Sewing on a budget and managing those pennies is an essential skill for every sewist. As life changes and things (like a worldwide pandemic) happen, we need to know how to make the most out of our skills and hobby.
We have gathered together lots of tips and tricks to help you make those pennies go further when needed.
Stick To A Monthly Budget
If you are struggling with finances then budgeting can always help. Set yourself a maximum monthly budget you can afford and that you are able to spend on your sewing. This can be spent on fabric, threads, notions, and patterns month to month. You can also save up your monthly budget for larger items, like a new (or second hand) machine, more luxury fabrics or a larger haberdashery item.
Shop From Your Stash
When you get dazzled by a new pattern your first stop should be your existing fabric stash, rather than heading off to your favourite fabric shop. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that gorgeous fabric you snatched up at the store a year ago which is just crying out to be used and perfect for this project. Even if you are just making a wearable toile, it’s worth double-checking your stash first.
Swap With A Friend
Having a sewing friend can be useful in so many ways. You can borrow machines, swap fabrics, swap notions and just make the most out of what you both have. Rachel and I have been known to swap fabrics as well as sharing zips, buttons and thread. We have bought and split up fat quarter bundles, shared remnant rolls, and we even share postage costs when we both need to buy from the same store.
Slowly Build Your Stash
Don’t be tempted by sales or discounts to buy things you just won’t use. Be thoughtful in your buying decisions and only buy what you know you will use. For example, there is no need to have every colour and every size of zip! Perhaps just buy neutral colours that will match what you make and buy those special colours only when needed.
Organise Your Stash Regularly
Sorting through your stash regularly means that you know exactly what you have before heading out to the shops. Try keeping an inventory of what you have, with images of the fabric, how much you have, etc. There are some great apps available now to help you do this, such as Sew Organized.
Use Free Patterns And Tutorials
We love a free pattern and a free tutorial! Over the last few years we have provided lots of our own patterns for you for free and you will find many more from other designers.
On the blog we have started a series dedicated to our Top 10 Free Patterns which will give you a great starting place. We are going to be covering as many different items as we can so that you have a great resource available at the tips of your fingers.
Make The Most Of Sales & Thrifting
As you know we love a thrift store! It can be an amazing outlet for fabric, notions, and patterns and is great for sewing on a budget. Remember to think outside the box when it comes to fabrics, use existing items to recycle, and check out those duvet covers and curtains!
Get to know your favourite fabric stores and make sure to pay attention to when they have their sales. Sign up for any newsletters to make sure you are the first to know about their sales or special discount codes for loyal customers. We particularly love sewing pattern sales as these can be a great way to add to your pattern stash for a fraction of the cost.
Sales can be very very tempting but try to just buy what you really need, not just because it has been discounted. Having a list project you want to make and the fabric required can help before you head into a sale.
Cut Fabric Economically
Often when we start sewing we are prone to following all the instructions to the letter, this can often mean a lot of fabric wastage when cutting. Pattern companies tend to err on the side of caution when giving fabric requirements and a cutting layout, but you don’t need to follow their layouts!
Think through how best to cut each project, take some time folding the fabric in different ways to see if you can save some valuable fabric.
Use All Those Scraps
Economically cutting your patterns means that you end up with fabric leftover. This can be really useful to provide the fabric for linings, pockets, facings, and for smaller projects. As you know I am obsessed with scrap quilting, so you could start your very first EPP quilt. Check out our guides on Youtube
Regularly Clean & Maintain Your Machines
Keeping your machines in tip-top shape will help them last and perform better. You could be adding years to your machines just by looking after them properly. Always consult your manual when cleaning and oiling your machines, and remember that those Overlockers and Coverstitch machines also need to be maintained.
We hope you have found this useful for Sewing On A Budget! If you have any of your own tips we would love to hear from you. Drop us an email or comment below.
Nikki & Rachel