Frougie Tip Friday – How to Save on Patterns

This is my first of a new (hopefully) weekly series, Frougie Tip Fridays!

frougie tip friday

Mimi G’s Passion to Profit seminar gave me clarity on several things. (It was great BTW! Read all about it here) One thing stood out was to need to STAY AUTHENTIC. For me that meant going back to the original reasons I started this blog: 1) to keep a visual “diary” of my sewing journey  2) to encourage beginner sewists and get input from more experienced sewists and 3) to show people how to sew the “frougie” way. Though I could definitely improve on all three, I feel that I have the most work to do on the last one. Sure I always include the total cost of a project on my pattern reviews, but I haven’t done any posting addressing to sew the frougie way. That changes today!

Sewing can be an pricey hobby, but it doesn’t have to be! Keeping cost down is especially important to a beginner who may be unsure whether they want to commit to this new hobby.  I originally planned to start this series with a post on how to save on basic tools to start sewing but decided to shift focus after making a surprising discovery today. I will tell you about that discovery below.

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A common sewing expense is patterns. I know many sewists have extensive pattern collections. Many have 100+ patterns that has been collected over the years, others are great at modifying basic patterns to fit their desires and have fewer.  I won’t admit to how many I own but lets say, I need to work on a new way to store my patterns because my current way won’t cut it anymore.  Some people prefer to self draft, some stick to the Big 4 patterns and yet others swear by pdf patterns.

Today I’ll show how to never pay full price for Big 4 patterns. I believe originally the term “Big 4” consisted of Vogue, McCall’s, Simplicity and Butterick, but now also includes Kwik Sew, New Look and Burda.

1. Sign up for the major sewing chain stores mailing lists.

Both JoAnn and Hancock have email lists (and mobile clubs) and by joining these list you will be updated to the latest sales. The big 4 patterns regularly go on sale at these stores so don’t miss out. I’ve found that while some pattern company is typically on sale at either store on a weekly basis some sales are offered more often the others. Below I’ve included a chart of the trends I’ve noticed JoAnn and Hancock seem to follow. Please don’t hold me to this as this is just my observation.

If you can hold out you can wait and stock up on Simplicity, McCalls and Butterick when they are $0.99. However if you are like me and sometimes feel you need the new season patterns when they are released at least try to hold out until a $1.99 or 3/$5 sale.Another tip – stock up on Burda or KwikSew when they go on sale because they seem to be the scarcest with sales. 

Joann Sign Up    Hancock Sign up

At least monthly Quarterly or rarer
Simplicity  $         1.99  $          0.99
Butterick  $         1.99  $          0.99
McCalls  $         1.99  $          0.99
Burda  $          2.49
Vogue  $         4.99
KwikSew  $          6.99
New Look Always $3.99

***Here’s the new-new! Starting with the Memorial Day Sale (May 20th – May25th) Hancock is offering the in store sales price, online!!! This is AWESOME news for those who don’t live near a craft store. And for those who just don’t like fighting their way to the store only to be disappointed when the pattern they want is out of stock. Previously the great deals listed above were only offered in-store.
Go to Hancock now thru Memorial Day to grab McCalls patterns shipped to your door for just $1.99 and Vogue for $4.99!

2. Download the JoAnn app

This is an extension of #1 truly, but if you have a smart phone this is an easy way to always have the weekly sales ad on hand. They also include exclusive mobile coupons (though patterns are always excluded on coupons)

Apple iPhone iPad Andriod phone tablet

3. Price Match

JoAnn will price match competitor ads. So if Hancock has McCall’s patterns on sale 3 for $5 but you live closer to a JoAnn store don’t drive to Hancock simply have JoAnn match the price. I warn you some stores/sales associates are more persnickety about this than others. Some accept just pulling up a competitor ad on your smart phone, others will take a computer print out and I’ve even heard of some demanding the actually sales flyer. *This only works in store. JoAnn does offer the great pattern deals online (yet)

*EDIT* I have been informed that (some) Hancock stores will price match as well. My Hancock stores will not price match though they will accept competitors coupons. Unfortunately coupons almost always exclude patterns.

4. Join the McCall Pattern Company email list

Previously the only way to access a pattern sale online was to order straight from the manufacturer. Even with the new Hancock development this is a great way to save on patterns. I haven’t had a chance to peruse Hancock’s online selection, but my guess is their selection may be limited. Naturally the McCall has the best selection on their own site which includes not only current patterns but also hard to find out of print (OOP) patterns. Like Hancock and JoAnn, McCall often announce sales via their email lists. As a rule of thumb McCalls and Butterick go on sale for $3.99, Vogue $5.99 and KwikSew $6.99. They also have special OOP sales for even more of a discount on occasion. Warning-McCalls shipping prices s outrageous. During these deals you might pay more for shipping than the patterns themselves. Still this might be the cheapest way of you don’t live near a chain craft store and Hancock doesn’t have the pattern you need. Sign up for their email list and the bottom of this page.

***Right now for their Memorial Day Sale McCall has McCalls and Butterick patterns on sale for $3.99, Vogue patterns for $5.99 and Kwik Sew patterns for $6.99.

*EDIT* I forgot to mention that if you sign up for the BMV Club (for just $9.99/yr) you will save 20% on all your McCalls’ purchases for a year.

5. Search Ebay

If you can’t find a pattern in store or on Hancock’s or McCalls’ website then search on Ebay. Often times patterns won’t be price frougie on Ebay as it is a great place to find Vintage or OOP patterns that usually demand higher prices. But sometimes you can find a great deal on patterns due to the bidding nature of Ebay. If a seller starts his/her bidding at $0.99 then you may be able to snag a pattern for close to the best chain craft store prices. Etsy also has several pattern listings, but I find them to be higher as they typically appeal to the crafters and know how much we love our patterns.

If all else fails don’t worry patterns are technically always on sale!

Both Hancock and JoAnn always sales patterns for 40% off of the listed price (except New Look which is always $3.99 for some reason). Additionally McCall Pattern Company always sales pattern for less than the list price. So for the times that you just have to have a certain pattern for that last minute weekend event go ahead and grab it!

Check back for more Frougie Tips next Friday!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Carolyn says:

    What a great post! I didn’t know that you could buy patterns online from Hancocks! Will have to remember that. One note though, if you become a member of Club BMV, yes a fee is involved, you get an additional 20% off the sale price which brings them down a bit. Also the reason shipping is a little higher is because all patterns are shipped priority mail to get them to you as quickly as possible. Definitely keep this as a Friday feature since I learned something new today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frougiefashionista says:

      Thank you Carolyn. Hancock has sold patterns online but they just started selling online for the price on the flyer. I’m very excited about that so I had to share.
      I’ve heard mixed reviews about become a BMV member, but you are correct I should have included that info. Also I didn’t know that they shipped priority, that certainly helps to justify the price. Please subscribe to the blog. You taught me something as well! I’m always looking to learn.

      Like

  2. allisonsews says:

    Great tips! Hancock will also match joann prices AND their extra 20% off your whole purchase when they have those. Once I got batting that was on sale for 60% off at Hancocks and then used a 20% off Joann order coupon on top of that!
    Also, get the emails from Joann too – each one has a unique UPS code on their coupon so you can use multiples of those PLUS the coupons from the app and the mailer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frougiefashionista says:

      Thank you Allison! Unfortunately my Hancock will not price match JoAnn but will honor their coupons. Maybe I will try again. I’m sure this varies store to store.

      Like

  3. frougiefashionista says:

    Ladies I have applied your comments to the post. THANK YOU!

    Like

  4. Aisha O'Brien says:

    This tip especially helped me because I live in the Caribbean and not being physically present in the US has it’s drawbacks where sales are concerned, I did capitalize on the sale at Hancock and was well worth it. Thanks again for the info!

    Like

    1. frougiefashionista says:

      Great. I’m glad Hancock started honoring their pattern sales online and I’m thrilled I could help!

      Like

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