So, How Frugal Is Sewing?


Exhibit A: A pair of Elle pants, completely comfortable and respectable enough for work. Cost:

  • Fabric, 2 yds of ponte de Roma for $28.00 — 1/2 yard left over
  • Elastic: $3.99
  • Pattern, to be used again multiple times but full price included here, $12.95
  • Thread, ditto, $3.00
  • Total: $47.94

In other words, less than RTW. Wrinkles in the picture show that I did not make these tight like leggings (see point about respectability above) and still they are very nice. I can’t wait to make them in the other recommended fabrics. I may never make any other kind of pants.


Exhibit B: the fabric for the pants, plus other things I also bought at Hancock’s even though I didn’t need them, thus bringing the price of the pants equal to RTW. Note that I went to Hancock’s with the idea of buying a cheap yet appropriate fabric for a wearable muslin, carrying a bunch of coupons which I did not use, and allowed myself to be tempted by the $1.69 patterns, the magazines, and (not in this picture) the chocolates.


Exhibit C: here, quite wrinkled, is another Simplicity 1467 top, this one in a lovely blue cotton lawn. Over the weekend, I made by this top and the Elle pants, in addition to doing some work and a tiny bit of housework, plus fixing #1 son’s sweater. The fabric cost $5.75 last year, and I have made at least six garments from the pattern and didn’t buy any new thread or use any other notions, so this is clearly much less than RTW.

This exhibit is not only to continue demonstrating the price of home-sewn garments, but also to respond to the idea that my valuation of the cost of these garments is wrong because of the hours of work involved.

This is relevant for me, since I could have worked all weekend and made plenty more than I saved with these clothes. However, this doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

  • I really needed a break from work, and sewing has been shown to be one of the most relaxing of hobbies. Indeed, I needed a break from people, thought, and the world. A couple of Personal Sewing Days are much cheaper than a spa weekend.
  • I did the sewing while watching How to Get Away with Murder marathon-style on Netflix. I could have done the TV watching without the sewing, so the time was rescued and made productive rather than being made unproductive.

I think we have to conclude that, as long as you actually produce wearable garments, sewing is a frugal activity, a way of making something pleasurable into something productive as well.







One response to “So, How Frugal Is Sewing?”

  1. […] I used fabrics recommended by bloggers, and they’ve worked out quite well so far. I made my first pair from ponte de roma, which stretched from the edge of the design drawing to the middle of the […]