Frugal fashion: Making something from nothing

As someone who firmly believes in making do and mending, I have a little confession. I don’t own a sewing machine! I am old enough to have learnt basic sewing at school and have in the past made curtains, skirts and blinds, but not for many years. If a piece of clothing needs hemming or a small repair I can do that by hand but I would love to be more proficient and creative, perhaps making more complicated soft furnishings or transforming items of clothing I already have or purchase second hand so that they fit better or are more stylish. I am no style queen, but I appreciate a few frugal fashion style tips.

Frugal fashion, high style

One incredibly talented woman I found on Instagram is the master of frugal fashion. She gets quite ugly bits of clothing from thrift stores and magics them into something glamorous and amazing. Her name is April and her site on Instagram is Coolirpa.I love her! Check out these thrifty transformations.

Frugal fashion

Frugal fashion
She shows you how to do this on her You Tube channel and makes it look easy when I’m sure it isn’t . So creative and clever and I love the idea of making something new out of a piece of clothing that no one will wear anymore.

One of my plans when I get a little more time is to refresh my sewing skills. Because I hate waste and spending money unnecessarily, the idea of making things from salvaged fabric really appeals. I doubt I will be making myself anything quite as glamourous as this lady but who knows?

Are you skilled with a sewing machine? What creations have you made? Have you found any frugal fashion gurus online? I would love some recommendations.

10 thoughts on “Frugal fashion: Making something from nothing

  1. My goodness, what a talent Coolirpa has! That mini-dress from the kaftan is gorgeous … well, if you are under 30 and a size zero! But yes, a great talent. I learned sewing at school, too, just for a couple of years because at my grammar school if you were in the Alpha stream (the middle stream from three, i.e. the A stream, the Alphas and the Bs) by the third year (whatever that is now) you had to choose between Domestic Science (i.e. cookery by any other name) and Needlework, and I choose cookery as I had a natural talent for that and also I enjoyed it much more. The A stream didn’t do any Domestic Science or Needlework, they were considered far too clever for those things, while the Bs did both.
    Going off at a tangent here, I’m pretty sure with hindsight (always a dangerous thing) that the girls were streamed not always according to ability but to class. It might be non-PC to say so, but the As were children of the doctors, the solicitors, the accountants, etc; the Alphas (where I and my friends were) were the daughters of trades’ people, the hoteliers, the shopkeepers, etc. And the Bs … well, most of them came from the various council estates in the town. It’s only when I was older I could see we’d been streamed according to class and not always to ability.
    I have made curtains in the past, but I didn’t really enjoy the experience – and large ones for a very large picture window in our first home, each curtain having three widths of material in it, and lined (but thankfully, not inter-lined!)
    Margaret P

  2. What great transformations. I must look out her account. I loved sewing at school and made a lot of my own clothes as a teenager. My cash strapped mum would agree to buy fabric and a pattern as it was cheaper in those days. Not so now.
    Disposable fashion is so bad for the environment though. I get most of my clothes from the charity shop these days and if I feel like sewing something myself I try and make it using recycled material. It makes it so much more affordable and I like the fun challenge.
    You can see a dress I made from a duvet cover here.

    Loving your daily blog posts. They are very inspiring
    Jacquie x

  3. Hello! I have started selling items on eBay like you have done. I am struggling with how to determine the listing price. I sold something in less than 24 hours and now I fear I priced it too low!
    How do I figure out the right price? Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Kristie – have a search for similar items and see what people are charging. Unless it is designer you tend to get more with a reasonable set price rather than auction but that also takes longer. Some stuff is just more attractive and will go quickly even if your price is about right. You will learn as you go! Good luck

  4. You would love the project where I am a volunteer tutor. No money changes hands-it’s a swap shop where a points system operates. I use donated fabrics, garments, thread and yarn to help people to make items which are useful and hopefully beautiful too.
    I don’t do the make do and mend but others who were professional machinists in a local clothing factory (long closed) are very skilled at helping people to alter clothes that are outdated or don’t fit.
    I am learning rag rugging just now from one of the volunteer tutors and I am teaching basic patchwork skills using all preloved fabrics(think shirts). My husband has now fitted out 3 shops using upcycled wood etc.
    We’re retired and both had good if stressful jobs and now in older age, we are giving back to the community, keeping busy and really enjoying what we do.

  5. Even though I ended up in an academic job, I still say that the most useful class I had at school was sewing. I’ve forgotten specific dates and facts in all my subjects, but I’ve never forgotten how to sew, even if I don’t use those skills much nowadays.

  6. I do a lot of sewing…just no clothes, even though I trained in tailoring for a few years…stitching for the home is much more fun…quilts, pillows, window coverings…I have two sewing machines (one was my mothers)…I would be lost without my stitching…I find it relaxing and a wonderful creative outlet…

    thanks for sharing the amazing works of April…

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