The Advantages and Disadvantages of Sewing Your Own Clothes

The Tailor
[ photo: The Tailor by Kirinohana CC]

I've slowly been improving my sewing skills over the years, but I still often a debate whether or not I should sew something to wear or just buy something.

Advantages
  • You can get exactly what you want. You choose the fabric, quality of the fabric, construction method, and colors.
  • You can modify a pattern to fit you exactly.
  • You get to wear something unique.
  • A sense of accomplishment!

Disadvantages
  • It's sometimes cheaper to buy ready made clothing than pay for fabric.
  • You may have to redo a thing multiple times. Be prepared for mistakes, and not quite right garments. This also adds into the cost.
  • It's sometimes difficult to find trendy fabric colors or prints (depending on where you live).
  • It can take a lot of time.
  • There can be a lot of waste. It's not always possible to find projects for those small leftover bits of cloth.

As a rule of thumb, I will make something if I can't find it easily in the stores at the quality level I want. This means I'll still buy basic T's and tanks, or garments sewn from fabrics that I can't find myself, or are too complicated for me to sew. It makes more sense to spend time and money on items that I can wear and treasure for a long time.

Sewing is still very useful. Sewing (non-clothing) gifts for friends, family, and the home, like bags, toys, or throw pillows, are cost efficient, and often quick. Plus, nothing beats the feeling of giving something away to someone who will appreciate it for a long time.

Knowing how to alter your clothes also gives you a lot of freedom. You can add new life to old clothing, or just make sure that things have a more flattering fit.