The House of Tatterdemalion

Unfashionable, unskilled, inexpensive--but still sewing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Jack the price up, so it's cheaper! (A minor rant)

Okay, so this morning I was browsing around a bit, and discovered, as I have many times before, people raving about Loes Hinse patterns. In particular, the "love the styles and the lines!". This boggles my mind, to begin with. To my eye, there is little that counts as either style or lines, but rather a lack of both. Simple basics to fall back upon, yes, but nothing that I would call distinctive. Kind of the clothes equivalent of elevator music, or something, soft, muted and a bit bland. But, okay. I am all for everyone choosing what ever strikes their fancy, and I'm not trying to say they shouldn't like it. They're not my thing, but that's not my rant at all. Here's the rubbing point.

For a pattern for a pair of pants with an elastic waistband, and I think all of two, perhaps three, pattern pieces, guess what the price is? $16. Mind-blowing.

Then we go over to Hot Patterns, who everyone says are "expensive patterns" or "not exactly cheap". Here we have a much more complicated pair of pants, complete with many pockets, a separate waist band and a back yoke. Price for the pattern? $15.50.

I pointed this juxtaposition out to my near-by brother. He suggested that I start my own pattern company, and make really simple patterns, so I can charge more. Quite honestly, I can't see what makes a two piece pattern cost $16, except, I suppose, for the fact that she seems to put a good deal more work into her cover photos. So maybe it's $5 for each pattern piece, plus $5 for the cover photo, plus an extra dollar for good luck?

To be fair, most people would universally say that all independents are "expensive". I think what this really means is that "they don't go on sale". Vogue pants? Well, they sell at retail for $25, but Vogue kindly let's you have them for 40% off--$15. Meanwhile, the general public won't buy them unless they're on a $3.99 sale at Jo-Ann's. McCall's pants are supposed to sell for $16.25, but they put them on sale for 40% off, which is $9.75---and sane people won't buy them till they go on sale at Jo-Ann's for either $1.99 or $0.99 each. Butterick has a similar deal.

Anyone with half a business brain can see that the major companies will always be able to produce things at less cost than the smaller companies. The funny thing is that usually people complain about the independents being "expensive", and don't stop to think for a moment that the major corporations are majorly, majorly ripping you off. The very fact that Vogue would dare to even pretend to charge you $25 for a single pants pattern is infuriating. The fact that they think we're all stupid enough to feel honored when they pretend to give you a 40% off discount is disgusting; that even with a 40% of discount they're still charging $15 is indecent. It's a package of mass produced tissue paper. And, even yet with all of their major company advantages, they still won't price lower than the independents, who have greater cost!

Next time I hear about how nice the companies are being for ever putting their patterns on sale, I will gag. And if I ever manage to sell two pattern pieces for $16, I will probably also gag, which just goes to show I'm not a very good entrepreneur.


Blogger Neefer said...

It isn't the pattern companies that put patterns on sale at Joann's and Hancock's. Joann's and Hancock's use the pattern sales as loss leaders to bring in shoppers to buy other stuff.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Tatterdemalion said...

Good point.

My logic ain't always so great when I'm ranting, is it?

Although, in the end, it only makes it that much more disgusting. How is the pattern companies constant 40% off count as being 40% off? It's certainly not a sale. I've never bought a pattern direct from one of the major pattern companies, and I don't intend to, at those prices!

2:33 PM  
Blogger Tatterdemalion said...


As a hypothetical question, how can putting pattern on sale be an effect loss leader for JoAnns (I don't have a Hancocks anywhere near me, so I can't speak for them), when they don't sell the appropriate fabric to sew up most of the patterns? I mean, I just don't think a Vogue Designer evening gown is going to look that great made in children's print polar fleece.

But maybe that's just me, and most pleople do make evening gowns out of polar fleece?

I suppose it would keep you warmer, and you might need that, what with all the exposed skin.

3:18 PM  

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