It's become too expensive to make our own clothes, do you agree?

My kids in their home made clothes  - At this time ( 1975) I made all my kid's clothes
@oldchem1 (8143)
July 13, 2010 2:48am CST
When my three eldest daughters were little in the 1970's I made the majority of their clothes - by sewing, crocheting and knitting, it was so much cheaper than buying the clothes at the shop and I could make more original clothes for them. I have enclosed a photograph from 1975 when my eldest daughter was 3 and my second daughter 6 months old. I made the 'flower girl' outfit - including headband and decorating the basket - that my eldest daughter was wearing fro a church fete and I made the dress and bonnet for the baby. These days though, despite having nine grandkids, my sewing machine lies very quiet - coming out for the odd repair or to make curtains, the reason? I can be clothes cheaper at local shops than I could possibly make them for. Many dresses are cheaper than the cost of a paper pattern let alone the fabric!! I still knit occasionally (like at the moment I am knitting ready for my 10th grandchild due in September) but this is really just for the hobby side of it as it is still cheaper to pick up a ready made jumper or jacket at the shops!! Has anyone else found this?
3 people like this
22 responses
• United States
13 Jul 10
This spring my 10 year old granddaughter needed to dress as her favorite book character and I made her a dress styled from 1903. I had a horrific time making that dress. I swear the people that write the instructions for these pattern companies have never sewed an article in their life! It is next to impossible to sew following their directions. I took my granddaughter shopping one day after church. She picked everything out. We had a lot of fun doing it. When we got to the register and she rang it all up it came to over $75 and I had coupons and the stuff was on sale too, it came to $45, (I don't know what that breaks down to in your country but certainly a lot here!) Just the pattern was $15...on sale (thank GOD!) for $1.99! To top off our dress, she wore it ONCE!!! She was going to wear it to church but it was always too hot. Since it just fit, I doubt that come fall she will be able to wear it again. The only advantage to making your own anymore is that you can do the style that you want. I made all 5 of my daughters bridemaid dresses for her wedding and I think I spent on all of them what it would have cost to buy one, so I guess it depends on what you are making.
@oldchem1 (8143)
13 Jul 10
Yes this is exactly my point, it is just too expensive!! I have maid hundreds of fancy dress outfits over the years - kangaroos, robins, Mr Men, chimney sweeps etc etc - I'm glad things weren't as expensive then!!
• United States
13 Jul 10
Simplicity Pattern Company has a line called 'Daisy Kingdom' for little girls and I have made several of these very fancy dresses, with all the ruffles and underskirts. Extremely difficult if you don't know how to sew. One year for Easter I made dresses for my granddaughters and another little girl in our church. WOW that was an experience. But noway could you buy what I made in the store but still the cost was high. Since home sewing has become a "lost art", we have a town now near us that their is no fabric shops left in it. The local Walmart carrys a very limited selection of fabric and to go anywhere else is a 50 mile round trip drive, at least! I can remember when there were 4 fabric shops in this town, all different. When I was in school one of my classes was home ec and we learned to sew and cook. That class has not been offered in years. I am afraid the way things are going now that by the time my grandchildren are parents they will need to know how to do things the 'old way' just to survive, because there will be such a lack of $$ and everything being over priced. I think our economy is starting to show this, so many lost jobs that noone can buy anything. Still depending to much on credit cards and not on just what we have.
@artizan (195)
28 Jul 10
i worked for some years in a haberdashery part time and part time in a material shop., which in them selves are a rare find these days, and watched the prices of materials increase so much., the paper patterns also where out rageouos i thought., although my wages where low, the discounts where good., so became a horder of yarn, and material from working realising how lucky i was.... but then got into looking into charity shops/thriftshops, as you can find velvet and other materials that would cost so much, being a small frame am over the moon when find a larger sized velvet skirt, as know it can be transformed into something wonderful, for a smaller person or child., at a fraction of the cost., so crafters now have to become crafty in obtaining their materials., finding satin curtains, and believe it or not, some one was throwing out some old dirty material, which turned out to be about 6 yards metres of silk., oh joy... real silk and had it for nothing., what a blessing.., the production of the basic haberdashery items and the cotton and fabric mills have now largely become none existant in this country, producing shipping costs that in the old days we dindt have to pay., the owner of the material shop went to holland / belgium once a month to pick up material to sell in his shop otherwise the shipping costs would have made them unsaleable., i mean proper gingham can be as elusive as rocking horse ..... you know... this is why i think and hope to keep creative things alive by passing on skills and if second hand materials have to be used then so be it., so these basic crafts dont get lost best wishes x
@Canellita (12051)
• United States
13 Jul 10
Yarn, fabric and sewing patterns can be expensive but they can also be purchased quite cheaply. Cotton muslin at $0.99 per yard on sale is far cheaper than buying a finished garment. Anything you make with it can then be dyed and/or otherwise embellished making it not only custom but one of a kind. Clothing you make will also be tailored to fit you or your child and all these things make the garment more valuable than the massed produced one purchased off the rack. The only way to get finished clothing cheaper is to buy it second hand from places that mark things down very cheap. As for knitting and crocheting I can make a scarf in a couple hours for less than $5 from very nice yarn purchased at discount and dollar stores. You just have to know where to look.
@oldchem1 (8143)
13 Jul 10
I'm afraid that there is no where in the UK that we could buy fabric so cheaply! That is about 60p a yard for us - the cheapest we see fabric anywhere is around £3 a yard (around $5) and it is VERY rare for us to get it so low - usually double that.
@Canellita (12051)
• United States
14 Jul 10
I am sure there is a way. You are closer to India than I am for instance an I am certain you could find a supplier for cottons. One of the fabric stores here in the states, Hancock Fabrics, has a table where they reduce fabrics for clearance as do other retailers quite often. Even if you aren't crazy about the pattern you can always re-dye the fabric to your liking. If you are able to receive fabric from Jo Ann stores you can go to the website and watch for sales (it's where I get my muslin). Not sure if Dollar Tree ships to the UK but I often get really nice yarn there and you can order in bulk online. Recently I bought some very nice yarn online at clearance price... you just have to sign up for email with the various yarn companies (you get free patterns also) and see what they have to offer. I've found great deals on yarn from Turkey and, again, you're closer to there than I am, so there must be a way for you to get it in the UK. Good luck!
@Canellita (12051)
• United States
28 Jul 10
I can get muslin for $1.99/yd U.S. from places like JoAnn, which I am sure must ship to address outside the states. JoAnn often has coupons where you can get 40% off a purchase.
@sallyj (1227)
• United States
13 Jul 10
It sure has. I love to sew and when i was working i would have good intentions of making things, but did not have the time, so my stash is very large. I even have patterns from the 50's that my mother had bought. Now I can sew, knit and crochet from the accumulation, but the extra supplies are outrageous. The cost of trims and elastic are usually as much as a prepared garment, let alone the main materials. I would not be able to do those thing if i were not stocked up. I only had boys, but now I have three grandchildren(girl 5yrs,boy 2 1/2yrs and baby girl born in Feb.) and i can now sew for girls.
@oldchem1 (8143)
13 Jul 10
My sister at one time worked for a company that made clothes and she did keep me stocked up with fabric, elastic and cottons, but now that I need to purchase them it is just TOO expensive. Before I moved from my last home I had my own 'sewing room' and I had lots of old knitting and sewing patterns but when my son in law 'helped' me to move these all got thrown away - to buy a pattern now for a child's dress costs between £5 - £10 - I can buy the ready made dress for less!!
@sallyj (1227)
• United States
14 Jul 10
Oh my, what we don't go through with men, especially in-laws. Some of my patterns are back when they were 15 cents, now they are 10 to 20 dollars. Inflation seems to hit crafts the hardest. LOL Sally
@Aurone (4757)
• United States
20 Jul 10
I guess that depends on what you are making and who you are making it for. It is probably better to buy children's clothes as they grow out of them so quickly but it can be cheaper to make expensive items of clothing like fancy dresses. One reason to sew is to get clothes that fit properly. For example, I am a plus size young woman and I don't mean a size 14 I mean size 20+ back when I was in college there were no stores that carried young looking plus size clothes. Peasant blouses became the big in style thing and my sister and I couldn't find any in our size so our mother made them for us, and if you use a pattern more than once and you buy material on sale, you clothes end up being unique and cheaper. I got many, many compliments on those blouses my mother made for me.
@oldchem1 (8143)
21 Jul 10
I understand this point but sadly in the UK fabric is still so expensive we could still buy them cheaper.
@venshida (4837)
• United States
18 Jul 10
I have not sewed in awhile. When my kids were little, I sewed all the time. Now, when I think about the material,the pattern,and the time, I figured it is cheaper to buy the outfit.
@oldchem1 (8143)
19 Jul 10
It certainly is, yet it is fun to sew and you do feel a lot of satisfaction when the item's finished and looks good
@jillhill (37377)
• United States
18 Jul 10
For sure. The last time I went and looked at patterns I was shocked at how much they went up. I like you made most of my kids' clothes back in the 70's and it was much cheaper then buying them....and I loved to sew. Now I am making purses and quilts when I fire mine up!
@oldchem1 (8143)
18 Jul 10
You sound very much like me!
@Bellapop (1281)
17 Jul 10
That's very true, alhtough there are still many shops that charge more than they should for clothes. because of this, I've been thinking about making my own clothes too, but over here in the UK, there's been a massive explosion trend of encouraging people to make this and that for themselves soo all the prices of fabrics, and craft materials have soared. We also have Primark over here, where you can get coats, and decent tops for under £10, I managed to buy a pair of shoes for £2 the other day! :)
@oldchem1 (8143)
18 Jul 10
Knitted Poncho - My granddaughter in a knitted poncho I made for her
There is no Primark very near to me but I buy loads fro Matalan and Asda all so cheap!! I tend to still knit for the babies but that is all now. Here is a cloak I knit for my granddaughter
@MsTickle (25136)
• Australia
17 Jul 10
I used to make some of my kids clothes and most of mine. I hardly do anything now. Fabric is so expensive. It costs more to make a pair of trousers now than it does to buy them. There's all the effort as well and the home made garment doesn't last as long. Have you seen how expensive dress patterns are??? And thread??? It's unreal. Knitting has always been expensive and I could never get the tension spot on (I was a tight knitter)so when I washed the garment it had taken me weeks to knit and a fair few dollars, it would shrink or matt. Garments knitted in cheap acrylic looked cheap.
@oldchem1 (8143)
17 Jul 10
I still do a little knitting but mainly for new babies, I'm just knitting a pram rug now for my daughter's new baby due in September
@Tina30219 (59455)
• Onaway, Michigan
15 Jul 10
I agree to a point that it is expensive to make clothes but to a point it is cheaper to make clothes it just depends on how many kids you have and what you are making and how big the kids are. Right now I am thinking of looking into having my sons pants made because he is so tall. I have a friend that sews a lot that would be willing to help me out.Shirts and everything else is ok to buy in stores. But if you can't afford to buy your clothes in a store making them is the way to go.
@oldchem1 (8143)
15 Jul 10
I have a £14year old son who is very tall - I can buy him ready made trousers for school for £6 - it would cost me at least £20 to make them even if I had good tailoring skills
@Ichiru101 (284)
• United States
25 Feb 11
I agree with you. I enjoy making clothes cause it is fun. But it really isn't all that necessary anymore. I mean sometimes at the mall I can get a nice T shirt on sale for about 2 dollars. If I were to make it, it would cost me time and 4 dollars along for two yards minus the cost of the patterns.
@artizan (195)
28 Jul 10
sorry posted my comment on christmas comments by mistake., hope you will take the time to check it oout best regards xx
@phacat (20)
• United States
22 Jul 10
I agree with you 100%. I too made clothes for my children in the 70's. However, I discovered several thrift stores where I could find very good prices. The younger the child the better chance of finding less used clothing. The reason being young child grow faster than older children. That said, I still found it cheaper to buy their clothing as opposed to making it. As they get older they didn't want homemade. The exception being a gift like mittens, a hat or a very warm knitted scarf. I love to knit and crochet for my grandchildren. I have given my needles and hooks a rest. I am now trying my hand at beading, quilling, and card making.
• United States
22 Jul 10
I agree with you for sure. I wanted to learn to make this summer dress I saw in a shop. I went to the store to find the pattern. Boy was I shocked to find it cost more than the dress. The fabric has gone up so much I don't line my koolaid bags anymore. I use duct tape for the beach bags.
@LittleMel (14033)
• Canada
14 Jul 10
I don't make my own clothes what I have in my closet now are mostly from 5 - 6 yrs ago that was the last time I bought anything for myself aside from socks LOL everything else is either grocery, skin treatment or for my shop I do have a sewing machine and planning to use it to later some old jeans I would imagine it's expensive for people with children because they have to buy more material prices are dropping now, so maybe it's best to buy ?
@ElicBxn (61192)
• United States
13 Jul 10
I pretty much agree. there's no WAY I could make a shirt like I got mom for Christmas for $5, and even my floss and pattern cost more than that! Tho, I could make that same pattern now 15 or 20 times with the stuff I had to buy..
@wolflvr (335)
• United States
13 Jul 10
I totally agree with you. While I was growing up my mother made all of my clothes for me. Now it is so expensive to buy the material for clothes that it is less expensive to go to a big department store to buy your clothes. The only thing I end up sewing is Halloween costumes. My son has never worn handmade clothes. It is too bad as you can make whatever you like and not be stuck with what is in the stores.
@peavey (16989)
• United States
13 Jul 10
Have you thought about getting material in other forms? You can sometimes buy pretty sheets on sale for much less than you could by the same amount of material. After all, wh is a sheet? A big piece of material! I sometimes buy hand made knitted sweaters from a thrift shop and recycle the yarn. If you rip it out and make a hank from it, then wash and hang it to dry, most of it acts like new yarn.
@lacieice (2064)
• United States
13 Jul 10
You are so right!!!! I used to make a lot of the kids clothes...even found some for my son (I remember I made him a cowboy shirt...even embroidered it). Then, when my daughter got older, I made all her prom gowns and party dresses. I even made a wedding gown for my son't bride. They cost me pennies on the dollar, but it just wouldn't be possible to do today.
@cutepenguin (6447)
• Canada
13 Jul 10
I think that with the cost of materials, it is actually more expensive to make your own clothes. I've found the cost of buying enough yarn to knit a sweater to be too much for my budget and have been sticking to making people hats.
@lexx87 (1710)
• Mexico
13 Jul 10
yes , knitti is really expensive now, lol . For me it is a job, im young but i really love knitt and make new things, because i cant stop now. Sometimes the yarn is really expensive i have to pay lot for some grams of yarn