No, I’m not going to tell you to wait for pattern sales and to bargain with fabric store owners. My money-saving tip is even more basic than that. Here it is:
Go to the store and try on RTW styles that are close or the same as the pattern you want to make. Do this before you buy a new pattern (assuming it’s a style you haven’t made before) or a yard of fabric.
What prompted this post was reading the comments on Facebook about the crossover top pattern (M6991). People were wondering how it would look on, and some were dismissing it as unflattering to anyone not a stick figure. However, versions of this top are in stores everywhere now. Try one on: If it looks good, make it! If it looks hideous, then well done you, because you just saved a bunch of time and money.
Yesterday at lunch I went to Century 21, which I think is the world’s most fabulous off-price department store. (Seriously, include a visit to the downtown flagship store next time you’re in NYC; totally worth it.) I was so excited when I saw this camel-hair Derek Lam coat, because I love this shape and want to make a coat similar to it.
So I tried it on and…bleh. Really ugly on me. Now I’m crossing this off my list and thinking about other coat patterns.
An example of me not following my own advice is what I call the Peplum Debacle of 2012. I found out, after I wasted some expensive fabric and my time sewing V8815, that peplums on me are scary. Could not be a more unattractive look on me.
Some of you may be reading this and thinking, ugh, I hate shopping and trying clothes on and that’s why I sew. I hear you. But isn’t spending a little time in the fitting room better than wasting a lot of time (and money) making something you never would have bought in the first place?
So be smart, happy sewers and remember this: Cost to try before sewing: $0. Cost to sew before trying: $$-$$$, plus time wasted and much frustration incurred.
Tell us: Do you “try before you buy” with patterns? Any other words of advice in this area?