Monday, May 28, 2012

Sewing on a Budget!

I follow The Sewing Directory on Facebook, and it's an incredibly useful resource for UK fabric and dressmaking information. About a month ago they posted that Abakhan Fabrics were looking for bloggers who would take on a monthly challenge of working within a budget of £15 using their products. So I got in touch with Abakhan Fabrics and was delighted to get the go-ahead.

Though I don't splurge too madly on fabrics and patterns, I am also very lucky that I don't have to work within a really tight budget. So I wanted to see if I could keep within a limit and still sew with my same kind of style (ribbons and twirliness!!) using mostly cotton fabrics.

It took me a while to decide what to sew, but I chose Simplicity pattern 2171 (cost £5.65) inspired by similar dresses sewn by Kathy, and she has this wonderful Facebook page all about Handmade dresses where I have seen other pretty examples of the knot/apron dress.

For the main fabric, I picked a yellow cotton which was on sale. It is described as 'Fine cotton gauze with self coloured, raised dobby spot'. (2 metres for £3.40) It's not a colour I sew a lot with so I had a look at a colour wheel and found that blue would be a good match. So I added the blue fabric (polycotton) (1 metre for £2.65),

ribbon, (3 metres for £1.14); interfacing (1 metre for £0.89); and thread (1 spool of 457 metres for £0.59), to the list.

Total Cost £14.97

I used a yellow ribbon from my stash for the apron, and also used my own yellow thread. But didn't add these to the cost as I had the equivalent of blue ribbon and thread left over.


I followed the pattern fairly closely and found it easy, with steps well explained. I made size 5 and at the moment the hairband and ruffled pants can be adjusted to size.

The dress is perfect for summer, though we're still not seeing much of that here in West Cork, and the matching bag is just the right size for carrying around 'buddies' (soft toys).

This last picture is blurred, but included because it shows the ruffles on the pants best, as well as a glimpse of the hairband, which is reversible - blue on one side, yellow on the other.

As I was given credit to spend in Abakhan Fabrics, I would like to 'Pay it Forward' by having a Giveaway. My daughter likes this dress a lot, but when I told her that we could give it to someone else, she wanted to have a raffle.
  • The Giveaway is for Dress, Bag, Pants, Hairband. Size 5, but would fit ages 4 to 7 depending on measurements (exact measurements of dress: Chest 66cm; Waist 67cm, Length 62cm adjustable)
  • Simply leave a comment about what you would like me to try to sew for £15 from Abakhan Fabrics
  • I will pick randomly a week from today and post it anywhere in the world.


Overall, I came within budget and sewed items that would cost much more to buy ready-made.

It didn't take too long to sew. The most time-consuming part was interfacing the bag, straps and hairband, because I like to leave these interfaced pieces lying flat for a day before I use them.

The seams of the dress and pants are finished with flat-felled seams and French seams so, no raw edges anywhere.

The best part, I have enough fabric to make another dress/ tunic. I'm deciding between a dress from May Burda (lt below) or the dress from June Burda (rt below)



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  1. Turned out very cute! I've sewn this pattern before and the outfit won first place at the state fair. If your local fabric stores have large remants, buy those. It will help save money and if you have sewing friends, have them donate fabric to your sewing cause. Purchase used ladies clothes and repurpose the fabrics in them.

    1. Hello, Jan. Thank you, and congrats on your win at the state fair!
      I have 'repurposed' some of my husbands shirts before, but you have some great tips for saving money on fabric.

  2. The dress is adorable! If I win, I want your daughter to keep it! I'd feel terrible for her not to have it. She looks so darned cute in it.
    I'd never heard of the sewing directory, I shall check it out!

    1. Ah Karin, thanks for making me smile - no need at all to feel terrible, she loves trying on what I make and if it is a present, she is always happy once I can make her something with the same colours!
      You'll be very impressed with the Sewing Directory - and there are regular links to fabric sales ;-)

  3. Hi! I've just found your blog, and I am in awe of your fabulous sewing! I love this little outfit, it would look lovely on my youngest niece. I have the pattern myself, and plan to make it up some day. Have a great day!

    1. Hello Anne, thanks for the lovely compliment. It's a great pattern and easy to understand.

  4. It is such a cute dress! I don;t sew much in yellow either, but looking at your dress, I wonder why... it is such a delight!

    1. Thanks Michal. It's such a perfect summer colour - I'll have to sew more with it too :-)