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Mini Wardrobe in Red, Black and White

Can you save money by sewing your own clothes?  Well, that depends on a lot of factors! What are you comparing your work to?  If you are trying to beat the price at Target or WalMart, then no, I don't think you can sew your own for any less.  But, if you are comparing your work to a slightly higher end store, and you can find quality fabric, then definitely yes!  I'm comparing mine to a store like White House, Black Market.

I decided to challenge myself to make a new Spring work wardrobe with a $50 budget for fabric.  I know, I know- that doesn't include your patterns, notions and miscellaneous things like interfacing and lining.  For me, those are already sunk costs, because I already have them.  By ordering during one of Fabric Mart's $2/$3/$4 sales, I was able to make 8 items- 2 pants, 1 skirt, 1 dress, and 3 tops.  Here's my exact order:

This took me about 6 weeks once I started.  I usually sew after dinner for about an hour or two every day.  It's my relaxation time.  I dove right in the deep end with the jacket first.
I absolutely love this fabric!  It is so bright and cheery.    I made the jacket with Vogue 2957, an out of print Anne Klein designer pattern.

The fabric is a Milly Cady suiting which I found challenging to work with.  It feels delightful, but it is tough as nails.   I started with a regular sewing machine needle, but had lots of skipped stitches, so I switched to  Microtex needle, and that worked much better.  The fabric didn't like to take a pressing either, so it was tough getting good clean edges.  If you want to see the price tag on a real Milly Cady Blazer, look here.

These pants were also made from a suiting, but the fabrics couldn't have been more different.  It was soft and drapey and had no issues sewing or pressing.  The pattern I used for the pants was Simplicity 3756- a pant with a faced waistband and interesting front pockets.  I chose the 7/8 length.  For the top, I used a sheer woven jacquard, which didn't feel like polyester at all- I would have definitely thought it was cotton, had I not seen the description.  I made it into Butterick 6713. 

Here's the same pattern from a different fabric- this was a chiffon from a Fabric Mart mystery bundle that I bought last year, and I used it for my muslin version.  It really doesn't count in the $50 challenge, but I thought it was so pretty that I wanted to show you anyway!

My next outfit was a skirt (Simplicity 2451) from the same black suiting, and a blouse from this a polyester chiffon, using Butterick 6710.  You may be wondering- how did she get a pair of pants and a skirt from just 2 yards of suiting?  Well, very judicious use of fabric, and a very generous cut of fabric- it was more like 2-1/2 yards- thank you very much Fabric Mart!  I would have preferred the skirt to be a few inches longer, but this was the length that I could manage.

 I had just slivers of fabric left after cutting!

Also, I probably won't be making this skirt from Simplicity 2451 again- not because I don't like it- I very much do!  But I left the pattern tissue on the floor, and the Roomba ate it- totally ruined it.  That will teach me not to pick up patterns off the floor before I go to bed!

Here's the same blouse in a black chiffon print I chose this style because it was relatively simple.  Chiffon can be so shifty, so a style without a lot of seams makes sense.  The sleeves are elasticized at the cuff.

Here is the black floral blouse with the jacket and pants (Vogue 2957).  I am not sure that I will ever wear this together, as it is a lot of red. But, if I ever want to be in a crowded city where I want my husband to be able to spot me, this would be the outfit!  Notice that the pants are a bit short.  This was intentional- according to Angie, the blogger at You Look Fab, this length is on trend,  which makes me happy so I don't have to worry about pants dragging on the ground and getting dirty.

And again- if you'd like to see the price tag on a pair of Milly Cady pants, look here.  Ay, yai yai!  I bought another 3 yards of this fabric, I love it so much.  I don't know what I'll make with it- perhaps a different style jacket.

And lastly, is this polyester crepe plaid dress, made from a 1980's pattern  Butterick 6787.  This is my least favorite of the bunch. I'm not sure why, maybe it's not a great style on me, or maybe the white is too stark for my pale skin.

I had so much fun planning and making these coordinates.  I cannot wait to start wearing them.  And I met my challenge of making a work wardrobe with a $50 fabric budget!  Yes, you can save money making your own clothes!  If I were to have bought these in a regular store, I would have been looking at probably a $500 bill.  There is nothing like having new Spring clothes to wear at the end of Winter.  What are your thoughts on sewing to save money?  Do you or don't you?

Happy Sewing!


  1. Phenomenal!!!! I love these colors on you, and they style together effortlessly!

  2. What pretty additions to your wardrobe. I personally love, love, love chiffon blouses. They are easy to wear and don't add bulk so extra easy to layer as well.
    I enjoy your posts. Your creations show your personality.

  3. Wow, you couldn't even get a jacket here for $500 let alone a full wardrobe. Beautiful work.

  4. Fantastic wardrobe! Great planning of fabrics that coordinate so well! I visited the Milly Cady website to see the prices-unbelievable! It is great that sewing can save you money for high end garments.

  5. Hi,I am browsing around looking for sewing inspiration. I'm working on a black,grey red capsule business wardrobe. Yours is inspiring! Thanks��


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