Interestingly enough, there are a lot of things a semi-pro photographer uses that having a sewing machine and knowing how to use it will save him/her a lot of money. I say semi-pro because a full time photographer will find he makes a lot more money behind the camera than he saves running a sewing machine.
The other day I sewed rod pockets on a piece of gray fabic I found in the $1.50 section a Walmart. Presto, a 5×8 backdrop for under $5.00 including sales tax. Above you an see how it works in a test shot.
In this photo there is a piece of plastic pipe in the bottom pocket to hold it in place. The top pocket is not being used.