Friday, February 15, 2008

Frugal Sewing

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Sewing patterns can be expensive, so I try to buy them on sale. That's not the most frugal sewing tip I have, though. This is: Find a versatile pattern that you like and use it over and over again. Of course, if you can find one that covers a large range of sizes, you will get more use out of it and more for your money.

I love this Anne pattern from Children's Corner. It is very versatile, too. I have made it with short sleeves, no sleeves, long sleeves, with a Peter Pan collar, and with a smocked collar. (See the second photo. Also, see the middle dress in my header.)Here are some examples of the Mary De pattern (the sleeveless ones) that I have used many times. I have made these particular patterns so many times, that I can do them now without looking at the directions.

Once I made the one time initial investment in the pattern, my only expense after that was the fabric for the dresses. If I find a good sale on fabric, I can make a beautiful smocked dress (or I can leave out the smocking) for just a couple of dollars!

You don't have to know how to smock or even be an expert seamstress to pick out a pattern and, with a little practice, learn to use it well. You can learn to make beautiful hand sewn garments for very little money.

Be sure to check out Biblical Womanhood for more frugal tips.


Anonymous said...

Great idea, I try to use my patterns over and over by just changing them a bit. I also use clothes to make my own patterns, by tracing them on a paper bag or butcher paper.
I love your site, your bonnets are adorable!

Heather said...

I often do the same thing - but it is hard when you have *only* been blessed with one girl and one boy! P.J. patterns get the most mileage here - and curtain toppers - though lately I digressed to a much more complicated pattern and I'm regretting every stitch! I have made the same dress pattern for our daughter 7 times and it never looks the same since there were multiple views as well as a large size range.

My favorite sewing tip is pick simple patterns and sumptuous fabrics (on wonderful sales, naturally!!), and do your top stitching with great care - that way the sewing gets done and the end result has the 'designer' air! Ironing every step of the way also makes for a crisp professional looking garment as well!

As far as the Nelson Rating folks - bring on the fishing shows and shoot em up re-runs!!! It's got to be more moral that the current line up!

DangitAnge said...

I have a McCalls pattern for a girl's peasant top that I think I've made about 100 variations of. And just yesterday I saw a new way to change it up a bit! :D

Nikki said...

I've got to learn me some smockin'. My little girl absolutely loves a little smocked jumper we bought at a thrift store last year. Now, even after lengthening the shoulder straps, the dress is too short. So, it time to figure this out. I may have to email you eleventy-four questions.

Nikki said...

P.S. I just changed my template again. Do you think it's too distracting from the actual posts?

I just didn't like the orange-red Pyzam stripe across the top of my green page.

Holly said...

Something else that I do is try to use a pattern without a zipper or other "expensive" notions. Buttons are inexpensive...zippers and special threads, etc. cost a little more.

This truly IS a way to make something beautiful, Connie, and something I've done for years. I must say, I sewed more for my girls when they were little. Having five sons slowed me down in this department.

Miche said...

Hi, I was wondering if you had a brand or type of pattern you liked for baby clothes for a beginer sewing to try out? I recently got a sewing machine and I am eager to try it out, but I and no one I know has any experience with it. My mother in law (who gave it to me) does, but she lives 5 hours away, so it will be awhile before she is able to show me what to do and so far the patterns she sent for for dresses my size seem impossible to figure out.....Can you help me out any? Thanks so much! Also, I love your blog!

Myfriendconnie@SmockityFrocks said...

I would recommend something with no sleeves or collar to begin with. That would be the simplest. Here is a link that has a little sundress that looks pretty simple. (See the second picture.)

Anything like that, with just a bodice and skirt, would be good to start with. I like those styles, too, because they can be worn alone or with a shirt, so they can easily go from one season to the next, if you pick a versatile fabric.

I hope that helps.

Terri H said...

When I was skating, and mom was sewing all my costuming, she would raid thrift stores for their patterns, just for the sleeves and necklines. We had quite a collection of "different" skating dresses for next to nothing in a day when skating patterns weren't readily available.

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