Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sewing Modest Clothing on a Shoestring Budget: Part 3 Buying Patterns

If you’ve ever walked into a sewing store you’ve probably seen a table cluttered with an enormous amount of pattern catalogues.  This post is going to be a quick overview of how I save money when buying patterns. At some point in time I would like to write another post about how to make patterns more modest, but I’m not going to get into that at this point in time.

I remember walking into the sewing store looking for a pattern for a specific project I wanted to do and thumbing through the pattern books and finding what I wanted. When I pulled that pattern out of the drawer and saw the price, I quickly determined it wasn’t worth it.

If you are trying to be frugal and save money on clothing, trying to make your own clothing can quickly become a money trap if you aren’t careful.  These days sewing patterns run anywhere from $9 to $19 at some place like JoAnn Fabrics, if you are getting one or more patterns that can quickly add up.  Here are some handy things that I’ve done to cut costs in this area.

I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t ever paid full price for a pattern if I could help it.  I just don’t do it. I have an enormous collection of patterns that I’ve gotten over the years and the most I’ve ever spent on a pattern has been around $2. 

The biggest key that I’ve found is to be patient when you are looking for patterns. I do almost all of my pattern shopping at JoAnn Fabrics, it’s close by and convenient for me.  For the most part, they have a good pattern selection which is usually in stock.  If JoAnn Fabrics is available in your area, here’s what I would recommend; first, sign up for their direct mail flyers. Basically if you go into the store they will ask you if you’re on their mailing list, if not, it’s probably a good idea to sign up to receive their flyers.

Familiarize yourself with the patterns available. JoAnn’s carries most of the major pattern brands, Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls, Vogue and others.  I periodically check the pattern company websites to see what is available and if I find anything that I like, I will make a list and save it.

Once you know what patters you are looking for keep an eye on the JoAnn Flyers, every few weeks they usually have a sale on one of the major pattern brands. Usually the sales are something like 5 for $5, or $.99 each. This is where being patient really comes into play. They won’t put more than one pattern brand on sale at a time, so it’s usually a matter of waiting until that one particular brand is on sale.

If you do not live near a Joanne’s store, there are some online options that might be worth your while to check out. www.sewingpattern.com  is one website that usually has fairly good prices on their patterns and they run sales regularly. You can sign up for their email alerts and stay informed as to what they have available for sales. I’ve not used them more than once or twice, because it was more expensive for me to order them online and pay shipping.  One nice alternative that they offer is downloadable patterns, which means they will email you a PDF copy of the pattern which you have to print and put together yourself. This really isn’t as bad as it sounds, just be forewarned that you will need a lot of tape and a fairly large work area. 

Disclaimer: I have NO affiliation with any of the brands mentioned in this post. They are only mentioned because they are brands that I have used as a regular customer. 


  1. Glad I found you via the Raising Homemakers link-up. I would LOVE to sew more for my family, but the main thing I fine incredibly expensive is the material! I'm hoping one of your posts in this series will address that. :) Following you now to be sure I don't miss it!

    1. Thank you so much for following! That will be my NEXT post in the series so it will probably be up in the next week or so.

  2. This is good advice. If you need a pattern more quickly, JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby regularly give 40% off coupons to mailing list subscribers, too.

    So thankful to be in the service of my King and my family

    Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Thank you so much for reading and sharing. Sadly, in my part of the country we don't have Hobby Lobby, so I have no experience with what their store has for sale, coupons and special offers so it's good to hear from people who do! Also sadly, you can't use the JoAnn's 40% off coupons, at least not the the stores we shop at, but you can teacher's or student's discount cards or coupons taking a certain percent off your entire purchase which does help a little if you need a pattern in a pinch.