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Arts & crafts

Value in making your own

(60 Posts)
craftyone Sun 29-Sep-19 09:55:07

Is their monetary value in sewing. We all know it is a wonderful relaxing hobby but where is the value?

craftyone Sun 29-Sep-19 09:56:26

I have just been looking at tops and skirts on sale by sahara. Most tops are very simple and don`t even have darts, just cleverly cut but quite long for the vertically challenged. Some of the more sack-like in a drapey silky fabric are the most expensive. My conclusion is that it is far cheaper to make your own tops in a similar style, as long as the fabric is good

Skirts in the sale, similar, expensive for what they are, cut carefully and gather into a waistband and bobs your uncle

I won`t say that some dresses I have bought lately are worth making. I have a range of beauties in retro style from ladyvlondon. I could not even make the underskirts for what they charge. Their sales are super value eg I got dresses at around £30 and have bought a couple of long sleeved items to wear with tights and camisoles

I haven`t sewn all summer, need to take some things to the charity shop first. Next time, I will make my project last

LondonGranny Sun 29-Sep-19 10:03:42

I think the value is in the skill and the achievement. Also cheap clothes and fast fashion has a price, for the environment and fot the vast majority of those who work in sweatshops.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sun 29-Sep-19 10:04:42

I don't think that we creative types look at the value of what we've made but maybe we believe that we're saving money by making our own.

If I make a summer dress I do however think that a similar item would probably cost at least £20-25 or more in a shop, probably more. Therefore I'm saving money and have something unique and could make two or three dresses out of the same pattern until it falls to bits - the paper pattern that is, not the dress.

If you're a funny shape shop bought dresses won't fit anyway.

Eglantine21 Sun 29-Sep-19 11:07:38

Yup, I’m a funny shape and can’t buy dresses from shops. Or trousers. I wish I could see but it always goes wrong.

Having them made is my only option and yes it’s worth every penny.

GagaJo Sun 29-Sep-19 11:12:33

I love sewing, but just don't have the time.

However, although I don't make from scratch anymore, I frequently alter and amend. Not to mention taking up and mending. It saves me a fortune.

I tried eShakti for supposedly 'custom made' clothes, but they were no better than off the rack. When living in Shanghai I had a dressmaker, which was great, although they really only could make their own patterns or copy an existing garment. Still. It was wonderful to get my clothes made to order. I miss it!

Grammaretto Sun 29-Sep-19 11:22:22

I would make more clothes if I could afford the lovely fabrics.
A friend ran a cloth shop back in the '80s and it was successful. She'd go to the Yorkshire and Lancashire mills and bring back van loads of remnants. But since we have stopped most manufacturing in UK only the designs are produced here and big companies have sole ownership of their fabrics, it is no longer profitable to compete.
And seeing as Marydoll has just bought a £30 dress for £1 grin where's the hope for us sewers?
Apart from the enormous satisfaction and skill!!

LondonGranny Sun 29-Sep-19 11:29:25

Seamstresses, not sewers...too easy to misconstrue as an underground drainage system! OK maybe that was just me grin

Doodledog Sun 29-Sep-19 11:52:39

I can't speak for sewing, but as a knitter, I know that knitting your own things is not usually cheaper than buying ready made.

It depends on whether you compare like for like, though. Obviously a hand knitted cashmere jumper is going to be a lot more expensive than an acrylic one from Primark. Most knitters I know wouldn't bother knitting something out of cheap yarn, as they know they could get something of similar quality for the same money and no effort.

Comparing a hand-knit with a high-end garment is very different, as you can pay serious money for a well made jumper made of expensive yarn, and in that case, making your own is cheaper, and you can be sure that the fit is right.

I factor in that knitting is my hobby, so see the expense in terms of what I would have spent on a different pastime, and tell myself that I am also producing clothes that I would have otherwise had to buy (if I could afford to pay for cashmere or silk clothes, that is).

Grammaretto Sun 29-Sep-19 12:01:15

sorry LondonGranny grin I didn't notice.
Like you Doodledog I knit and justify my extravagence by a) deciding it is a hobby and therefore excellent therapy and b) it's a lot cheaper than buying the equivalent.

I backed out of a high-end wool shop recently having worked out the cost of the garment, thinking what £100 and I still have to knit the thing.

I ended up sourcing similar wool elsewhere at a third of the price and I am onto the second sleeve......

LondonGranny Sun 29-Sep-19 12:07:04

I unravel charity shop jumpers (not acrylic ones although acrylic is fine for egg cosies and tea cosies because they are more likely to get stained and are easier to wash) and reknit in a design I prefer. It's also possible to recycle moth-eaten stuff this way. Invisible mending is often too hard on a knitted garment.

Bathsheba Sun 29-Sep-19 13:53:27

LondonGranny, sorry no - a seamstress is a woman who earns her living from sewing, not just someone who sews for herself or as a hobby.

There is nothing wrong with the word 'sewer' - we all know from the context which pronunciation and definition is intended. There are plenty of words in the English language that have more than one definition - 'desert' for example, either a barren area where it rarely rains or, as a verb, to abandon someone. We can 'lie' down or we can tell a 'lie'; 'refuse' to do something, or put rubbish in the 'refuse' bin. And there are many more.

So I'm sticking with 'sewer'. And definitely not that horrid word that seems to be growing in usage: 'sewist' ugh!

LondonGranny Sun 29-Sep-19 13:58:34

I wasn't being serious, I just misread. Didn't mean to set off the grammar police alarm! smile

I find it a bit jarring when people pronounce it seemstress though, I say semstress.

HildaW Sun 29-Sep-19 14:46:04

The value for money element is interesting - certain things such as shirts or semi-tailored blouses or basic skirts are not really worth making yourself if you have to start from scratch with a pattern, fabric, interlining etc. Where I have really gained value for money is when I was making costumes or fancy dress and I had a good stash of 'found' fabrics and trimmings. I also feel that special garments that really need to be well fitted and finished are worth doing yourself. I made a complex wool suit for myself for the cost of the fabric and lining - not cheap at approx. £80 but to buy similar in somewhere like Jaeger (if they still existed in their old form AND stocked all British made goods) it would have been a good £300. Its going to last me out and as I used a very classic 1950s inspired pattern will never be either in or out of fashion!
To be honest, however it was much more about the challenge I was setting myself rather than the monetary value.

crystaltipps Sun 29-Sep-19 15:07:42

I’ve studied couture sewing and we tended to make “special occasion ” type garments - evening and bridal wear in fine fabrics such as silk, chiffon and lace , and although it could takes months to finish certainly did save £££s compared to designer outfits of a similar quality plus because we have to make several toiles to fit, they were custom made . Now I like to see shop or catwalk designs then cut my own patterns and make similar styles. Off the peg garments are frequently badly made and finished and skimp on the material unless you pay a premium , so I always think my one or two garments per year are saving money and look better, Of course I don’t factor in the hours it takes, but as it’s a hobby and I enjoy doing it it’s not an issue. When people ask me to make them an outfit I always say no (apart from family) as I could never charge the full price it would actually cost.

rockgran Sun 29-Sep-19 16:01:47

I've just made myself some brushed cotton pyjamas - proper jacket style with collar. The fabric cost £8 from the local market and I used a pattern that has been used countless times for blouses, etc. They are a perfect fit. I love to sew as a hobby - Bargain!grin

craftyone Sun 29-Sep-19 16:13:17

I have a huge stash of excellent fabrics, many Japanese and some double layered plus silks and boiled wools. It does pay to be discriminatory about what to make and to work slowly, first to adapt the pattern to suit body shape and then create a muslin. Those up and down skirts and shapeless tops, they just rely on the fabric and really not on garment fitting skill. So get the good fabric, they are worth making if sewn carefully

My home made knitteds are worth far far more than bought, I spin fine fibres into beautiful yarns eg a mix of silk, cashmere and merino or seacell and silk for short sleeved tops

I agree with crystaltips, one or two garments a year, having made a muslin. That is what I will be aiming for in future

Rockgran I have made muslins for tops from cheap linen from ebay, liked them so much that I finished them properly and wore them all summer

I also love indie patterns, the unusual, not mass produced

HildaW Sun 29-Sep-19 16:43:48

crystaltips, how lucky you were to have studied the subject, I'm self taught and got to grips with quite a lot but pattern cutting is a real skill. I totally agree with you about people not wanting to pay the price a handmade garment or other item is really worth. No one fully understands the time involved especially if some of the elements are best done by hand. I was asked many years ago about making a large quilt for someone (I had done some small cushion covers for a shop) I worked out the price in hours not including the fabric and it was astronomical so just declined.
I took best part of 3 months to make my suit but that's because I was learning new techniques, finishing all the seams by hand and taking my time to get the fit right...I even made a toile to personalise the fit. It was a task I had set myself and I really wanted to enjoy the process.
I have enjoyed the 'Sewing bee' programmes but I would never enjoy having to rush through a project as they do. If I hit a problem or something unusual I like to mull it over for a day or two and find the best solution.

NanaandGrampy Sun 29-Sep-19 17:38:54

I think the value is in the pleasure at producing something handmade. I don't sew too much but create other crafted things and some probably cost me more to make than if I went out and bought it. But the things I make , are made with love and received with pleasure . That's priceless.

ayse Sun 29-Sep-19 17:50:55

I’m planning to make some trousers as shop ones rarely fit. I have some old curtains to make a trial pattern and do alterations.

I’m trying to use up fabrics that have been around for a while. There are some groups on Facebook where up cycling from charity shops is popular so lots of ideas about. Pinterest has interesting projects for up cycles as well.

It’s become a bit of a challenge for me now

Fennel Sun 29-Sep-19 18:04:36

I used to follow this blog:
It was wet and miserable here today so I went back to one of my warm wool skirts which I made years ago. I've got 3, blue shades, brown shades and burgundy. They never wear out as they're 100% wool.
I bought the fabric from a Scottish company, it costs a fortune now.
I don't sew any more [sad} because my eyesight and hand coordination have deteriorated with old age.

Farmor15 Sun 29-Sep-19 20:25:39

To answer question in OP - I think nowadays the monetary value of being able to sew is the ability to mend clothes and make them last longer, or alter - even just turning up hems. If you look at the cost of minor alterations, replacing zips etc., doing it yourself is definitely a money saver.

Barmeyoldbat Sun 29-Sep-19 20:50:40

I just love to make my own clothes. Its not for what I save, though I must admit I do save quite a bit a times but for the simple reason I cn make something that I know I will like and no-one else will have one the same. I have use clothes from the charity shops in the past, especially long dresses that you can cut down and change.

This year I have taken up knitting again as I wanted a part wool jumper in a particular colour and style. As I couldn't get one I decided to to knit it and set myself a target of at least 20 rows a night so it should be finished for November.

Aepgirl Mon 30-Sep-19 10:42:18

I used to make a lot of clothes for myself until a ‘friend’ said to me ‘your clothes always look so good for home-made’. I took that as a backhanded compliment but cut back on the sewing!

Lorelei Mon 30-Sep-19 10:48:13

There probably isn't much value in sewing generally as few people can both appreciate and afford to pay for the skill, fabrics and time it would take to make a 'made-to-measure' one-of-a-kind item. I would love to be able to pay for clothes to be made just for me. I would also love to be able to sew! The past few years I've been wishing I'd paid attention as a child or could find someone to teach me at least the basics. My mum & nan were both pretty handy with a sewing machine; I'm not even 100% that the machine I have works. Ideally I'd love to be able to replace zips, especially the ones in 2 pairs of trousers I loved and would love to wear again but both have broken zips. I would like to make my own clothes and maybe a few household items like cushion covers and pillowcases (including v-pillowcases). If I ever come into money I'd get a craft/sewing room and pay for a tutor - and employ a good seamstress to make me some beautiful clothes while I was learning. Hats off to some of you that have this great skill already.