Christmas time with little money

Every year is different, some holidays we have new credit cards with zero balances or extra money we have made or save throughout the year. Then other years we have sickness, car repairs, thefts, job losses or any sort of unfortunate circumstances to leave us broke.

The amount of money we have should not equate to the quality of holiday you have.  I know that kids want those new shoes, new games and high tech items no matter what your income or debts are. Kids are kids. You have to sometimes reach out for help in acquiring one those dream toys by ask relatives to chip in or do a side job like Uber, Lyft or Waiter a few times to make that extra money. The smile on that kid’s face on Christmas morning is worth every penny earned, begged or sweated for.

Now, for the adults in your life (to include yourself), you should attempt to give some item of kindness. Those items do not have to store bought. They can be items baked, painted, sewn or written. Just because you have dust in your wallet does not mean those dear to you should be forgotten. Take the time out and recycle fabrics from old clothes to make a pillow or an ornament for them. The most important person in your life, is you. You must treat yourself too. If you do not love yourself: then who will?

Bellow is a blog I wrote about sewing a new blouse for myself that costs only $10. Invest the time in treating yourself to something special maybe it is a vintage dress at the consignment shop, a piece of jewelry you make for yourself from rocks you collected on a nature walk or a fantastic purchase on the clearance rack. Whatever it is, keep it under budget and think outside of the box.

What is holding you back from making your own items? Do you worry that the product will not be perfect? I have good news. The flaws in the items you create are what make it beautiful, even if that means one sleeve of the shirt slightly longer than the other. The good news is you did something for you. Love yourself


How to Make a Shirt with $10


In attempt to make this year my best year, I decided to start the year with a new shirt.  I pulled out the two yards of fabric I had purchased last fall, sewing machine and sewing bag. My personal challenge was to see how fast I could put together a simple shirt and perhaps inspire others to sew.  I started by laying out my pre-cut pattern and pinning it to my fabric.

  Cut the fabric around the pattern.

Iron bonding to the inside of the fabric the two front collars of the blouse.

Cut off the excess of bonding around the collar.

Next, sew the front of the blouse to the bonded side of the fabric. I decided to not use pins for this step; instead, I used fabric glue. When sewing with polyester, silk or sheer fabrics I find that the fabric does not stay in place with pins. Fabric glue used in small amounts can hold the fabric just long enough for you to put stitches in it.

After you complete sewing the front of the blouse to the collar, you need to stitch the other collar to it with ragged edges together. Then you fold back the top collar.

Iron it down the top collar before sewing it completely around the neckline. Ironing prevents folding of the fabric.

Once you complete the front of the blouse, it is time to sew the back of the shirt to the front at the shoulder seams. Then sew the back neckline.  It is easiest to do a simple French seam by folding over the fabric twice this will prevent fabric from fraying.

Sometimes while you are sewing your bobbin will mess up and cause the threads to jam up.  This is actually an easy fix.  Just cut off the threads. Then you will need to redo your bobbin.  If it happens again then you need to start with a new bobbin.  Your old one could have been cracked.

Now, you have a front and back, it is time to start making the sleeves. Do a French seam on the cuff of the two sleeves.  Afterwards, measure the middle of each sleeve and mark it. Pin the center of sleeves to shoulders at the front and back seam. Then start sewing from that seam around to sides of the blouse that is hanging. When both sleeves are attached at the shoulder, try on the blouse. Pin the sides to how you want the shirt to fit. You need to sew the sides of the blouse from the bottom up to where the sleeve fabric starts.  Gather the sleeve hem and stitch into the side of your blouse.  It will make a V at the seam of where you begin to sew the sleeve into the side of the blouse.  Next, continue to stitch around the sleeve all the way up to the shoulder and back around. When you finish the sleeves will be center and reinforced with double stitches. At last stitch the bottom of the shirt with another French seam.

This blouse cost me less than $10 and took me only three hours.

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  1. Don’t you love making your own stuff? I’m not good at clothing (unless it’s for Halloween) but I sew things all the time. I find it relieves stress. Are you trying to publish articles like this one?

    • I do Miranda, unless I really mess it up. Lol Sewing sleeves can be a nightmare, but this pattern is pretty easy. I did sew it to stop the confusion in my head. I really don’t know where to take my writing. I had written a coming of age novel and romance, but I hired a coach to evaluate my works. She says my talent is humor. At this point in my life, I would write just about anything to get published.

      • While it takes quite a bit of effort on your part, I would suggest to you to get a current editon of The Best of the Magazine Market for Writers. You may be able to break into magazines first and then on to novels. Also, try submitting to contests. They count as “clips”–published works–if you place. It helps when hunting down an agent………Just a thought. I myself am beginning this journey to get published (not really beginning, I just now got the courage to put myself out there, I’ve been preparing and researching for years now). You’ll do it. Keep telling yourself that.

  2. I could never do this, I don’t have the patience for it! Lol…Maybe one day I will get creative enough to make my own clothes, I always thought that it would be something interesting to do. Kudos to you for making your own shirt! Is this the first item of clothing that you have ever made? I think it looks really good! I wish I could do this like you, but it always seemed too painstaking and time consuming for me…

  3. Re your comment to Miranda. Irrespective of what any coach tells you, I think you ought to write what you feel like writing. I’ve given up efforts to be published for the meantime, and just blog and write diary, and do the best I can, but just to please myself. Are you a member of a writing group? I set one up here and it ran for some years, and was very encouraging and interesting.

    • I agree completely. Just write what you feel like writing. Write for YOU, and that is all that matters. What good would it do if you were just writing anything in order to get published but you were not writing what truly makes YOU happy? Better to write what you like and have no audience than to write what they want and have a large audience but not be happy yourself with what you are writing! Stick to your principles and write what is true to you and what makes you feel good and inspired and happy and pleased. After all, writing is meant to be a fun and pleasurable and exciting activity, not something that is done to please the simple whims of others! We write because we want to share what we love with the world, and not for the sake of any other person. I can guarantee you that if you stick to what you like and just keep writing, someone else will find something in it that they like and you will begin to connect with others who like the same things that you do and who share your writing styles and your writing interests! Stick with it, JCV, and never bow down to anyone else’s pressure to write what THEY want just so that you can get published. There is always self-publishing, you know, and in many cases it can be done for free or little to no cost to you. I found a good self-publishing service that I like called Lulu, you can find out more about them here: I have used them myself in the past and they produce a good product, the only downside is that you have to do all of the formatting and editing and everything yourself, they only put out the finished product, so it can be daunting and discouraging if you are not motivated and have the drive and excitement in you to do all of that work by yourself. Never give up, JCV, and one day you WILL be published, even if you have to do it all by yourself! But at least it will have been for YOU, and what you liked, and you will have been satisfied that you were true to your own self and what you wanted to write, not writing according to what the critics and editors wanted so that you could be published in their eyes! I envision a book of Daddy and Vern stories, eh JCV? Sounds good to me… 😀 Keep up the good work and never give up on your dreams, even though they may never happen, at least there are others out there who read and who like what you are writing! 😀

      Here are some great quotes that I have found to be very inspiring to me in this quest to gain recognition and become at last a published writer. You may find these to be very encouraging for you as well:

      “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
      -Cyril Connolly

      “Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.”
      – Lin Yutang

      “Our greatest danger in life is permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.”
      – Charles E. Hummel

      “Painters must want to paint above all else. If the artist in front of the canvas begins to wonder how much he will sell it for, or what the critics will think of it, he won’t be able to pursue original avenues. Creative achievements depend on single-minded immersion.”
      –Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

      “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer. It’s all material.”
      -Garrison Keillor

      “Just keep moving forward and don’t give a shit about what anybody thinks. Do what you have to do, for you.” — Johnny Depp

      “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’”
      – Mary Anne Radmacher

      “Hope is the most exciting thing there is in life.”
      – Mandy Moore

      “Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams that you never even knew you had.”
      – Anonymous

      “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”
      – Christian D. Larson

      “For every thing you have missed, you have gained something else; and for every thing you gain, you lose something.”
      – Ralph Waldo Emerson

      “Listen to yourself. Only you know what will truly make you happy.”
      – Anonymous

      “Be yourself and I promise people will enjoy it; and if they don’t, forget them.”
      – Mitchell Davis

      “If people are trying to bring you down, it only means that you are above them.”
      – Anonymous

      “Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.’”
      – Eleanor Roosevelt

      “If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse.”
      – Anonymous

      “Do things that you enjoy. Don’t feel obliged to anything. If it wakes you up in the middle of the night, making you cringe at the thought of it, you don’t enjoy it. Let it go. Move on to new things. Don’t let it eat away at you. You’re better than that.”
      – Anonymous

      Dr. Seuss – “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

      DO NOT GIVE UP. Something will always turn up, just wait and see.

      Your friend,

      Scriptor Obscura 🙂

      • Scriptor Obscura, your comment made me cry. 😦 Everything you say is so true. My heart says the same things you write. Listening to my heart needs to be my new goal for 2012. I found that when I am under pressure to write, I can’t. I am more of a free spirit. My feelings flow like a river and my words follow. I admire your story Imprisonment. That story is so powerful, sad and beautifully written. I want to be able to express the way you did. Amazing job! Thanks for the motivation. I am so lucky to have a writing friend like you!

    • Adhocannie thanks for the comment. I am not part of a writing group. I should be. I just felt overwhelmed with life and desires. I have been writing since college. I even met with Janella Taylor, New York Times bestseller. After that experience, I just quit writing. Then when my mother died, the only thing I wanted to do was to write. I wrote a novel that make tears flow. I really thought this was the novel to be published, yet it has not been accepted. Every time I submit to a new agent, my fears paralyze me in to not wanting to write. Blogging has been the BEST thing I have ever done for my craft.

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