To Save, Learn to Sew

A grandmother gives mending tips.

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A reader calling herself "Grannie Jones" sent in this money-saving tip about learning to mend your own clothes:

Back in the good old Sixties when I was a young bride, I learned that you can save a bundle if you learn to sew. I don't mean making a tailored suit or pinch-pleated drapes. Just simple sewing and repair work will save you time and money that you would otherwise spend going to a tailor or replacing clothes that are ripped, too long, or too short, or have missing buttons. In our little town in southern Oklahoma, it costs $6 to hem a pair of pants. It probably costs a lot more in New York City.

Turning up a hem is simple and takes less than an hour. It can even be done by hand if you don't own a sewing machine. Also, perfectly good sewing machines (try to find an old Singer) can be bought for $25 at estate sales or auctions. How many times have you thrown aside a garment because a seam had come loose? You will probably just go out and buy a replacement. Don't do that! Fix it and save the money for something better, like a new pair of shoes.

And by the way, I have even sewn shoes. You have to buy a special needle, but it is cheaper than new shoes or a repair shop.

So that's your challenge for the long weekend—try to sew something!