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Forum > Men Who Sew > Is it economical for me to sew my own clothes? ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Is it economical for me to sew my own clothes?
markp
markp
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Ohio USA
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Date: 1/14/14 4:31 AM

HI everyone:

I'm pretty new to the sewing world. I know many will chastise me for asking this but I gotta ask. Is it economical to sew your own clothes?

The reason I'm asking is that I am pretty new to sewing and am going to be attempting to sew a dress shirt for myself. I usually shop at Kingsidedirect due to I can't find dress shirts locally even at the mall for a 19 1/2 35/36 shirt. The cost of a shirt at kingsize is roughly about $52.00 (shipping and handling included) and If I make it myself I gather the material and notions would probably cost me around $40.00 (shipping and handling included. I use broadcloth for my shirts)without using a coupon(which I never purchase anything without one) at Joann Fabrics. Not including the time and labor it would take to sew the shirt would it be cheaper to buy the shirt than to make it.? I mean I love to sew but I just wondered if it was economical?

Just wanted to get your thoughts on the subject. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Mark

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Mark

frame
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Date: 1/14/14 5:23 AM

It may not cost less than $50 to make a shirt using all quality materials, but what you will get if you sew it yourself is a shirt that fits for the price. There is a learning curve to sewing and fitting a man's shirt so I would start with less expensive fabric and practice. Only you can decide if the time, cost of materials, and fit make it economical to you.

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"framed" was taken
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markp
markp
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Date: 1/14/14 5:29 AM

Thank you. I will.


Mark

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Mark

bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
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Date: 1/14/14 6:15 AM

I think getting the collar to look well done is the hardest part. Maybe get some cheaper fabric to practice collars...especially getting the points to look good.

lamstu
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Date: 1/14/14 6:57 AM

You will likely be able to purchase some shirts for less than it costs to make them. Sewing allows you to get a personalized fit and details. When you compare to the nicest store bought shirts, you will definitely be able to save money on an apples-to-apples comparison. Good luck!

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lamstu

Kwaaked
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Date: 1/14/14 7:30 AM

As you can see, it's a maybe answer.

I don't exactly save money making them. When I can get jeans and shirts for under $10 at an outlet that has stuff I see at JC Penney's then it's sort of hard to justify $20 in fabric...BUT it fits, it's not done in the weirdly off, too small Chinese sizes and it fits my large bust properly not to mention I get the colors (orange) and style I want.

Men's clothes, well, by the time I pay/spend the time to have DH's old style western shirts altered for his fit issues, I might as well make it myself. A $90 shirt quickly can become a several hour project or add a considerable expense to the total cost.

There is also the benefit of being able to get different colors, since there isn't a lot to choose from for this style of shirt and be able to choose the type of fabric. Then he's in big and tall sizes (not in the shoulders and neck though), and they add extra money for that, too. So in that sense, yes it is economical for me to do this. As far as pure cost goes then the answer is no.

We were looking at Frock coats yesterday. The cost of buying vs. making is negligible. And yes, I do realize this is a bit niche, but he doesn't wear suits unless it looks he's an extra for Hell on Wheels, but the coat for the price (~$300) in a poly twill vs. wool suiting is totally worth the aggravation of making it.

poorpigling

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Date: 1/14/14 8:22 AM

I can only say.. if you buy a machine.. or are given one.. and then you buy just the fabric you need for your shirt.. and the bare necessities of needles and thread and a pattern .. then if you sew up a few shirts then you probably will save money..
But if you are bitten by the bug.. and proceed to buy several sewing machines.. every color of thread by every manufacturer.. all the patterns when on sale of course.. A few embroidery machines and emb thread and design CDs.. Special irons, tables and other sewing machine furniture items.. and so on and so on and so on.. In other words.. if you are like the rest of the members here on PR.. Then you probably won't save a dime.

JKimes
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Date: 1/14/14 8:27 AM

once you gain a solid skill set, you will have custom made, well fitting clothes. It won't be less expensive than buying off the rack, but that's not a fair comparison.
If you don't already have it, buy a copy of Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. It is the best resource out there for collared shirts.

Good luck!
Juliette

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Juliette near Austin, TX
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KathySews
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Date: 1/14/14 8:41 AM

Go for it. The value of having a shirt that fits and is comfortable is priceless.

Look into a few patterns and as you sew them up you will get a TNT pattern (tried and true). That is a pattern that fits you well and can then be sewn in several fabrics.

Islander Patterns has many great men's shirt patterns and great instructions. I think they might have tutorials available also.

Off the Cuff is an interesting blog. Pam Erny is a professional custom shirt maker and generously shares lots of ideas and tutorials.

schmammy
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Date: 1/14/14 8:50 AM

I'm really glad you mentioned collars because getting them right really is a challenge. In addition to the book suggested, it's worth looking for other assistance. An example would be a class at a sewing conference. To sharpen my own skills, I am taking Kathy Ruddy's three hour, hands-on class at ETASEWEXPO-Dallas in March. I hope to gain confidence to stop avoiding collars!

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Indecision may or may not be my problem. -Jimmy Buffet

http://chihuahuaonmylap.blogspot.com/

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