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    • Old Meanie
    • By Old Meanie 14th Jan 08, 5:57 PM
    • 81Posts
    • 333Thanks
    Old Meanie
    Does anyone else make their own clothes
    • #1
    • 14th Jan 08, 5:57 PM
    Does anyone else make their own clothes 14th Jan 08 at 5:57 PM
    I thought it would be great to hear from other money savers who sew their own clothes. I used to make a lot of clothes and thought I might try again but I am beginning to think I am one of very few people who do this. I tried to find a class I could go to locally as I need a bit of an update but the nearest was some miles away. Perhaps a thread similar to the knitting thread would enable people to swap ideas and solutions to problems.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Wendy; 04-03-2008 at 5:04 PM.
Page 1
    • kippers
    • By kippers 14th Jan 08, 6:09 PM
    • 1,941 Posts
    • 5,920 Thanks
    • #2
    • 14th Jan 08, 6:09 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Jan 08, 6:09 PM
    I make my own curtains, quilt covers, cushions etc but i've not made clothes as i wouldn't know where to start. I'd love to try but i couldn't find a night class in my area.
    • Bobbykins
    • By Bobbykins 14th Jan 08, 6:17 PM
    • 588 Posts
    • 4,840 Thanks
    • #3
    • 14th Jan 08, 6:17 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Jan 08, 6:17 PM
    I used to make a lot of my own stuff (including wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses for BOTH my weddings )
    but TBH, I can now buy everyday stuff far cheaper than I could possibly make it for, so don't bother any more.

    Also, I started to find it increasingly difficult to find the bits and bobs I needed, cottons, patterns etc.etc, locally.

    If there's one near you, John Lewis', however, have a great selection of patterns and stuff and also do loads of fabrics. I wouldn't be surprised if the staff on the fabrics section couldn't point you in the right direction for classes.
    • Rosemary7391
    • By Rosemary7391 14th Jan 08, 6:28 PM
    • 2,431 Posts
    • 4,083 Thanks
    • #4
    • 14th Jan 08, 6:28 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Jan 08, 6:28 PM
    How scary - I was thinking about starting to make my own clothes! Nothing fancy, just everyday clothes. We've got some good sewing shops around here, but has anyone got any advice?
  • csarina
    • #5
    • 14th Jan 08, 6:50 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Jan 08, 6:50 PM
    I used to make all my clothes and those of my children, including wedding dresses christening robes etc. I stopped when I realised that it was cheaper to buy clothes, although just now I am wondering wether to start again, but I too would need an update, the last things I made were nightshirts for OH 17 years ago, and he is still wearing them!!!!!

    When I went for an interview as a rep for Janome the district manager asked me if I did any dressmaking, I was on my way out of the door when he said it. I closed the door walked back into the room and said, ' well - I did make the suit I am wearing', did a twirl and walked out of the room and shut the door behind me. Later he told me that it was the reaction to what he said that got me the job!!!

    These days I make quils, etc and embroider inserts for cards, make cushions, table cloths, able mats, bed linen........

    Any advice....yes start with something simple like a skirt, look for patterns that have several things on, some have a capsule wardrobe, patterns are very expensive now, although I have not bought patterns for years. Buy the best maerial you can afford and if you are making skirts line them, they last so much longer and hang better. Buy yourself a really good pair of shears, make sure they are comfortable in your hand, another good buy is a pair of pinking shears for fabrics that fray, saves you have to overlock them. My machine has a special overlock stitch which is very similar to an overlocker stitch, it does a large and small zigzag ove the edge, and makes a very neat edge to a seam.
    Last edited by csarina; 14-01-2008 at 6:58 PM.
    Was 13st 8 lbs,Now 12st 11 Lost 10 1/4lbs since I started on my diet.
  • looby-loo
    • #6
    • 14th Jan 08, 7:24 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Jan 08, 7:24 PM
    I used to make clothes years ago but I agree with Bobbykins that it isn't cheaper these days and buying something off the peg is risk free - I know I will wear it.

    The only thing I have made in the past few years is 'ball' dresses for my daughter which did save a lot of money. Having tried on every dress in town she got the idea of the style she wanted. A very similar pattern was £7.95 but I've used it three times now. The fabric was £15. I've made it in black, silky, full length, then in bottle green, crushed velvet, long/short and finally bright red, very sparkly and short.

    At first she was reluctant because some of the girls were spending £80 - £250 on their dresses and even having them made by a dressmaker. When I said if she didn't like I'd buy one she trusted me. When the other girls asked her where the first one was from she told then a dressmaker had made it and they were impressed! She didn't tell them it was less then £20
    • morwenna
    • By morwenna 14th Jan 08, 7:31 PM
    • 843 Posts
    • 4,587 Thanks
    • #7
    • 14th Jan 08, 7:31 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Jan 08, 7:31 PM
    I used to love to make clothes, for myself and especially the older two children, when they were small. I have done everything from simple pencil skirts to bridesmaids dresses. I tend to use the patterns in Prima, they are free (which has always been my favourite price ) and there are good recipes, articles etc in the mag too. These days iI tend to make curtains and cushions etc.

    csarina: what model sewing machine do you use? I am intrigued by the "overlock" type stitch.
    Last edited by morwenna; 14-01-2008 at 7:34 PM.
    • purpleivy
    • By purpleivy 14th Jan 08, 7:34 PM
    • 3,401 Posts
    • 20,760 Thanks
    • #8
    • 14th Jan 08, 7:34 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Jan 08, 7:34 PM
    There is a very good sewing forum, where I got some help with something, friendly too
  • malvena
    • #9
    • 14th Jan 08, 7:49 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Jan 08, 7:49 PM
    I love making my own clothes and drafting my own patterns. I know its cheaper to buy stuff nowadays but everything is the same in the shops and generally badly made (sorry I am really picky, if I wasn't I would be better off) . I thinks its much nicer to have something which no one else has and to keep the old traditions and skills alive.

    A lot of colleges do fantastic dressmaking and pattern drafting courses. There is also a basic booklet called Teach Yourself to Sew on website. It would never replace a good course but it has some good tips.

    Good luck with the sewing
    DFW Nerd no 546
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    • pigpen
    • By pigpen 14th Jan 08, 8:00 PM
    • 36,864 Posts
    • 474,411 Thanks
    I make loads of stuff for the children.. mainly the smaller ones.. less time and all that.. plus they don't complain when I buy super funky fabric and make them something mad.. like capri trousers with big frills on... in bright pink fabric with green frogs on!
    LB moment 10/06 Debt Free date 6/6/14
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  • catherineblack
    I love the forum is really friendly and there are some amazing patterns and ideas for altering clothes. I've got some great ideas for sewing projects but never enough time!
    Are we still waiting to sing as hummingbirds?
  • Frugalmum
    I make a lot of my own clothes and have done since I got my first sewing machine a Jones one when I was 8 (many years ago). I love being able to make something that is different from the rest and find some car boot sales have fabric stalls where the fabric is usually £1 per metre, I'm also lucky that I know a few markets that have £1 per metre stalls too.

    I've made all sorts over the years suits, lingerie, christening gowns, bridal dresses. I love to see the finished garments, for me it's a real sense of achievement.

    Our local council runs adult education courses that include dressmaking, try asking at your local library for information.

    I hope you manage to find a course, good luck with your sewing.
  • Hardup Hester
    I make some of my own clothes, it is cheaper to buy them, especially when you shop in charity shops, as I do.
    My problem is I'm 4'11, so even if I do buy something I have to alter it.

    Never let success go to your head, never let failure go to your heart.
    • sandy2
    • By sandy2 15th Jan 08, 7:14 AM
    • 1,927 Posts
    • 2,781 Thanks
    I used to make my own clothes, but as everyone says it's now cheaper to buy them. Trouble is like Hardup Hester I am short so I have to alter most things anyway so at least I am still using my sewing skills. I now make dolls clothes, do embroidery, beading, make curtains, cushions etc but haven't gone back to knitting yet
    Last edited by sandy2; 15-01-2008 at 7:18 AM.
  • Olliebeak
    I've been making my own clothes since around 18 years old (38 years!) - first attempt was a full-length dress for 'the firm's dance'!

    I know that these days it is usually cheaper to buy, rather than make, BUT I'm tall and 'generously proportioned' and the majority of styles that I've seen for my size are NOT what I want to be seen wearing. So many things seem to stop at waist length or just below when I want them to cover my rear! I also like to select my own fabrics for what I want and, at 56, I DO NOT want to be dressing like a 20 year old.

    I am very lucky in having an 'Abakhan Fabrics' close to where I live (known locally as El Kilos) where they sell their remnants by weighing the piece you've chosen - if it's way too long (I've found remnants measuring over 4 metres) they will allow it to be cut to a more useable length - as long as you are leaving a useable length behind. I am addicted to this shop - their range of fabrics is the best I've ever come across and their prices just can't be beaten. They sell all the haberdashery, crafting stuff, knitting wool, patterns (knitting, crochet, sewing, crafts), furnishing fabrics, doll's house stuff that anybody can ever need. This is their website:

    If you live near one of their places - make sure you have a good look round.
    Last edited by Olliebeak; 15-01-2008 at 8:44 AM.
  • Mrs Flittersnoop
    I make all my own clothes too, have even made underwear in the past although I think that may have been a step too far.....

    Like Olliebeak I am tall, and am also very busty and clothes bought from any shop will not fit me. I enjoy the process of dressmaking (would not recommend it to anyone who didn't - it can be frustrating) and love being able to make exactly what I want, not what some 'designer' thinks I should wear.

    My problem is sourcing decent fabrics locally. I have a John Lewis within reasonable distance but they are downsizing their haberdashery and fabrics dramatically. I buy a lot of fabrics online, mostly from the States which is OK at the moment while the dollar is low but I often have to pay customs charges and VAT which ups the cost a lot. Luckily I have plenty in stock at the moment

    A thread on sewing would be nice (pardon the pun )

    Mrs F x
    • Charis
    • By Charis 15th Jan 08, 10:21 AM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 13,604 Thanks
    I thinks its much nicer to have something which no one else has and to keep the old traditions and skills alive.
    Originally posted by malvena
    This is so important. Losing the old skills makes us dependent on others to supply our needs, dependent on cheap imports...will they always be available? Even if you buy clothes they don't always fit without a little alteration and you will need to know how repair them. I worked in the clothing industry so know a bit about material and the quality of current fashions, with the exception of the 'better' shops, is such that they are made to be thrown away. The material is the cheapest they can get away with, the seams are not finished off and there is a strange obsession with making clothes look as crushed and worn as possible before they are even out of the shop.

    There is also a basic booklet called Teach Yourself to Sew on website.
    I looked for this but got an error message. I eventually found it on

  • MrsFraggle
    I've been reading this board for a while but this is my first post in here, hello!!

    I've been sewing for my kids for a few years, I love it, and its a great stress reliever!

    I subscribe to a magazine called Ottobre ( (click on english as you're like to reach the page in finnish). Its about €38 a year but is good value for money if you're likely to sew *a lot*. If not, you can buy individual issues for about €8 if there's something in that issue you like. Each issues has loads and loads of patterns in for kids so indivually I think is great value. There's also a version for womens clothes. The best thing is that they're easy to sew.

    I don't work for them honestly, although it is probably as cold here in Wales as it is in Finland! I just love their magazine and have made lots of clothes from them.

    My biggest problem of sewing the clothes for the kids is that I keep seeing lovely fabrics on eBay and the like and have to stop myself!

    I probably don't save all that much money buying the clothes (depends on the cost of the fabric really), but its enjoyable and I know that its unlikely another child around will have the same clothes as well which is nice to know. I've even made school trousers/skirts and pinafores for my daughter and next on my list is school summer dresses if I can get some nice blue gingham. I'm also planning on making her a lot of summer dresses, she's had a growth spurt lately so I'm intending for most of her wardrobe this year to be home made.

    HTH a little
    • pennib
    • By pennib 18th Jan 08, 9:00 AM
    • 1,397 Posts
    • 7,414 Thanks
    [quote=pigpen;7906823]I make loads of stuff for the children.. mainly the smaller ones.. less time and all that.. plus they don't complain when I buy super funky fabric and make them something mad.. like capri trousers with big frills on... in bright pink fabric with green frogs on![/quote

    I am going to make a patchwork quilt with green frogs on! I purchased 3 different lots, one of which has a pink background. I also got some parrot green cotton to line the back and to make some squares for the front. Havnt got a pattern but I hope that I will be able to make something up in my head
    • purpleivy
    • By purpleivy 18th Jan 08, 9:04 AM
    • 3,401 Posts
    • 20,760 Thanks
    I used to make some pretty bizarre stuff for my dd and niece when they were little. But they loved the bright and colourful things.

    I got a pair of trousers for ds passed on from a friend. THey were lightweight cotton, but totally reversible, so warm. I was inspired by this. One afternoon Mum and I sat down and made the girls very funky trousers, also reversible. All out of scraps, sooooooo OS, elastic from my stash (50p for massive amount at Abakhan)
    "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
    Trying not to waste food!
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