Thrifty Living: Sewing helps you save money – and work things out
Saturday 10 May 2008
My sewing craze is continuing with zeal, even though after creating two dresses and two blouses (I know, respect) for various "lucky" children, I still seem unable to break through the mighty five-hour barrier. Frankly, I found running the London Marathon a swifter task. This week, after a stint which saw me still sewing at 2am, I was so exhausted the next day I actually managed to forget to bring our dog home from the morning school run. At 10.30am, there he was, poor thing, still tied up outside the school gates. Whoops. He only forgave me after a big toy-throwing session.
Still, I'm determined to improve as a seamstress, and am off this week to construct a "tote bag" at my new club, which promises chat and nibbles alongside the bobbin-threading, so maybe when I'm chatting and nibbling at the Make Lounge, I'll pick up some advice on how to speed up my output.
In the meantime, Ms Phil Kelvin emailed me about "Stitch and Kvetch", a regular night held by the Jewish Community Centre for London which, starting with its peerless title, sounds rather brilliant – you can bring along your own projects, or learn a new one (knitting, crochet, etc), "whilst indulging in some good old-fashioned kvetching". And Sarah Bayley writes in to tell about Handmade and Found, a boutique in Islington run by a sewing "inspiration", Ruth Llewellyn, who makes her own designer dresses. I suspect such gems exist throughout the country.
The great thing about settling down with your sewing machine for a few hours (or a lot of hours, in my case) is that not only do you come out with a vaguely workable garment, but you also have time to work things out. And as Thrifty Living comes to an end (next week, dear thrift-seekers, don't start panicking yet), here is a sample of what I have worked out while hunting for dropped pins and cutting bias binding.
Firstly, that living within your means is all about being in control, and having the power to walk away from the till. I did it yesterday. Went into a shop, saw a divine dress on the mannequin. Tried it on. Was flattered to fit into a small size, but still the dress looked wrong. Mutton and lambs came to mind. Never mind, it looked great on the dummy. I took it to the till, but as the assistant was duly ringing it up, I realised how stupid it was to spend £60 on a dress just because it was small. Pathetic. And so I graciously exited from the purchase. Six months ago I would have bought it, regretted it, worn it once – you know the rest, and it involves the local charity shop.
The second most important thing I have now grasped is to wield choice. Choice to have your hair cut in a classy salon, or not. To eat out, or not. I used to wander around shops like a sort of automaton, as if someone else was directing the plastic to fly out of my wallet every five minutes. I know, pathetic again. Writing a list is part of it, as is actively deciding whether you are going to buy each and every purchase. Obviously huge decision-making sessions about yoghurt in front of the chill counter at the Co-op are probably a bit unnecessary, but you get my point.
Thirdly, if you are going to spend money on something, it's best not to do it wearing a hair shirt. Living economically does not mean diving into a cave and deciding to become a hermit for the rest of your life. By all means, continue that gym membership (as long as you use the gym), invest in a subscription to Vogue (if you like reading glossy adverts interspersed with tiny amounts of writing). But relish it, otherwise it's a waste of money. I refer here to my half-price Issey Miyake £400 winter coat which I have worn for precisely six months of each year since 2004. I think this makes it probably the most cost-effective thing I have ever bought, although it hardly seemed thrifty at the time.
Fourthly, remember that people are trying to make money out of you. All the time, 24/7; the key is that the decision about whether you should give them any of your hard-earned cash must reside with you. They all have their own specially devised pester power, via advertising, freebies, spam and the like, to get into your wallet, and you must do your best to resist them.
And fifthly, can anyone give me any tips on how to sew facing on to a garment?
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Bare necessities of life cost a pensioner £10,000
Employees will be able to request flexible hours in drive to make workplaces family friendly
Credit unions to offer instant online approvals as ministers clamp down on payday loans industry
How to start your own internet business
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassing leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education are seeking a Fi...
£12 - £15 per hour: Cameron Kennedy Recruitment: Excellent opportunity to join...
£400 per hour: Orgtel: Technical Business Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £400pd...
£38000 - £42000 per annum + competitive: Real Staffing: Required skills:Previo...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay