Monday, February 16, 2009

Am I Frugal, Or Just Cheap?

I had a bit of "sticker shock" the other day. I've decided that I'm in the mood to sew myself some clothes. Inspired by amazing blogger Summerset Banks and Project Runway...I've made it a goal to get back to my "sewing roots." I used to sew for my girls when they were little. I used to sew as a teenager too. (I grew up with 4 teenage girls in our house! And I grew up in the days when they taught us to sew in HomeEc in high school! they even have HomeEc anymore?!!) But I swear the last time I bought a sewing pattern, it was only $1.99! Well, I guess those were the "olden days."

Did you know a Butterick pattern costs $14.95 these days? A Vogue designer pattern is $30!!! So, of course I waited for the President's Day sale at Joann's today. I got 5 Simplicity patterns for $5.00. And I'm using fabric I have on hand. Many years ago I began purchasing nice fabrics when I would see it on sale--hoping I would someday find the time to sew. So now I'm going to get started. I suppose that sewing clothing is much like sewing quilts. Perhaps it's not a way to save money, but it's the process of sewing that is the fun part. Sure you can go to Ross or TJMaxx and buy dresses for way less than sewing them yourself. And you can go to Target or Bed,Bath,and Beyond and buy quilts for way less than making them yourself. Sewing and quilting yourself, though, can ensure that you get better quality. And it's more fun to create! So, I guess being the frugal sewer, I'll wait for the sales!

Of course, I had to get a pattern to make The Purse Dog something!
In longarm quilting, I try to be frugal too. I have very few gadgets. Let me show you what I use for some of my designs. Many years ago I saw Kaye Wood doing a demo at Road to CA. She was selling her "View & Do" Shapes. I bought the circles set. This is what I use to make circles and curves on quilts. I just trace them with cheap, inexpensive chalk. (the cheaper the better! Check out your school supplies aisle at your neighborhood Walmart!) I learned this inexpensive way for marking designs on quilts from my idol, the 'feather queen' Kimmy Brunner. She taught me how to make feathers. She suggested using a chalk holder too. I use this chalk all the time! Below you can see how I marked the areas I want to quilt. It's also how I "try out" or "audition" designs. If I don't like it, I just erase it with a microfiber dust cloth. (you can get them at the automotive supplies aisle at your neighborhood Walmart.) Takes the chalk right out.
Now let's finish this lovely Mariner's Compass quilt.
I filled the white area with small swirls.
Didn't it turn out nice?
I'll share more frugal quilting ideas as I think of them.
And when I finish sewing some new clothes, I'll post pictures too!
Now get back to work, Vivian!


Robin in Short Pump said...

Hi Vivian, I grew up in Bellflower and we had 8th grade home ec (back in the stone age). I too made all my own clothes and sewed for the kids but eventually it was more expensive to sew them than to buy off the rack. I never learned how to adjust patterns to fit, other than to shorten them. I had no idea patterns had gotten to this price either. Guess I won't get back to sewing clothes until I have grandchildren, always did enjoy making baby things.

Good luck!

Material Mary said...

Great post. I used to sew all my clothes growing up. In short, I guess that's where my love of sewing comes from. For fitting tips, Sandra Betzina's blog might be helpful. I no longer can sew straight from the pattern.

Debra said...

Don't get me started on sewing clothes....I am so disappointed with the meager dress fabrics being shown in fabric stores, I could scream! I do some clothes sewing along with quilting but with my lifestyle, a few dresses and a few skirts and I am set for a few years.

I am curious to see how full that top looks and how flat you can make it. Do you have any trouble easing in that fullness without wrinkles? or are you just experienced enough that you don't worry? (I am real new to machine quilting)

Sherri said...

I used to sew all of my own clothes...and then I did a lot of wedding sewing and vowed I'd never sew clothes again...but lately I've been picking up a few patterns and have actually been wanting to sew some dresses and skirts for it will be fun to see your sewing projects!

Summerset said...

Glad to have inspired you! You are being frugal - wait for the sales at Jo-ann's. You'll be surprised at quality of patterns these days, too. Some are still good, but some not worth the price on the envelope. I never buy a pattern at full price.

Bonnie said...

Thank you Vivian for all your tips for us quilting newbies! I love reading your blog.

bingo~bonnie said...

whew! you had me worried there for a minuite. Glad you got that pattern on sale! I never buy them unless they are on sale... and one brand or another is always on sale at Joanns ;)

Love your Red/White/Blue quilt. The quilting you did really maded that pattern come to life! Can't wait to see your new skirts soon!

Love from Texas! ~bonnie

Suzanne said...

Our schools (7th-12th grades) still have sewing, but there are so few machines that the kids usually do everything at home. I have to wait for pattern sales way am I paying 14.95 for a pattern!