I love to sew. To make my own clothes and my own look. It is both a hobby and a way to stay mentally sharp. But alas! Sometimes it is not always the best way to go. How can that be you ask? Well sometimes it is better to buy something rather than try to make it. Personally I consider myself a much better dressmaker than a tailor which means I can make a stunning dress but I cannot make an equally stunning well structured suit. It is not in my talent pool. I know it and I accept it. I have made a woman's suit for myself from a 1940s pattern before but it does not compare to my originals . . .At all . . .My dresses on the other hand? I have made a few dresses that could easily pass for the real deal.
When it comes to the question of to sew or not to sew there are a few things that I keep in mind because my ultimate end goal is to have a gorgeous wardrobe but an intact pocket book. One of the first things I consider in sewing a garment is can I sew what I want and get a great end result? Can I recreate something that I like and can I execute it cleanly? I want it to look as professional as possible for a home seamstress. I also ask myself does my current skill set as a seamstress match the level of skill needed for a certain embellishment? If the answer is probably not . . . then I ask myself if I can learn how to do that skill. If the answer is still no . . .Then I consider buying.
There have been a lot of times where I see something that I really like and want to have but I know I could never recreate it well. So that is when I buy. I have found out over the years that there are some things it is wiser to buy than try to make. For example, I have learned I cannot make slippers, well tailored suits, purses, and I struggle with working with furs. It is these things that I will happily buy. Even lingerie. Will happily buy my bras, garter belts, and corsets. I will buy these things because it would probably cost me more to make these things than to buy. When I consider the cost of buying something I do take my time into consideration. My time is worth something and I consider the material cost. When added together, there have been many times that just buying the item has made me come out ahead money wise and has saved me a lot of time and grief.
To hit my story home, I will elaborate with a few real life examples where sewing was the best way to go and another story where buying was the best route. Let's talk about the price of dresses today. Honestly the price of a dress today is crazy, modern made or vintage. I see some dresses that I really like and could see myself in that are no lower than $50 and only go up from there. There is one dress that I would love to own but I am not going to pay the $300 + for it. No way. Why? Because I know I can make that $300 + dress for less than $20 and my version will probably be better. As some of you already know, I use a lot of thrifted fabrics and notions. I have made dresses for under $5 as a result and I know If I apply my skills and thrifted supplies I can recreate that $300 gem for a steal. In this case, it is better to sew.
Now for the other side of the coin. . .Lets talk about hats. I love the tilt hats of the 40s with the masculine lines yet feminine details. I have tried to make my own hats before and I have learned that there are some hats that I am just better off buying. One year I tried to recreate a felt tilt hat that I could really see myself wearing a lot. At the time I really thought I could recreate it for less and I set out to do just that. Oh was I so wrong!! So terribly, awfully wrong. After all the money I spent on supplies to make the hat, then supplies to re make the hat after my first attempt was a flop, and then my time. . .I would have saved money if I had just bought the hat I was trying to create. This is a lesson I have relearned many times and now I get it. In this case, it was a heck of a lot better to BUY! Honestly I can see that blasted stupid hat that is burned into my memory!
So, what are somethings that you would rather sew . . . .
or not sew?