Saving Money on Clothing Patterns

Category Sewing
Making your own clothing allows you to choose the fabric and achieve a more tailored fit. The cost of the pattern is, however, a noticeable portion of the overall expense of sewing. This is a page about saving money on clothing patterns.


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June 21, 2007

My subject is sewing patterns. I was making a lot of hats for my granddaughters so what I did was I took iron on interfacing and ironed it onto the pattern to make it last longer. No more tearing of the pattern and I am sure it will me last forever.

By Cindy from Oxford, NJ

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May 16, 2007

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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September 18, 2011

I do sewing for a lady who wants everything made off the same pattern, with variations. I pinned her pattern to a percale sheet and traced all the markings onto the fabric. I've used this "pattern" for the past 6 years with no problems.

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There are just those classic patterns that you love, but for some reason are discontinued by the companies. When I find patterns that I really like and want to keep for reuse, I use medium weight non fusible interfacing and trace the pattern on it.

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To save money on patterns for sewing your own clothes, you need to watch for sales in the fabric stores. I recently got McCall patterns for 99 cents each at JoAnn's Fabric. Some of those patterns sold for $17.95.

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November 18, 2013

Patterns have more than 1 size. I fold the paper pattern along the cutting lines, then I cut very close to the paper pattern edge without cutting off the folds I made.

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You can spend a lot of money on sewing patterns, especially if you are an avid seamstress. Save yourself a little money by saving your original multi-sized patterns uncut.

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Scan small pattern pieces and vintage patterns! Since I mostly sew doll clothes, I'm used to scanning each new pattern as I obtain it. That takes several hours of image editing and standing at the printer/scanner, so it keeps me from going too nuts at the fabric stores' frequent 99 cent sales!

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 26, 2010

Where can I find free sewing patterns for women dresses, size 16 - 18?

By Dana from Palo Alto, CA


January 26, 20100 found this helpful has some good suggestions. I've used, which the article mentions. Good luck!

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