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making your own clothes?  RSS feed

 
                        
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Walk:  I agree that machine wasn't very practical, but mechanically interesting anyway.

My old KnitKing knits a whole row at a time, as many stitiches as you have cast on with one swipe of the carriage.  It really is a lot faster than I can knit by hand, and it makes a lot less mistakes.  In just an hour or so you are up to the armholes on a sweater, and then you could transfer the garment to hand needles if you wanted to.

Im sure it would be a hassle to do lace stitches but there are a number of them with instructions in the manual.
 
                              
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wombat wrote:
I was searching for sashiko quilting -- thinking about making a quilted jacket.

I ran across this technique - making new fabrics from old sakiori.

http://www.harding-giannini.com/textiles/?page=sakiorisashiko



You might not want to use this link. I got a virus warning from my computer security when I did, yesterday. Wish there was someway to let the website owner know, but I'm not going back to the site and taking the risk. I just got my computer cleaner up and virus free again not too long ago and I really dont want to go through that again any time soon.

Leigh
 
                    
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Well, we have manual sewing machine in our home, my wife always like to mend the clothes for her. Even, all the dress and outfit nowadays. She is expert in best design to my daughter also. Now, her eye on my clothes. omg.


 
Posts: 69
Location: Missoula
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I don't make my own clothes, but I will sew on patches and med jeans so that they can me worn for longer.  I have found that a cute thing to do is to go to garage sales and find worn out little girls clothes with cute needle work on them, and then sew them on under the holes as patches.  I will then outline it in a matching embroidery thread.
 
Posts: 101
Location: Piedmont, NC
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I love to sew, but agree to buy everything new (fabric, pattern, notions) it has become an elitist hobby.

However, I have had teriffic luck finding fabric at yard sales. I mostly sew home decor projects that are still cheaper than buying. When making curtains for an entire room, I prefer to buy the bolt online (much cheaper). I once bought a whole bolt of fabric and made all the bridesmaid dresses for my daughter's wedding. They reimbursed me for the pattern, notions and fabric at $30 each. I like to buy old curtains (just hangs around all day and sees little use) to remake (love that scene from the Sound of Music). I like to use cast off clothing to make things. on our website, I've posted a couple of projects where I was trying to see what all I could make out of the good parts of old jeans. (www.powellacres.com) Recently, I was decorating our bedroom and the only matching fabric I could find was a Sherpa body pillow to make a throw for over a chair. I used the fabric and saved all the stuffing which is getting so expensive that I figure if I use that I will have gotten the fabric for free. I recently made two bed pillows out of fabric from an old sheet and stuffing. I like to use old towels for pot holder and oven mitt lining. I am trying to get back into my mom's old practice of taking off what is useful and sorting it out. youtube has some great videos on clothing reconstruction and I was working on making a shirt for me out of my husband's old shirt, until I took off the pocket and found some ink stains. Sad day.

You can easily make a pattern out of tissue paper or newspaper from an article of clothing you have that fits you well. While I have been coveting a dressmaker's form, I still am not sure I want one sitting around when I am not using it.

Right now old armoires are selling used like hotcakes since everyone is going to flat screen tvs. I just bought one for $70 that I am going to turn into a sewing armoire with a foldout sewing table that I saw on pinterest.
 
Posts: 228
Location: New Hampshire
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I have been sewing on and off since 1980. It hasn't saved me money on clothing since the early 1990s when I living in the NYC area and could find great deals on fabric.
Since so much of our textile industry has moved overseas we don't have the leftover fabric to buy. There are ways to save money on sewing supplies.

I have recently started sewing again due to some great deals on fabric I have found at my local thrift stores and a surplus salvage store near my in-laws.
I use a burn test to identify the fiber content of unmarked fabric.
http://www.fiber-images.com/Free_Things/Reference_Charts/free_reference_charts_fiber_content_guide.html

Patterns. They are often put on deep discount when the pattern is discontinued. Big box chain stores do this a couple of times a year and local shops tend to have a spot with discontinued patterns for a dollar or less.
I have a box of Vogue patterns in timeless styles that I picked up for $.50 each when a fabric store was moving. They are $15.00 $20.00 full price. Altering an existing pattern is easier than making one from scratch.

Notions. All those little bits are insanely expensive in the fabric stores. Zippers, buttons, metal closures, snaps, Velcro, and other bits can be found second hand or in bundles on the internet. It kills me that 1 zipper is $3.00 in the store but I can get a package of 50 of them online for $10.00 including shipping. Yard sales, thrift stores, and estate sales are great places to find random cookie tins and sewing boxes full of notions.
Pins, needles and other tools are easy to find second hand. If you put the word out they will often come to you for free.

Thread is easy to find secondhand but you need to check if it is still in good shape. Thread is coated with conditioners to keep it from fraying and rotting. They tend to last about 20 years with proper storage. Thread that looks a little fuzzy or breaks easily is not worth the trouble. I will go through and pitch low quality/old thread when I get second hand thread. When I buy new thread I try and wait till a good sale of coupon and get something like Gutermann or Aurifil. Quality thread breaks less and tangles less.

Sewing scissors are a great one to find used. I have picked up Wiss and Gingher scissors for .25 to $1.00 each at yard sales and flea markets. They are designed to come apart and be resharpened and hold an edge well. New ones are $20.00 and up.

My favorite sewing book to recommend to people new to sewing and are using a vintage sewing machine is the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. You want any edition from the 1970s. They redid the book in the mid 90's and it isn't as good. It is easy to find used. It has really useful chart on how to diagnose what is going wrong with your sewing machine and it covers how to do things without a computer programmed machine.





 
pollinator
Posts: 1454
Location: northern California
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I think it has been mentioned in passing above, but a lot more can be said of the virtues of finding cheap or even free clothes and fabrics and re-purposing them. Sometimes a thrift store will simply get overloaded and then the dumpster behind it is worth checking out! Another loose idea to keep in mind is that T-shirts can be found everywhere, and T-shirt fabric doesn't fray or unravel easily along a cut edge, which makes it easy to work with. Whole books ("Generation T" I think is the name of one) have been made featuring all kinds of exotic stuff made of T-shirts. For summertime women's work clothes, a few T-shirts can be quickly cut up into skirts, tank tops, halter tops, and such like, or more than one pieced together into a longer dress; which might be a challenge to make from plain non-stretchable fabric. Bags, headwraps, belts and other items made of long strips woven together, etc. Since clothes are worn out a lot more quickly on the farm, getting them for free or cheap, or making/altering them without a lot of time commitment is a good thing, saving money and time for a few nice off-farm outfits.....
I have made my own sandals for many years, with old tires for soles and seat belts for straps. Both materials are free and practically indestructible. I think one set of soles once lasted me ten years, with the straps being replaced once or twice during that time! Various patterns are available, and I have tweaked them over the years to something I like. Hints: be sure to find tires without steel belts.....they are much easier to cut and work with, and the edges won't velcro into carpets or cut ankles. Very old tires, racing tires, and compact spare "doughnuts" are all often without steel belts. Be sure to fit straps at the end of the day, since your feet splay out a bit over the courese of a day on them and morning-fitted sandals may well be too tight by the end of the day.....seat belt straps won't stretch like leather will. Usually I put an inner layer against my foot on top of the tire sole and ends of the straps; either of rubber inner-tube (like tractor inner tube, which is a huge thing with numerous uses) and/or old leather.
 
pioneer
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Posts: 1003
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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"I have made my own sandals for many years" Alder Burns

Is there any chance you could make a new pair and put up a pictured how too?
 
Sherri Lynn
Posts: 101
Location: Piedmont, NC
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I love sewing, and was disappointed when fabric and patterns started costing so much they turned into an elitist hobby. However, I did find ways around that. Like many here, I learned to start with clothing from thrift shops and either just take them in, or turn them into items I needed. I also bought fabric from yard sales, many times I would find a bolt at a time. Another good thing to do is look for items with large amounts of fabric like large men's clothing or curtains (I love that scene from the Sound of Music.) Another thing sewing affords, is taking old pairs of jeans or other clothing and upcycling them to completely new items. I have some I have made on my pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/farm0420/clothing-reconstruction-maximized/ You can also check my blog for many items I have re-made (see my signature line). Find an article of clothing that you think fits you well and use that as a pattern.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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@Joylynn....Unfortunately I just finished a new pair last summer and am looking forward to getting ten years out of them. Remind me along about 2024....
But the process is pretty straightforward. Bolt cutters help to get through the embedded cable along the rim of the tire. Then cut away with a heavy knife, kept very sharp. When there is enough cut edge to grab with a pair of pliers, do so and put tension spreading the cut apart and it will cut much easier. Once a flap is started you can grab this in a vise and let the tire's own weight provide the tension. Work out two rectangular blanks from the tread part of the tire, and then trace the outline of your feet on these, leaving some extra. Then cut out the soles along these lines, inner tire surface up and tread down. With seat belt straps I usually double them lengthwise and sew to itself so it stays that way. Nylon thread and a heavy needle worked slowly will work in something like a treadle machine where you have a lot of torque when cranked slowly by hand, otherwise use a thimble and do by hand. Hold cut edges of seatbelt in a candle or other flame for a second to melt them a bit and prevent them unraveling. Make inner soles of something like tractor tire inner tube or old leather, or both. Tuck the ends of the straps under this and nail down with small nails just long enough to go through the tread, and work on a soft surface. Stand up and walk around in them (outside, on the ground, since the points of the nails will be sticking out) and adjust to fit....then bend the nail tips over with pliers and give each another whack of the hammer which will clinch them into the rubber.
 
pollinator
Posts: 491
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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A walk down memory lane...

http://www.bellevuearts.org/exhibitions/counter_couture.html

This exhibit is based on the book Native Funk and Flash.

 
gardener
Posts: 1813
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Found this thread....

I started sewing by hand in 1966. My mother would get rummage sale clothes and make them into other stuff, and I spent much time taking stuff apart with a seam ripper for her, so I learned how a garment was put together and how the pieces were generally shaped from that, at a young age. By the time I got to junior high, I would get a pattern and use the instructions for layout then just start putting it together (had many wars with the home-ec teacher over this, I eventually won). I bought my first sewing machine at 15 and never looked back. (skipping over the years doing theater costuming and custom sewing)

These days I will get second hand and repurpose them, plus I recently went from size 22 (really thick gut) to size 10, so redoing the wardrobe had to happen. My last project was taking a denim fabric skirt that did fit me ($1 thrift store) and redoing it into a front covering apron with pockets. I used almost every scrap of the fabric, kept the original elasticed with button in back waistband as the tie-on, and reused the two back panels to make the top front, neck strap, and pockets. I take jeans that are too old, too damaged, or wrong size and do all sorts of stuff with them, in evening hours when I can't work outside (on a food break right now, heh)

I have a huge stash of classic 50's and 60's patterns in 'classic styles' that have been made into full sized alterable pattern pieces so I can make what I want. That is a lot of work but in the end it is SO worth it. Some years back someone wanted a kilt, but the amount they wanted for a real pattern was ungodly. I found a workable pattern at New Look for $5!!! just had to size it up to fit the person. So. Sewing your own if you go to the fabric store, then buy patterns at full price, it's much cheaper to go to the rack at the discount big box store. Repurposing finds, makes it both affordable and worth the time. Doing it in low demand times (what I call zero time) makes it truly worth the effort.

Adding to Alder Burns' comments, you can always use a glover's needle, they have a special wider triangular sharp lethal point, that may make getting the needle through difficult layers better, and don't be afraid to use pliers, but. Always grip needle as close to where it is coming out as possible or give a little room if shoving it in, try to add the force in line with the needle axis always, and be really careful. Glovers needles are rather dangerous especially because you're usually trying to force them through difficult stuff and places. I use something called a sailor's palm and it has canvas to help protect your hand, but. You can also use an awl to help make a starting hole but the same, be very careful as you can badly hurt yourself if you slip! Try not to slip. We used to call those Ho-Chi-Min Sandals, and well made they will wear like iron, for near forever.
 
Deb Rebel
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Posts: 1813
Location: Zone 6b
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Refreshing thread and commenting....

If your center crotch or your underarms always seem to be ripping at the armpit... put in a diamond shaped gusset. Finished, I tend to make them about 3" x 2" once sewn in. This gets rid of the worst of the center stressed out ripped out 3 or 4 way seam, and allows some give at that point. You can also sneak a bit more width and length into the area as you put it in (think of just releasing the center of that join, then putting this in as a sort of 4 cornered dart). If you ever seen a Chuck Norris movie and he's wearing jeans, he has a gusset down there so he can stretch without issue. And I've saved many a shirt by putting the gusset in the underarm. You can also get rid of some staining that way. Match if possible or make it highly contrasting as a design detail. (usually downstairs, hide it)

I'm a self taught sewer, mostly, and I did work into costuming and stage stuff at one time. a) Have two sewing machines. If one packs it up you have another while the first one gets repaired. b) Altering an existing pattern is always easier than draft your own. I'm lazy I prefer this instead of draft my own. c) Learning to make slopers and from that making patterns isn't all that hard, but storing slopers can be problematic unless you have dedicated space. d) I love treadles. They can be a PITA at times to keep going but especially for applique they are the best ever. Plus as long as you have a candle or a lantern, you can sew. Finding bobbins: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TreadleLady/items has some and some supplies. http://shop.sew-classic.com/Bobbins_c7.htm also has the long bobbins....
 
pollinator
Posts: 715
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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I like making and reparing clothes (and other textile items). As a child I started making clothes for my dolls as soon as I could handle scissors and needles. My grandmother, my mother and a friend of my parents taught me how to knit, crochet and sew. As teenagers my sister and I spun Icelandic wool (our horse-freak aunt brought from Iceland) and knitted a sweater in the Icelandic way, all round. At the age of 19 I went to a school for becoming a teacher in arts, crafts and design. I did not finish it, because teaching un-interested highschool students did not appeal to me. But I learned many textile techniques, including how to design and to make patterns.

When I make clothes for myself (in whatever technique) first I search for the best materials. I don't want to waste my precious time making something that won't last long. For knitting I prefer wool and for sewing linen, crocheting goes best in a linen-cotton-mixture, but for clothes wool is better. There are more techniques, not so well-known. The last few years I re-activated myself in doing these things. I do not want to buy those 'cheap' clothes made by slaves and children in unhealthy circumstances, of flimsy unnatural fabrics, sewn in a way to last only a few months. In fact those clothes are not really cheap ...

I am glad I still had some of the dresses I made years ago, the material is still in good shape. My size hasn't changed, but I do some changing (upcycling), because I like a different style now. I collected some very good materials from thrift stores in the past (when they still had that good quality stuff), enough to go on making clothes (and other things) for years

Did you know ... you can use old woollen sweaters shrinked by washing too hot or too often as felt-like material? You can use that 'felt' for warm indoor footwear, hats, bags and baskets (for storing stuff in).
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
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last update of this topic was 1 year ago ... aren't there more Permies making their own clothes or shoes?
 
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Ok. I make a few things, but certainly not all.  Do slippers count? Sorry, I have no pictures on my new computer, but can give you my blog link to my post about them.  http://originativeobjects.blogspot.com/2017/07/a-metamorphosis-of-knitting-project.html
 

Also just realized that a few projects on my blog are missing photos. Will have to correct those ones.
 
Liza Stallsmith
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OK. First my disclaimer, I do not make all our clothing. Look out, second hand stores here we come! However, because of my husband's braintanning business. Braintanner.com  I try to have one set of leather clothes made for each
of us to use at events. Sometimes it works out that some have less than this and others have more than one set. Both growth spurts and handy downs play a role in this. Once the braintan leather clothes are made each individual
is allowed to wear them as often as they want thus some items end up quite worn.

Last year both of my sons had out grown all their leather clothes so I made both of them a braintan shirt. The issue is all the good quality hides are sold, and I end up with odds and ends in both size and weights of leather. Not complaining,
blessed to get what I get, but it has become more of a challenge as the children grow and need more square footage of hide in each shirt or other item. I was very limited in what I had on hand and the weights were way different on most of
the hides or pieces of hides I had available. But I did get to shirts that  the boys could wear. How long before the next growth spurt is the question. In the following pictures both of the pants were handy downs from adults.

        
 
         

Ahgg.. My pictures are huge! Sorry still learning how to use the site.
 
He was expelled for perverse baking experiments. This tiny ad is a model student:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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