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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Does it Have to be SEW Expensive?

I recall hearing from my friend (whose Professional Tote I admired) that materials alone for the bag cost her a small bundle. No kidding! By the time you consider fabric, interfacing and notions, you can be in the hole for $60 or more already. And that's not even including the cost of the pattern.

Since I am not one to embrace expensive hobbies, after I made my first tote, I set out to reduce my costs on future sewing projects. Would you be surprised to hear that — apart from that last yard of Polar Party — I have not purchased any conventional fabric for my projects?

Bedsheets and tea towels!
I think I have spent roughly $100 on interfacing so far (in that I have sufficient amounts going forward for awhile, not that I've used up that much) and about $30 on hardware and other supplies. For fabric, I "shopped" my and my mother's linen closet, coming up with bedsheets (for both the exterior and lining of my blue Bella bag, as well as the yellow flowered fabric on my second PT), table cloths (the orange contrast fabric on my second PT) and a duvet cover set. I also purchased a couple of drapery panels; one from Jysk for $12 (the brown exterior fabric for my second Bella bag) and one from Sears for $10. I found some pillowcases from Dollarama for $2 and a couple of sets of kitchen tea towels from Wal-Mart for $4 each. This has been the extent of my fabric costs. While that does add up to $32, I am quite confident that $32 usually doesn't amount to very much in the way of conventional fabric at the fabric store.

This old purse yielded a lot of hardware...
And of course — as I found out when I spent over $14 to get those "egg-shaped snap hooks" for my Bella bags — purse hardware is not cheap! So when this ($10) purse gave up the ghost after heavy use on two vacations, I fortuitously managed to harvest a crapload of reusable hardware from it... three zippers with interesting pull tabs, two sets of magnetic snaps, two small buckles, two small rings, two large rings, and one large buckle. And the really great thing is that this purse — which had all kinds of memories associated with it — now lives on in my new creations (in four different new bags, believe it or not)!

A $5 bag gave up all this...
I recently took a tour through one of our local Value Village stores and found a $5 purse in great shape. It was almost too cruel to cut into it, but I had no use for a purse of that style or size. The two zippers, magnetic snap and two large rings, however, (not to mention a lining with card slots and a ready-made pocket that can be reused) will certainly find new life in a future project of mine.


  1. Hi, I would never have thought of buying dirt cheap bags just for the varied hardware yield, and it would be really cost effective compared to buying a whole packet (they're normally sold that way) if the same hardware item. Thank you, that was brilliant!

    1. You're so welcome! Since this post was written, I've come across even better finds in terms of old purses for hardware. It's totally worth it to shop this way.


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