Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Wardrobe Project, 2016-The Mid-Week Update! The Cost-of-Make.

Lets discuss the economics of your made clothing. I started sewing as a 9 year old because I wanted and needed new clothes. Our family had suffered a significant financial loss and it did not fit in well with my plans and dreams. My Grandmother sewed for a living, my Aunt sewed for style so I had a direction. I would learn to sew. At my disposal I had a Treadle sewing machine that belonged to my Mothers birth mother who died in the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918. It had not been used for a very long time. It had a sticky oil can. It had no instruction book, no definition of the accessories and it had one shuttle bobbin, wound with red thread. And that is where I started. I sewed to save money. I continued to sew to save money and to have special things that I would otherwise not have had. I think my early efforts were pretty rough but I slogged on. Now, I have the best machines money can buy and the best fabric I can find. I am not sure I save a lot of money but I know I have cut my RTW budget in half by sewing garments again.    Essential Supima® Boatneck Tee, Vienna Currant, large
This Supima long sleeve T( $49.99 retail, on sale) is an easy sew. Again, a TNT pattern 3 yards of fabric. I have a similar fabric in a sparky yellow that I might try or a lightweight ponte in pale blue. I will estimate cost at about $15.00 because I purchased the ponte on sale at $6.99! So I am looking at a finished price of about $13.00, not bad.

Crème de la Fleece Pants, Mid Heather Grey, large
For example, a casual day combination of light to medium fleece or french terry pull-on elastic waist pants retail, on sale at $49.00 in my size. Now, I am sewing from stash but if I remember correctly I picked this fabric up for $2.90 a yard with a 60% off coupon at Joann's last year. Simple math here but I am talking $9.00 + cost of elastic, thread, pattern (a TNT, used about 10 times)  I am estimating about 10.99. *saved $39.00!
West Wind Berber Coat, Oatmeal, large
So here is the ringer in the group. I am not too good at scrounging the bargain tables (too messy, jumbled, piles of fabric fall all over the floor, irritating) but one day I did hit a jackpot of sorts. I spied a green berber fleece that looked like it would work well as outerwear. A three yard piece, no flaws, $10.00! Mama Mia we have a winner. I think I even have some toggle buttons stashed away somewhere. The retail on sale coat, Berber Fleece. $109.00.
  • As part of this project I think it is important to record Cost-of-make. Use that journal to help you estimate cost then attempt to compare what you make to a retail product. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find that you are saving more than you think, particularly for core items.
  • Now, making high end pieces such as formal wear and double faced wool coats will not be any great save. High quality embellished fabric costs a lot, even on sale. 
  • In the back of my journal I keep a few pages just for recording such costs. I also make a little pocket to hold receipts for major purchases out of card stock or even a zip lock bag.  By mid-year my journal is is a bit bulky and lumpy, works for me!  
  • Are you familiar with The Sewing Workshop Blog, On-line Pattern and Fabric Shop? Offering a new format and tutorials this may be a spark of inspiration for you!

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