Is sewing clothes cheaper than buying?

As we are living in a post-pandemic era, inflation is increasing rapidly in almost all regions of the world. People are finding ways to save money so that it can be either spent on other aspects of life or saved for emergencies.

One of the essentials of life is clothing and people spend a lot of money in this area. When you step into a clothing store and look at the prices, you may think that these prices are way higher and the basic reason is that manufacturers want to earn big. This is the point where people decide to sew their clothes and save money but is sewing clothes cheaper than buying? Or is sewing a dress difficult?

Is sewing clothes cheaper than buying

You need to keep this fact in mind that sewing cost is not what all matters, many other factors also add up to the total cost. Just continue reading this article and we will cover all related aspects. We will talk about different clothing patterns while comparing them with the cost of sewing if done as a DIY project.

Is sewing cheaper than buying clothes?

Sewing Clothing | Is it Cheaper Than Buying? | Cost Factors in Sewing

There is no doubt that sewing clothes were an extremely inexpensive task as compared to ready-made clothing a decade ago. As now you can buy clothes by comparing prices on your mobile, sewing clothes is now not a cheaper option than buying clothes.

Your time also adds up as a cost and if we say that the average wage per hour in your country is $5 and it takes 3 hours to sew a dress, these $15 will also be added to your overall sewing cost.

So, you may make sewing your clothes a bit cheaper than ready-made clothes but it cannot always be done and even if you succeed, the difference will be not worth it.

What factors affect the overall cost of sewing?

At first, people think that sewing clothes just includes the cost of fabric but once you start the process, you will realize that it is not the case.

There are many things that you need to spend money on and once you complete a dress, you will realize that the cost was too high than you firstly expected.

So, to have a proper estimation, you should consider all the below-mentioned factors and their costs and then make a decision.

Cost of buying fabrics

The cost of buying fabric is much more than you may ever think of and also, you need a lot of extra clothes while sewing by yourself.

The cost of fabric varies depending upon the type of fabric and the area where you buy from. You should have all the necessary information as well so that you don’t get mugged.

You can get an idea that simple pajama pants will require about $20-$30 of fabric as you need almost 2-3 yards of fabric depending upon your size.

Cost of patterns

Taking the pajama example forwards, you will be required to pay at least $5-$15 for a specific pattern if you want to buy it from any brand. Although this is a one-time price for one pattern, you need to pay it every time you want to try a new pattern.

You should look for brands that go through sale cycles as buying in sale time may save a few bucks. Some brands even offer dresses every other week, so do thorough research and then buy a pattern but if you need the dress immediately, you may have to pay more.

Cost of notions

The notion is a term used to encompass all the minor ingredients or tools you need to sew a cloth or a dress. It includes the cost of needle and thread which are essential to sewing dresses just like fabric.

Depending upon your design, pattern, and type of dress, you may need to buy some other things as well such as hooks, pins, zippers, buttons, elastic, ribbons, lace, and much more.

Although they are not very expensive as you can buy a set of each item for about $2-$5, it still adds up to the total cost.

Cost of time

You may not count it while making an estimate but your time is also money and it adds to the cost as well. The time you will spend on sewing clothes should be added in terms of per hour.

For example, if a seamstress in your area charges $15 per hour and it takes you 3 hours to completely sew a dress, you should add $45 to the overall cost as well. If you don’t like it this way, at least add the amount according to the average wage per hour in your country.

Cost of Maintenance

This is the cost that is ignored by almost all people and it is one of the major factors. You use a sewing machine, electricity, and your body while sewing a dress. The machines required maintenance and the cost of maintenance should also be added.

If your sewing machine works on electricity, add the cost of energy as well on an hourly basis. And yes, your body suffers while sewing a dress, and the cost of medications you take to tackle the back pain or overall health should also be considered.

IN A NUTSHELL, you may never be able to sew clothes cheaper than ready-made clothes if you consider all the above-mentioned factors.

How much does it cost to sew a shirt?

It mainly depends on the type of shirt you want to make. However, below is a rough estimation of costs. Do keep this fact in mind that the cost of time (labor) contributes to this estimation which you may not consider at all. This estimation also doesn’t include electricity bills and maintenance charges.

Button-up shirt

If we talk about sewing a button-up shirt for an average size person while talking only about fabric, time, and notions, a simple shirt will cost you somewhere between $70 to $130 to sew (Fabric $25, Notions $5, Time $70).


If we estimate the price of a t-shirt with the same conditions, it will cost you somewhere between $35 to $60 to sew (Fabric $20, Notions $2, Time $18).

Is it a good idea to make your clothes?

It is never a bad idea to make your clothes as this is a fun activity and you can make designs of your choice for yourself. The cost may cause an issue because sewing clothes may not be cheaper or sometimes even more expensive than ready-made clothes.

Apart from this, sewing your clothes is great as you can make clothes that fit you perfectly. Also, the excitement, joy, and satisfaction you get after sewing clothes can never be achieved by wearing reading-made clothes.

Cost comparison of ready-made and self-sewn clothes

Button-up shirts$50-$130$70-$120


Is it worth learning to sew?

Yes, learning to sew is always a worthy thing because even if you don’t sew clothes for yourself, you need to make alterations almost all the time.

Alteration costs are too high if you visit a seamstress in your area and this can easily be saved by learning how to sew.

Also, it is a great fun activity and you can make it a way of earning as well.

Is sewing your clothes hard?

It depends on your skills and experience. If you know how to sew, sewing a dress or clothes can be extremely easy and you can get the job done in 2-3 hours.

On the other hand, if you start sewing without having even the basic information, you may never be able to get the job done as it will feel too hard to do as well.

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