Years ago the UK published (available in ROI too) 'Prima Magazine' used to include a free garment sewing pattern.
|Prima Magazine Logo (source)|
Anyway, these days Prima only sends out the pattern via the post - it's no longer printed and inserted into every copy of the magazine like in the good 'ol days.
So, if you're a subscriber you'd automatically get your copy in through your letterbox with your magazine.
Or... if you've bought a one-off issue in your friendly neighbourhood newsagents you can call up the Prima phone number(s) and get that month's pattern posted to you.
Now clearly, in these hard economic times the magazine publisher isn't gonna give away the patterns entirely for free. They're going to need to re-coup the printing costs from somewhere aren't they? Therefore, the phone number your obliged to dial is premium rated - and that calls is not going to come cheap.
I've hunted the web, and sadly there's definitely no sign of an ordinary phone number to use instead (so no cheap calls I'm afraid), I even tried the www.saynoto0870.com site which helps people to share normal phone number alternatives to premium rate lines; but no joy.
June and July 2012 Covers (Image Source: Zinio.com)
So, if you like a good proportion of their patterns during the course of a year it may be more economic for you to take out the subscription, rather than say buy the magazine off the shelf at around £3 at time + spend money on the phone calls on top of that.
So, far I've only liked 1 or 2 patterns enough myself to warrant making the phone call... so THIS is what now I do ;)...
(1) Make a note of the phone number,
(2) Keep it somewhere safe,
(3) Go to the shop - flick through the latest Prima Magazine,
(4) Check-out this month's sewing pattern, somewhere in the middle pages usually!
[I do not actually buy the magazine - saves me some cash]
(5) I then decide if I want that pattern or not,
(6) And finally, I call up the phone number and place my patten order.
PRIMA MAGAZINE - Sewing Pattern
Phone Number for Ordering
UK 0906 757 6472*
Republic of Ireland 1550 927 771*
*You must be over 18 years old to call.
[EDIT: *These phone numbers above are for the June 2012 edition - Prima choose a different set of phone numbers for each month's pattern - see this newer post here]
Call Costs (correct as of the December 2011 issue):
Calls cost 77p per minute from BT Landlines (ROI 95c/min) and should last no longer than
2 minutes. Network charges may vary.
Information you will need when you phone:
(NB: You're asked to spell any difficult words)
• Your full name
• Your address
• Then your post code
• Your daytime telephone number - including dialling code. The phone line closes for the
current issue's pattern at the end of that issue's actual calendar month. E.g. for the
June 2012 issue, you'd need to phone up before the end of June to order it.
Interestingly, I spotted the July 2012 issue in WHSmiths yesterday and I liked the pattern in that issue - but when I went to order it tonight (hence the idea for this blog post), I was only able to order the June 2012 pattern (which I found out **half way through the phone call). Given I'd already paid out for the phone call I thought I might as well have it after all.
And, as I'm a curious sort, so I decided to use my digital kitchen timer to check if their purported 2 minutes call-time held true... I synchronised pressing of buttons in both hands for an accurate result ;) . And, success! I had 1 minute 58 seconds on the clock:
• Took 9 seconds for my phone to stop ringing and connect to them (so I suppose 1 min 49 seconds if you're being really finicky).
• The recorded message greets you with a voice telling you which month's pattern you are ordering.
• Then, listening to **36 seconds of adverts/blurb.
• Then I had to record my order details (name, address etc.).
What do you get with your pattern?
• The patterns themselves are delivered in an A4 envelope.
• Out of the envelope the pattern sheet unfolds to 8x the size.
• My dress pattern from the December 2011 issue had 2 sheets in total.
• The sheets are printed double-sided, so you may need to trace-off or photocopy some of your pieces to make things easier.
• They're printed all in black and white, onto thick paper - not unlike newspaper stock. They're definitely not the lightweight, semi-transparent, tracing-type of pattern paper you'd usually get with the traditional / conventional envelope patterns of say McCall's or Vogue.
• The pattern instructions (complete with diagrams), cutting layout, and key to symbols are printed onto the sheet too. So, it may be worth photocopying, scanning, photographing (to read on a screen as you sew?) them off before you start.
The sizes for most Prima Magazine patterns seem to run typically from a UK 10 - 20. Also, their sizes seem to be based on UK RTW (ready to wear) sizes.
Here's the size chart from the December 2011 dress pattern. I've recreated it for easy reference :)
It's for body measurements, not finished garment sizes. Therefore, I'm making the assumption that the size chart would apply for all of their women's patterns (well until they change their sizes anyway).
Free Crafty Projects Online
Prima also have a collection of simple, free crafty projects which would be great for beginners - book bags, sleep masks, make-up bags, kiddies toys etc. here. There's even a free pattern for a really simple drawstring skirt taken from the new book 'Sewing Made Simple' by Tessa Evelegh - it looks good for a quick beach cover up if made in a not-too-thin knit, or even a towelling fabric!
Subscribing to Prima Magazine
If you do decide to subscribe, then here's the publisher's web-page.
I looked at 4 to 5 different subscription stores, and the above link was the cheapest value. Some had options to buy say 6 months worth, but then the price might be more costly.
I got the photos further above of the June and July covers from Zinio.com, but whilst you can get a digital subscription to the magazine through Zinio - I do not believe you can get the sewing patterns digitally - let alone printable via this media. So, don't go down the digital route if you want to get the patterns (although I would be interested to hear of anyone who has done this and still got the patterns posted to them at home!)