Online pattern shopping: there’s a lot out there. This list can give you a starting point and help you focus on finding just what you want.

Etsy – for the Intrepid Sewist

etsyDid you know that Etsy isn’t just a place where people sell homemade and vintage items? It’s actually a great resource for sewing patterns as well. Many small and independent designers use Etsy to sell their patterns. I have personally purchased downloadable PDF patterns from Style Arc, Itch to Stitch Designs, Greenstyle Creations, and Stitch Upon A Time in Etsy shops. It’s also a good place to look for out of print and vintage patterns. With hundreds of thousands of patterns for sale, you’ll need to stay focused as you search. Once you have narrowed it down, don’t forget to read the customer reviews, ratings and detail on the pattern’s product page. Non-US readers: many, if not most vendors will ship to you. It is up to the vendor, so check before you shop!

Craftsy – for the Maker Learning New Things


When I think of Craftsy, I think of their great online sewing classes. But Craftsy also features a really robust pattern store as well. If you can sew it, Craftsy probably has a pattern. Like Etsy, the patterns are from small companies and independent designers. I find the search on Craftsy to be more user friendly, since it is tailored to sewing patterns alone. There are also tons of free patterns available. It’s my go-to for bag and organizer types of patterns, but it is certainly not limited to that. Just beginning or don’t like trying to coordinate fabrics? Consider buying a kit. You’ll save time and be able to focus on your construction skills. While you have to have a Craftsy account to purchase classes or the unlimited program, anyone can use the pattern store.

The Confident Stitch – for the Easily Overwhelmed

250x250banner_00I admit it. I love The Confident Stitch. It’s like a neatly curated neighborhood shop. If they had a store near me, I would probably live there. Since they are in Montana, I’ll have to just shop online. They have a small selection of printed patterns from some of my favorite (and trusted) designers. If you like to have printed patterns, and want to know that help is only an email away, this is your place. Carries patterns from Colette, Closet Case, Sewaholic, Angela Wolf and more.

Home Sewing Depot – for the Interior Decorator

logo2HSD is a great resource for people who would rather sew for their home than sew for their closet. They carry a selection of patterns for draperies, bags, pillows, etc. Think of it as sewing for your home instead of sewing in your home. It’s also a good place to start for those who get bogged down when confronted with long lists of search results.

Amazon – for the Maker who Hates to Shop

amazonIf you know what you want and you want it fast, you can try Amazon. They sell patterns from the Big Four, Simplicity, and Burda as well as many smaller designers. I have not seen any PDF downloads for sale here, but I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing them soon. If you are a Prime member (in the US), you’ll get your items in two days or less with free shipping. Not a Prime member? There’s a lot more than just free shipping. Learn more and try it free for 30 days here: Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Leisure Arts – for the Weekend Crafter

leisureartsThis is a fun place to browse for patterns and project instructions you won’t find anywhere else. Remember those booklets from the craft store? Well, they have those. But they also have a lot more. Toys, gift items, quilting, home dec, embellishments, and even clothes show up in their collection. Many of the projects are quick and easy. Most don’t assume any special knowledge and are great for beginners and even kids. Many of their books and booklets are available in a digital download format. Shop here for fun scrap busters.

Big Four Online Stores – for the Traditionalist

mccallsVogue, McCall’s, Butterick, and Kwik Sew: these are the patterns you know and love. The format of “Big Four” patterns has stayed consistent since at least the 1920’s – and it works. They publish batches of new designs seasonally, and generally have the latest styles. Many ready-to-wear designers offer patterns through the various brands. US readers will know that these patterns go for sale at major sewing retailers for doorbuster prices on a regular basis.  But even if you don’t have that option, head over to any one of the brand websites. They have a useful search engine. That’s huge. They also have decent sales through the website itself on a fairly regular basis. It’s not unusual for them to have an all-brand sale on holidays and weekends. You can download a growing number of patterns as PDFs, or get the paper ones through the mail. It’s not as cheap as the doorbuster deals, but then again, staying at home might be worth the difference in cost.

Burda and Simplicity patterns are also available online, but at the annoyingly hard to navigate Hopefully they will improve their search soon. Until then, I will probably get these patterns at local merchants.