Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I can't afford to sew...and other creative myths #2

Everyone is on a budget. Crafting need not be expensive. For some reason 'crafting' & DIY has hit the mainstream and is currently en vogue. Martha Stewart led the DIY charge! BUT 'crafting' initially was done due to necessity, not because there was leisure time. Blankets and clothing *had* to be made or else you didn't have any.

Creative Myths is a series I'm doing to encourage the reluctant crafter by addressing all the myths we tell ourselves that hinder our creativity.

Creative Myth #2

I can't afford to sew!

Borrow a sewing machine. Many women have sewing machines. If the woman uses hers, she will say so but often, there is one sitting in a closet somewhere collecting dust! Sometimes a seasoned crafter will even have an extra machine on hand. Don't be afraid to ask around. If you can afford a little, check craigslist, yard sales and thrift stores for a used machine.

Repurpose, reuse, recycle: you don't need to go out and purchase brand new fabric to make a quilt. This is NOT how they did it in the old days. They saved scraps of fabric and then used those scraps to create a blanket for warmth. Where do I get the fabric to start with? you ask...Well, most homes have clothing in abundance, for starters. Go through your closets, your children's closets etc.  There's a whole menagerie of fabric opportunities just waiting to be discovered in your closet. Don't forget your linen closet! Yes, sheets are a steal when you compare the price per yardage.

Again, if you have a little money you can find great deals on sheets at yard sales and thrift stores. I've seen bags full of fabric at the thrift store for pennies on the dollar. I've also seen lawns full at yard sales and ads on craigslist. Again, don't be afraid to ask around too. Most fabric crafters have an over abundance--ask me how I know. ;-)

Before you make something completely from scratch, ask yourself if you can simply alter something you already have? Is there a shirt that has a stain? Instead of ditching the shirt or sewing a whole new one...can you sew a flower and attach that over the stain? Allow your creativity to lead and guide you in new directions.

Linens are the best source for fabric: sheets can be made into curtains, skirts, shirts, pillows, stuffed animals, slip covers etc.

There are many online tutorials for creating a new piece of clothing from an old piece of clothing. (see below for ideas)

Notions: You will need to purchase some notions like needles and thread. Keep in mind that most thread will not be seen. Therefore you do NOT need to have thread in every color. A good basic or whatever is on sale will do. As long as it is strong and keeps your item together, it will do. I found a TON of thread once in my garage. Spools and spools and spools of brown and yellow...lasted me for YEARS! (actually I STILL have some) The color has never been a problem.

When you reach the end of your spool and there is still a bit left. Wind that bit around your fingers a few times and save the piece for the times when you only need a little to close a stuffed project via hand sewing.

Use Alternatives: Most patterns that need elastic can use a draw string instead. You can use a ribbon or create one with the fabric you have on hand. If something calls for a zipper, can you use buttons...and vice-versa. 

Save the elastic from underwear. Really. When a pair of undies has exhausted itself for some reason, I cut the elastic off if it still has stretch, stash it in my supply drawer and then toss the rest.
Save buttons from other items of clothing that are no longer useable.
Salvage Zippers: those plastic bags that bedding often come in as well as some random toys have zippers that are easy to remove with a seam ripper!
Use the library to check out pattern and sewing books. Or save some time by looking online. You can also search online for how to create your own patterns OR use an item of clothing that already fits you well as the basis for the new item. 
If you do buy a pattern: wait until they are on sale. They go on sale often for about $1 each. Also, patterns can be found at the thrift store for nearly a dime a dozen.
Stuffing for toys or pillows: you can purchase fluff OR you can use other strips of fabric or old cloths for filler.

The possibilities are endless!

Repurposed Inspirations:
Men's shirt into toddler sundress
T-shirt into ruffled toddler skirt
Men's shirt into skirt
Pillow case to toddler dress
Adult Tshirt to toddler Tshirt
Simple doll dress using stretch fabric

There are many more inspiring ideas online. Start sewing! I can't wait to see what you come up with. Please be sure to come back and share your projects, I'd love to see them. Now quick: go grab your guy's shirts before he notices. ;-)

1 comment:

Pam said...

Some great tips here for anyone new to sewing. I love repurposing garments that no longer fit.