Saving Money on Clothing Patterns

Does anyone know where I might be able to find free or really cheap clothing patterns? New patterns are a bit expensive and, although some people can use a pattern several times, mine seem to fall apart after the first use. They are discounted sometimes, but only the most god-awful ones. Are there ways to extend the life of the tissue the pattern is printed on?



Squrl from California

Here are the responses we received to this request.

Iron Pattern After Using

I am a seamstress by profession and the best way I know to preserve a pattern is to iron it before you put it back in the envelope and even before you use it for the first time. It will make storage much easier. I also store them in cheap zipper storage bags.

By Janet

Spray Starch

I heard spraying the pattern with spray starch will strengthen it. I have never tried it but it sounds logical.

By Jennifer

Attach Freezer Paper To Pattern

I take freezer paper and iron to my patterns that I will be using a lot and have had some over 6 years now and they look new.

By Darlene D.

Buy Patterns On Sale

We have a Hobby Lobby store in our city. About every 3 or 4 months they will have all of their (in stock) Simplicity patterns for $.99! Then maybe 3 months later, all their McCalls patterns are on sale for $.99. I watch the Sunday newspaper for their sale ad. Eventually it shows up again! I plan ahead for patterns I will need and when they go on sale I stock up! I have purchased many expensive ($20.00) patterns this way.


Unfortunately, they (Hobby Lobby stores) haven't "made it" to the state of California yet, but they're getting close! Perhaps someone can buy the patterns for you when they go on sale if you will just make a list of pattern numbers and sizes you want. If they have the information in their purse, it would be quite simple to go buy what you need!

By Grandma Margie


Sign up for JoAnn Fabric's newsletter. They have their patterns discounted frequently. Many times, you can get McCall's or Butterick for $1, and Vogue for $3-4.

By Rebecca

More Deals on Patterns

Watch for sales at places like Joann's, Hancocks, etc. Also Walmart carries "New Look" and another one for like $2. I've gotten good patterns on eBay.

By Susabelle

Take Apart Clothing For The Pattern

Go to "GOODWILL" or one of those type stores, buy a ready made item you want to make and take it apart! Surprise, a sturdy pattern.


By Evelyn

Buy Used Patterns

I have bought patterns inexpensively at Goodwill, Salvation Army, and garage sales. But I usually need the smallest size, so I have an advantage in that even if the patterns are cut, they probably aren't cut too small.

There is a chain called Hancock Fabrics in my area. Once in a while they will have all patterns of a certain brand on sale for 99 cents. I watch for those sales.

I only buy patterns used or on sale for 99 cents. Otherwise there's no point in going to all the trouble of making your own clothes because they will cost the same in the store if you pay full price for a pattern.

By Allison

Trace Patterns For A Master Copy

I retrace all the required pieces for a pattern onto tracing paper, vylene or even cheap greaseproof paper. That way I still have a master copy in case I need a different size the next time I use the pattern or if someone else borrows my patterns. Vylene is like interfacing and can be reused many many times. When I find a pattern I like, I tend to make several items the same, but I change things like the fabric or add a frill.


A simple straight dress can look very casual in cottons but simply elegant in an evening fabric. I too have also taken patterns from favourite pieces of clothing that are no longer wearable, just unpick and iron your new pattern. Remember to label each piece with tape before you unpick if you are not experienced at sewing. This way you will know where each piece should go.

By K from Oz

Pattern Ease

I always trace my patterns on Pattern Ease (I buy it at JoAnn's). I never cut the pieces out, just find the ones I need and trace. Also, I very seldom pay even half price for a pattern (JoAnn's and Hancock Fabrics, and even Wal-mart usually sell their patterns for half of what they are marked). Most of the time I wait for the sales and buy them for $.99, much more cost effective.


By Bobbi


If it's a pattern I'm going to use again a bunch of times (like some of my husband's costumes), I trace it onto newsprint and cut it out. You can also use cheap muslin or dollar fabric from Walmart to do the same thing, although I have to use fray-check on the edges.

I'm not sure why you're having so much trouble with patterns wearing out, I use them dozens of times and they still work great, and I don't iron them before I put them away either! LOL I'm just too lazy for that. I've been using the same vest pattern for my husband's costumes for at least 7 years, which means I've probably made 40+ vests from it, and it still is just fine. LOL

By Susabelle

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By Judy (Guest Post)
May 16, 20070 found this helpful

I do trace a lot of patterns that I will be using frequently, expecially kids stuff that they will grow out of and I will want to make the next size next time. I also have bought some patterns on this website they do have sales on their stuff too and a couple of them offer some generic items free for download.

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By patti (Guest Post)
May 16, 20070 found this helpful

I apply fusible interfacing directly to the pattern tissue. It gives the pattern such great stability and I am able to use the pattern over and over. I iron the pattern pieces each time I use it to remove all folds and wrinkles. I also keep my interfaced patterns in a larger ziplock bag so that I don't have to reduce it down to the pattern package size.


Lastly, I don't know where you live but Hancock Fabrics is in the process of closing most of their stores and patterns are about 60% off. Wal-Mart is also closing most of their fabric sections so they might have patterns drastically reduced. Good Luck!

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May 16, 20070 found this helpful

there are a bazillion crafting sites: craftster(DOT) org is my favorite, but if you do a search on Google, you won't believe how many sites have free patterns. AND not just old yucky stuff! :o)

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May 18, 20070 found this helpful

There is a lady on e-bay that sells great patterns and i bought some from her as low as a $1.60 if you want i can give you her name. i am not getting anything from her to tell anyone about her business she just was very honest with me and her shipping was very fair! Dar

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
May 18, 20070 found this helpful

I use the back side of extra Christmas wrapping paper I didn't use to make my own patterns or to trace patterns I need to keep. WORKS GREAT & it's FREE! Use the back side that's white & without any design.

* You can be inventive & use different wrapping paper for different patterns....

* When you make a pattern, simply mark any fold lines, "cut 2" (or 4, or whatever) and mark sleeve etc & the size so you'll remember later.... I give each of my own patterns a number code & write this on the pattern pieces... & usually write down the pattern code number with a small sketch of the pattern on a notebook I keep with the patterns... I store each pattern folded up in a large envelope & keep the notebook & the patterns in a plastic bin with a lid (Walmart $4)

* I keep the extra Christmas paper rolls in an unused corner of my hallway standing up in a plastic garbage pale I got at the dollar store... Saves room in my small place!

* This also works great for knitted & crotched patterns too...

* For Children's Sewed, crocheted or knitted patterns... I simply borrow a piece of clothing from my granddaughter (that looks easy to make)... Turn it inside-out & trace the pieces on the Christmas paper.... Be sure to make the size & give yourself selvage (seam) room... I like to trace the piece with a light yellow watercolor pen (so it will wash out) in case I get any ink on the dress or shirt I'm tracing... (then go back over it with a darker pen) But you can buy pens that wash out at the fabric store.

* I've been making my own patterns for years... It's easy! ... especially if you're sewing for kids... Give it a try! & don't forget those old vintage patterns at the thrift stores... They can be altered too!

---> Another Tip: I was told by someone who makes knock-off patterns that if you want to make a pattern from a piece of clothing the easiest way is to use aluminum foil. Simply place the foil above the section of clothing you want to copy then rub your fingers along the seam & the foil will be raised where the seam is. Before cutting it out, just add a seam allowance & you've got a pattern piece.... It's best if you trace the foil pattern piece to the back side of Christmas wrap so you pattern is made from paper. Be sure to number & letter the pieces & write "left sleeve front etc & the arrows for the grain & any "cut-along-fold" arrows & the size of hem.

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By Colleen (Guest Post)
May 19, 20070 found this helpful

Watch for the sales on Contact Paper, buy the clear transparent kind. Apply this to your patterns and they will last a lifetime.
Also, if you happen to have expensive books, remove the book jacket and cover the jacket with this Contact Paper. Remember to add 3 inches beyond the edge of the jacket all away around, so the inside of the jacket cover has a finished look. Great for kids books too!

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By Laura (Guest Post)
June 23, 20070 found this helpful

Only buy patterns that are reduced in price and draft them onto lining paper and dont fold just roll the pieces up. All my patterns are kept in poly pockets and kept in lever arch files.

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