Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When You Don't Want Sewing to Be an Option

I think everyone gets that I can sew now.  No surprises.  I've also made the choice to not buy very many retail clothes and accessories because I can sew.  I see the money not spent at Target or J. Crew as fabric money and that makes me happy in ways only a little Emoji can explain.  (Too bad I'm not typing this on my iPad.)

But before I bought my sewing machine, I shopped all the time.  No kidding.  My weekends were spent at malls, at Target, at Goodwill--wherever I could find a deal.  I knew when all the sales were scheduled.  I spent a lot of money, but I bought a lot too--I've always been a bargain-hunter, or what my dad calls "cheap."  Now that I sew, all the money I spent on clothes and shoes--there are still clothes in my closet with tags...from two years ago--goes to patterns, fabric, what have you.  I still shop bargains and it's just my nature to research the hell out of something before coming to a conclusion.

Last September, I made an Amy Butler Spice Market tote from Kona and Ruby Star Rising viewmasters.  It became my work bag because it seriously holds everything.  Even after I made the Rebecca bag, I went back to it because it was sturdier and felt like a better carry-all for my 12 hours of commuting and working each day.  But a couple weeks ago, I noticed it had some bleach marks on it (from what, I don't know--I don't know the last time I even touched bleach) and now the fabric has worn away, revealing the interfacing. It's a beautiful look, as I'm sure you can imagine.  Because I don't really want to be mistaken for a homeless woman (with my frizzy hair and worn Toms, it could happen), I need to figure out a new bag situation quickly.

To be honest, I'd love to buy something leathery and grown-up.  And this is where my dilemma lies.  Is it bad to buy something when I can very easily make it?  While I wouldn't sew with leather, I have the Spice Market pattern and lord knows I have fabric.  It would also be cheaper to make it.  But do I want that?  I started looking around for a large tote and couldn't find anything I liked for under $50.00.  To be honest, I didn't really want to spend more than $20, but I have to come to terms with the fact that I'm living in a fantasy world.  I also don't like to spend more than $30 on a haircut, which is why I haven't gotten one in over a year, hence the frizziness.  I'm out of touch with how things cost, because I've completely dropped that aspect from my life.

I know this isn't a life or death situation, and it barely qualifies as a problem.  Oh, poor girl, should she use the skills she has or should she spend her money on a purse?  But, if you sew (or knit, or crochet, or whatever), what do you do?  Do you feel bad about buying something when you can make it?  Normally I stick to buying things I either won't or don't want to make, such as underwear and knit tees.  I can make bags.

What should I do?  And if you have any suggestions, where can I find a cheap bag that will hold all my shit?


  1. I say if you find something you like, buy it, then you can spend more time sewing things you would rather be making!

  2. I TOTALLY get your situation. I am also subjected to a 12 hour commute/work day - (aren't we lucky?) - and I often worried if I, too, looked homeless with the multiple grocery store totes that I would usually end up carrying. I wanted a nice bag that was roomy and not too expensive, also. So, a few months back I purchased the Baggu Duck tote and I am really happy that I did. It's roomy- has an adjustable strap and an inner pocket. It also snaps shut in multiple ways which is different. I paid $22 for my plain off white one, but I think they average around $24. It isn't leather, but it does look like a nice, put together bag instead of what I was used to. As far as leather goes- I've seen nice looking Fossil and Lucky bags and often on sale.

    1. I looked at Baggu and the Duck bag was definitely my top choice! Is it as big as they make it look? And did you buy it straight from them? I think I saw that it's sold on Urban Outfitters too but I never shop there. I'd just love to see it in person. Thanks for the suggestion!!

  3. Here in Raleigh there is a well-known designer who makes lovely leather-like (vegan) bags in many sizes and colors and graphics. They are beautiful and since she is a local woman making her own business, I would have NO problem at all buying a very expensive but very beautiful AND LONG LASTING tote or bag from her. So, there's always that option. You don't have to make it yourself but there are other options -- like Etsy -- for finding a lovely bag that someone else made. You don't have to buy a leather bag made by some child in China!


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