Friday, August 31, 2012

Frugal Friday: Sewing on a Budget

Faced with dwindling options for pre-made clothes that are both modest and affordable, many women are getting back to sewing their own clothing. If you've bought any sewing supplies lately, though, you may have been surprised to find that they make a bigger dent in your budget than you'd like.

Tips for Sewing on a (Real) Budget

  • Stock up on basic supplies while they are on sale. Things like interfacing, elastic, buttons, zippers, and thread are often available for 50% off. It's a good idea to buy enough of these items to last for at least several months when you find a good price.
  • Watch for coupons. Fabric stores such as Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores often have high-value coupons in their mailers. Sign up to receive the mailer so you won't miss a great deal!
  • Buy notions in bulk. Elastic and other notions are usually far less expensive when purchased in bulk. For example, you can buy a three-yard package of elastic for less than the cost of two one-yard packages. And if you don't mind really stocking up, you can save even more--you'll likely be able to get five yards of elastic for less the price of two one-yard packages at Walmart. (Check out HomeSew for deals on bulk purchases).
  • The least-expensive fabrics aren't always the best buy. Always check the quality of fabric before you buy! Some of the lower-priced materials shrink and fade after only a few washes; others require ironing after every wash. If you choose fabric that must be dry cleaned, the cost will be significantly more over the life of the garment.
  • Never pay full price for sewing patterns. Patterns are outrageously expensive. Make a list of patterns that you'd like to have, and stash the list in your wallet or purse. When you find a great sale, you'll be able to purchase the patterns for a fraction of the regular cost.
  • Check thrift stores for less expensive alternatives. If you need to replace a zipper in a coat or jacket, for example, you may be able to find a second-hand coat with the same color zipper. Take a few minutes to remove the zipper from the original garment, and you'll save yourself quite a bit.
  • Recycle worn-out clothing. Before getting rid of old clothing, check for things you might be able to salvage. Clip off pretty buttons, remove a like-new applique, or save the best part of the fabric to make baby or doll clothes. Don't forget that some fabrics will make great cleaning rags, too.
How do you save money on sewing supplies?


  1. As with Joann coupons, they sell a book that has 6 coupons on the back, 2 - 50% coupons and 4 - 40% coupons (not sure of the name) but can be found with the other books in the pattern section. You can sign up to receive emails and you get coupons that way and also sign up to receive texts from them with coupons.

  2. I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO agree with your idea of visiting thrift stores to get zippers. I also harvest the buttons, shoulder pads and pretty collars from those items. I actually go to a "bag store" and get three plastic bags stuffed full of clothes that I can get supplies from, and the cost is only $1.00! In fact, I just finished taking a zipper out of a dress from my last trip out of a dress, and I think that the skirt of that dress can be used for a child's dress sewn on the bottom of a pretty onesie!!!!!

  3. Homesew clearance looks great!

    Gehman's Country Fabrics has a discount section.

    So totally agree on the cheapest fabric is not the best.....BTDT.

    I now have 2 tubs full of lace and trim from thrift stores.