Buying on sale can combat sewing pattern sticker shock

Recently, someone mentioned that she wanted to start sewing again after a hiatus of many years. She has a small granddaughter and is eager to stitch up a wardrobe of little cotton dresses for the baby girl to prance around in.

But when she looks at the price of patterns she gets sticker shock. Most patterns retail in the $10 to $16 range.

These same patterns can be purchased online for less, but if you choose not to buy things over the Internet, you won’t get those deals. Patterns also can be purchased at a discount at big-box stores, but the savings isn’t all that much.

The Salvation Army store and the Goodwill stores are two places to find patterns for very little money, often for $1 or less. This is, of course, hit or miss, but often it’s possible to find recent designs in sizes you want. However, expect to do a bit of digging because these patterns are not organized by size or category. That’s part of the fun.

If the pattern has been used, check to be sure none of the pieces are missing. Look for classic designs that never go out of style, such as flared and straight skirts, simple jackets, uncomplicated dresses and sleepwear.

If you prefer to buy new, up-to-date patterns, consider this: Patterns go on sale every month so. Make this your rule: Never buy a pattern at full price. Always wait for the sale, when you can buy a pattern for approximately $2 if it’s Simplicity, Butterick or McCalls, or approximately $4 if it’s Vogue. And sometimes it’s possible to get five patterns for $5. These companies also offer pattern collections that cost $3.

Another lower-cost option is Burda patterns, which go for a little more than $5 online and a little more than $6 in a fabric store.

New Look patterns sell for less than $3 in some stores, a bit more in others. I’ve bought these patterns for years and though some of the basic designs don’t change much, if at all, many are on the cutting edge of fashion.

And every so often, I run across Sew Simple patterns that cost 97 cents. The choice range here is small, but it you want a pattern for an apron, bag, simple top, basic swirly skirt or a child’s dress, it’s a good deal. These also are good choices if you are just learning to sew or haven’t sewn in a while and want to start off with something quick and easy.

Hang on to your patterns — even those you have had for years, especially those you have used and know fit and flatter your figure. There is no rule that says you can’t make two or three skirts using the same pattern but with different fabrics. Remember — styles come and go and what is passe today may be the rage tomorrow.


Independent Home Resources, a nonprofit organization, will hold a Craft Fair on Dec. 8 at the Old Town-Orono YMCA and is seeking crafters to participate in the event. Call Nanci Loring or Kelly Smith at 817-3261 to rent table space.

Mary Bird of Orono reports that thanks to 24 fiber artisans, the Bog Blanket project was completed in time for the Orono Bog Boardwalk’s annual silent auction held Oct. 27. The blanket was created from donated knit and crocheted squares. The Bog Blanket raffle earned nearly $300 for operation and maintenance of the bog boardwalk.

Darlene MacLeod, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor, was delighted when she received a $3,017 donation from the St. Croix International Quilters. She expected $2,700, but Joanne Spencer, representing the quilters, explained that when the final financial report was submitted to the guild, there was more money raised from the sale of raffle tickets than originally thought. The St. Croix International Quilters meet on the third Wednesday of each month at the Methodist Homes Recreation Center in Calais.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email Don’t forget to visit her blog at