Sewing isn’t a cheap hobby. Add the cost of the pattern, fabric, notions and the bill is sky high. So price may be one of the parameters when picking a sewing pattern. For sizing comparison, wait until second part of this series.
Unlike the USA where Big commercial patterns like Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s, Butterick, Simplicity, New Look go on massive sales ($1.99//£1.20) when those patterns go on sale here (UK) is generally about 20% to 40% off. That means that an amazing Vogue number on sale still going to cost £9//$14.48 Once or twice a year an online retailer will go as low as 70% but the range isn’t complete. We do get pattern sales but we will never get the chance to pay only $1.99 for a new pattern. The closest we can get to pay this low are a few bargains found on charity shops. With the resurgence of sewing now they seen to be increasing in price too.
It takes about 3 to 4 weeks for a Simplicity pattern launched in the USA to reach the UK market and not all the designs are made available. There a few of new Cynthia Rowley (I love them) patterns not made available at all. Similar delay with Big 4. There is always an option to buy directly from US websites. Unfortunately royal mail cap expenditure to $20 and there is a hefty fine if you go over. Unless it’s a book.
There is a way to get Big 4 patterns cheaper if you buy a lot. If you are a subscriber to Sew Today (Quarterly cost of £7.49//$12 – Similar to club Bmv) you can buy Butterick, Vogue, Kwik Sew and McCall’s half of the retail price. That means some of the cheaper patterns can go under £5//$8. I had this subscription for a year and confess I didn’t use it to it full advantage.
Simplicity UK do offer a pattern of the week for £2.99//$4.81 on their website so if you keep an eye and can wait, the pattern you desire may be there, maybe be not. This week is a great one 1589.
So no wonder PDF’s are turning to be a good choice for sewist out there. I used to dislike using PDF in the past but grown to appreciate some of their advantages, price being one of them.
Burdastyle is far the cheapest option. The magazine cost £4.99 but PDF patterns can cost as low as £1.99 for individual pattern downloads. My favourite coat only costed me £3.99//$6.45
The most expensive paper pattern is Named. Buying locally their most expensive patterns will set you back £17.50//$28. If you buy online the cost go over £22//$35. Ouch! That’s make my wallet very sad because they offer my dream style. I choose to pay extra for the quality of the design and personally I do think is worth it. I don’t mind the instructions (I do mind a little the tracing but their layout has improved). That’s when value for money becomes so subjective. I work harder, pay more but still my experience is of a happy customer.
The average cost for a printed indie pattern here in the Uk is £13//$21. Let’s compare how an American and British pattern cost overseas. We know the cost of a Colette pattern is $16 (USA) and for us would be an equivalent of $20// £12.50. Turning around, we pay £14//$22.52 for BHL, and in USA they pay $21//£13. Similar with another Brit pattern company, only £0.50 difference less from what you pay for Tilly and the Button patterns. If we take consideration the fluctuation of conversation rate, we get the same product for the same price.
Same for Big 4. If we picked a McCall pattern in the UK we would be paying £8.25// $13.27. Not so different from USA $12.50//£7.80.
We can establish that patterns retail cost almost the same but the sales available in the USA make the biggest impact on the prices. During this research McCall’s patterns are $3.99 //£2.50- Can I say I’m crying right now. Indie patterns when on sale don’t go over 20% ( unless I missed something)
The average price of an indie pattern PDFs is £8, which will sit at the same range of a mid range big 4 printed pattern.
Prices are pretty much matched between the companies so other decisions like personal taste, availability, instructions, brand, sizing may play bigger part of picking a pattern.
I’m very curious to know if the same price scope happens in other parts of the world. Do share what you know.