Sewing: Time and money

The problem with becoming obsessed with sewing, it that it takes tiiiime. I’ve recently had a few nights where I’ve been at it until 1am, only noticing the time when I’ve ripped up the same seam 5 times and my boyfriend starts suggesting  that ‘it might be time to go to bed….’.

It’s also pretty darn expensive. I’ll write another time about all the stuff I have…. erm… ‘had’ to to buy for my newfound hobby. I’m dreading adding up the numbers, but I think it would be interesting to see how much the essentials , and also how much all the ‘nice to have’ extras cost.

Earlier this week, I posted a photo of my Madeleine skirt on Facebook and got a few comments from friends along the lines of ‘can you make one for me’? I would absolutely love to make clothes for people – and to charge for it. But my potential customers would have to consider the following:

Time: Making this skirt, including taking measurements, prepping the pattern, cutting it out, sewing, battling with buttonholes etc took me about 10-12 hours. Making second one would probably take quite a bit less, since I’ve done it once already and know how the pattern work, what the instructions say etc. My estimate would be about 8 hours, including a fitting. If I’d be so kind as to only charge the UK minimum wage (£6.31/hour), this would add up to £50.48.

Materials: First you need to get the pattern, and the Madeleine skirt cost a very reasonable £7 (so worth it!). In terms of fabric, you can get away very cheaply  in London. Head to Walthamstow market and you can easily find some for £2-5/m. But if you want to get nice fabric, and in this case suited to this particular garment, it’s probably worth spending a bit more. I actually only paid £7.7/m myself, but at 2.25m that adds  up to £17.30. I was thinking about sewing it in wool fabric, but at £17/m I decided against it. Then come the buttons (£2) and the thread (£2)…

This all adds up to a grand total of £78.78.

I think, inevitably, people will just go and buy themselves a skirt when I tell them this.

Also, it’s worth pointing out (as my almost mother-in-law emailed to tell me) that when making clothes for people, you run the risk of ending up in a situation where the end product is not exactly what they were expecting, the finish isn’t as nice as a store bought version would be and so on. I definitely run the risk of this, being a beginner and all.

But if all of the above sounds good to you, please do come knocking on my door and I will happily make you  a skirt :)

On another note… On my sewing table at the moment:

I started working on a Sorbetto (a great free pattern from Collette Patterns) using the vintage fabric I bought last week. Am hoping it will go well with miss Madeleine…


My Coco pattern arrived earlier this week and I’ve started assembling my bits and pieces so that I can start putting it together… Excited!


3 thoughts on “Sewing: Time and money

  1. You are very right that it takes a lot of time and money to create something unique. It’s why I only sew gifts for other people (and then only for those that I know will appreciate the effort).

    • That definitely sounds like the way to go. Then you don’t have to battle people’s expectations either, just their happy surprise :)

      • Exactly! And you also don’t have to worry about deadlines so much because this is supposed to be a hobby. I have found I don’t do so well with sewing deadlines. If someone is paying you they might expect to have the item delivered within a reasonable time, not 6 months from now when I finally feel like tackling it…

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