Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My Sew-Called Life

Dawn has a guest blogger stepping in on Frugal for Life, with a nice article about sewing. The other day, I was thinking about the colors I'd like to have in my bedroom. I haven't had a bedroom in almost 7 years, so this is a pretty big deal! I was thinking it would be neat to make a duvet cover out of two different fabrics, and that it would be a pretty easy thing to make. Actually it's probably a very large and unwieldy thing to make, where you'd have to be really sure you could sew in a straight line, but I've been watching DVDs of Project Runway lately, where they make sewing almost anything look like a piece of cake.
It was kind of strange to find myself thinking in these DIY terms about anything fabric-based. I've always hated to sew, hated it with a vengeance. I also hate going into fabric stores, after a childhood spent tagging along after my mother on her interminable shopping trips for her projects. My mom is a brilliant seamstress, so my approach has always been to draw things on little bits of paper and then fling them at her, saying "can you make this for me?"
But my mom is getting a little too old now to really do much sewing, so I don't think I'll ask her to make me a duvet cover. Besides, I might break out in hives while actually shopping for the fabric. It's too bad-- a duvet cover is probably the exact kind of thing where you could save a lot of money by making it yourself. As Dawn's guest poster BizzeeMom points out, you have to do a cost/benefit analysis if you're considering sewing-- if you're going to make something complicated, it might actually be cheaper to buy it in a store. And I'd add that that is especially the case if you're not very experienced with sewing-- you don't want to make a mistake in some over ambitious garment and then have to trash the whole thing! (See Rule 9, DIY vs. PAY.)
I wonder if I could advertise on craigslist and find someone to do the sewing for me... perhaps some fashion student who wants to make a few bucks. I've had a few other ideas for things I could make, or have made for my home-- the neat thing is that I live close enough to a semi-industrial area that I'm often stumbling across places that will do things like custom wrought iron work, or custom glass work. For me, maybe DIY should stand for "Design It Yourself." I suspect that once you get into having someone else do the labor, you are starting to look at costs higher than buying an equivalent item in a store... but we'll see. And the key thing is that by having something made to your own design, you are getting what you want, rather than having to compromise and settle for what is available. Do you think it's worth it?

5 comments:

diane from PA said...

I haven't read her blog but there are some things such as curtains that are less expensive to buy than they are to make. This alway supposes you can find what you want. Fabric costs are pretty high (around here) so something that takes a lot of yards will be expensive unless you have access to some good discount places. And with things you buy if you make a mistake you can return it to the store and try something else. I love to sew and am not trying to discourage you from sewing just giving you some more things to think about.

Hypatia said...

The Design It Yourself version does exist, to some extent... besides Craigslist, have you tried etsy.com?

caryn verell said...

you can make a duvet cover using two flat sheets and a blanket...like making a giant sandwich..you do not have to sew it if you chose not to. use snaps or grommets to hold it together..the thing is that even flat sheets can be awfully expensive and you would probably be better off finding a readymade duvet for the cost of making one.
if the cost is not prohibitive to you than by all means let your imagination and creativity loose and have fun with it.

Rebecca said...

i make my own duvets - the larger the bed, the more cumbersome...but it's just straight lines! i did exactly what caryn verell said: used sheets. i get my sheets from places like tj maxx or marshalls - so they're quality, but fairly inexpensive (especially compared to the cost of an already made one). and the great thing is you can have 2 different kinds of sheet - solid/pattern, solid/solid, etc...and the embellishments are fun too...tied off or buttoned?

i can sew kids clothes, but not adults (too many darts, curves, etc). i have NO idea how the project runway folk do it!

Rebecca said...

p.s. Madame X is my favorite painting at The Met. :)