I got a decent postal scale that weighs up to 76lb on Ebay for around $39 and change I think. Of course you'll never need up to 76 lbs for backpacking, but you never know what else you could use it for. Also, I decided to make my own gear last week and picked up a 35 year old sewing machine, that was well taken care of, on Craig's list for $10!!! It came with the case, accessories and original manual! The woman told me she gets it serviced about every two years and the only reason she was getting rid of it was that she finally decided to get a new one. I'm starting my first project in about 2 weeks. So, there are ways to get it done on a budget.
I'm telling you I can hardly sleep thinking about all the lightweight gear I want to make to get out there this year. The rest of the gear I need totals about $800 - $900 retail. I'm gonna be able to make it for about $200. There are great instructional articles on sewing here. And, the in the MYOG forums are VERY helpful.