I hear this question all the time… “Can sewing save you money? “
Since I hear it so often, I did a little research. It’s generally well accepted that if you want a boutique dress from a specialty shop that you can save money sewing it yourself but what about the everyday items?
The short answer is…
Sewing can definitely save you money!
I compiled a list of basic clothing items and found a similar item at Gap and Target. If you normally shop somewhere more or less expensive you’ll have to keep that in mind when looking at the chart but this gives a good benchmark. All pricing is based on a child’s size 5.
- I did not factor in pattern price. If you already own a pattern that will work for you, then your cost is $0! If you need to purchase one I recommend dividing the pattern price by the number of times you know you will use it. For example, if the pattern is $8 and your child is still at the low end of the size range and it’s an everyday item, it’s reasonable to assume you will use it at least 8 times making your pattern cost $1. If it’s for a special occasion and you might only use it twice your pattern cost is $4.
- For knit items I used a “Designer” price of $18/yard (Art Gallery, Riley Blake, Birch, custom knits, etc.) and a “Bargain” price of $7/yard.
- If the yardage required for an item is 1/2 yard but you’ll have enough width on the bolt to make 2 items I divided the cost by 2. Use those scraps!
- I did not factor in time. I assume you are reading this post because you love to sew
- For items with buttons or zippers I did include that in the cost. I didn’t factor in thread, scissors and other basic supplies you should have on hand.
- If the fabric price was pulled from Joanns I factored in a 30% discount because it really is almost always on sale or you can use a coupon
- Yes retail clothing goes on sale but fabric goes on sale too. You never know what type of discount you might score so I didn’t factor it in. I’ve found amazing clothing at a yard sale for $1 and I’ve also found amazing cuts of fabric and large items that can be re-purposed at yard sales for a $1 or even less
- Price doesn’t always equal quality. A Target dress might hold up just as well as one from Gap and your $7 knit might be just as good as an $18 knit. Typically it’s a good indicator but not always. Hopefully by having both prices to look at will help you determine the comparative cost depending on your particular fabric and the item in question.
- There are lots of other reasons to make handmade: custom sizing, it’s fun!, creating a one-of-a-kind piece for your child, you don’t have to drag all of the kids to the store with you, and it’s made by you instead of in a sweatshop (while it might not be true of everything you buy a majority of the time that is the sad reality of the fashion industry)
- Gloria Party Dress (the play dress variation of the pattern)
- Castaway Cargos
- Classic Oxford Button-Up
- Nantucket One-Piece Swimsuit
- Day Camp Tee (it’s free!)
- Alex & Anna Summer PJs
- Classic Briefs & Boxer Briefs