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Arts & crafts

Value in making your own

(61 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?

Fennel Tue 01-Oct-19 21:18:31

This thread has made me want to start again.
Trouble is, I've 'lent' my machine to a young friend and I'm not sure that she'll use it productively.
A big problem is that it's difficult to find good quality fabrics these days. Such as Harris tweed, which costs a fortune now.
When we came back from Singapore in 1968 I made Harris Tweed coats for me and our 3 children. And daughter's Teddy. which she still has .

Stansgran Tue 01-Oct-19 14:11:02

Sewing is good for mental health. I just say I need a zen moment and disappear to sew. I have heaps of material waiting to be sewn.

LondonGranny Tue 01-Oct-19 13:00:41

Although I sew my youngest daughter is the really skilled one. I tend to do really pretty easy stuff (quilting, simple frocks, taking up trousers and repairs etc) but she decided to do a course about fifteen years ago because she couldn't find what she wanted in the shops.

I have a beautiful lined shot silk evening jacket she made for me. The collar took real skill and sits beautifully but can also be worn sticking up, if you see what I mean. Every time I wear it I'm asked where I got it from.

It's made from a peacock blue evening dress with a small rip that she found in a charity shop but shimmers with a paler turquoise. The lining is from an old dark blue silk kimono style dressing gown that was my mothers, given to her in the 60s by a friend who lived in Hong Kong for a few years.

She's got two sewing machines (one is an overlocker she got on ebay secondhand). I've just got a basic John Lewis sewing machine bought in the sales. £20 because it had a scratch on it. Bargain!

Hetty58 Tue 01-Oct-19 09:23:37

Lorelei, I must admit that, although I can sew and have a good machine, I take things to the local dry cleaners for zip replacement or alteration. Lazy, I know. What I love about sewing is being able to copy (exactly) a favourite skirt or top in a fabric I've chosen. I can make cushions, blinds and summer dresses for the grandkids too!

Lilyflower Tue 01-Oct-19 09:16:06

Its a pity that younger people, mostly, have no interest in learning"

I agree but my DD loves to sew. She won the craft prize in year nine and has always found sewing and mending both therapeutic and economical. When she was starting off in her first job she had little spare money but made cushions for presents for all her friends for Christmas. They loved them so much that one asked her to make cushions as a wedding present from some William Morris fabric she was left by a relative. They were truly beautiful and the DD learned how to pipe an edge to make them as well so she added a skill to her armoury.

Purpledaffodil Mon 30-Sep-19 22:56:10

Bijou your post reminded me that I too made lampshades but in the 1970s and much less elegant. A tube of fabric was gathered top and bottom with a frill of the same material placed so it went around the bottom of the frame. I think they were called mob cap shades? Last one I made was for DDs nursery in 1984. Air balloon shape with a basket suspended beneath with a small stuffed toy in it. Certainly was cheaper than buying one and I could make a basket liner for baby toiletries AND a cushion to match. Had totally forgotten all of this until this fascinating thread. 😃

GreenGran78 Mon 30-Sep-19 22:32:24

I much regret the passing of cheap evening classes, Bijou. Years ago you could learn almost anything, for a nominal amount. I learned shorthand/typing, creative writing, woodwork, English and French A-level and judo, among other things, and even ended up teaching a judo evening class myself. There is much less choice these days, and the fees are so high that many people can’t afford them.

Bijou Mon 30-Sep-19 21:08:17

I went to classes for lampshade making in the 60s. Then one bought a frame from John Lewis. This was bound tightly with tape. The lining material was pinned tightly to this. Lots of pin pricks! Then sewn. Then the outer material was pinned and sewn. Then braid sewn on to cover the stitches. Were advised to use natural material. I made some with quarter inch pleats using silk chiffon. Still have them.

Grandmama Mon 30-Sep-19 20:46:43

In the 1970s I went to dress making classes, graduating to advanced at the local Further Education College. At one time all my clothes were home-made, including my wedding dress, coats, jackets, trousers and a suit, trousers and a duffle coat for DH. Then charity shops took off, and I started buying from them. I have a huge stash of lovely fabrics, many from Liberty's. Must get sewing again . . . .

GabriellaG54 Mon 30-Sep-19 19:14:03

At the risk of being shot down in flames for being envy, I do envy you that skill.
It must be wonderful to make something to fit you perfectly in a material of your choosing.

GabriellaG54 Mon 30-Sep-19 19:10:00

I had a wrap dress with a narrow skirt, tailor-made in slate grey jersey. This was before they became really fashionable.
It was made by a local seamstress and cost £350.
Never again. The dress is classic but the price extortionate.
I've been looking at sewing machines online but have no idea what is good better or best for a beginner.
I'm not going to try dresses but might have a go at a skirt when I get the hang of it...the machine...if I buy one. 😁😊
I fancy making lampshades in my own fabric but need to look on YouTube to see what you need and how it's done and yes...I do know you don't make them using a sewing machine. 😄

Bijou Mon 30-Sep-19 18:11:46

From when I was a teenager until I was eighty I made all my dresses, day and evening, and suits. Made for my daughter until she died and when my son was little made his shirts and shorts. We all knitted. My husbands first effort was a layette for his sisters baby and he then knitted his socks and pullovers. Not just for economical reasons but for the pleasure. We did a lot of caravanning and it was a quiet and clean hobby. When we were touring Europe by caravan by caravan after my husband retired I took the sewing machine and bought material in the markets to make my dresses and his shorts.
I also made curtains, chair covers and cushions.
Years ago there were more fabric and wool shops. Because of the need for women to go out to work they haven’t the time. I know a number of women who cannot knit. My mother was a great knitter and crochet and I could knit before I was five.

craftyone Mon 30-Sep-19 18:11:04

The value for me is many sided, the time factor, just sewing peacefully while listening to the radio, problem solving eg doing a full bust adjustment and working out proportions when re-sizing a garment. Hand making something that fits me perfectly in a style/fabric that no-one can buy

I hate doing curtains, memories of covering a lounge floor while cutting and pinning. I hate altering curtains, have done enough for several lifetimes. I now have shutters

I made a coat a few years ago, love it still and wear it. I was 23 when I made my wedding dress and 4 bridesmaids dresses.. Its a pity that younger people, mostly, have no interest in learning

Hm999 Mon 30-Sep-19 17:54:44

Only curtains and cushions are cheaper IMO. We do our crafts for love, and to keep our brains alive!

Lilyflower Mon 30-Sep-19 17:29:21

I needed a black dress for a funeral but they were all mega expensive. I found a lovely high street label dress in a charity shop costing £10, bought it and altered it. That certainly saved me a fortune. I wouldn't make a dress from scratch, though.

I have been repairing cushions by replacing the silk backs where they wore through and the material I bought from scap bins in John Lewis, Laura Ashley and haberdashers was horrendously expensive for throwaways.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 30-Sep-19 16:44:52

It is definitely cheaper to make your own clothes than to buy them, if, that is, you sew well enough to want to wear them when finished.

Right now, I am preparing dolls' clothes for a class at the local museum for children who want to sew doll's clothes.

I bought remnants the other day in two charity shops and got nearly 11 yards of material for £3, 59. There is far more material than even 10 children could possibly use, however wasteful they might be, or however many mistakes they make. I estimate that a set of blouse, skirt, underwear and coat for, let's say, Barbie would cost about 50p when we factor in sewing thread, electricity etc.

The cheapest dress I can find online costs over £4.

Another advantage to sewing clothes yourself is that you know precisely what the fabric, thread and fastenings are made of, which is important for people with allergies.

GreenGran78 Mon 30-Sep-19 15:59:38

Sewing your own isn’t cheap if you are like my daughter-in-law’s mother. She can’t resist lovely fabrics, and is always buying lengths of material which will ‘come in handy’. She has enough stashed away in her cupboard to last at least 50 years.
I am the opposite, picking up bargains in charity shops and car-boot sales to unpick and re-use, or make over. Even the scraps, and odd balls of wool are used for patchwork, dolls clothes or childrens’ stripey sweaters. It’s very satisfactory to produce something attractive at minimal cost.

nahsma Mon 30-Sep-19 15:59:12

LondonGranny my daughter (late30s) and her sewing buddies describe themselves as “sewists” to avoid the sewer problem.

H1954 Mon 30-Sep-19 15:43:23

I'm also quite short and therefore careful as to the styles I buy as not everything is available in petite ranges. Being a bit adept with a sewing machine I do like to make much of my own clothes too, this means I can have fashionable designs in slightly different fabrics/colour ways than commercially produced garments and not turn up to an event "in the same outfit". Much of the shop bought stuff is mass produced for cheapness, it looks cheap too and I'm mindful about the working/living conditions of the workforce as very very little is produced in the U.K. now.

Nannyxthree Mon 30-Sep-19 15:01:53

I've just made curtains for DD and she thinks she has saved £200 due to my free labour. Sufficent off-cuts to make a couple of cushions too.
I'm seldom happy with clothes I make for myself but enjoy buying remnants to make simple clothes for GC.

LondonGranny Mon 30-Sep-19 14:41:13

I can think of other reasons too. Fashion dicates styles, colour. and pattern. It's often quicker to make your own than trek endlessly in vain around every frock shop getting more and more despondent.

BusterTank Mon 30-Sep-19 14:36:14

There is no value in it . It cost more to make your own than to buy it in a shop or on line . The only thing you get is self comfort that you made it your self .

LondonGranny Mon 30-Sep-19 14:25:31

My daughter and I both sew. She said she knew the best place to get fabric. Oh my days, what a trek but well worth it. The fabric shop centre of the universe as far as London is concerned is Tooting.

discodiva Mon 30-Sep-19 14:14:45

There is nothing more rewarding in sewing your own garments. I recently made my dress for my daughter's wedding. It was a challenge because I'd never made a dress from a pattern before, and in silk and fully lined. Took two weeks and I couldn't have been happier because it actually fitted me and I've worn it three times so the £110 outlay on materials seems reasonable. If I'd had to have bought a dress, it would've cost more than the £110, and it wouldn't have fitted so well.

So is there monetary value in sewing? Yes but I suppose it really depends on what it is your sewing and how skilled you are in adapting patterns to suit your shape - if you don't happen to be a standard size.

When I first started work 40 years ago I used to make all my work skirts because I just didn't have the money and to be fair, material was cheaper then, especially on Petticoat Lane.

00mam00 Mon 30-Sep-19 13:43:01

I did city and guilds Womens Light Clothing manufacture which included pattern cutting and always made my own unique clothes and the children’s when they were small.

But gradually the cost of good fabrics and notions went up and the selection went down. I found it was cheaper to buy good quality clothes in the sales than make my own.

Now that I am no longer a slave to fashion trends I have returned to making quite a few of my own clothes, drafting patterns from expensive bought items which I know fit, and devising designs which require little or no buttons and zips. I have an extensive range of fabrics and old buttons which need to be used up shock