Thursday, August 18, 2011
Get The Most From Your Sewing Pattern Dollar: Part Two
Now - the shopping part! We've had one great tip submitted already by The Wilted Magnolia. The main pattern publishers (McCall's, Vogue, Simplicity, etc.) offer sales on their entire stock multiple times a year. It seems that Vogue has a "$4.99 for all patterns" online sale about every 2-3 months. This is a great reduction from $30.00 or even $17.99, though you do have to add shipping (around five bucks in the USA).
However, here in the USA we have a very large crafts and sewing chain called Joann's. They have pattern sales on 'the big boys' pretty much constantly. Simplicity patterns often go for $1.99 each (maybe for 2 weeks every couple of months), then maybe twice a year there will be a two week sale of this brand for .99 each. They have Vogue patterns on sale for $4.99 every three months or so, which is nice because you don't have to pay shipping. However, just last month they had all Vogue patterns on sale for $3.99, which is the cheapest i've ever seen! So it makes sense to scope out your local stores and read their circulars and advertisements to get a feel for their 'sales cycle'. Then you'll know when to swoop in for the best deals.
Sometimes i'll be in the mood to pay full (or close to) price for a pattern, specifically for patterns made and published by smaller houses. These include Hot Patterns, La Fred, Colette Patterns, The Sewing Workshop, and so on. These are harder to get for a dirt-cheap price, but i don't mind. These are smaller businesses that don't get the economies of scale of a Butterick or Simplicity. Additionally, the designs they publish are much more distinctive, and if you find yourself really loving a particular designer's line, it is worthwhile to support them so they'll keep on with it! Also, i've read in many instances of seamstresses contacting small pattern publishers for help and getting it - amazing and wonderful!
So, how to go about buying a more expensive pattern? One trick i like is to use holiday present money - i'll let family know that 'cash always fits', then spend that money on a nice pattern. This IS purely psychological, but the budgeting is easy. Again, do your due diligence when shopping. I bought two Hot Patterns patterns (?) and found the prices were 20% less on www.fabric.com. Additionally, orders of $35.00+ receive free shipping on www.fabric.com - so i added a big spool of discount Gutermann thread to my order and came out almost $10.00 less than buying the same two patterns direct from www.hotpatterns.com. As it happens, these particular patterns are printed with sizes 6-26 all in one envelope. This makes it easier to customize your own fit, and is perfect for 2-3 gals of varying sizes to share (thus changing the cost per use).
Many sewing patterns, especially vintage and out of print, are sold on e-bay. It's a great resource!! Again, buyer beware, check the descriptions and seller history very carefully, and don't bid against your own mother. You can also search for "Completed Listings" in the Advanced Search option. This will show you auctions that have already ended with details on price, etc., so you can get an idea of the going rate for your pattern. For newbies, here's a dictionary of e-bay acronyms and shorthands, so you can translate the listings.
Many thrift shops also sell old-timey patterns for a quarter of fifty cents a piece. It's definitely hit or miss, but if you're there anyways give it a whirl. On the plus side you can thoroughly examine the item before purchase. Be careful that all the pieces that you need are present (neck facings or cuffs are easily drafted), and that it's a size that will work for you.
Bear in mind that the more thought, time, and effort you put into research you put into your purchase the better deal you will find. Mr. E consistently finds outrageous deal son shoes, clothing, etc. It's because he'll spend a few hours on the web over several days, going all the way to page 20 of search engine listings. He also makes sure to search for coupons. Just enter "name of your item + the word 'coupon'" into a search engine and start slogging through the results.
While house sitting in Albany recently i tried out some cooler weather looks. Albany is right across the San Francisco Bay from the Golden Gate and catches huge gobs of fog, so it's rarely toasty there. I've seen this type of approach from Ralph Lauren and on vacationing celebrities - a sleek and chic outfit topped with a cozy parka. It's fun and practical and i'm looking forward to cooler days!
Over to you - cheap patterns and fall fashions on the discussion board today!
Blouse, Skirt: own design
Denim Jacket: thrifted
Parka: vintage L.L. Bean
Boots: Bass Lamonts