How to use your sewing skills to alter clothing and save money

I have been sewing since I was a teenager. My mother was instrumental in developing my sewing skills, and I am so grateful. Because, when I need to raise the hem on trousers or take in the waist I can do the work myself rather than paying a seamstress. I am not the best in the world, but I can get the job done.

When I moved to Melbourne in 2006, I purchase a second hand sewing machine and transported it home on the rear rack of my bicycle. Crazy I know, but as I didn't have a car and was not going to pay for a taxi, that was the option, and it worked. After about six months I decided the machine was not adequate for my needs. I went to a sewing machine shop slight north of Melbourne CBD and purchased a new Janome. I paid $500 and still have it today. It is a mid range machine which allows me to complete basic clothing alterations and sew new items handy for my home or the sailboat.

Below are a pair of Puma golf trousers I picked up at the Geebung Tip Shop about a month ago. I paid about 50 cents for them. They were too big around the waist so out came my sewing machine. I unpicked some of the waist band at the back and took them in.

Altering the waist on my trousers from theh tip shop

If I were to take my trousers and skirts to an alternations shop I would expect to pay $20 to take the waist in on trousers and skirts and $10 on taking the hem up on trousers. I have also sewn a cover for our portable washing machine for the sailboat which protects it from damage in our shed at Bulimba. Doing the sewing myself means I have saved myself about $40.

Using my Janome sewing machine to make a curtain for the head on Clipper

There is not enough constantly available power through the solar panels on Clipper our sailboat, nor the room to sew. So when we house sit I take my sewing machine with me, keeping any clothing which needs altering until this time. Below is a picture of me making the curtain for the head area on the sailboat, during a house sit.

Having a sewing machine has always made my life easier, I can alter clothes and sew items for Clipper. It has saved me about $100 a year, so I am now in profit and moving closer to my goal of an early semi retirement. To see more about my spending for 2016 click here.

Sewing, mending and making. Spending less and saving more