We have recently started living more frugally to reduce our debt load. I am very excited about our new life and visit this site for ideas and tips usually more than once a day. :) I am considering buying a beginner type sewing machine and learning to sew so that I can make things for our home instead of buying them at the store.
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well I certainly feel it saves money. I make almost all my household items like curtains, bedspreads, throws, table linens, my grandson's shirts, shorts, my clothes. I make and sell lots items like baby items etc. And when I have gifts to give for baby showers, birthdays, christmas gifts, I make almost all of those it saves alot of money. I think it would only benefit someone who loves to sew and never tires of and has the time to devote to it for it to save or make you money. I had a regular basic sewing machine for almost 18 years then bought new ones as I saw I was able to make and enjoy the items I creat as well as sell them. The fabrics are your most bought item but if you shop around you can find great deals on those as well.
My sewing skills are rusty, it have been 8 years or so since I made anything with my machine, but I managed to make blackout curtains for our bedroom for less than $30 (two windows). I was pricing curtains, blackout and standard, and would have been exceedingly lucky to cover half of ONE window for what I paid.
Many craft stores have beginning sewing classes in which they provide the machines to work with. Why not try a beginning sewing class before buying a machine? You'll learn some basic skills and it is always better to spend the money for a class and discover you hate sewing than to buy a full setup and use it once.
If you're looking to reduce your expenses; you DON'T start a new hobby that will involve purchasing a whole ton of new things! It is FAR cheaper to purchase clothing on sale, garage sales or in consignment shops than it would be for you to go out and buy a sewing machine, needles, threads, patterns, materials, etc. Yes, you can buy all kinds of junk on Ebay and you WILL pay top dollar for shipping for every item but NOTHING is guaranteed.
Children do NOT want to wear home made clothing so you will waste your time and money there. If you force them; you're making them a target for bullies at school. Men RARELY if ever will wear something home made. So where will you be "saving"? YOU can't even wear homemade clothing if your employment level is professional will reflect badly upon you, the same as it would on your husband. Do you really need more housecoats?
Yes, you can make table cloths, bedspreads and other household items but in reality how often did you buy any of that junk before? Once a year at most?
There's a HUGE difference between trying to justify a hobby and the hobby actually saving you money!
IF sewing were so profitable; there would be TONS of people with little shops everywhere sewing custom items and doing alterations. You have to look far and wide to find them anymore.
Friends and family will NOT say anything honest about "homemade gifts" so sorry. Usually they are pushed even harder by the hobbyist to praise their work and it's just easier to tell people what they want to hear.
How often have you told someone that a gift they made you or something they baked for you is horrible? It's insulting enough to tell someone something they bought isn't your taste.
It also takes a lot of time, materials and basic practice to get decent at any new hobby. After you've consolidated your debts and are living within your means it might be a time to start a new hobby that involves such expense for so little possible benefit.
It depends. I love to sew and have saved bundles of cash sewing things such as valances, curtains, throw pillows, etc. Saved over $300 by making my own comforter from two sheets. Saw a comforter in magazine that I just loved, but choked when I found out the price. I used two coupons for the Bed and Bath store and bought the matching sheets. Used a 40% off coupon at Joann's for the batting and sewed it myself. Made it for about $40. It looked exactly like the original and was made better.
I believe that making things for the home can save money but, as has been previously stated, the "start-up" cost eats up the savings. Making clothes doesn't work for me. I'm not that good. My kids wouldn't wear (or didn't want to wear) stuff I made after about daycare age and I didn't force it. I saved money making quilts, comforters, curtains, throw pillows, placemats, and table cloths but how many of those can yiou use? I like to make things for friends for gifts but often find them stuffed back on shelves and never used so not sure they appreciate it. :-) I now sew for a hobby and my own pleasure and keep the stuff I sew!
---> I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH "REALITY CHECK"! My girls just LOVED the clothes I made for them when I they were in elm. school & their friends would BEG to have them as hand-me-downs. Of course, as they grow up, they want name-brands etc. But when they're young they love custom clothes. My 5 yo granddaughter loves going to the fabric store to pick out her own clothing fabric. You can buy a machine for under $150 & get the fabric at Walmart for only $1 per yard. This "hobby" will SAVE you ALL KINDS OF MONEY & to top that off I have 3 friends who sell at the same market as I do who EACH make between $300 - $1,200 each week selling things they've sewn at Farmers Markets (one makes aprons & receiving blankets, another makes simple drawstring skirts & another makes themed men's shirts). One of these gals also sews custom curtains for boats & profits $400 for each set she makes (& she makes 2 - 3 sets per month)!
I am a 53 year old woman who has never had a lot of money but I've always had well dressed children because I could sew. My home, curtains, furniture & decor have always looked great because I could sew. Not to mention how many nice clothes I own (that I've made) that are tailored JUST for me, in the colors, styles & fabrics I have chosen. When I in my 20's & pregnant & dirt poor I sewed my unborn child's whole layette (nightgowns, receiving blankets, & bed sheets with matching curtains for the nursery) This way I could use wonderful soft 100% cotton flannels in fun prints that kept the baby warm & cuddly. You can sew your own purses (out of old blue jeans) & also make aprons, throw pillows & even sell handmade clothing or do mending by the hour or piece to make extra spending money, not to mention all the wonderful Christmas gifts you can make. I've also taken old adult clothes & changed them into very cute clothes for kids (the ultimate in recycling!) or taken long-sleeve dresses & turned them into summer dresses.
Would you believe I have a great suit that I dearly love that I made for only $4. I also have many summer dresses & jumpers that I've made for only $2 & also countless shirts & tops that have cost me only 50 cents to make. The trick is to buy your fabric at Walmart for $1 a yard. It helps that I can tell quality fabrics from the junk. You just have to feel the fabric & know how they'll launder. These fabrics don't have the fiber content on the bolt, so if you can't tell if it's easy to sew on, just ask the person that cuts the fabric, they usually know their fabrics. I wait until patterns go on sale for $1 each at Joanne fabrics & this can really help your sewing budget... Shop with the sales!
I learned to sew back in 1969, in 7th grade when they still offered sewing as an "elective" in school. This was the beginning of me taking as many sewing classes (or home ec. classes) as I could. After high school was over I would just experiment with sewing all kinds of things without using patterns. This way I end up with one-of-a-kind clothes that I just love! ...Recently I went to a Salvation Army thrift store where they had clothes for $1 a bag... So I bought lots of wonderful wool coats & am making my adult son a super-warm wool crazy quilt for his bed from them. You won't regret learning how to sew!
---> I would make 2 suggestions about buying a sewing machine: The first is NOT buy a "Singer" brand, or a "Euro-pro". Instead buy a "Brother" or a Kenmore (from Sears) for the same price. Singer used to be a great company, but these days they don't have the quality they used to. Euro-pro is a rotten machine that runs & shakes like it's falling apart & they won't honor their warrantees. After countless hours on the internet reading people's comments about their machines, I've found that Brother has the best machines for under $200... & you can even find good Brother machines for less (just a little over $100). The only Brother I've seen that people aren't happy with is the Disney embroidery model (around $300-$400) it seems people just love the machine when the first get it but the plastic cartridges tend to break easily & it doesn't hold up well. If you want web sites where you can read about customers reviews of low cost sewing machines you can drop me a line here on ThriftyFun & I'll be happy to forward them your way.
The second thing I would recommend is to buy your machine at a store that offers a 90 day return policy (with a receipt) no questions asked. This way if you find you don't enjoy sewing like you thought you would, you can return the machine. These stores are places like Target & (usually) Walmart. Always ask how long you have to return the machine. Some stores (like Fred Meyers) only have a 30 day return policy. If you have 90 days to try out your machine, you'll know if you have a "dud" or a machine you don't want... & also If you just love the machine you can upgrade to a model with more stitches & attachments before the 90 days are up if you want to just save the box & keep the machine pristine & like new so you can return it. They will also take a machine back if something goes wrong in those 90 days, just let them know when you return it so they don't put it back on the shelf so they can return it to the manufacturer. Once I had to return a machine because the tension was set up wrong at the factory & couldn't be loosened, but the second machine was topnotch!
Another thing that will help you save all kids of time is to learn how to use your sewing machine attachments like the ruffler & other feet. Also make sure you buy a machine that you can totally drop the feed dog so you can do fun quilting & darning stitches! ...Just have fun & buy yourself some inexpensive 100% cotton fabrics to learn with (be sure to pre-wash your fabric) Later on, as you get better you can then learn to sew cotton stretch fabrics... & once you can sew with stretch fabrics, the sky's the limit... Buy an inexpensive sewing machine. You won't be sorry! You'll enjoy a wonderful lifetime of sewing & there's nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself!
I T-Totaly agree with the post from Cyinda. She is right on the money in everything she said. Anyone who has the thought in there mind as you do already is someone who enjoys sewing wheter it turns out great in other peoples opinions or not. As with any hobby that could potentally even turn into a profit maker for you, just start out with the basic supplies and do not break your bank. Anything basic you buy like a simple machine , rottery cutters, needles etc can still be used even if you sew you do not want to pursue it as a constant hobby or money maker. Because even your store bought items can become torn and need mending saving you money buy fixing them yourself and not having to throw them out or buy new ones.
I disagree with the post who said ebay is a waist of times for items needed. I certainly would not buy a machine on there, I would buy it as Cyinda said with a moneyback garentee. But things like elastic, sewing machine needles, ribbons for trim, embroidery threads etc are much cheaper on there than bought new. You just have to let that be apart of your hobby as well, taking the time to search for items in lots. A tiny spool of embroidery thread cost $4.96 at walmart plus tax. When on ebay you can get a 5,000 lenght of Very Large spool for the same price and the shipping on most are fair. I am on both sides of the fence with Cyinda on the brand machine to buy. I owened a brother for 18 years i still have it to use as my rough machine I call it for thick leather etc. But I needed a embroidery machine to do me designs I do on the items I make and sell so i bought the brother embroidery ?sewing machine in one she spook of and it was a thin plastic piece of junk so it was returned after 1 week. Still needing one i got the singer 259 futura, it has it quirks but its only because its taking me some getting use to with the high flutting things it has. I have singer serger ultra lock that i love now, at first i hated it because your hands have to be the size of a china dolls to reach the 4 paths to thread it up, but i learned to use curved needle nose tweasers and now its a breeze. Its true that sometimes your friends or family will not tell you exactly what they think of your home made fabric items. But away to test yourself after you have taken up the hobby is to take a few things you have made and set you up a table at a craft fair or flea market and see how they sell. A stranger will not buy it if its unprofessional looking or tacky. If you do well there you can almost be assured you will do well to sell them anywhere EVEN EBAY.
The way i feel is if it gives you joy or contentment to make things and makes you feel pleased with the end results then your time your money spent was worth every penny. Sewing for me is like theropy, it can be doing it for hours and it feel just like seconds have past. If the thought is in your mind I would at least give it a try to see if its the right hobby for you than can benifit you, your familys needs and possibly a money maker for yourself. Good Luck & Happy Stitching!
If you buy a sewing machine it is for a lifetime! My mother's old Singer worked until she died & still does. I also have an old Singer -
Young people are increasingly turning to homesewn/reused clothing - see www.threadbanger.com - It's VERY trendy & GREEN right now! Sewing machines are good if for nothing but REPAIRS! and of course making curtains, etc.
Everyone should know how to SEW. Get a good used machine & try it!
Good for you Kristie!!! The more frugal we live the more peace of mind you get, & it gets easier too!! Sewing for your family and home can be a great way to save money. try getting a $5 Fabricland membership and shop the "member" days. thrift stores often have new material too, Try to find a simple easy to use freearm machine. believe me, you might not use 45 built in embroidery stitches but you will definately use the freearm, its great for sleeves, hemming and mending. check around before you buy your machine, prices can really vary. Happy Sewing, Nallorey from SK.Canada
YES. It saves our family a ton of money. I have even made suits.
I disagree with reality check. If you are a professional seamstrest, then people can not tell your items are "home made".
For gifts I have made scrapbooks, photo books, pillows, bedsets, quilts, capes, jackets, all kinds of clothing. My husband DOES wear items, such as shorts and sweats that have been "handmade".
The biggest expense (after your machine) is the pattern and cloth. If you reuse your pattern, you save. There are groups where you can trade used sewing patterns. I usually make my own but I have been sewing for 35 years.
Sometimes I find fabric in thrift stores. I have also used other sources, such as fleece blankets instead of buying fleece by the yard, and high quality sheets on sale for my cotton source. Little tricks like this can bring your cost down further.
I do not sew much now, but I think someone who takes the time to do a good job on home sewing can save. It is important to take some lessons and learn how to do it well. I think there are quite a few savings to be made on just mending and hemming things. My mother-in-law used to mend my son's jeans, and they were never teased at school. My husband had her mend his work clothes until she moved into a nursing home. The last major sewing I have done was making my kids Hallowe'en costumes -- dinosaur suits and ninja turtle suits. These were great, and everyone thought that they were marvelous. A friend of mine sewed all her own dresses, skirts, blouses, suits, for years -- and she was the classiest dresser in the community -- high school principal.
I just bought the trendiest purse at a street fair that was "home made".
If you do quality work, you can save money, and make money.
I still have a 1954 Singer sewing machine that was given to me as a really little girl from an elderly live-in baby sitter ... It still works well and has only needed one repair in all those years !!!
I say, if you don't at least try, you'll never know !!! Maybe you won't be good at actually making clothing (I am not) but you'll save oodles of money over the years in clothing repairs, making curtains, tableclothes, simple crafts for gifts, etc. and I will attest to that !!!
I wish Reality Check would post kind ideas instead of negative feedback like occured here and on other postings :-(
It can save you money if you do it right. Otherwise it won't. Look for sales on fabric -- always. Sometimes bed linens can be used for things like curtains. The cheapest way is to take clothing that is no longer usable and use it for the fabric or remodel it. Mending always saves you money. Also, if you have second-hand clothing, you can alter it to fit or use it for the fabric. Buying regular priced, or even some sale-priced fabric and sewing your own will not save you money. It might if you could get the fabric wholesale.
Keep up with your frugal life choices. The planet, and your wallet, will thank you for it.
Yes! If for no other reason than hemming blue jeans, or other pants for your family. Most dry cleaners charge $5 to hem pants. You can do it for free! Sometimes a seam will rip out, you can re-sew the entire seam. Reinforcing seams will make the item last longer. Or add a new cuff of great fabric to your child's favorite pants that are now "high water" pants. Sew some on the sleeve of a plain t-shirt, and you have a coordinating set!
Take a basic sewing class, sometimes they are offered at the Adult Education Classes, (offered by your County) or a local fabric store, as mentioned. You will only need the most basic type of sewing machine.Try to not listen when they tell you about all the features.
And I agree with the others who said to purchase an older model. Today's machines have PLASTIC GEARS, and other plastic features. Plastic breaks, and when heated, tends to warp as well. The older machines have METAL GEARS, and rarely will metal break. HAVE FUN!
C'mon, Reality Check! My Mom raised 5 girls and made all of our clothes through high school (when we got part-time jobs and bought our own). My Dad was an invalid, so she had to pinch pennies. She made her own clothes, too, and always made our slipcovers, bedspreads, pillow covers, curtains and drapes. I can't imagine how we would have fared it she couldn't sew.
All the pattern makers produce the latest styles, but she never needed them; she created her own from the fashions shown in the weekly papers and we were proud to wear her them....and our friends couldn't wait to see our newest outfits. She even made our suits and coats. She taught us all to sew and it has come in very handy over the years. We still have her old Singer and it still works just fine. It's well worth the time and effort to learn and it is a craft that will last you a lifetime.
The things you make yourself will outlast anything you can buy in a store because it will be better made. If you have a sense of style, you can produce "couturier" clothes for yourself and your family. The newer machines have all kinds of features that simplify your craft - hemmers, buttonhole makers, trim, embroidery etc. If there is a design school in your area, why not sign up for a few classes and give it a try? You'd be surprised at how much satisfaction it will give you AND how much money you will save.
Sewing needs to be learned. I have taught myself and you can too! You dont need to buy a cheap sewing machine. There are plenty of quality machines at yard sales and craigslist(my favorite).
Fabric and patterns can be bought at yard sales for little $$$ or free. Also watch sales at local fabric stores. At Joanns they just had a sale on patterns=$1.00 each. Stick with simple patterns And NEVER cut to size....cut biggest size and fold. Dont overlook "old"(used) patterns....most patterns are not trendy...they just apper to be. Look at envelope back to see true lines. Huge sales on clearance fabric in winter.
Start simple. I started with boxers. I use $1.00 cottons, the holiday prints after the holiday mostly. My husband loves it! Another easy one: loose fitting pants(pjs, sweats etc.). Pillow cases are super easy.
Sometimes it is cheaper to BUY clothes. With the economy as so, clearance pricing is everywhere. I could never make jeans for $7.00, or a tee shirt for $2.50! Sewing can save you money YES, but be smart about it too. Best wishes. I'll be thinking of you, as I make my next challenge: a sweatshirt, pattern made from disassembling+tracing my old one.
Lets face it - SOMETIMES is the rule!!!
SOMETIMES you can find great deals on used clothing (already broken in..) and SOMETIMES things just can't be found in time for whom ever needs the item in want! SOMETIMES you cannot find what you need on sale at walmart! SOMETIMES the only hand me downs only fit a size two - and SOMETIMES it is far more expensive to find the material at the material store! BUT - SOMETIMES it is cheaper to find (actively HUNT) through piles of clothes to find what your family needs in that yardsale or in the thrift/consignment store on half price clearance tag sale or SOMETIMES the dollar a yard table at Walmart has the material that would really make nice PJ's or curtains;SOMETIMES you can find lots of material in bigger clothing, or a set of great sheets that you can take apart to fit smaller sizes - or just use the material for another completely different article! It all depends on SOMETIMES and if you have the skills required for sewing and pick up thread when it's offered to you for a song - or begin to dedicate a drawer or shelf or box for materials... it can be of use! Remember there was life before the modern buy and throw out mentality - it was opportunity and it knocks SOMETIMES!!
On some things, it does save a lot. Do be aware of fabric cost - sometimes it does cost more to make an item than to just buy it. Also, you could buy an inexpensive item & add your own creativity to make it special. You can save a BOATLOAD on home decor items! Sometimes for quilts, comforter covers, & curtains, store bought sheets can sometimes be cheaper than fabric on the bolt.
A Velux blanket for the bottom of a quilt matched with a cute printed sheet for the top is simple - it doesn't need stuffing in the middle. Velux is kind of expensive, so pick up as many blankets as you can afford when it is on sale. SO SNUGGLY! Shorts & pajamas are a lot cheaper homemade. It's great to know how to sew to alter store bought clothes as well. Sewing classes are GREAT! I never knew how to sew until 3 years ago - I realized in order to keep my then 11 year old daughter in modest clothes, I had better learn to sew. I am a part-time college student anyway, so I signed up for a beginning clothing construction class. I thought I was going to hate it, but I had so much fun that I took the home decor class the next semester!
You've specifically mentioned making things for your home, rather than clothing. You can certainly save by making curtains & accessories, bedding, etc. You can re-purpose material used for one thing into something else, recycling :)
You can also prolong the life of clothing by doing repairs, so this saves money too. I've often repaired my husband's trousers, track pants, various seams on other clothing items, and have even replaced zips.
I am by no means a seamstress but I have saved money by doing these basic things.
My sewing machine cost me nothing (but be sure to check out Freecycle...you never know your luck). My machine is an old Singer Treadle purchased second-hand by my Great-Grandmother in 1912 for 8 pounds sterling (I also have the Singer receipt with model number, the machine was made in 1909). My Great-grandmother was a seamstress and back in those days earned money by making clothing. It passed to my Grandmother who made clothing for the family when times were hard, she even made new clothes for my Mum's and Aunt's dolls at Christmas :)
My Mum isn't crafty so it passed to me, it's part of the family...a bit noisy but a faithful standby. My husband has replaced the machine's belt a few times but it still works a treat. Sadly I have no daughters but perhaps the future may hold a grand-daughter I can pass it along to.
Yes, you can save money by waiting on sales for household items (even clothing) but think of the sense of pride and achievement in creating your own items (not to mention savings) :)
I think it's great to go back to the basics, and sew. You may invest in a good machine, just a basic, no frill one if you are a beginner. But, even if the cloth cost a little more than the cheap clothes department stores sell, it's such better quality. My mom made all my clothes as a kid and teen, and I still have blouses she made me when I was a teen ager, and my daughter can wear them, they are tuff dress blouses mom made. I was a teen then, i'm 52 now. Home sewing is so well worth the investment!
Mom sewed everything, from clothes to curtains, things for the home, and also toys. You should have seen her soft sculpture creation babies. So cute. Don't get discouraged as a beginner, there are so many patterns that gear to the beginner, also, a lot of books to help. I've noticed a lot of books on sewing at the library, just check them out, and see what project you would like to tackle without paying for the book.
Good luck, you've made a wise decision to be thrifty, and save money, and you sure can save money by sewing, and the quality is so much better!
Fabric is expensive-and your time is worth money, too. I always buy thrift shop clothes and rarely sew anything other than easy curtains, duvet covers, pillow covers- Those projects go fast and I think you can save money there. A blouse at the thrift shop (esp if I have a coupon or its a half-off day) rarely costs more than $5. Try to make it for that!
The world of sewing is a wide one. I traded my Bernina for a Singer treadle about 25 years ago, and have not been sorry. Although I no longer have time for sewing clothes, I do sew just about everything else. I replace broken zippers, hem up thrift store jeans that are too long, and stitch quilts. I have made baby quilts for my great grandchildren using scraps from their parents' childhood dresses and shirts. My machine uses no electricity. A couple of years ago, I bought a box of wonderfully soft Egyptian cotton sheets and duvet covers at a yard sale for $5.00. I wanted to make blouses. Instead they have become pillow covers, curtains for the "fish pond" at our church Halloween alternative, and a bunch of other stuff. It must have been 20 yards. Sewing not only saves a ton of money, it becomes a pleasant passtime. But I don't recommend buying a $2,000 super electronic everything kind of machine. Those expensive doodads lost their appeal after awhile and just sit there. A good straight stitch machine with a buttonholer attachment will do 90% of everything, and you can pick up the electric portables for $35.00 at yard sales. If you sew, start slow and easy and just have fun with it.
It depends on where you shop and what you buy. I never pay full price for anyting. JoAnn's has turned into a craft store and a quilt shop. I always check the $1 fabric at WalMart. I get a lot of my fabric from co-ops on Yahoo. Try fabric.com as well. I like to have things that are original. Some things are just not worth the time involved to make (like jeans). I make all of my own t-shirts and most especially dress clothes as I just won't spend $100+ on a dress.
I've done the same! I actually bought a used sewing machine at a thrift store and have taken old items, thrift store items and walmart scrap fabrics and made some clothes- mostly shirts, but I have seen dress and pants patterns at the thrift store...as long as the fabric isn't over priced, it is fun and I am always satisfied because I can make what I actually want.
Sewing doesn't have to be an expensive hobby, machines can be bought second hand and materials can be reused or salvaged from vintage items. But mostly its a very pleasurable hobby and in my opinion it IS frugal.
I have 3 children and over the years I have sewn large drawstring Santa sacks to hold gifts, made advent calenders for each child, made sports bags, sewn Halloween costumes and fancy dress costumes and helped make costumes for plays at local schools and all sewn with their names on where possible and the kids felt very special,. I'm sure there are a 1001 other things but I cant remember off the top of my head.
I've also sewn cross stitch gifts for friends and made knitted and crocheted blankets for the kids and bake cakes and biscuits for the family but that's another story. lol
I'm not the worlds greatest sewer, cook or craft person, but my children watch me sitting making stuff during the cold winter evenings when there isn't much else to do anyways and they say the memories of me making things for them told them in so many ways they were/are LOVED. There aren't many hobbies that can do that for families I wouldn't have thought lol
Even some of the kids friends have said to them over the years. You are SO lucky your mum would do anything for you. They have seen me sewing gingerbread men for the xmas tree and sewing scarecrows at Halloween or making party decorations. I'm being very wistful, no doubt about it. It's been plain as the nose on my face that they come from families where the parents don't bother to do much of anything and that's another form of deprivation that expensive trainers of gadgets won't fulfill.
your family will feel LOVED and thats something no money can buy or fake
If you are willing to take the time to do quality work, making your own home decor is definitely a money saver. Even using quality materials, the price will be less that for quality ready-made merchandise. Be creative and have fun, whatever you do!
I'm a bit late with feedback - I was on vacation. SOMETIMES making your own things can save you money. Sometimes it's the only way to get exactly what you want. Know your limitations and the sort of quality you are capable of. Remember you will improve with practice and experience. Buy your supplies on sale and on clearance when you can. But not everything on clearance is a bargain. Sometimes it's there because no one else wanted it either!
As others have pointed out it depends on your shopping abilities, now a days there is the internet search that can lead to savings (like shoppersrule.com) but having worked in a sewing machine store and sewing on a lot of machines I suggest getting a mid line machine that works good and is smooth. A cheap or even an older machine may cause A LOT OF FRUSTRATION and you may give up. A mid line newer machine will allow you to grow in skill without having to go out and get that newer machine. Sewing machine stores carry trade ins and some are only months old, they also carry a warranty. We used to call the $99.00 special a throw away because they usually are not repairable.
I have saved tons of money sewing! I have some fitting problems with storebought clothes. So I alter them myself. I sew basic easy seperates for my grand daughter.I have put the word out that I will mend for people. Always have a pile to work on.Have made drapes pillows ect for my home. People give me fabric. I cut apart too small clothes and reuse the fabric. Yard sales and thrift shops have fabric or clothes that can be altered or recommissioned.New yardage may be expensive but sales help. Hope you go for it. It's a great hobby/moneysaver.
Sewing some items does save. Here's what I have discovered is worth sewing:
diapers and diaper covers,
winter dress coats for my grandchildren which can easily and quickly made from fleece.
party dresses if someone has given you old prom or bridesmaids' dresses to cut up,
pajama pants for tall, thin boys who cannot find them long enough and with a small enough waist
I've also lengthened pullover shirts for tall, long armed kids. They get inexpensive pullovers and a contrasting knit that can be added like a long cuff, gift bags from fabric scraps that are reusable and last forever - my family recycles those each year. Wedding items like ring bearer pillow, flower girl basket, bridal veil
I sew not only clothes but also quilts, dog beds, and gifts! This year my Christmas budget for our joint families with 3 sets of parents, 2 sets of grandparents, 12 siblings and siblings-in-law, and 3 neices and nephews was under $200.00! I have a $50.00 Brother machine from Wal-Mart and used mostly Wal-Mart fabrics and remnants from other stores. I love this new money saving technique! I really find that a beginner machine is perfect if you're not already a skilled seamstress. My sister bought a $500.00 Singer machine and gave up in a week because she couldn't figure out how to use it!
I have 5 machines that all cost $25 & under. I bought them all at thrift stores. They all work well & I use each one for different attachments & feet. In January I gave my granddaughter a 1937 Singer for her 6 year old birthday. It runs like a top. Still! It's about as heavy as a boat anchor, but this is because it's made of cast iron & steel! It's solid! This machine is the easiest machine I've ever threaded (great for a 6 year old!) & it's made so well I doubt my granddaughter can break it even if she tried! Every time I use this old Singer I'm blown away at how smoothly it runs. It may not have any fancy stitches (or even zigzag) but they sure don't make 'em like they used to!
The older machines do run better because as another poster said, they are made from metal parts and not plastic. I have a Janome Mystyle 100 and would not recommend it because it is a new machine and only does basic things ok, but no heavy sewing( denim, heavy fabrics) or more than 3 or four layers of medium thick fabrics. I've used my moms singer from 1973 and it's very nice- I've also used a 1930's singer with just straight stitch and zigzag and i prefer the two over my new janome. As a hobby sewist, I don't need a heavy duty or better machine right now, but looking at getting a used one in the future for more complex projects. Another tip- get a good iron because pressing seams as you go makes your projects look more professional. I have tried making a couple of t shirts with limited success, and i'm going to try refashioning t shirts into a pair of knit fabric drawstring shorts.
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