Hi everyone! This infographic I just finished up is on a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. I got a few fans that told me they’re excited to start sewing after seeing my free patterns. But they admit they don’t have the money to get started buying supplies, let alone a sewing machine, so they don’t know when they can start. It’s such a bummer that hit me much harder than usual because I know that feeling exactly. I personally started sewing with random supplies I found around the house and a broken old Singer.
So I thought I might share the tiny steps I went through to earn the money I needed to make sewing a serious hobby. And in the hopes to make it a little less boring, I put it in infographic form! But you can find the detailed information after the graphic. I don’t know if it will help a ton of people, but it was still freeing to get to share a little of my history with you all this way <3
1. ASSESS WHAT YOU’VE GOT:
Lots of lists out there will give you the rundown of what every beginner sewist should have. It’s usually something like: sewing machine, thread, pins, needles, scissors, rulers/measuring tape, seam ripper, iron, fabric marker, and your fabric. Gather what you have from this list. If you have none of it, the bare minimum of what you need is:
Thread, needle, and scissors.
You can usually find sewing kits with a thread assortment, needles, and maybe some tiny scissors. Some kits are as little as $2-3 (USD). It’s not perfect, but it’ll do if you don’t have a lot of funds!
To tackle the rest seriously, you could make a list of the remaining supplies you need and their dollar amounts so you have a clear goal to aim for.
Also, I didn’t know anyone else that sewed when I got started, but if you’re lucky enough that you do, ask around! There’s a very good chance a fellow or former sewist might have some hand-me-down tools and fabric for you.
2. SAVE UP FOR THE REST:
a. Take on odd jobs:
I earned the most of sewing money through my brother, who paid me to attach punk band patches to his clothes, haha 🙂 Taking on little mending projects that people sometimes forget about is a great way to get started. This works the best if you have lots of supportive friends and family that know you’re still learning. Ask if they need any of their clothes fixed. With just thread and a needle, you can handle these sorts of jobs:
Note: I find it doesn’t hurt to ask specific questions, haha 🙂 Many people forget they have a shirt missing a button in the back of their closet, or a collection of patches they meant to add to a jacket, etc.
- Re-attaching buttons
- Fixing small tears
- Attaching embroidered patches
- Fixing holes in stuffed animals
- Removing scratchy clothing tags
If you’re lucky enough to start with a sewing machine, you can tackle more difficult jobs:
- Hemming jeans & t-shirts
- Patching up jeans with holes
- Replacing broken zippers
- Making minor fitting alterations
If you manage to earn $5 here or $10 there for each job, that quickly adds up to lots of tools and fabric!
b. Make projects from recycled items:
If that’s not an option for you, or you want to push your skills further, you can also make items to sell from unused household items.
- Old t-shirts make great pillows, tote bags, hair accessories, and stuffed animals
- Socks also make adorable stuffed animals. But can also be used for phone cases, bean bags & heating pads, and cat & dog toys
- Old jeans can be made into tote bags, skirts, baskets, and pillows
- And sheets are perfect for large projects like curtains, pillows, and skirts
Items like these can be sold at craft shows, conventions, and bazaars. Or you could take the plunge and open up an online shop like on Etsy or StoreEnvy.
And from there?
Hopefully from this it might help you earn enough to get the sewing machine you wanted, or build up the fabric collection you’ve wished for! You can start buying nicer fabrics and supplies so you can make better things to sell, or just make things for yourself and fall back on these tips when you need more spending money!
11 thoughts on “Infographic: Sewing from the Ground Up”
I wish I had something like this 3 years ago! Very helpful and informative!
I’d love to have someone come and help me with plushies! My problem is too many supplies/choice of colors and not enough hands to get through all of them :p
This is motivational for starters Choly! ❤
I was so happy reading this.
I started sewing with my mom’s sewing kit, and backstitch and straight stitch were the only stitches I knew. We had sewing classes at middle school so that’s when I had more of my own personal tools.
I also did started little things like stitching ripped clothes and putting buttons for the family – you’ll really learn alot!
All I can say is if you’ve saved enough money, invest on a really nice pair of fabric scissors and a table light/lamp. 🙂 they will be your first bestfriends in sewing if you don’t have your own sewing machine yet.
You’re so right! Good lighting is something I’m very grateful for 😀
Hi there – thanks so much for this getting started/getting your stuff infographic! For your readers who are in an area with Dollarama stores (pretty sure they’re in Canada only), you can almost always find little sewing starter kits in the crafts aisle for $2-$3 CDN. Dollar Tree Canada also has basic sewing supplies – needles, thread, pins, scissors or snippers – and everything in the store is $1.25 CDN or less.
This is really helpful!!
Check the thrift store. Sometimes you can find a sewing machine cheap. The old machines were built to last.
That’s a great tip. It’s how I came to own my Viking and Brother sewing machines.
I see sewing machines at my local Goodwill and garage sales all the time, the macine I use is from a Goodwill. Sewing machines are affordable
I used a pair of jeans for the outer fabric of the kitty purse from this website and they worked well.
Hey just fyi when you click on the “apron” link at the bottom of this post, it leads to a spam page 🙂
Aw, bummer, the site must have closed in the passing years. Thanks so much for letting me know!