The Art of Thrifty Sewing: How to Save Money When You Sew

thrifty sewing

It’s hard to consider sewing to be a money-saving activity when you add up your costs. After you buy a pattern, full-price fabric, and any accessories, you can easily spend twice as much as you would on the same item – already made – at a discount department store. Occasionally, buying everything new will be the only way to create what you truly want. But most of the time, if you can be flexible and a little patient, there are some excellent sources out there for sewing supplies at next-to-nothing prices. Buy Vintage Thrift stores and yard sales can be a great source of fabric, patterns, notions, and tools. The best yard sales for these items are typically in older, well-established neighborhoods of mixed age demographics. Finding the perfect yard sale for sewing materials can be rewarding for the buyer … Continue reading

Body Shape: Tips to Make Your Style Match Your Figure

Body Shape

Do you find fashion unforgiving? Perhaps clothes look great on hangers but don’t suit your figure. The trick to always looking fabulous is to make your style match your physique rather than the other way around. You can’t make clothes look flattering if it’s designed with a different body shape in mind, no matter how hard you try. Select garments that complement your proportions, and you can’t go wrong. Hourglass body shape (triangles contrasting) — Hourglass-shaped figures have a narrow waist, and the bust and hips are a similar size. Classic hourglass figures look amazing in ’50s-style dresses with nipped-in waists. Wide belts emphasize curves, and pencil skirts draw attention to shapely hips. Fitted clothes that glide over the body are flattering, and skinny jeans can look great with a loose top. However, avoid teaming baggy bottoms with a tunic … Continue reading

A Dozen Clothing Care Tips that Will Save You Money

clothing care tips

We all spend a lot of time spend a lot of time and money on our clothes and this is particularly true if you’ve learned to sew your own garments.  I was thinking the other day that we sewists may not pay as much attention to how we care for our clothes after we’ve made them as we do when we’re making them.  I know I’m certainly guilting of this, so I thought we’d share some clothing care tips from a new contributor to the blog. A Dozen Clothing Care Tips that Will Save You Money Clothing, especially your career wardrobe, is an expensive investment, and taking proper care of your clothing can save you considerable money over time, not to mention the time and frustration of having to repair or replace garments unnecessarily. Excessive cleaning of clothing wears it … Continue reading

Home-Made Buttons: Three Easy Techniques

home-made buttons

When you’re looking for just the right buttons for your latest clothing project, as jewelry components or as trimmings for your scrapbooks, there’s nothing like the DIY approach for that perfect finishing touch. Homemade buttons are easy and fun. Once you’ve made your first batch, you’ll never want to use store-bought buttons again! Home-Made Buttons from Rustic Wood You can make wooden buttons very simply, either from a length of dowel or from a natural tree-branch. Using a branch will give you lots of interesting natural variation in the shape and color of your buttons, but you need to be quite choosy in selecting your material. Choose a hardwood such as oak; softwoods are too fragile. Use the straightest branch you can find — this will give you the most even buttons. Only use seasoned wood that’s had time to … Continue reading

How to Make Old Clothes Look New and Stylish

Make Old Clothes Look New

When you open your closet and stare at your clothes, does boredom sweep over you? Are you tired of looking at the same old pants, skirts, and tops? Before you go out and blow a paycheck on a new wardrobe, why not consider recycling what you already have? With a few clever changes you can give your old tired clothes a new life. Here are some ideas: Make old clothes look new: Put new buttons on old blouses There’s no quicker way to revamp the look of a blouse than to change its buttons. Pick a blouse from your closet and take it with you to your local fabric store. Go to the button section, and hold different buttons over the current ones. See what a difference a button can make? Pick out some interesting ones and have your tailor … Continue reading

How to Salvage Damaged Clothing: Tips and Tricks

salvage damaged clothing

Getting rid of clothing may be hard to do when the garment is fairly new or it’s an article of clothing you really like.  Sometimes it takes time and luck to find clothing that looks fantastic on you and fits well so you may really want to avoid throwing it away. With a little creativity and some basic sewing knowledge, you can salvage damaged clothing and even enhance the way your clothes look.  Use these sewing tips to get you started and back into the clothes you’d rather not throw away. Small Holes Sometimes a small hole in an article of clothing can suddenly appear without you ever knowing how, or why, it got there.  Often, a tiny hole in a garment is barely visible, but a hole barely there is still a hole that can detract from the appearance … Continue reading

Inexpensive Sewing Projects to Practice Your Skills

inexpensive sewing projects

Sewing is one of the most immediately useful crafts to learn. It can save the crafter money in household expenses and provide extra income from the production of marketable goods that can be manufactured and sold from home. It’s also a very versatile skill that can meet a variety of needs to adapt to changes in circumstances and market opportunities. However, as with most skills, it takes practice to gain competency and comfort with the endeavor. New sewers can become frustrated if they expect too much from themselves too soon instead of enjoying a more relaxed, natural progression rate. One potential hindrance to this practice phase can be cost of materials. While a sewing machine and other tools used are a one-time expense for the beginner to accommodate, materials are consumed with each use and cannot be easily restored or … Continue reading

Tips for Sewing with Small Children in the House

tips sewing small children house

The reality for most is that, with small children in the house, it is very difficult to complete any task, other than the most basic one – and often that is beyond reach. Small children are synonymous with interruptions, distractions and interferences (as well as being absolutely adorable) and the best tip that I could give anyone planning to sew with children around would be: don’t bother! However, for those who need a regular “fix” of sewing, knitting or any other craft activity, there are some ways to minimize the frustration inherent to any activity that does not centre on the children. The ideal situation would be to sew when small children were either asleep or being fully cared for by another adult, or a much older child. Whether you can structure your day so that the childrenís sleep time … Continue reading

Quick Tips For Sewing Difficult Fabrics

Sewing Difficult Fabrics

Knowing good basic sewing skills always comes in handy.  But sometimes, challenging fabrics can still be too much to handle.  Indeed, what may seem like simple tasks of folding and cutting a fabric can become frustrating –not to mention the difficulties that will be encountered when we start running our sewing machines through these uncooperative fabrics. Generally, when dealing with challenging fabrics, there are some things we can do to immediately improve the situation. Adjusting your machine’s thread tension up and down until you identify the best setting for the particular fabric can do wonders.  Speeding up as well as slowing down the sewing may make your sewing machine run smoothly over the fabric.  You may just have to experiment a little.  Simply making sure that the fabric is free of dust or any adhesive residue may also make it cooperate better with your … Continue reading

Double welt pocket with flap by the butterfly method

double welt pocket with flap

The double welt pocket with flap using the butterfly method is a really easy and contemporary technique to make a pocket and attach a flap at the same time.  I have already showed you the five lines technique that is used mostly on thin fabrics.  This new technique using the butterfly method works well on both thin or thick fabrics.  It can even be used on leather and suede as well as with thick wools and cashmeres coats. I was told by a reader in a comment that the correct name for this pocket is double piped besom pocket or pound pocket.  Prior to 1962, all the tailoring books called this type of pocket by that name.  However, no contemporary tailoring book I was able to search in used the term double pipe besom pocket or pound pocket.  I think the language has … Continue reading

Adding Piping to a Flap or Collar: The Easy Way

adding piping

This is the easiest way I know of adding piping to a flap or a collar.  You can use this technique to make an iconic Chanel-inspired jacket, a sophisticated set of silk pajamas or even cushions. When I was in design school, the thought of adding piping to a collar or to a pocket filled me with horror and I would often result in many sleepless nights trying to finish a garment.  That was until, I found this much better way to do it and this is what I am going to share with you here today. I’ve created a little practice tutorial below if you want to get comfortable with the technique.  Of course, if you’re going to use the technique on a sewing project, you will need the corresponding materials.  The short list below is only if you want to try … Continue reading