Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Make It or Buy It?

Here are pictures of Junior modeling what he got me for my birthday!

It's usually a jerk move to get someone a gift that YOU are actually going to use... "Happy birthday Wifey! I got you season tickets to the Vikings!" but I appreciate his gift all the same. I think he chose this because black has become his color. When you have this flashy of a horse I think too much color starts to look like kindergarten finger painting.... and he prefers it over the baby pink pad I've been using. Not sure why....

I can sew and make my own patterns. It's what I went to grad school for so making things comes pretty easy to me, I know how to source materias and I can look at something and usually figure out how it was made. It is not always what I want to do when I get home after a work day of.... sewing, though. The bottom line is unless it's a custom item like a show shirt or a particular printed fabric you just have to have as a pad, it's not worth it financially. Now if you simply ENJOY the work then that's another thing. I mostly enjoy it, but unlike people who sew and design and play with fabric as a hobby, it's also my work and it's not always relaxing. I find that during times of the year when I'm doing much more classroom teaching and much less designing and sewing I will pick up projects at home.

I had plans to make some pads, but I have learned that making things is rarely cost effective if you can find the same thing off the rack. This is due to the inflation of fabric and notion prices. Once upon a time only the poor people made their own clothes (just like the period of time when only poor people still owned horses) because it was more economical. But now the DIY market has created a surge in prices of materials and a downward spiral of availability. Even JoAnn Fabrics is only about 30% fabric. They sell patio furniture for heaven's sake, and not just the kind you would decorate!

I had a coupon for EquusNow and I went in to look at jointed stirrups but decided I should ride in a pair before I spend the $50. Then I wandered over to the pads and found a black one with grey piping, the same as our monogram patches. Sold. Done.

The pad cost $27 with tax. It would have taken probably 2 yards of fabric at maybe $7/yard, $3 of piping, $7 of batting, and probably $10 of lining, $4 of webbing for the keepers, and $3 velcro. I'm not good at math but throw in the time of me taking a pattern off of an existing pad (or $ for purchasing one from Suitability), laying out the fabric, cutting all 3 layers, cutting the bias for the edge, figuring out how to do the spine correctly, wrestling it through the quilting process (these things don't seem big until you try to maneuver them through the arm of a domestic sewing machine!), adding the piping, binding the edges, sewing the velcro to the webbing, sewing on the webbing.... and you've got an expensive and labor intensive project.

I did make a pad/blanket carrying bag over the weekend and I'm sure that was not cost effective, but I couldn't find one with dimensions big enough to carry both my English and Western pads so I just made my own. It's not pretty, but it will do.

Speaking of Show Shirts, I'll do a post soon of the shirt I made for my horsey friend for her graduation present.

Oh, and I posted my saddle for sale last night and got a bite already that wants to look at it at the show. That would be SOOOO awesome to get it sold this weekend!!! Here's the link to the ad.


  1. I'm just getting into the whole sewing thing as a hobby (I'm trying to make my own skirt as a start). I can see how you can get sick of it. My mom sewed her own show jackets back in the day and I thought that was incredible. She also sewed me a HUGE flamenco-type dress for me to wear while on my horse Brie for costume class.

    Anyways. This is my favorite part. =]
    "Once upon a time only the poor people made their own clothes (just like the period of time when only poor people still owned horses) because it was more economical."
    Oh how the tables have turned.

  2. If only they were season tickets for the Steelers, then you'd have an awesome birthday present! ;)

    I try to sew. Then I get frustrated and give up. I even had some of those Suitability patterns, until I got so fed up I trashed them. Full of patience, that's me!

    The pad is really nice. It looks really good on Junior too.

    Good luck selling your saddle! It's a nice saddle, so it should sell quick!

    Oh, and good luck at the show!

  3. The pad is really nice. It looks really good on Junior too.
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