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How to save money by sewing

If you have a sewing machine and basic sewing skills, you can save money by making clothing and other useful items for your family. We’ll show you how to buy fabric on the cheap and a few ideas for what even the most novice seamstress can make in her own home that will help lighten your clothing budget burden.


Bargain fabric shopping

You don’t have to pay full price for fabric. Many nationwide chains, such as Joann Fabric and Crafts, have frequent sales. If what you are looking for isn’t on sale, wait a week or two. Many fabrics, such as flannel and fleece, go on sale once or twice a month, and other fabrics do as well.

Another great place to find bargain fabric prices is the remnant bin. Many people simply overlook the remnant bin because they assume the pieces are too small for their needs, but you’d be surprised at what you may find and what you can use it for. You can get up to a yard in the remnant bin, and the prices are always discounted. Sometimes you can get a remnant at a double discount if the material is currently on sale.

Small yardage can be pieced together to make a bigger workable surface, or you can use different pieces for different purposes — such as one piece for a collar and another for sleeves on a dress, for example.


You can also repurpose and upcycle fabric in your own home. Your daughter’s favorite shirt may have an impossible stain near the bottom of it, for example, but you can use imagination and a little creativity to turn that into a funky and fabulous dress.

Well-loved wool sweaters can be upcycled into really wonderful and warm pants for your baby or toddler. Here is a free, downloadable and printable pattern for baby pants that can also double as a cloth diaper cover. You can also experiment with other wooly projects as well, such as warm winter hats.

Make your own

Flannel makes for excellent receiving blanket material and is an awesome use of your fabric remnants. Simply fold each edge over twice (pressing if you have time) and sew the edges down. Sew a few for your own baby or to give as gifts at baby showers.


it’s very easy to sew your own diapers. Flannel is a great choice for material, and even if you’ve never sewn with elastic before, it’s cheap and easy to do.

Try this cloth diaper pattern — it’s free to download! >>

With a carefully planned shopping trip or creative re-use of your old clothing, you can expand your family’s wardrobe while keeping your budget intact!

More on sewing

Sew a simple, chic slipcover
How to Make Cafe Curtains, Simple Sewing
How to Make Cloth Napkins, Simple Sewing

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