Time and Money 3

You like numbers? Baby, we got numbers.

If you ever close-read someone’s blog searching for clues about how much they spend on their hobby (“HOW much Liberty lawn went into the bottom tier? IN TER EST ING”) , search no more. I’ve been recording my expenses in detail since 2017; this is my third January with a blog, so my third entry in the series here (here’s 2019, and here’s 2020). My sense was that I had a spendy year but that wasn’t actually so. I bought some pricier fabrics, but also some cheaper ones, which balanced out. I also sewed fewer items overall.

Plus, I’m living the phrase ‘an embarrassment of riches’ – I hadn’t realized quite how generous my friends and family had been until I saw my gift and gift-card total tallied, so now I am blushing but also feeling very loved (and they know what I like!).  

Other people spent around $30 total more on my hobby than me! Eek! I could have thrown my knitted sweater into that pie chart, but I kept that expense separate, as I do the expense of blogging, leading to this discomfiting but not disagreeable outcome.

I spent less than $40 a month out-of-pocket. !!! So little for the amount of fun I had! It’s more like $75 per month when including other people’s money, which was more in line with my sense of my spending, though it’s still a not-too-expensive way to enjoy myself for lots and lot of hours. More on time later.

As always, this represents the lion’s share of my clothing spending. I bought a pair of Docs this year and have been wearing them nonstop since (high recommend!). I also spent around $20 on clothes from Goodwill for my Halloween costume, since they weren’t garments I wanted to sew or keep long-term. I was Messy Neighbor from Untitled Goose Game; Professor Boyfriend was obviously Tidy Neighbor. My real-life neighbors and actual human children spent the evening alternately pretending to be terrorist geese themselves and screaming at our trick-or-treaters to say “HONK” instead of “Happy Halloween”. It was a wonderful evening, well worth the Jackson!

This year’s spending is also lower because I made fewer garments, though at least one took a lot longer than average (my quilted jacket). That jacket represents 49 of my 224 total sewing hours, or 21%.

Over the year I sewed, on average, around 4 1/3 hours per week, or about 1 network drama per day. I sewed the kind of stuff I usually sew!

The oh-so-helpful category ‘other’ includes 1 skirt, 1 jumpsuit, 1 pair of overalls, and 1 set of pajamas. ‘Pants’ is mostly trousers, but also a pair of shorts. This was a high-knits year, partly because I sewed 3 True Bias Marlo sweaters, probably my most successful new pattern of 2021. For the second year running I sewed 0 dresses. That aligns well with how I dress – I’m pretty sure I also wore 0 dresses, Halloween costume excepted. I’m currently inside my new skirt, though. I used to wear skirts all the time and they might be on their way back into my life. We’ll seeee!

I recorded 4 giveaways/refashions this year. First, the bib of my Kwik Sew overalls somehow became mangled in the wash, so I took it off and altered the legs into cuffed shorts, but the center-back lapped zipper sans overall straps/bib made it look like the wearer’s butt was on backwards, so those are adios. My Seamwork Natalie top and McCalls jumpsuit are perfectly functional garments, now hopefully getting more use in other homes. Finally, I am so ready to chop up these breeches. Not in a spirit of vengeance. Vengeance is a pleasant extra. Failure rate: 4/33 projects, or 12%.

12% isn’t terrific, but it is improving. I’d love to get that number under 10%. Heck, I’d love to get it to 0%, but sometimes new stuff isn’t going to work out and I’m not manufacturing spaceship parts here. I can live with 12%.

Time for fabric talk!!

I used cotton for 26/33 projects. Almost 80%. It really IS the fabric of my life! I just divide it into substrates here so the chart is less boring. That denim/corduroy slice? Cotton denim, and cotton corduroy. That oilskin? Treated cotton. Linen/linen blends? Blended with cotton. The wool? Okay, that one’s not cotton. I also used way more polyester than normal (4/33, 12%), all from Sewfisticated, all for low-stakes projects. I wear the heck out of one of those tees and one sweater, but I’m not wild about the other two, and I really don’t like sewing poly (so many skipped stitches!), so I don’t expect to see that number grow. 27% of my projects had stretch; 73% did not (imagine how much more interesting that would be if those numbers didn’t add up. Now THAT would be news).

The average cost per make was around $30, but my actual out-of-pocket per make was around $13.

8/33 projects (24%) used leftover fabric. I approve. I don’t stash, but I do save scraps, and using them up feels good. I’ve instituted one new category for my spreadsheet for 2022: leftover yardage. I’m very interested to see how often I overbuy, and by how much. And then stop doing it!!

33 projects averages out to 2.75 per month, but as always I had seasons with more and less time to sew.

I actually sewed a lot in February, but I didn’t finish the project until March – quilted jacket again! I didn’t sew much in August because we (and everyone else) were trying to make up lost time socially. However, I suspect that I will have some free time this winter. Blergh.

As always, feel free to peruse the whole spreadsheet at your own pleasure, for an EXTREMELY limited definition of pleasure. And if you’ve got data, drop me a link! I love knowing this stuff.

I’m wishing everyone a safe and happy (AND BOOSTED, YOU ABLE PRO-SOCIAL COMMUNITY MEMBERS, YAHOO) new year! And safe and happy new clothes, as desired!

17 thoughts on “Time and Money 3

  1. This is probably my favorite thing at your blog and I would LOVE to also do this but it’s so much work, LOL. And my job is 100% spreadsheets and data analysis so I balk at the idea of doing this for my hobby. BUTTTTTTT I’ve been inspired by your post and am going to give it a shot. Didn’t have too many projects in 2021 so I might be able to go back and figure it out.

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    1. I wouldn’t do it after the fact, that sounds hard and I’m lazy. I just update it each time I buy something – especially easy for online purchases, but I make sure to enter receipts when I get home from a store, and also figure out what gift fabric cost if I can, like a total creep. It’s the opposite of my work, though, so for me it’s a relaxing change. 😂

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  2. Numbers numbers, I love me some numbers, so I really enjoyed this post! A highlight for me is the happiness quotient. A great ‘hobby’. (And 12% ain’t too shabby!)
    Merry 2022!

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    1. Same to you!! Honestly, if I compare an hour of sewing to, say, the cost of renting a movie or ordering a meal, my ROI is so much better, because I get another burst or happiness whenever I wear something homemade that I like! Whereas once my pad thai is gone, it’s gone forever. 😂

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  3. I love this also! I should think about trying it. It would be very interesting to know how much time I spend on each make because it feels too me that I spend triple the time it would take other people to make the same thing. I guess that makes my fun cheap!
    I stopped balancing my checkbook 15 or 20 years ago but I used to love reviewing where I spent my money and how much it costs to live and how much I was able to grow my bank account. I’ve definitely lost the connection to how much “extra” I spend (and this is TOTALLY A PRIVILEGE). It might be a good idea to get back to that.

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    1. Ha! That’s an excellent way of looking at! The slower the sewing, the more fun per dollar. I’ll just draw a veil over any time I spent muttering and unpicking black thread on black fabric on a winter’s evening…
      I save my receipts and do something similar! I feel like it falls into the same category as personality quizzes. “Data…about ME?! Ooh la la!” If you give it a try, I hope you enjoy it! 😀

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    1. Ooh it hadn’t occurred to me that it could be so granular, that’s fascinating!! And I suppose you could zoom out and measure yards, and eventually miles…see if you knit all the way from the Shire to Mordor yet!

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      1. Hah, yes! I tend to use Ravelry to calculate yards based on weight rather than st count, but stitches is a good indication of how much I actually knit because how long a stitch takes is pretty consistent no matter weight of yarn

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  4. Hehe, I must be a geek because I do love a good pie chart! I wish I had the discipline to do something similar. Maybe one day, when the kids are less… time demanding (which is a polite way of saying annoying-good job they’re cute!). Hope you get lots of wonderful sewing gifts in 2022 x

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  5. Eeeeek apart from gifts and gifted fabric I spent less than £200 on sewing this year. Does that make me a freak. I did spend around £500 on skate related stuff. But most of that was birthday money. I plan to spend much less this year and try to use up my stash.

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    1. I feel the same way about spending money that as I do about, say, eating a cookie – if you can and you want to, do it, and if you don’t, don’t. There’s no extrinsic value. Sewing or skating, I hope you enjoyed every £! 😀

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    1. Yeah!! An unsuccessful experiment is a pretty benign failure, too – usually I get something out of it, even if it’s just a little more skill-building or information.

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