Friday, April 15, 2011

Crafting on a budget

  Crafts, such as sewing and knitting, have regained popularity over the past few years. But with that popularity has come a price hike. Add that to piles of cheapo Made-in-ThirdWorld clothes available to buy and you sort of start to wonder why you’d bother making clothes, when a simple skirt looks set to cost you $50. Especially when it’s quite likely you’ll screw it up!

  Easy solution-ditch the shops. Well, the buy new, fashionable shops. And head to your local op-shops and markets, and search out some………..

Patterns-From sewing patterns to knitting and crochet patterns to books covering everything from basket weaving to millinery, they’re all at the op-shop. I myself have a slight addiction to vintage sewing patterns and craft books-if you can’t find any except Eighties ones with massive shoulderpads, you probably live near me. At a maximum of 50c a pattern, and under $5 for books (I got six for $1 last week) you can afford to get a library happening. I nearly had a heart attack when I found out new ones are around $10-$16 each-you’d have to make a lot of each to save $$$ with them.


Fabric and wool-Much of this is ugly polyester and nylon, but good stuff does come up. Pinwale cord is popular, and i’ve made plenty of kids pants from it for under 50c a pair. I’ve also picked up Bendigo Mills wool for $1/200g, and my nanna cleared up at a garage sale, getting two pallets full of wool from a deceased estate for $50. That was four years ago and she’s still using it!

Linen-You must raid the linen section. Sheets give you large areas of fabric-flannelette for winter pyjamas and linings, cotton for….well, everything. You can make dresses from pillowcases, very fashionable in blogland a few years ago. Woolen blankets are astonishingly cheap and make excellent mattress protectors, heat resistant batting and nappy covers. I also have a slight addiction to chenille blankets-I get a rush when finding them, similar to what I imagine heroin would be like. But as they average $3 each, there’s no come-down afterwards.

DSCF7207 My pretties………

  Existing clothes-These often just need a bit of imagination to turn them into something new. Last week I helped Lols turn a woman’s tunic into a skirt for herself. As it was already hemmed and had pockets it was pretty easy. You can cut kids pants from the sides of adult shorts/pants, and use the existing waistband/pockets. Woolen jumpers can be felted and the sleeves turned into longies, or frogged and made into something else. Bags from jeans. The ideas are endless. This is a bit of a trend right now, so a search for ‘upcycled clothing’ should bring you plenty of ideas.

  Also, tell everyone you know that you sew/knit/whatever. Lots of people start up crafts then ditch them, and are happy to offload the leftovers in their cupboards to someone who’ll use them. Post on Freecycle asking for freebies, you never know what might turn up.

  Mostly, I stick to craft shops when I need threads and notions. Most have sales and member discounts, so I sign up for everything and stock up when it’s cheap.

  And because of all of this, my kids clothes average out at about $3 per item. And so I can actually afford to dress the five of them in extremely funky clothing, rather than the dregs I would be left with should I have to buy everything now they’re getting bigger.

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