Thrifty Stitching


Sewing is a very flexible hobby in terms of cost – you can go mad and purchase the most expensive, brand new fabrics and threads or you can take a creative look at items you may already have in your home and be a clever shopper too…

One of the easiest ways to sew on a budget is to take a look at the scraps remaining from previous projects. If you’re anything like me then you’re sure to have lots of scraps, as I personally find it really hard to discard even the smallest pieces of pretty fabric. So why not consider making something from them? I have an ambition to one day make a postage stamp quilt, or they’re great for applique, or to incorporate into smaller items such as bookmarks, pin cushions etc.

It’s also possible to make lovely new items from old pieces you may have stashed in your linen cupboard, attic or elsewhere in the home. Old woollen blankets are great for stitching cuddly softies – or if you have enough of them, cut away any worn pieces and use the remnants to make a warm and comforting patchwork throw. Curtains can also be cut up and reused – Flora below was made from curtain fabric, whilst old woollen knitwear can be washed at a hot temperature so that it felts, and again is great to use for all kinds of projects.

And, thinking of old clothes, if they’re simply too threadbare to repurpose or reuse in new projects, then before you throw them away, take a good look at them first. Remove buttons and zippers, as these can be used both in new projects and also to mend existing clothing.

If you do need to shop for new fabrics, then it’s always worth having a good rummage through the remnant bin (most shops have them) or if you’re used to shopping online, then check out any scrap bundles or similar – they will often have a discount or clearance section and some great bargains can be found.

I’ve always found village fetes and other fundraising events to be a great source of both fabrics and notions. I have found vintage buttons – often still on their cards, flosses, and sewing items such as darning mushrooms, thimbles, needle books and much more besides. I think my favourite discoveries at such events have been embroidered table linens, the kind that were so popular in the mid-20th century – crinoline ladies, cute animals and all kinds of floral garlands, swags and bouquets.

It always seems a little sad to find these items on sale for often just a few pennies, as somebody has spent a lot of time and trouble creating them. The standard of stitching can be variable, but even the less expertly done are good for cutting and working into new projects – bunting, cushions and quilts are just some examples.

Leave your thrifty tips in the comments below…we’d love to know!

*Article originally appeared in the November issue of Bustle & Sew Magazine

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