One of the biggest myths about sewing is that it is cheap.  Anyone starting out quickly discovers this simply is NOT a true statement. Sure, you can buy a decent sewing machine at a fair price, one that I still do not think most would consider “cheap.” And then once you get your sewing machine, it will not work without thread and needles. And, of course, you then need the material in order to actually make something. What about the scissors to cut your fabric? Probably should grab a pair of those too! Unfortunately, the bare minimum just to get started could put you out a few hundred dollars. Sewing on a budget is the way most begin their sewing journeys. Which is why budget questions are common amongst beginners.


A few years ago in the Beginner Sewing group on Facebook, we did an extensive poll asking members what the “should haves” and “could haves” to get started were.  You can find their list linked here.  The good news is that if you are just getting started, chances are you can make do with a lot of things you already have around your house, especially when it comes to embellishing.


Some tips & tricks


Here are a few of my budget saving tips if you are sewing on a budget:


  • You can buy cone thread to use for your bobbin.  It is cheaper and has more on the spools.  Check out this bobbin cheat here to see how it is done.
  • Have you ever attended an event where they give you a a name badge?  Save the “hardware”. Those clips and clasps can come in handy if you are making thinks like wallets, clutches, lip balm holders, etc. Make yourself a notions drawer to save them in.
  • You will find “that purple thang” on the list of things beginners feel is a must have.  Let me tell you a secret… I used a chopstick and shish kabob sticks to do the same thing “that purple thang” does. Works for me!
  • Items that you are getting ready to throw away… look them over. Are there zippers or buttons, Velco or elastic? Check it all over before you toss it to see if there is anything salvageable.





  • How about rules?  Need a longer one for your cutting mat.  See if you have one at home, attach a cell phone pop socket to it for a handle – that should hold you over until the next sale.
  • No need to pay for classes up front. There are so many great YouTube videos that can help you learn the basics. Here is one of my favs – Learn the Basics of Sewing.
  • There are so many fantastic patterns out there! But not need to invest all of your money in them while you are just getting started. You can learn how to make your own. Here is an example – How to Make your Own Clothes Pattern.



Fabric Ideas for Sewing on a Budget


  • If you have old sheets or curtains, save the fabric to practice on. They are great to practice your stitching on as well as to use as mock up patterns!
  • Check your local thrift stores.
  • Did you know that some Dollar Stores carry fabric? Perhaps yours is one of them.
  • Always give the clearance racks at your fabric store a glance. You can find batting and interfacing on clearance racks as well.
  • Shop the season… after the season! Fabrics that are considered seasonal are not always as “visibly seasonal” and can be timeless. For example, you can find a red plaid fabric in the Christmas holiday clearance, but this is just a nice print for autumn and winter seasons as well! Your January and February seasonal fabrics can bring you some really nice winter blue colors that are snowflake free as well. It is always worth giving the seasonal and holiday racks a look.
  • Believe it or not, I have found great deals on clothes at places like Kohls. They may not be my size, but if they have a print I like or buttons, zippers, elastic, etc. Sometimes the $1-$2 purchase on the sales racks of department stores are well worth it too.
  • Looking for some vinyl? Have you checked the Dollar Store shower curtains? They even have table cloth covers that can be utilized for other projects. The vinyl table clothes with a flannel back make for great pattern piece cut outs as well!


Be Creative

One of the best things about sewing is that it gives you the ability to be creative. And sewing on a budget needs just that! An open mind in how you can use the resources that are all around you. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to sewing (most of the time) – be creative in using what you have to create what you need!

Happy sewing!


Want to save these ideas for later? You can save them here on Pinterest…



Joan Mantini

About Joan Mantini

After several years of being the Facebook page owner at Beginner Sewing, I noticed there was a desperate need to have a single go-to spot for members to be able to find answers to their common questions, get some useful tips & tricks, as well as find reputable places to purchase sewing products online. Taking my role as a trade publication editor by day, and combining it with my knowledge of frequently requested beginner sewing advice, I created An outlet that gives new sewists a free digital magazine geared for entry level sewing as an extra bonus!

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