Couture, Fabric

Ways To Save On Sewing Supplies

I had a another conversation recently with someone who was considering purchasing a serger but was concerned about having to buy 4 cones of every color of thread. I posted earlier on thread blending so I won’t belabour the point, instead here are some of my favorite ways to save big on sewing fabrics supplies and notions.

  1. Buy in bulk or from an industrial supplier. There is usually a volume discount available. Share with a sewing buddy if needed. I buy threads from Wawak (woolley nylon) and GoldStar. I love GoldStar for serger thread because the prices are great, the quality is good and they have free shipping. The online color chart is great too.
  2. Be patient with purchases; wait for sales whenever possible (see 7 for exceptions).
  3. Double up on coupons. When JoAnn & Hancock fabric offer the chance to save an additional 15-20% off sale and non-sale items, take it!
  4. Buy things you need all the time, like interfacing, certain colors of thread, and lining fabrics when they hit rock bottom. I posted earlier this week about the sale on Ralph Lauren lining fabric. At a $1.79 for high quality goods, now is a great time to purchase.
  5. Think outside the box. Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The concept of “it has to look as good on the inside as on the outside” is great, but the person looking at the inside of your garments is most likely to be you. I add funky colors to the inside of garments all the time and smile when I wash. By choosing non-traditional colors and prints and fabrics I can save because everyday prices are often low on things that are less popular. The added benefit is that it adds the “smile factor” to a chore.
  6. Know when to buy. I know that the truck arrives at my local fabric store on a Tuesday, so the best time to check for new arrivals and sale items is Wednesday morning. If you are into higher end fabrics, know the fashion cycle. Understanding it is simple. When the January sales kick in, that means that retailers are making room for spring and summer clothing, and that in turn means that the spring and summer manufaturing cycle is coming to a close. Great fabrics are on sale! Look for then at jobbers like Denver Fabrics, Mood Fabrics and more.
  7. Know what to buy. For example, I love boucle for winter; when a new shipment arrived in a color that I loved I bought it right away. The full price of the fabric was less than a coat made of comparable goods, so I did not hesistate. Knowing which fabrics hold high retail value is important. I saved money in the long run over what I would pay for ready to wear clothing and will enjoy my new coat many seasons.
  8. Try to organize a local Stitcher’s Switch or participate in one. Trading fabrics from your stash that have been on the shelf for a little too long is a great way to get fresh inspiration from unused goods.
  9. Invest in the best. It doesn’t sound like saving money but buying good quality supplies is more cost effective than buying poor quality at low prices.
  10. Shop flea markets, garage sales, re-sellers like Goodwill, consignement shops, and online auctions for great deals. My 2 favorite deals are still the desks I bought and painted, one for my Bernina and the other for my serger. I use old sheets and pillow slips for muslin, lining, and even clothing. If it is made out of fabric – sew it! I bought a jacket for $1.50 years ago just to get the buttons and fabric. Upstyling is good for the environment and the budget.
  11. Buy it and dye it. Shopping for natural fibers makes sound financial sense. They can be used as is or dyed to another color.
  12. Save scraps.  Saving the selvedges, and scraps has helped me out of more corners than I care to write about. Be careful with this one, it can turn into a space consuming monster, lol!
  13. Save old dryer sheet for a multitude of uses in the sewing room.

The final tip is to embrace the place you’re at. If you are a novice then avoid high priced fabric (unless it is deeply discounted) until your skills are up to the challenge. After nearly forty years of designing, pattern making and sewing, I still put myself through my paces before trying to sew on costly goods. This isn’t just about sewing a sample and getting the tension right (both are necessary) but also about practicing the skills I need time and again to create muscle memory.

Fall and winter fabrics should be arriving at excellent prices at this time of year – so I am off to shop!

Happy Sewing,

Natalie

Couture, Fabric, Fabric Storage

Fabulous Fabric Finds & Couture Kitty Fun

“Bridal Fabric? What Bridal Fabric?” Lol! I keep fabric stored inside glass cabinets in my sewing room until I am ready to cut it. I walked in to find Goku (aka Couture Kitty) inside a bag of bridal fabric that I had cut for an upcoming video (shameless plug here). He had somehow opened the bag and made himself quite comfortable on the beaded lace and satin stored within.

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And he looks so mad that I want him to move! Having a pet around in the sewing room adds joy to everyday!

Okay – on to sewing stuff…

The stash blast is over and I am happy with the simple garments that I was able to whip up during the blast. I am even happier to be back to the attelier style sewing to which I have become accustomed. Having cleared out some space in my sewing room, it was thrilling to discover that Fashion Fabrics Club/Denver Fabrics is having a great sale. Whenever these types of sales occur, I always remind myself of a few key things.

  1. See the fabric for what it could be. Just because the site says it’s for dresses doesn’t mean I have to use it like that. Goods that I might not want for the outer garment work well for linings, accessories and more.
  2. At $1.79 – $10.95  per yard, it’s hard to go wrong.
  3. Stick to natural fibers whenever possible. If the color is off, a bottle of RIT dye can fix it.

Silk organza at 4.95/yard in cream? SOLD! I don’t care if it has a bit of light embroidery, I can still use it for a multitude of things. POLO wool for $10.95? YAY! I thought this piece of velvet, stablilized with interfacing would make a fun bag.

Mulberry Print Stretch Velvet – 8019 | Discount By The Yard | Fashion Fabrics.

This piece of black sateen is supposed to be dressweight but I think it would be nice as a luxe lining.

https://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/p812_12895-black-print-sateen. They also have Ralph Lauren linings for around $1.80

Ralph Lauren Lining

Not to be left out, Mood Fabrics has a lovely pure wool gauze from Donna Karan for $7.99 and Hancock Fabrics dropped the price on a stunning piece of Aubergine Wool Boucle by 50% plus my coupon for an additional 15% off. Sigh. Sewing is a lifelong passion and I have accepted that there will always be a pile of fabrics at my house.

Enjoy the sales!

Natalie

DIY Sewing Room Projects, Easy Sewing Projects, Fabric, Free Sewing Tutorial, Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery, Simple Sewing

DIY Circular Sewing Attachment

A repost from my old blog. As we are stash blasting, this is a quick and easy way to add style to home decor and garment projects. The full PDF file for making a DIY Circular Sewing Attachment is available on the website at Sutura Style. Enjoy and Happy Sewing!

The Sewist Club

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Happy New Year! Over the Holidays I got busy and reviewed a whopping 8 (!) sewing machines. I will post the results on our new main website at http://www.seeitandsewit.com once it is up and running (hopefully over the next two weeks). In the meanwhile, as I was messing about, I decided to push the limits of the Brother Laura Ashley CX-155, to see how many of the great features, found on it’s bigger (read: much more expensive) cousins; NX2000, NX5000 Isadore and the NX800, I could emulate. One of the features that I really love about the Laura Ashley line is the ability to create perfect circular sewing. So, I made myself a little circular sewing attachment and gave it a whirl. Here is how I made it, and the results. Happy Sewing!

For this project you will need: a thin flat ruler, sticky Velcro, a fine tip marker, a utility…

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Couture, Dresses, Easy Sewing Projects, Fabric, How to use a Serger

Summer Sewing Stash Blaster – Wardrobe Make-Over

Stash of Sewing Fabrics

This fabric has been sitting pretty in my stash for too long. It’s time for a stash blaster! I am determined to work up the courage to FINALLY sew the beautiful silk suiting that I splurged on and give my wardrobe completely made-over. To push myself, last week I cleared out my closet and put about 95% in bags for donation. Now, I have no choice. I have to sew – so here we go! I made my first little foray into blaster mode with the trio of skirts from earlier this week but am kicking it into high gear today.

I’ve also given myself rules for my Summer Sewing Blast.

1) NO BUYING MORE FABRIC UNTIL WHAT I HAVE IS SEWN! Trading with fellow sewists is allowed and purchase of lining and interling is okay as needed only

2) THIS BLASTER STARTS TODAY AND ENDS JULY 30TH

3) ALL RESULTS, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE GORGEOUS MUST BE SHARED via blog, fb, instagram etc.

4) NO NEW PATTERNS – self-drafting is okay but not one more penny is to be spent.

The first day is the hardest, so I am glad I warmed up. To save time, I am going to work by color. This will allow me to use the same threads on the serger and sewing machine and I can go from project to project. Today is white & ecru. Here is the pile of everything I have that can be stitched up with white and ivory thread.

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Heavier, suit weight fabrics and cottons are at the back, blouse or dressweight is in the middle and knits and novelty are at the bottom. I see some Dirndl skirts, a maxi dress, and some quick tops. The suit weight goods are another matter. A serious review of my existing patterns is in order! However, to build momentum, I am going to start at the bottom and work my way up. Results are on the way!

If you have a stash and want to join in – I would love to have some company.  Happy Sewing!

Atelier, Bespoke Tailored Shirts, Craft Room, Cutting Table, Denim, DIY Sewing Room Projects, Fabric, Fabric Storage, Hobby Spaces, Paris Couture, Pattern Drafting, Quilting, Quilting Room, Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery, Sewing Patterns, Sewing Room Makeover, Tailoring

The Ten Commandments of Great Sewing

There is a lot of room for creativity in the world of sewing but to get good results there are some hard and fast rules that have stood the test of time, and indeed are applied to many hobbies, not just sewing. Here are the Dawn Abbey Ten Commandments of Sewing.

1) Thou Shalt Love Thine Self and the Body You’re In
I make no bones about being a Christian and believing that every human is created in the image of God. You are beautiful just the way you are. Before you can create something that will look pleasing to you, there needs to be love for the person in the mirror. We all have fitting adjustments that need to be made, and after more than thirty years of sewing for myself and others I have yet to encounter “the perfect body”. Perfect in whose eyes? In His eyes you are stunning. Give the body you’ve got a big ‘ol hug and know that with a little time and effort, you’re gonna look fantastic in the things you create.

2) Measure twice cut once.
It may seem obvious but I cannot overstate the importance of taking accurate measurements to ensure properly fitting garments. Measure yourself once per year (birthday perhaps to remember?) and then again right before you cut your pattern and fabric. The human body goes through many changes in life, and during the course of a single day your body weight can fluctuate by two-three pounds. Take your measurements at night, after dinner when your body is at its maximum size for that day and do your fittings at the same time if possible.

3) If it doesn’t feel right, it’s wrong
This rule applies in several ways. Firstly, when you are shopping for fabric, take the time to drape the fabric across the inside of your wrist which is much more sensitive than your hands. If the fabric feels rough, uncomfortable or just “not right”, keep shopping. Secondly, when pin fitting a pattern, if the fit feels wrong, it is wrong. Either make some adjustments or try a different pattern.

4) THOU SHALT TEST EVERY PATTERN WITHOUT FAIL!!
Lol! Okay, I just did the online equivalent of shouting but honestly that question has come up one time too many times for this instructor. Your time, money, effort and creativity deserve the small effort of making a muslin. Once the task is done, only minor change are needed unless there is a major change in size (see the Second Commandment)

5) Look Before You Leap
Pattern Review.com has assembled the largest online database of pattern reviews in the world. I know how deliciously tempting those $.99 patterns can be, (I have drawers full of them) but the best approach is to make a list of patterns that you like, check the reviews and once you are satisfied that the pattern will work for you, shop on! :))

6) Keep Natural Laws on Your Side
Gravity. Momentum. Inertia. When sewing, sew on a flat surface. Whether you have treated yourself to a top of the line custom cabinet or you’re using a piece of foam from the hardware store, or something in between, let the table hold the weight of the fabric for you. The best way to keep large projects for slipping away, weighing you down or downright hurting your shoulders, wrists and back, is to make sure that the project is properly supported. Using a comfortable chair will reduce fatigue and strain and make your sewing time more rewarding.

7) Take Joy In the Journey
Yup. It’s true. Taking the time to baste, make a muslin, pin fit, search for the right fabric, buttons, linings etc., will bring better results than rushing through. When time is short, remind yourself, “I am worth it” and put the project aside and come back to it when you have time to focus. You will reap the rewards of your patience in the end

8) The Strength of a Team far Outweighs the Sum of the Individual Parts
The Internet is flooded with all kinds of tutorials, online classes (shameless plug here: naturally I’d love it if you take some of mine!). Plus, there are how-to videos, books and DVDs galore. The point is, if you need help, there is plenty to be had, just ask. A frustrating project can turn into a conversation point in a forum, and not only get the help you need; but you might be able to help someone else along. Also, remember that The Sewist Club has a contact page, and I am always happy to help if I can. 🙂

9) Protect Your Creativity like Your Child
Your time and talents are gifts from above and in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to push aside the Human Being and become a Human Doing. Sewing, like any other hobby or creative outlet, is meant to be enjoyable. Book some “me time” with your hobby and protect it like a precious child. We are only given 24 hours in each day, make sure to use some of them to express yourself, whether it is at the machine, shopping online, looking for new ideas or just day dreaming about your next project. The workplace, dust bunnies and dishes will still be there when you get to them:)

10) Good Ingredients Yield Good Results
I left this until last because it is actually the least important. Buying a good quality sewing machine, nice fabrics and notions is simply common sense. But the best ingredients can come to nought if the hands are rushed, the mind is stressed or the body is out of harmony. Yes, good fabrics count for a lot, but loving the skin you’re in counts for so much more.

Happy Sewing!
Natalie