#58: Sewing on a Budget

Check Your Thread
Check Your Thread
#58: Sewing on a Budget
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The second part of a two-part mini series about sewing and saving. Episode 58 focuses on how we can keep sewing-related costs down to make it more accessible to those working with a tight budget. Specifically we look at saving money on machinery, fabric, haberdashery and sewing patterns. This episode is packed with tips and approaches to allow us to do more of the kinds of sewing we most enjoy, whilst spending less. 

Support the podcast over on Patreon!

Check out the free Olio app for sharing food and non-food items, borrowing/lending equipment, and selling handmade items locally. 

Sign up to the Trash Nothing app in the UK to receive regular updates of offers and requests for free stuff in your area. 

The Boomerang Bags organisation are looking for sewers and resources to make fabric bags to distribute to a number of excellent causes. 

Listen to Episode 9: Overlockers & Coverstitch Machines with Julia Hincks to hear the many top tips Julia shares about using and caring for these machines. 

Listen to Episode 21: The Joy of Reclaimed Fabric with Sarah AKA Sew Love NZ to get inspired by charity shopping/op-shopping/thrifting for fabric as an alternative to regular fabric shops. 

Listen to Episode 4: My 5 Favourite Scrap Projects and Episode 14: Quick and Cheap Handmade Gift Projects for lots of fun things you might like to make with your scraps and leftovers from previous projects. 

Instagram hashtags such as #scrapbusting, #scrapbuster and #sewingleftovers provide a wealth of ideas that may get your creative juices flowing. 

Listen to Episode 42: Highest Possible Level of Use with Shelly Sommer which explores a really important concept that underpins everything related to the reuse of materials. 

Find all the posts from my long-running Free Pattern Friday blog post series. Every first Friday of the month I post about a free sewing pattern or tutorial I recently road-tested. 

The updated ‘My Favourite Free Children’s Sewing Patterns’ blog post contains links to almost every type of sewing pattern you’d need to make a wardrobe full of kid’s clothes! 

With Christmas or a birthday looming, visit my ‘40 Free Patterns for Gifts for Kids’ post for some project inspo. 

The excellent Peppermint Magazine releases a free sewing pattern with every edition. Their archive is a real treat. 

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3 comments on “#58: Sewing on a Budget

  1. Mary Ellen Wessinger says:

    Thank you so much for these 2 money saving episodes. You have some great ideas I will put into practice. Here are a few of mine:
    I try to make a ‘wearable ‘ toile. I start by taking as many measurements as possible, so that I can adapt the pattern before cutting. I then use an inexpensive or thrifted fabric, one I like, to make my toile. Even if the fit is not perfect, I can wear it, instead of not using it.
    If I do need to make a toile that is difficult to do in a ‘wearable’ way, (like jeans), I use an old bedsheet or comforter cover. I buy these very inexpensively at my local charity shop.
    Reusing patterns is also helpful, because you can skip the toile in most cases. If you find a pattern designer you like, many of the fit adjustments will be similar across their designs.
    I appreciate you telling people not to buy wearable large size clothing to remake, as someone may need to buy these clothes. If your town has a group rummage sale, you can go at the end of the day. Most of the unsold items will be going to the rag bins, or even just to trash, so if you purchase something with the intention to harvest the fabric, you’re still reducing how much fabric ends up in landfill.
    My local charity shop has a fabric and crafts department that is open one Saturday per month, and it is a gold mine!
    Thank you for your great content! You are a gold mine! I’ll be buying you a coffee…

    1. zoe says:

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and for these excellent ideas! I’m going to include them in an update in a couple of episode’s time so other listeners can take note. I had completely forgotten about rummage sales (what I’d call a jumble sale I think)! I particularly liked the idea of waiting til near the end to pick up stuff that is almost definitely not going to be bought and used in it’s existing form. Thanks again, you’re a star! Zoe x

  2. Susan Burrell says:

    Hi Zoe – this is the first time I have listened to your podcast and I am enjoying what I hear. So regarding the cost of living crisis and sewing – we are in the early stages of setting up a sewing workshop in the local community centre. Tlocal council is in the process of setting up a number of ‘heat hubs’ throughout the city, which will be open from morning until later in the evening.

    We are a group of three hoping to be running a weekly workshop making draught excluders, using donated fabric etc. There will be 3 groups ranging from pre-sewn draught excluders which only require stuffing, to make your own with scrap fabric and buttons etc for decoration. The stuffing will use cloth from unfit for sale charity shop garments. The intention is that everyone who wants to be involved can be and that people can pick up some sewing skills on the way. We are also hoping to make some draught excluders that can be given away at the hub. Our community group were very grateful to us setting up the group and I am sure that there would be a similar response from other councils if people are able to be involved with something similar. Susan

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