Sewing used to be a very thrifty process for me, and is still something I try to keep in mind – honestly!
I used to source my fabric from charity shops, buy my equipment on eBay and rely on donated haberdashery from a neighbour who worked in my local fabric market.
It was a cost-effective hobby that also happily stopped me spending all my money in Topshop.
I’m sure lots of Sewists can identify with my experience. Besides the fact that I then had very limited disposable income, as a beginner, I was scared of investing in lovely fabric and ‘ruining’ it by making something that I never ended up wearing.
However, now that I’ve been sewing for a while now and I’m pretty confident in my fabric and pattern choices, I know that 90% of the items I make will be well used and well loved. Until recently though, I’ve still had trouble giving myself permission to actually spend money on better-quality fabric and tools that need a little more investment.
Now that I earn more than £4.80 and hour down at the local Café at my Saturday job, I can afford the odd splurge, and this month I’ve splurged big time! Well, sort of…
First off, I bought an overlocker. (How pro’ of me)
I’ve wanted one for a while to take my sewing to the next level, making my clothes look a bit more professional, and giving them a better quality finish that lasts longer in the wash. I’ve not used an overlocker for about ten years, (think textiles GCSE time) so I knew I needed a bit of help choosing and actually working out how to thread the thing up.
The Fold Line had a good guide to overlocker purchasing that got me thinking about what I needed to look out for, but I knew I’d need to go to an actual shop to get some help and a demo from a real person. Sew Divine is a great haberdashery and sewing machine shop in Reading, (they also service machines too) so I thought I’d give them a try.
They were really helpful, and I ended up hanging out there for about an hour and a half, while they showed me different machines, explained the differences between them all and showed me how to thread and use the one I decided to go with.
It’s a Brother 1034D and knowing how popular it is in the sewing community, I’m confident that I’ll get along with it ok.
What I really appreciated from Sew Divine was that they didn’t try to sell me a massively complicated, top-of-the-line machine. Even though I was willing to spend a little more than I actually ended up parting with, the sales people recommended I save the extra £60, as the Brother 1034D was going to do everything I needed it to do.
It was delivered last week, but right now our house is in chaos as we’re having our bathroom renovated, so I haven’t had chance to test it out yet. I’ll do a quick review when I finally get around to taking it out the box. I reckon I’ll need to set aside some quality time to get to grips with the thing, so I’m waiting for a free afternoon.
Some Cool Tools
While I was at Sew Divine getting my lovely overlocker, I happened to see they sold big cutting mats and rotary cutters.
Until now I’ve been diligently cutting out my pattern pieces with pins and sheers, however, after I’d already saved money on a slightly less expensive overlocker, I decided to spend that money anyway on a 45cm square cutting mat and a rotary cutter. (It made financial sense to me at the time I promise.)
Again, I’m yet to use them, but I’m hoping that they’ll magically make my sewing more accurate and neat? Yes?
Yes, what sewing haul would be complete without some lovely fabric?
I decided to spend the rest of my birthday money on lovely lovely fabric to be used on some projects I’ve wanted to make for ages, including some of my Make9 projects – yes I’m feeling pretty organised.
Here’s what I bought…
· Pink Crepe – For some reason, pink seems to be the only colour that manages to creep into my wardrobe regularly, amid the black, blue and grey colour palette I normally wear. This is a really soft crepe with a nice drape and I’ve already started cutting it out to make up into a summery Ogden camisole top.
· Red Viscose – This viscose was really cheap, (I think about £3 per metre) but feels lovely and light and I bought it to make into a Papercut Patterns Midsummer Night’s Eve dress eventually. The only thing I’m slightly worried about is how much it creases, but at worst it will still turn into a very wearable toile.
· Indigo Denim – The label in Fabricland said that this was a heavyweight denim, but it definitely isn’t. It’s a lovely weight for summer, as it’s slightly heavier than cotton chambray, but not too stiff. I’m thinking that this will do for a Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress, or any sort of casual summer dress.
· Black and white cotton gingham – This was a bit of a surprise purchase – not something I necessarily planned on taking home with me, but after trying on some black and white gingham trousers in Zara, and as it was such a sunny day when I bought the fabric, I thought it would be great for a casual summer dress or skirt. (I’m now thinking that it might look like a girl’s school uniform dress, but ah well!)
· Vintage pink georgette – Again, I don’t really know what I’m going to do with this, but I think it’s just so pretty! Maybe a camisole PJ Top or lingerie of some kind? It’s a little too see-through for day wear…
· Light blue boucle – I love this fabric! It’s exactly the kind of fabric I can imagine a cute little Chanel-style boucle jacket in – maybe with a matching pair of smart shorts…
So that’s that for fabric. Now on to yarn…
My first yarn purchase was bought at my local Hobbycraft branch, and while it was fairly inexpensive, I think it will knit up really nicely.
It’s an 8ply yarn from the WI, Smooth and Silky range, and I bought it in a lovely grey-purple colour. I bought enough to make a Coral cardigan, by Kim Hargreaves, which is on my to-make list, and I think the whole six balls cost me a total of £12.
Yay for the 3 for the price of 2 sale!
My next purchase was in a very similar colourway. It’s Rowan fine lace, and after buying 3 balls in store, getting them home and realising there’s not really much I could do with them, bought 3 more balls cheap on eBay, so at least I have enough for a decent sized project. I’m still deciding what to do with this yarn, so any ideas are very much welcome!
And that’s my small, petite haul. Just a few bits and bobs…
However, I need some advice! Please tell me what to do with my black and white gingham fabric, my denim fabric and my laceweight yarn?
Also, if anyone else has bought a Brother 1034D and has any top tips, I’d love you forever. OK bye.