Friday, June 8, 2012

FO Friday: Three Skirts

One of the reasons I started sewing again was that I had it in my head that making my own clothes would probably be more cost-effective than buying them-- unlike knitting, which is virtually never cost-effective in terms of the price of the materials or the amount of time I put into the garments in question. As I've honed my skills and expanded my repertoire, I've discovered that it's only partially true. Some things are cheaper to make, others are not. Here's what I've come up with so far:

Things I Should Probably Buy at the Store:

  • Knit garments of any kind (t-shirts/tank tops in particular).
  • Blue jeans.
  • Pants, in general, most of the time. 
As a rule, both interlocking knit fabric and denim/heavyweight pants fabric are pretty expensive. If it costs me $10 in fabric for a t-shirt or $30 for a pair of pants, I'm better off hitting Old Navy. The fact that my sewing machine is a pretty basic model that isn't really designed for knits or denim is also a factor.

Things that are Cheaper for Me to Make:

  • Cloth sacks/messenger bags/purses in general.
  • Cloth scarves.
  • Most skirts.
  • Most dresses.
The only time skirts or dresses aren't cost-effective for me to make is when knit fabrics are involved. Otherwise, it makes much more sense to spend $15-20 on fabric for a dress ($5-15 for a skirt) than to pay double that in the stores or online. Then there's the matter of tailored suits: I like to wear them, and plan on having a number of them when I start My Real Job after I graduate. While suiting fabric and linen blends can be pricey, both can be had on sale/with coupons for $10-ish a yard, and since I only need about 3-5 yards for a skirt suit, it's way more cost-effective for me to go that route than trying to find something nice off the rack.

You'll notice I've left dress shirts and shorts out of the equation altogether. I don't typically wear shorts (though I suspect they're cost-effective to sew because they require so little fabric relative to pants), and I'm kind of iffy on my ability to make anything that involves set-in sleeves at this point. All of the dresses I intend on making in the near future are sleeveless, and I'm not sure that I'm quite there, skill-wise, where sleeves are concerned. Beyond that, there aren't a lot of shirt patterns out there that I'm really into, and I'm also not sure whether it's more or less expensive for me to make a button-down myself or to just buy them on sale from Old Navy, the Gap, or NY & Co. (On the other hand, having such shirts that actually fit me might be worth the extra expense.)

I've spent most of my summer so far making skirts, because that's mostly what I wear this time of year. I usually live in those knit yoga skirts from Old Navy-- I have six or seven of them in different colors-- with solid-colored tank tops or t-shirts. In an effort to look more presentable/fashionable, I've decided to branch out a bit. The first pattern I've attempted can be found here. I liked working from it a lot; it's fairly idiot-proof and comes with detailed instructions and lots of pictures. Also, NO ZIPPERS!

I decided to use quilting cotton for the fabric. It's cheap (each skirt only cost me about $7 in materials), durable, and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. I know a lot of people don't like working with it because it can be kind of stiff and non-drapey, but I've found that a good washing and some fabric softener go a long way towards fixing that. Also, I'm so hard on my clothes that they probably need all the durability they can get.

Overall, I'm really pleased with how they came out. My next skirt-sewing endeavor involves an actual pattern: very exciting, yeah?

No comments:

Post a Comment