments at the end of it!

Learn more about the benefits of sewing here!

So today I’m brainstorming 6 ways you can save money in your sewing – so we can all continue to do the things that we love and benefit from! AND, get more bang for your buck!

Save money sewing with scraps
Kauri Dress and scrap scrunchie by Sharaine Talip

1. Use Scraps as you go for Gifts

Have 2 or 3 go-to sewing patterns (Free ones are even better!) that you can create with scraps.

Try to have a few sewing patterns that use a different amount of scraps – that way you can use up the last of the leftover fabric economically.

Cut them out when you cut out each project and stack them for later, OR, bonus points if you sew them after you finish your project! Then, store them in a basket and use them as you go-to gifts throughout the year! 

Our VIP Community loves our Free Cat Bag Friends sewing pattern, you can even simplify the Cat Bag pattern to just the bag base (without the animal details) for a faster sew! Or, create fun scrunchies with this free tutorial!

This is a great way to use up scraps as you go, and have gifts (unexpected costs!) covered for the year!

Pai Shorts batch sewing
Pai Shorts batch sewing by Jo Bee

2. Re-Use your Patterns!

I polled our VIP Community earlier this week and out of 100 votes; 5% said they had bought a Classic BTK pattern and never sewn it, and 4% said they had only sewn it once.

Contrastingly, people who had sewn with the pattern 2-3 times accounted for 26%, 4-5 times 13%, and a massive 5+ times was a whopping 48%!

Overwhelmingly, half of our respondents have used our pattern 5+ times. The other majority are using them 2-4 times! 

That’s great! 

Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir here, but making use of the patterns you have and re-sewing with them is a great way to get more bang for your buck!

If you love a pattern, try batch sewing it and creating a whole bunch of them! Here’s an example of batch sewing the Pai Shorts, and tips of how to!

Or, look for ways you can be creative with your favourite patterns. Try pattern hacks from blog tutorials or consider how you can use a pattern as a base and change it up; sleeve style, hem length, adding in ruffles or waist gathers are all easy hacks to get a whole new look!

You can even set yourself a challenge: 4 garments in for weeks, or 6 garments in 6 months, for example. Whatever is realistic for you!

3. Harvest Fabric

I asked the community at PDF Down Under if they had any sewing saving tips and I loved what Hannah had to say:

“I have made myself known at my local op shop [thrift store/second hand shop] to be someone who sews and will take items with holes/stains in them, which they would otherwise throw out. I then go once a week and look through their ‘throw out’ bag and get some bargains for $1 a piece. I then sew them into whatever! Great for my young kids who can easily get an item of clothing out of a larger item.”

– Hannah L

Shopping from thrift stores is a great way to harvest fabric – look for sheets and duvet covers for massive yardage for big projects, woollen blankets, and garments you can upcycle.

Here’s an inspiration guide to mending, so if you do have garments that have holes or stains – don’t fear! You can still turn them in to something wonderful.

Mending Inspiration
Mending by Emma-Lisa Jansson McGhee

4. Create an opportunity box at home

Not every project can be mended. Or even, sometimes don’t need to be mended at all!

I have an opportunity box at home where garments go that still have life left in them – sort of like an in house thrift store! 

Into the box goes old shirts and clothes that don’t fit any more, things that were bought but never worn, sewn garments that need a new life, things that are beyond the repair of my mending skills but still has great fabric with it.

When it goes into the box it usually has an end goal in mind, something that can be a go-to when I’m light on projects but need all the benefits that sewing gives me (peace, mindfulness, productivity).

Create your own opportunity box to set aside future projects!

Tio Trousers - wide / tapered leg sewing pattern
Rawe Top, Kea Top, and Tio Trousers by Below the Kōwhai

5. Sew and Wear a Uniform

This is a follow up to #2: When you find that dress, trouser, or top pattern you love, make a whole lot of them! Sew a few at once (batch sewing), or return to the pattern again and again. 

You’ll find doing this will also create you a natural capsule wardrobe so pieces can mix and match together. 

Mending Inspiration
Piecing fabric together by Emma-Lisa Jansson McGhee

6. Piece Together a Celebration Garment

Hold on to a few scraps from your favourite projects and at the end of the year Frankenstein together a jacket for yourself or child!

It doesn’t need to be pretty. It doesn’t need new fabric.

I love this scrap busted Ilford Jacket (pattern by Friday Pattern co. Example sewn by Helens Closet), or use our Awhi Coat sewing pattern for a childs version.

Like quilting days of old, use what you have and piece it together to create something new, wearable and warm! It will be a celebration of cloth and creativity, of resourcefulness and productivity, and most of all, peace.

If you have more ideas for how to save money in your sewing, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post for future sewists to see!

I can’t wait to see your scrap busting scrunchies and resourcefulness in our VIP Community on Facebook or tag us on Instagram!

Love and happy sewing,
Sophie x

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