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Is Making Your Own Clothes Cheaper?

Is it cheaper to make your own clothes or buy them? If you're looking to save money, sewing your own clothing may not actually be the frugal option.

Is Making Your Own Clothes Cheaper

Does sewing your own clothing at home save you money? Twenty to thirty years ago, the answer to this question would have been a resounding yes.

Making something on your own certainly saves you on labor costs and allows you to make a piece you are sure to love.

Chances are, however, that it is not saving you money in the long run. Nowadays clothing costs are much lower while fabric prices are starting to increase. For some people, making your own garments might save money. For the most part, however, it will not be the frugal option. 

Trying to decide if making your own clothes will save you money? Consider the following before diving into an entirely DIY wardrobe.

Love the dress pattern in this photo? Check out the Feisty Fashionista Sleeveless Dress Pattern!

So, is making your own clothes cheaper? Or worth it? Find out below with our detailed information about making clothes including what you need, evaluating your skill levels, style and fashion desires, and more.


Is Sewing Worth it? Time Measurement!

If you don't have a ton of spare time, this can really add up. Time is actually money and you should keep in mind that making a t-shirt or skirt could take you hours.

Right now, the minimum wage in the United States is $7.25. If it takes you 3 hours to make a project, that's $21.75 before you even buy the fabric, pattern, and required notions. You can easily buy a garment for that price at big box stores like Walmart, JC Penny, or Target.

What Kind of Clothes Are You Making and Buying?

This makes a huge difference in the cost of your clothing. If you are a frugal shopper and tend to buy from big box stores, clothing costs are generally far cheaper than fabric costs. Factoring in time and notions, you likely will not save money making your own clothes.

If you are buying high-end pieces of clothing from designer stores, however, making your own clothing with higher-end fabric might be the better option. Of course, this is assuming you have the skills to make these complicated, trendy patterns.

Karen from Fringe Association actually found that making her own clothes was relatively cheaper than shopping at J. Crew. Read about her sewing journey.

Who Are You Making the Clothing For?

As an adult, chances are that making your own clothes will not save you a ton of money. If you are making clothing for children, however, this might change! Generally, kid's clothing prices are rather inflated and can even cost just as much as adult pieces. Since littler things require less fabric, you might save money if you making clothing for your kids. Plus, since they do grow out of clothing so quickly, you can get away with using cheaper fabric.

Image shown below: Little Lady Braided Dress Pattern

Image shows a girl standing on a street wearing the Little Lady Braided Dress.

Is it Hard to Sew? Evaluate Your Skill Set

Beginner sewing enthusiasts are not going to be able to sit down and make complicated pieces like blazers, formal dresses, coats, and more. If you are new to sewing, chances are your first few projects are likely to be a little less than perfect. You will not be making store-quality items. This likely means handmade items will not hold up and stand the test of time. Plus, you likely do not want to walk into a job interview with a DIY hem that is less-than-straight. 

Expert seamstresses, however, might be able to make this system work for them. If you can sew perfectly and quickly, the time you save might make up for fabric inflation. Plus, buying quality pieces and then having them tailored is very expensive. If you can create the perfect fit for yourself, you are likely to save a ton!

Seamstresses who are able to sew professional-grade projects like the Biker Cardi below are more likely to save money when making their own clothes.

Image shows a woman standing in front of a light gray background wearing the Biker Cardi.

Looking for Clothing Patterns?

Using free sewing patterns can help you alleviate the cost of creating your own garments, check out our collection of clothing patterns! This page lists all of our clothing collections and serves as an excellent resource for how to make clothes.

Image shows a collage full of clothing patterns from the collection: How to Make Clothes.

Up Next

How to Get Started Sewing Clothes >>

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for me making my own may not at first be cheaper though i will be using old op shop stuff and using the material to make clothes first to save money at first. once i get my skills up though due to the fact that most of the time to get clothes that actually fit as they should i would need to get them tailor made it will be far cheaper. often pants that are supposed to be covering your ankle look more like 7/8 length pants and tops that go halfway down the bum on most women are almost midriff tops on me

I really enjoyed this article but would have loved even more information, like a good place to buy cheap patterns or places online to buy nice but affordable fabric. Thank you for the good read!


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