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Message Board > Sew Alongs > Pattern Brands and Sewing Magazines in the UK ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Pattern Brands and Sewing Magazines in the UK
What is available there
Member since 5/19/13
Posts: 29
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Date: 6/19/13 9:31 PM

I will be moving from the USA to the UK by the end of the year and I am curious what pattern brands and magazines that we have in the USA that might not be available in the UK. In other words, what do I need to take with me.

I am assuming that you can buy the big three pattern company patterns plus Burda but I don't know what other ones are available there.

I read somewhere tonight that Threads magazine might not be available there but I am not sure that's true.

On the flip side, is there any pattern brand or magazine in the UK that is not available in the USA?

Terrienew  Friend of PR
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In reply to WelshSewer <<

Date: 6/24/13 11:39 PM

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I'm interested reading the responses out of simple curiosity. I hope your moving plans work out smoothly.

Bernina 710 & 230PE, Janome 1100D, Coverpro 1000 CPX & 3160QDC

Clareew  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/25/13 4:08 AM

WH Smith in the UK is the main nation wide seller of magazines. What they sell does seam to vary with location. Since the Sewing Bee, I have noticed you have to be quick off the mark to get a Burda. There are a few UK magazines, Sewing World, Sew and Cloth. I find there are more for beginners but worth a browse each month in case there is something that takes your fancy. You can buy Threads, I subscribe to Threads Insider so don't buy it.

On the artistic side there is Quilting Arts and Stitch.

My local magazine shop closed a couple of months ago, they had the best range, obviously I must have spent too much time browsing and not enough buying their stock.

Where in the UK are you moving to?


Machines: Juki F600, Juki 654 serger, Bernina 550 for art work, Janome Coverpro 1000cp barely used
A Singer Featherweight Centennial and an old Necci in the loft waiting for TLC

westmoon  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/25/13 4:25 AM

I just moved to Ireland from the UK, so ignore my location! I got Burda delivered by subscription from because it was more reliable than my local newsagent.

You can get all the big 4 pattern brands, but be prepared for the sticker shock if you're used to American prices because we don't get the big reductions in the sales. Sew Direct do the best sales, in my experience, on BMV (sign up to their newsletter to be notified) and also have a 50% off annual club membership which might be useful if you buy a lot of patterns, and the local Simplicity site (for Simplicity, New Look, Burda envelopes) also have regular sales. You're still going to be paying 5-10 times as much as you would in the US. Don't even bother trying to buy in the US from e.g. the BMV website in the $1-3 sales, because BMV slap a ludicrous postage charge on you ($15+ per pattern) that makes it completely pointless. For some of the indies (HotPatterns, Sewaholic, Colette) you can try Sewbox to buy online in the UK, or buy direct from the pattern maker and have it posted, but be aware again of the ludicrous charges that get slapped on patterns by most indies (if I've paid $15 for postage and it arrives in a USPS franked envelope that cost the sender $4 to send, I get very very pissed off).

Other than that, depending on where you are you might look in local fabric/sewing/haberdashery shops but be aware there are no major hobby/craft chains like there are in the US and certainly nowhere that discounts patterns as heavily as US PR members report your major chain hobby stores do. In fact, my local shops both in the UK and here in Ireland don't discount at all, so you end up paying full price.

To be honest, I got a lot of my patterns from eBay UK, but then you're at the whim of whatever happens to be on there, plus a lot of stuff is going for WAY more than I was paying a year ago since the Sewing Bee aired.

-- Edited on 6/25/13 4:28 AM --
-- Edited on 6/25/13 4:29 AM --

One woman. One sewing machine. One giant stack of fabric. What could possibly go wrong?

petro  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/25/13 4:42 AM

I am regularly in the UK (London). Since Franks bookshop is no more, its relatively difficult to get sewing magazines. Burda comes in to a couple of WHSmiths within striking distance of where I stay, but you have to be quick off the mark. When I lived here, I got the magazines I wanted on subscription. This is less satisfactory than being able to flip through a copy and decide if you want it or not I know. Patterns are more expensive here. Getting them sent from Vogue etc when they're on offer involves high postage charges. Sorry, universal health care, but crummy sewing supplies

Member since 3/27/05
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Date: 6/25/13 8:33 AM

I agree with what others have said. You can get pretty much everything here, but patterns and fabric especially cost a lot more. This just means you get to be judicious at purchasing both, and it's also why pattern magazines are so much more popular in Europe! For less than the cost of a Big 4 pattern, you get 30-50 patterns. :)

Rather than looking to buy in the USA (as others have said, you'll get CRIPPLING shipping charges, and if you buy too much, you can get customs fees on top, too, which start at ~30), you'll need to redirect your eyes towards UK and European suppliers. Due to fair trade agreements, anything in the EU is exempt from customs charges and I've found shipping to be far, far more reasonable than from the US. And in some cases, like lingerie sewing supplies, the best suppliers in the world are in Europe anyway!

When I'm in the States, I always buy zippers, as they're unfathomably expensive here - invisible zips start at around 3 ($5) each.


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