Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

What do YOU think?


The Cost? Is it worth it?

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know I recently completed a Vogue Donna Karan top and really wasn’t too happy with the result until I found the real cost of the exact same blouse in RTW.

My costs were:
Pattern $3.49 (Vogue sale)
Fabric €2.99 p/m – 3m purchased total €9.00
Thread £2.00

Total for my make = £11.50 ($17, €14)

Actual cost of RTW £2,000 ($3000, €2,500)

All of a sudden, I liked my blouse!

OK OK, the RTW was made in silk not satin poly, but even calculating the make in purchased silk I could well have made this blouse for well under £50. I didn’t add in my time, as sewing is a hobby, an interest that I enjoy, not work and hence, not chargeable.

What I did get however were sleeves that were shortened just a tad to fit MY arms and I could have made it in any colour I wanted not just what was offered at Harvey Nicks.

And talking of Harvey Nicks – Fehrtrade tweeted about this  – DKNY £900 and this one is made of a fabric that I use for lining!

100% viscose; fabric2: 83% cupro, 17% elastane

Is this top worth It?

Next, I’ve started making my third Chanel-esque jacket and I know how much time and patience and effort is involved in putting one of these things together. Chanel 1, Chanel 2, Chanel 3. Most of the techniques and hand stitching will never be seen by anyone and only I know it’s there – but would you spend $20,000 for a custom made jacket that is essentially a quilted cardigan?

I am in awe of the skills that the ateliers display in creating a haute couture item – it is truly mesmerising to watch and I really like that these sewing techniques are still being used and passed on. Flawless craftmanship, attention to detail, fitting to your exact body measurements and personal style. Isn’t this what we all, as home sewers, aim to achieve?

Oh yes, the fabric is delicious and only Chanel have access to it but all you have to do is wait 3 years and Linton Tweeds will release the fabric to the world. So, three years out of date? Is this a problem for you?

I mean, if you spend an average net annual salary on a jacket you would kinda like to wear it for at least a few years, wouldn’t you? See it as an investment sort of thing or at least explain it away as that to DH or partner.

You can buy a Chanel RTW suit off the peg for around  $8,000 – but wait! This is RTW, not couture, so what’s the point? You could be walking down the street and meet someone wearing the exact same thing as you! Horror!

In an honest confession, if I had a trillion dollars the first thing I would do is fly off to Paris and have Chanel make me a couture suit.

But the question at the back of my mind would always be – is it worth it?


23 thoughts on “What do YOU think?

  1. Thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning!

  2. It would be heavenly to have unlimited money to surround myself with beautiful things, but wouldn't it just lead to us shopping in more expensive stores beasue we love what we do creatively?

  3. I agree with you on the "is it worth it" comment. I have some Linton Tweed which they told me was ex-Chanel. Its a pretty pink and black which I am almost afraid to cut. I am saving it for another special occasion.

  4. Ooh, a good question. I have to admit that if someone forced a sum of money on me, say an average salary, on the condition that I blow it, I probably wouldn't buy clothes. Art, yes. A boat, maybe. Then again, I've seen this lovely Burbery wool coat….

  5. We could buy really expensive fabric and not have to wait for the sales!

  6. Take a deep breath and make a muslin first! I'm sure it will be a fabulous make

  7. Yes, one suit for the price of a boat – exactly!

  8. Thanks for being a tweed enabler! Now I have the Linton site bookmarked, in hopes of a sale..

  9. Your jacket it looking good Ruth and your Donna Karan top is beautiful – we are very critical and hard to ourselves. As for a Chanel suit as wonderful as they are I could not justify the expense and would not get the wear ratio out!! Although there is a '90's jag sports car with my name on it if I ever win Lotto!!!

  10. No, couture garments are not value for money to me. I don't think I would blow a lotto windfall on them! I appreciate the creativity, effort, skill level, time and beautiful materials used, but I think there are better uses for the money. Your version, though, totally worth it!

  11. I have really been giving this a mull! So – if I had a trillion dollars , well, different story. In the real world, why spend so much for something you make so beautifully, my assumption being that you enjoy the line and design of the classic Chanel jacket. I was in Geneva in the 80's and shopped pret-a-porter, but bought nothing! Construction was awful! But prices were very high. Again in Milan ( before my DH passed in'86). Mybpoint, well, I guess that one does not always get what one pays for! And we are very fortunate and clever people to manage what we wnat for ourselves!

  12. Never a sale Sarah unfortunately – just save up or be like me and browse slowly wishing the screen had a texture button.

  13. Now you're talking – a Jag!

  14. If we had a trillion dollars we probably wouldn't be sewing or blogging and getting to know each other!

  15. From time to time I think about this same question. If money was no object I'd probably be on that plane to Paris with you!

  16. Hi Ruth,I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blog/One Lovely Blogger Award

  17. Thanks a lot for this post. It is one of the projects on my list so it is good to see how others are doing.

  18. Imagine the weekend we would have!

  19. Thank you so much – I'm flattered.

  20. I think they are worth it. Beautiful pieces that get many years wear. Well made from excellent fabrics? Yes please!

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