Loosening the Purse Strings

Since starting our journey to financial independence I have really tried to buckle down on non essential expenses.  I may have gone a little too extreme in some respects as I do of course still need to enjoy life.  A few weeks ago I posted on the Financial Independence boards of Reddit posing the question of what are others planning on retiring to.  I have this slight fear that I will be bored once I no longer have a full time job.  Some people found this question strange but being that I have a Type A personality who likes to have things neatly planned, this was an important question to me.

One of the things that I realized after reading all of the posts was that I had actually cut out some hobbies because they cost money.  One in particular is sewing.  I love being able to create things and sewing is one great outlet for this.  So this past month I decided I would loosen the purse strings a little and delve into some sewing projects.  I found a few free skirt patterns online that I liked as well as wanting to reuse a pattern for a dress I made 7 years ago.  With coupons in hand I headed over to Joann Fabrics to find some fabrics.  They had a few bins with fabrics up to 70% off so that is where I started.  I found two fabrics that would work well for two of the skirt patterns and on another sale rack I found two stretchy knit fabrics which were also on sale.    One I planned to make a colorful mini skirt and the other I planned for the dress pattern I have used before.

With a pile of fabric in hand I got to work.  I started with a Ruffled Skirt Pattern I have had saved in Pinterest for a few years.  As I had given myself permission to spend money on fabric this was definitely on my list.  Unfortunately one of the problems with free online patterns is they are not always detailed so I did struggle with this one a bit.   But with some guidance from my sister I was able to make the right adjustments to get the perfect fit.

I had planned to use this pattern for one of the other fabrics I purchased but decided to change things up and use one of the other free patterns for skirt #2.  I used another pattern I got online, the Annie A-Line Skirt.  I loved this bright and cheery fabric which I thought was perfect for summer.  Thankfully this pattern went a little smoother than the last one as I was able to get a perfect fit without any help.

The third skirt was a stretchy knit in a fun colorful fabric.  The pattern, also one I got online for free, said it should only take 30 minutes, which of course was way off.  I grossly overestimated the size when I printed the pattern the first time so it took a lot of adjusting to get it right.  Thankfully the adjusting and actual sewing part was easier with the use of my sister’s serger machine which is a miracle worker with stretchy knit fabrics.  The end result, after a few hours, was a fun and playful skirt which with the right shirt (not the one pictured) is still appropriate for work.

The last piece of fabric I purchased as a stretchy knit that was black with pink polka dots.  I thought one of my old patterns would be perfect for this fabric.  After searching high and low through all of my craft supplies it seemed that this would be impossible.  I had the pattern envelope, half of the instructions and half of the pattern pieces, but I was missing the rest.  Being that I made the first dress so many years ago it was anyone’s guess as to where the missing pieces might be.  I was completely bummed so I headed back out to Joann’s to see if I could find another pattern.  It turned out that McCall’s was having a sale, 3 patterns for the $6.  Considering many individual patterns can range from $16-$20, this was a huge savings.  I chose two dress patterns and one shirt pattern.  The two dress patterns were much simpler designs and used a lot less fabric than the original dress I planned to make so with the additional purchase of some contracting fabric for one of the next dresses I was able to made two.

One of the dresses was super easy and ended up being one of my favorites pieces out of all of the ones I made.  It is super comfortable and perfect for this time of year.

The second dress with the contrasting black fabric I think is a little too much for work but Mr. SFF said he likes it.

With three skirts and two dresses made in less than three weeks I had not only increased my wardrobe, but found a lot of joy.  It can be amazing making things from scratch and not only completing something you can wear, but having them look good enough to get compliments.  This was a feeling of accomplishment I had been missing over the past couple of years when I tightened up my budget.  Total amount spent: $94.57, which does include a new foot for my sewing machine which alone was almost $20.  Not bad.  Obviously I am not going to do this often as my closet is tiny and I don’t need a lot of new clothes but it was nice to give myself a pass and loosen the purse strings just a little.

On a side note, I have determined I should not have a second career as a model.  I was completley awkward when posing for these photos.

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