Sewing for (Almost) Free

If you’ve ever thought that sewing is an expensive hobby, this post is for you. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a hardcore crafter, but I’ve picked up some helpful tips for how to keep costs at a minimum. I first started sewing when we had no money to spare, so I got creative!

Finding a Sewing Machine

My first sewing machine, I bought from D.I. for $75. Though it was in good repair initially, its age really started to show after a few years. I kept having to replace parts on it that were difficult to hunt down. I finally gave up on it after about 5 years and purchased a cheap one from Walmart for $65. I’ve had no problems with it, and though it doesn’t have lots of fancy features, it serves me well.

Buying Other Supplies

Depending on what you’re looking for, you may not need to check the craft store at all. My favorite places to buy supplies are usually Walmart or online. I’m talking about things like needles, pins, scissors, etc.

I find most patterns I need online (on sites like these here or here). Though a few of them don’t turn out like I expect, most are straightforward. As a bonus, I have a pattern I can save on regular paper instead of thin tissue paper that tears easily. I occasionally find patterns at the thrift store or yard sales, usually priced under a dollar.

When I do buy new fabric, which is rare, I check for sales. I haven’t found fabric cheaper than Walmart’s clearance section, but it’s not always worth buying.

Reusing Fabric and Other Materials

Why buy fabric if you can get it for free? Chances are, you have lots of these items lying around your house already.

  • Old pants, especially jeans, make excellent quilts. I’ve also done curtains and shoe organizers for my boys.
  • T-shirts also make great quilts, and it’s fun to see all the memories.
  • Old flat sheets make perfect backs for quilts. If I don’t have one, I will spend $2-4 to get one at D.I.
  • Old pillows, once they’ve lost their spring, provide a bunch of free polyfill. It works great for stuffed animals or throw pillows as long as it’s clean and not too bunched up.
  • Buttons: save them from old clothes that are too ragged for repurposing.
  • Grosgrain ribbon, shoelaces, clothesline, or paracarod make excellent straps or ties for drawstring bags or purses. The regular cording found in the sewing section is much more expensive and frays easily.

If you find that you especially enjoy sewing smaller items or are just starting out and want practice, ask around for scraps. I’ve received scraps by the garbage bag-full from generous family members and friends.

Maximizing One Piece of Fabric

One large piece of fabric can be used for several projects. I always start big, usually following an order something like this:

I follow this order based on what I need at the time and what type of fabric it is. Obviously, not all fabrics will work for all of these. I am often surprised at how many things I can get from just one scrap of material!

If you’re looking for some frugal craft ideas, here are mine. I’ll probably stick to sewing most of the time. Hot glue guns really hate my fingers! 🙂

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