Sewing Business Casual: Need Clothes, Low on Money? Get Thee to a Sewing Machine!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week (the second week of my new job). Today it is supposed to snow (in April!) so I have a sweater on, but I was going through my wardrobe this morning and realized I’m very short on blouses and shells that are work ready. Time to hide myself in the sewing room/home office for a day or so. Business casual clothes for women are easy to make at home or to make better from existing clothes.
So this weekend’s plan is to (finally) go through and change the boring old clothes in my sewing basket into stunning ‘new’ clothes, and to make a few simple blouses, shells and skirts over the next few weeks.
I’m fortunate to have a ton of fabric in my stash (mostly bought at my local Hancock Fabrics or at Fabric.com) and patterns (Hancock has regular sales on various publishers’ patterns, selling them for usually $1-2 apiece on sale. All images in this article are from BurdaStyle.com, and you can order the patterns there (some of them free), but if you sew frequently, I highly recommend you subscribe to BurdaStyle magazine. It will save you a ton of money (and it’s great reading, too). Or, like I said, head over to Hancock (or their website) and catch them on sale. There are also plenty of free sewing patterns on line.
I have found that Craigslist is often a great source for sewing machines, where you can buy the awesome machine some enthusiastic person paid retail for, paying pennies on the dollar. If you feel you need the sort of support a manufacturer’s warranty provides, buy new. There are plenty of sources out here, but again, for me, top choice is Hancock. My local store has excellent customer service, and so does the website.
For me, Sundays are often sewing days. I set my computer up next to my sewing machine, watch TED talks or Netflix, and start cutting and pinning and marking and planning. By the end of the day, I will have one or two new articles of clothing (if it’s a simple pattern or an alteration) or the start of something special (if it is a more complicated pattern).
I find it relaxing and mostly peaceful (punctuated with some choice words and a bit of anxiety every time my shears or rotary cutter bites into a fabric) to hang out and sew for a few hours. If this is something you are interested in doing, you might want to follow New Dress a Day by Marisa Lynch (for awesome ideas on remakes) or Erica B. DIY Style by Erica Bunker for great from scratch styles (Erica now has a Facebook page as well. Make sure you like it, and say Maureen O’Danu sent you). For plus sized clothes and a great read, Check out Diary of a Sewing Fanatic by Carolyn.
Questions for the dance:
- Are you new to sewing or an experienced sewist?
- Do you (or will you) do more alteration of existing clothes (perhaps from a thrift store, or shopping your closet) or do you make more clothes from scratch? Why?
- Would you consider yourself a beginning, intermediate or advanced sewist? What is the most challenging thing you have ever sewn? How did it come out?
- Do you feel and/or move differently when wearing something you made yourself? How so?
- How do your home sewn or altered clothes work in your business casual work environment? Or does your work environment have a different dress code?
Feel free to wander around the site and look for other interesting ways to join the dance. See you soon!