Cheap and Easy… and I Am Not Talking About Myself

I finished my first project from my Magic Quadrant for Sewing Project Selection: a sweatshirt from the “cheap and easy” quadrant, in the “need” category.


The pattern is out-of-print Kwik Sew 3452 (copyright 2007) and I added the kangaroo pocket from the dress in Simplicity 8174. It’s just the right size to hold my cellphone. I am going curling Saturday night, so I will wear it then. It ‘s made of a light 100% cotton sweatshirt fleece – the perfect thing for layering.

This was indeed a cheap and easy make. I got the pattern for free from a friend at, got the zipper for $1 in New York’s Garment District, and the fabric cost about $10 from Fashion Fabrics Club. The biggest expense was thread. Since this has 1/4-inch seam allowances, I constructed it on the serger. I needed to buy three cones of red serger thread, which set me back $12. Since red is my favorite color, I decided it was a worthwhile investment.

So far, so good with the Magic Quadrant to help me select sewing projects. I decided that for every two “needs” I sewed, I’d do a “want” project. I also decided to do cheaper “needs” and save my money for a big “want” project in the “expensive and difficult” quadrant (upper right). That left the two “needs” in the “cheap and difficult” quadrant (upper left):sewing plan 3

I flipped a coin and got “button-up shirt.” To keep costs low, I’ll use fabric and a pattern from stash. I have 2 yards of really nice white stretch cotton shirting, bought last year at Banksville Designer Fabrics in Norwalk, Conn.

For patterns, I have four choices in stash, all of them “difficult”:

  • Crazy asymmetrical “Joker” shirt from Oki Style.
  • Adapt McCall’s 6696 shirtdress to just make a blouse.
  • Camicia 10 from the August/September 2016 issue of “La Mia Boutique” an Italian sewing magazine similar to Burda Style.
  • Camicia 37 from the same magazine.

Adapting the McCall’s shirtdress to just a shirt may be more trouble than I’m willing to take on, and I want a long-sleeved shirt anyway.

The two Italian sewing magazine shirts are nice-quality patterns and I was delighted with the fit on the sleeveless blouse I made earlier this year. But these are more complex projects and my Italian is not up to the task. Plus, Camicia 10 is really more suited to a silk or rayon georgette or other light fabric than a stretch cotton shirting. Camicia 37 has cool details, such as armpit gussets and interesting pockets, but it’s “plus size” (in Italian called “donna piu” or “more woman”). The smallest size would be big in the bust, so I’d need a sad “small bust adjustment,” but the fit would be good for my waist and hips. And it requires a bit more than 2 yards of fabric.

So, I chose the “Joker” shirt. It fascinates me, with all its darts and asymmetry. Plus, we at have a little sew-along right now for “lonely” patterns that have no reviews. So I called “dibs” and now I have to deliver.

Author: shoes15

I live in Connecticut, USA with my husband and my dog, in an old house outfitted with a sewing room, a garden, an orchard, and a big liquor cabinet.

3 thoughts on “Cheap and Easy… and I Am Not Talking About Myself”

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