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.

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.

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.