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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't find pants that fit right, so adapted a pattern I've had on hand for years. Now I can make slacks that fit and cost about half of what store-bought would be. Since I work at home, I don't have to wear business clothing, so that helps too.
 
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I agree, if you sew you can get what you want when you want it. Look for ways to get fabric at reduced cost. I have been lucky with people giving me fabric when they find out that I sew. Many people buy materials for projects then never complete the project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've also found that larger clothing in the thrift store can be recut and turned into something else. I bought a Laura Ashley girl's dress with a gathered skirt at a thrift store years ago. I got it for like $3 and there was enough fabric in a child's dress to make me a full size vest. I still have it and it's holding up in style and wear nicely.

My sister gave me an old set of her sheets and they're going to become a house dress. I'll consider that one free as I already have the pattern.

I've been losing weight and I really don't want to buy clothes if I don't have to. Good to know there's someone out there besides me making stuff :)
 

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I've been sewing tops for myself lately. I love tee shirts for comfort but getting tired of them. I have a big fabric stash but also pick up stuff at thrifts.

Yesterday at GW I got 3 yards of reversible tee shirt knit half price for $1.50. Not my first color choice but it's good quality and a nice comfy cotton, plenty good for wearing at home. I've found a lot of nice fabric at thrifts. I've also found thrifts to be a good source for thread. I've been able to find lots of 4,000 yard cones cheap, which cuts cost substantially because I burn through so much thread, and often I make things where thread color doesn't matter.

Earlier this year, I picked up 5 bolts of woven cotton quilt quality fabric, around 40 yards for, IIRC, $22. I am overjoyed because I sew reusable menstrual supplies for a charity and I'm self-funded. Finding that fabric helps a lot to offset shipping costs and other expenses for my project, which means I can make and donate more items for the same cost. My winter sewing is set for at least the next 2 years!
 

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I'm lucky. I'm short...I do get to do a lot of hemming. Can get one of the dry cleaners or tailoring places to do it cheap with coupons... But I still just do my own and keep the sewing machine for this task. Hand sewing jeans is torture.

Can easily see where someone tall would need to sew own pants...Also save a lot of money from having to window shop and try on so many different pants to get a decent fit, then store changes around the measurements...Easier just to pick out some material, zipper and go. Can be helpful to know how to size up or down a pattern but Youtube probably has dozens of tutorials on this...
 

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I have sewn clothing but generally don't unless I need something specific. I have done a lot of costume sewing for stage and outdoor events where it needs to look good and stand up to wear and tear. Last year I made myself a set of pajamas and a pair of night gowns because I have trouble finding styles that are comfortable. It was about 4x the cost of ready made and took me 3 months. I need to make more adjustments to that gown pattern, too.

I'm not lucky with fabric finds like SD is, and our better quality fabric stores have closed (owners retired) leaving Joann's and they don't carry anything really nice. When there was competition in town I used to be able to get silk there, and now it is by special order only @ $75/yd. I'm glad I still have some in my stash.

I have done some alterations of ready made clothes, but mostly find that "fashion" colors and fabrics are not to my taste, so it's hard to even find something I would want to cut up. I'm happy in jeans and tees for now.
 

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I wonder again if being able to get thrift store fabrics is partly related to urban vs. rural.

I also think it's been getting harder to find fabrics at thrifts, which I think might be due to generational factors. We Boomers are probably the last generation where most of us learned to sew because that's what girls did, and after our generation, fabric stores started gearing more toward crafting than sewing clothing. Now, the Boomers are dying off or downsizing and thier big fabric stashes are being donated.

It's kinda like cast iron cookware. It used to be everywhere secondhand. But then it wasn't after older people's houses got cleaned out for one reason or other. Now it's generally HTF secondhand, and no longer dirt cheap.

I appreciate my closet full of fabric more all the time, and I'm a lot more diligent about looking for thrift store fabric lately, too.
 

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Quilting is still very popular here. There are at least 7 shops within a 30 minute drive of my house and half a dozen active guilds. Nobody's stash ends up in a thrift shop around here. It will get passed to friends first.

And the main issue I have with factory made clothing is that it is all synthetic and makes me itch. At least t-shirts and jeans are still made with cotton.
 

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I love to sew...but do not find much fabric at thrifty's. I do repurpose things thou...I love this ladies channel and transformations as they give me LOTS of ideas
 
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A lot of ready made clothes don't fit me right. I don't have orangutan arms but sleeves are generally too short. I'm also average height and shirts are usually too short. I've never figured that out. Even patterns are too short waisted. I usually add about 2" to both sleeves and body. Unisex clothes like tees and sweatshirts are usually right, since they're made to fit men, too.
 

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There might be some truth to the urban rural theory. I live in a very urban area. Not a big city with farmland outside the city limits. A big city surrounded by suburbs that are surrounded by more cities surrounded by more suburbs, etc. To be specific the Baltimore-Washington (DC) greater metropolitan area. So it is not like we have farmers coming into town for shopping.

I have never seen a bolt of fabric for sale in a thrift store in this area.

We do have a JoAnn's a few other places that sell fabric, but really not much for an area with a huge populations base.

I am pretty short too. I tend to solve the problem by not wearing pants.:vs_smirk: Mostly I wear skirts. They are easier to fit. The skirts are just a little longer on me that they are on other people. It is only an issue if the original skirt was ankle length. I have pretty wide hips - yes even in comparison to my other measurements - which are not small.... But many skirt styles are lose in the hips so it works.

I am much more likely to alter/embellish thrift store stuff than make a new thing from scratch.
 

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I have a few basic patterns I like in skirts, pants, unlined jacket. If I am going to take the time to sew them, the fabric quality has to be good and fit in with my wardrobe needs. For example I found a pleated wool skirt in a nice muted brown plaid. I liked the fabric enough that I took it apart, picked out all the pleats, ironed it flat and cut a new skirt. Otherwise I'm willing to spend some minimal time to alter an existing garment if I think I would get some wear from it. Fortunately I am set for clothing for the foreseeable future, although repairs will probably crop up.
 

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Finding bolts of fabric isn't the usual thing here, either. I just got lucky. I've had good luck over the years picking up large rolls of stuff like pack cloth, due to the large amount of people in our small town who have had or still have sewing businesses.

One of my best finds was ripstop nylon in a neutral tannish color. I got 288 yards of it on two rolls for $20. I've used that for probably fifteen years and am almost to the end of the first roll. I've used that stuff for so many different things over the years and sure have gotten my money's worth. It comes out at about seven cents per yard, so I can use tons of it and not worry I'm losing a lot of money if something doesn't work out. I've made two Add-A-Rooms for campers and those alone saved way more than I paid.

Wow, I just looked it up on JA what ripstop costs. Dang, that fabric is $8/yd. regular price! $2,304, plus tax for 288 yards. Not that I'd ever pay that. No wonder it's one of my favorite finds.

I just did a quick mental inventory of my sewing room. I bet I have at least $20K worth of stuff in there, between my machines, fabrics, hardware, webbing, buttons, notions, tools, etc., etc. Sure hope I never have to figure out what all is in there for insurance, because there's no way I could do it. I've picked up most stuff cheap over the years, but if I had to go out and replace everything at retail it would cost a small fortune.

Do I know how to digress or what? :D

I do like sewing though. I'm lucky I have some talent for it.
 

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I've always wanted to sew but other than the little bit we did in home ec in high school, that's all the sewing I've done. In the past, I have bought several sewing machines but couldn't get past threading the needle on them [go ahead and laugh, I can now but sure wasn't laughing at the time. :vs_laugh:]

I'm not one to learn by a book but rather to learn by someone showing me and then my doing it while they're there and to keep trying until I actually "get" and will remember how to do whatever it is but never had anyone to show me. Well, my one friend did but she just zipped through it and it was so fast, I had no idea how she did it.

So - my dreams of making a quilt will probably stay just that ... dreams. :crying: :smile2:

Scarlett
 

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Oh no, quilts are so easy. Seriously. You just have to sew a line with straight stitch. No fancy sewing, changing feet or anything. Do you have the little booklet for your machine? At worst you'll have to adjust tension.

You can find so many videos on youtube that show you anything you want to know. You can even watch tv shows online. https://freshquilting.com/

Just start with a block that doesn't have a bazillion pieces first. We are all drawn to the more complex patterns but they are time consuming and frustrating, even for experienced quilters.
 
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Sorry it hasn't worked out for you. But all is not lost.

YouTube is a wonderful resource for all kinds of crafts and other DIY. I started sewing when I was a child so young my mom had me use an old treadle machine so I couldn't hurt myself much, and I've sewed professionally and owned a sewing business and made things a lot of people would never think of, so I have decades of good experience in many areas of sewing. I still go to YT sometimes if there's something I don't know. I like videos because I can pause or start over if I miss something or forget something.

I bought a little machine from WM last year. It's pretty basic but I bought it for hauling to craft gatherings because it's small and lightweight. It's a Brother I got $20 off for $100. I would recommend it for a beginner machine, in case you decide to give it a try again.
 

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Ha! CH beat me to it!

I was thinking the same about many quilt blocks all being straight stitching and many pretty quilts are just simple piecing and straight lines. You could do a placemat or table runner to start, something small so it's less daunting till you get the hang of it. Start with a pattern based only on squares. Then when you're comfortable with that, move up to using triangles to make squares, or a pattern with squares and triangles, like a bear paw.

I've always thought much of sewing well is just about being able to recognize your own mistakes and then being willing to take time to correct them.
 

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My first quilt was a 9-patch. 4 squares of one fabric, 5 squares of another. Arrange the 5 squares in a X, put the 4 squares in the gaps. I still have that one. The quilting was the first and only one that I ever did by hand, took forever. It fit my double bed at the time.
 

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My first quilt was a 9-patch.
The first one I *finished* was a 9-patch, too. It's a bit ragged these days, but we still use it. I've made several variations since. :)

Four Patch and Double Four Patch are good beginner patterns, too. They lend themselves to many variations and secondary designs.
 
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