Frugal Tip: Learn How To Sew

Girl Sewing

Here is a frugal tip sent in by a reader:

Best tip I can give: learn how to sew (whether taking a course, have a relative or friend show you, etc.).

I’ve saved a LOT of money over the years because I learned how to sew.

I can’t count how many zippers I have replaced on things like blue jeans, shorts, coats. Even on new things, I’ve saved quite a bit.

For exampple: I bought my daughter a new suede leather coat with a hood regularly priced @ over $200 for only $50 because the zipper was broken. Since I knew how to replace zippers, I measured the old one, picked up a new one @ Wal-mart (zipper was only $5.) & sewed it in. My daughter was very happy to get a nice coat for the winter. This was cheaper than taking it to the cleaners for a new zipper.

I’ve found that zippers on clothing don’t last long & I usually have to replace them within 6 months to a year.


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  1. Shelley says:

    I’ve never got into sewing – but I do like knitting – I hate to type that out loud cos it makes me feel old – but I’m a young knitter 🙂

  2. Aryanasmommy says:

    I completely agree! Since learning how to sew last year I have done many jobs at home that I would have taken to a tailor. I even made my daughter some pants and a really cute dress (all with fabric I found at Salvation Army for next to nothing)

  3. teachermum says:

    I love to sew, and knit, and crochet, and needlework…the only thing I don’t know how to do in that field is tat…but I do have my great grandmother’s silver shuttle and will learn one day! Shelley, knitting is cheaper than valium…well…perhaps not, they have some mighty nice yarns out there!

    The savings in simply hemming pants alone is worth the learning! or sewing up a ripped seam. I just wish we had more fabric stores around here as the choice is very limited. My favourite thing is to smock and I’ve made some beautiful gifts as well as clothing for my own children.

  4. M.K says:

    Sewing is also great for projects around the house. I have made all the curtains in my house and lots of other things such as throw pillows and blankets. Buying good quality curtains can get pretty expensive, but when you know how to make them yourself and can get fabric at a great price you can cut the costs by a lot. 🙂

  5. Kathleen says:

    I knit and I just got a sewing machine and I am learning to use that too…. and I’m young too!! lol

  6. LilFrogMom says:

    I love to sew. I make blankets, repair clothes. I made the curtains in my kids rooms. I also crochet. My grandma taught me to crochet before she died (I was 17). I have saved so much $$ on my kids clothes. I have made them both dresses for Easter, summer and I am hoping to make Christmas dresses for them.

  7. Betty says:

    My adult daughters (early 20’s) tell me that most of their friends are taking up knitting & sewing. So I’m hoping that they will want to learn too. For now, they just ask “Mom” to do their mending & sewing (course I used to do that too; started sewing when I was 21 when a co-worker offered to show me how to read patterns, tips & tricks of the trade).

  8. Tammy Murphy says:

    I actually make my living from “sewing” now!
    It is not a ton of money but it saves my husband from having to give me spending money while being a stay at home mom.
    I am a longarm quilter and I take in quilt tops that my customers have pieced and I quilt them on a large frame and machine.
    It saves the piecers the hassle of shoving a queen size quilt through a little machine and I love it because I get to be creative and stay at home with my kids while still making a bit of money!

  9. Mia says:

    I have been seriously considering learning to sew and getting myself a sewing machine to help with hemming pants and things of that nature (which I pay others to help me with now but would like to learn to do on my own). Does anybody know what I should be looking for in a solid sewing machine or have any other tips for a beginner? (ie. where to begin learning to sew… since I don’t have any friends or family who could teach me?)

  10. Betty says:

    Mia: if you have no friends or family to show you how to sew, check out local community centre or municipality (they might have courses), local secondary school, community college, etc. Also, fabric places like Len’s Mill Stores in Ontario, Fabricland or any other fabric or sewing places may give lessons. Even try your local library to see if they have any books that could teach you. As far as brands go, I haven’t bought a machine in 40 yrs. & probably a lot of things have changed. My 40 yr. old machine was a Singer & I’ve never had to take it in for repairs. Some people swear by Pfaff, Brothers, etc. It’s up to the individual. If you are just starting though, I’d stick to the basic model & go from there (probably about $140. plus tax). One piece of advice though; when buying thread, buy thread from Germany (right now I can’t remember the name of it). The cheap stuff will gum up your machine & you will get so frustrated you’ll be ready to throw out your sewing machine. Anyways, the teacher who teaches you will let you know what to buy & what not to buy.

  11. Mia says:

    Betty, thank you SO much for the helpful advice! This is definitely my next hobby once I get around to tracking down some good classes and hopefully snag a good deal on a solid sewing machine! 🙂

  12. Tammi says:

    I am lucky to have been taught how to knit and sew. I have knit all the winter toques for my babies and kids and especially for their baby photos-check out to see how much you can make from knitted wear for photographers.

    As for sewing, I have always saved big money by making curtains, throw pillows and even quilts. I make sure to use gender neutral fabric for my baby rooms so to be able to recycle them for the next baby. I used my son’s quilt and bedding and created a gorgeous quilt for my daughter. I also have made cloth diapers for $7 each which are the exact replica to the ever poplular Fuzzibunz which cost $45 each.

    It goes without saying that I always hate it when I get a great deal on jeans and the hemming costs more than the pants themselves. This is a great reason to start sewing.

    As for a sewing machine-check out local garage sales for old machines. The oldies are the goodies and often merely need a tune up. I have my grandmothers that is about 60 years old and still going strong.

  13. Cassie Howard says:

    Tammi: I definitely agree with yard sales for sewing machines. I can always find them there. I have seen quite a few of them on Kijiji for decent prices as well.

  14. Sylvie says:

    When I was Young 9 years old I start to sew my barbie dresse with the left over fabric. Since then I sew. Now I have an overlock, my old sewing machine and my new embroidery machine so much fun,

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