How to save money by learning to sew & making your own clothes

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There are plenty of ways you can save money on fashion, but one of the best ways to do so is by creating your own clothes. Have you every considered sewing-your-own?? Of course, early on you’ll have to make a few investments. You’ll need a sewing machine, threads, some fabrics, and a few other materials to get you started. But once you get into the swing of things, you’ll be able to make all types of clothing with ease, and become more creative with your efforts over time, too. If this sounds intriguing to you, here are a few tips for getting started…

Photo of a sewing machine stitching a striped piece of fabric

TAKE A SEWING CLASS

You can’t make your own clothes if you don’t know how to sew, so finding somewhere to learn if a good start! You can purchase a second-hand sewing machine by searching online – try eBay, Gumtree or local Facebook selling pages. Then research local sewing classes where you can learn the tools of the trade. If you can’t find a class nearby, you could always follow some YouTube tutorials or check out Udemy for sewing how-tos to help boost your skills at home.

photo of two pieces of fabric being hand-stitched together

JOIN A FASHION COURSE

A fashion program is a great way for you not only learn more about clothing design, but to learn more about the fashion industry as a whole. Understanding the intricacies of the fashion business can help you approach clothing design in a different way, and possibly even encourage you to turn your hobby into a business of your own, like setting up an ecommerce shop. For example, you might participate in Project Fashion, where students visit popular clothing brand factories, talk to industry insiders, and meet like-minded people who you can learn from.

photo of fabric being cut by a pair of fabric shears

INVEST IN CLOTHING KITS

Clothing kits make it easy for you to create clothes from scratch. Typically, they come equipped with the necessary fabric, materials, patterns, instructions, and other instruments that are needed for you to create a piece of clothing. And you can find plenty of websites where you can download free sewing patterns. These patterns will tell you everything you need to know about getting started as a beginner, and some will even give you photos and illustrations.

photo of a box of vintage dress patterns

Early on, it’s best to select patterns that are simple and easy for beginners. For example, at Tilly and the Buttons, Style Arc, or Victory Patterns, you can purchase printed patterns to help you create everything from dresses to skirts and trousers. You can also sign up for sewing subscription services like Needle Sharp, which curates hand-selected sewing kits based on your needs.

PARTICIPATE IN MEETUPS

Meetup.com is a great platform for finding groups that match your interests. Search locally for fashion and sewing groups in your area to find meetups that can help you explore your passions further. After all, it can be more fun to create your own clothes and save money when you’re with others who are doing the same.

Photo of pink and green fabric being stitched together with a sewing machine

APPLY FOR AN INTERNSHIP

If you’ve really been bitten by the sewing bug (or should that be stung by the sewing bee?) you might consider applying for a fashion internship to get up close and personal with the fashion world. And there are plenty of different types of fashion internships you can get involved in. For instance, interning directly with a fashion designer can help you learn better hand sewing techniques, trim sourcing, and how to create design boards.

To be more hands-on, it helps to work with designers who are newly established or up and coming. The smaller the designer, the more likely you are to get a bulk of some of the more pertinent tasks, versus being a coffee fetcher. Furthermore, they’re more likely to remember you as they build their business, which can be useful if you hope to start a career in fashion.

Photo of striped fabric and thread with a pair of scissors

Other types of fashion internships that might be useful to you are magazine fashion internships and PR fashion internships. Both would give a behind-the-scenes look at the role of fashion in media, as well as teach you how to take proper care of clothing.

DON’T GET DISCOURAGED

Learning a new skill is tough, and it’s important for you to not get discouraged if you make any mistake and end up unpicking your work. Just think about how much you’ll save in the long-run by making your own clothes and it’ll all be worth it! Plus, you’ll also have the freedom to be as creative as you want, creating clothes that match your aesthetic, rather than searching for existing clothes to fit the idea of what you want. As you take in new knowledge, allow yourself to make some mistakes and start over – just because you’re taking a long time on a project doesn’t mean you won’t succeed. Allow yourself the chance to make mistakes and power through them!

photo of a sewing machine stitching a straight line

So what do you think? Fancy having a go at sewing your own clothes in 2019? I’m certainly going to dust off my trusty sewing machine and pick up a pattern for the first time in ages. Let me know if you give it a go, or if you already make your own clothing, in the comments below.



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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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