Time and money

Hello, everyone! I thought I would start 2020 with one of my favorite new year rituals, a review of the past year. For the purpose of this blog, that means sharing my sewing spreadsheet! Since January 2017 I’ve kept detailed annual spreadsheets, pretty much just for fun. Because what’s more fun than DATA??!

You can peruse the 2019 spreadsheet in detail here (and much joy to you if you do), but I’ve pulled the most interesting info below. And for ~*synergy*~, I’ve used the 2019 color of the year, Living Coral, and its coordinates, to pretty up my charts! (Find 2020’s color here. It’s blue. Yeah. It’s blue all right.) Let’s start with the most interesting data point: DOLLAR DOLLAR BILLS Y’ALL.  

My total out-of-pocket spending was $1,077.29. The total cost (this figure includes gift cards spent, credits, and any fabric Professor Boyfriend purchased) was $1,537.20. I record literally every cent I spend on sewing – including a noteworthy 17¢ on elastic! Here’s how that breaks down:

Total spending.jpg

Yeah, that fabric wedge is the big ‘un. As it should be! I’m surprised, however, at exactly how much credit I had in various stores (my personal favorite fun money: Gather Here gives you $25 for every 8 stamps, or roughly $200 spent in store). It’s not all gift cards and champagne, though; the Professor also pays for the fabric that becomes his clothes. But I get the loyalty stamps. Mwahaha.

Of course, $200 (about $270 with credit) of the fabric spending was my new winter coat – about 25% of my total expenditure for the year! Yowzah!

In other categories, I’ve dropped 3 digits on buttons and zippers and interfacing. :O Who knew! And the $149.44 figure was spent on 16 new patterns, for an average of $9 per pattern. I sewed 18 new patterns in total but two of those were free (the Peppermint Magazine wide leg pants, and the Megan Nielsen Jarrah – coming next to the blog! – which I won in a raffle). The 33 remaining garments I sewed from 12 different patterns, all repeats from prior years. 

These costs are reasonable when spread across 12 months, an average of $89.77 out of pocket per month. And that number buys fun and clothes. I also bought 3 RTW layering tanks, socks, underwear, and a pair of boots this year, so that figure is almost but not quite my entire spend on clothing.  

Not all hits, unfortunately! Of the 51 garments I’ve sewn in 2019, 8 were for Professor Boyfriend, and the remaining 43 were mine. Of those 43, I’ve given away 8. That’s almost 20%. I could do better! Projects for Prof. BF have a 100% success rate though, because they’re just Thread Theory Fairfields and Jeds over and over. I like sewing button-up shirts! That’s definitely reflected in my garment type chart.

Garment type.jpg

 My ‘shirts’ slice also includes tanks and tees, I’m not a complete maniac! My eight giveaways: 3 shirts (14% of their category), 3 pairs of pants (23% of their category), 1 jumpsuit (33% of its category) and, with 1, 100% of skirts. And I know these samples are insufficient and lack statistical power, so don’t @ me, statisticians! That being said I have the outerwear bug in a major way. I mean 100% of those were winners SO.

Average out-of-pocket cost per make was $21.12!

But what was I sewing with?

Fabric type.jpg

92% wovens, 8% knits. It looks like linen is edging out cotton (almost 1/3 of my projects used linen) but that’s because I split cotton into several categories. Technically the twill/cord and denim categories are cotton, too, but I found it more fun and useful (useful how?! Oh shush) to separate the bottomweights. In real money, though, woven cotton of multiple weights is half of my sewing!

I was surprised to find no rayon or tencel/cupro on that list. Several of the linens, one of the knits, and some of the wool were viscose blends, but this might be the first year I didn’t sew even one thing out of 100% rayon! Not a single cami! I knew I didn’t like tencel (sshh, it is my sewing secret) but I thought I liked rayon? But I guess maybe not?!

I didn’t use silk or leather, either, but then again I never have!


But what about that most precious resource – DINO DNA TIME? You can pretty much call this chart “what I did on my summer vacation, also what I did on April vacation”, as it shows how many projects I finished each month. Obviously the new school year threw me for a loop, as I only completed one garment in September! 51 projects sound like a lot (it is a lot. Is it a lot? I have no idea) but partly because I sew so many repeats, I think I might be kind of quick. I thought of myself as a slow sewist, but even though I don’t have a dedicated sewing space, I do tend to dedicate time; I cut a project in an evening, usually, and sew on a weekend day. By finishing a garment in one sitting I don’t have to spend time starting and stopping, setting up/breaking down my sewing area, or finding my place in the directions after a long absence. I’m lucky to have the luxury of these big chunks of time (they’re also necessary, as I’m a homebody who hates brunch. What else am I going to do all Saturday morning?).

That being said I slightly dread finding out how much time I spent on sewing. As a freelancer, if I’m not careful, I could directly correlate that number to lost income. But 1. It isn’t and 2. NO.

Anyway, 335 hours.


No! That’s fine! That’s an average of 6.5 hours per week! I spend half that much time on DnD, and all I have to show for that* is an imaginary accursed mace and part ownership in an imp bar (*and friendship, etc.)! It’s like a scanty hour a day! Some people work out for an hour a day (oof, can you imagine?)! I AM HAPPY WITH THIS NUMBER! (Also because of the whole 51 garments thing, I also averaged about 6.5 hours per garment, or 1 garment a week. Thanks, calendar!)  

Now I will sing LALALA and not multiply that number by my hourly rate.

You know what I don’t record on my spreadsheet? Blogging! It’s a fun freebie! I don’t record time spent eating ice cream, either. 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed these facts and figures – I’ll be back with a finished outfit post next time!

And if you’ve got any sewing data of your own kicking around, I’d love to get a peek!

8 thoughts on “Time and money

  1. I LOVED THIS POST. Who doesn’t love a good graph? The breakdown is so interesting and really makes me want to have a good look at my own spending vs output but ALSO I read the words “dino DNA” and loudly announced to my husband that you were my new best friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hooray, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! As I was writing I sort of assumed most people would find it boring (but the first question I have for someone is often like “How much is your rent? Is that median for your area?” so I’m definitely interested in this stuff).

      I’m just now realizing I missed a “spared no expense” joke, darn it!


  2. This was fantastic to read! I steadfastly refuse to actually calculate how much money I spend on fabric in the fear that it may actually make my head explode. I’m going to try to get a bit better at data collecting in 2020, starting my recording what gets worn and what’s in my wardrobe, so will hopefully have some stats to share at some point in the future. Also, glad to know that the Pantone colour of the year is classic boring blue – will suit my wardrobe well!!


      1. I hadn’t scrolled down that far until now but hell yeah that’s my colour palette! I feel oddly justified in my wardrobe choices!!!


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