My contribution as we enter the busiest shopping season of the year…

AKA shopping tips by CraftApple.

If you sew a lot and live in the US, chances are you’re like me and make plenty of trips to JoAnn’s.  I purchase most of my fabric at my local quilt shop or online, but for all other supplies, I go mainly to JoAnn’s (armed with coupons) or my local WalMart which (thankfully) still has a sewing and crafting section with rock-bottom prices on things like interfacing and thread.

I’ve learned a few things on my recent trips that I’m going to share with you.  My hope is that it will make your shopping experience better and that you’ll share your shopping tips with me!!

If I’m going to purchase anything that needs to be cut at the cutting counter (batting, fabric, interfacing, ribbon, boning, etc), my first stop in the store is the little number dispenser at the cutting counter.  If the numbers are 15 to 20 numbers from who they are serving at that moment, I take a number before I shop.  Sneaky, eh?  I’m a pretty fast shopper, so I’ll head over and get all my supplies and usually only have to stand in line for a few minutes.  1 sneaky point for me. 

If I plan on purchasing something only because I can get it cheaply using my coupon, then I have to do 2 things.  First, I make sure that the item isn’t labeled as on sale.  Secondly, I mentally prepare myself to part with the item in case I can’t get the discount.  Why?  Because sometimes an item will be “on sale” like it was for me today, but not clearly marked anywhere.  I wanted to purchase Artful Blogging magazine for $15 (usining my 50% off coupon, that would have been $7.50).  When I was checking out, it turned out that the item was marked down to $14 making it ineligible for a coupon discount.  Sneaky, huh?  1 sneaky point for JoAnn’s.  When I realized what had happened, I turned right back around and returned it.  Bummed, I was.  But I’ll try again next time and I dare say I shall be victorious!

If you are purchasing bag-making supplies, like magnetic snaps, consider checking the bag-making section of the store rather than the notions section.  At my JoAnn’s Etc store the notions are on the more sophisticated-looking side of the store, near the frames and upholstery fabric.  In the notions section, you’ll find nice brand names on items like  magnetic snaps, packaged nicely and priced at $4.  If you don’t mind going to the other side of the store (where they sell feathers, clay and cool-for-teens learn-to-knit kits) you’ll find nestled among the pre-made, ready-for-embellishment denim totes things like magnetic snaps and swivel hooks packaged in little baggies for much cheaper.  These magnetic snaps aren’t my favorites (they’re very thick), but will do in a bind when I’ve run out of my supply from my regular magnetic snap shop.

These are my new favorite swivel clasps from Joann’s ($2.50 for 2), in the latest bag that I made for myself.


swivel clasps

Yum, yum.  I’ve waited a while for the perfect project for this linen by Megumi Sakakibara.  Josh calls it my Jesus bag because of the crosses.
Megu Sakakibara bag

If you are a Target shopper and want to purchase things like shower curtains just for the fabric, consider this:  when the item is on clearance (you know, with the red stickers), if the final digit is a 4, then the price is the lowest its going to be which usually means  a good deal.  If you want it, buy it!  This shopping tip came from Beth and after testing it out using my ultra-fine-tuned shopping radar, I believe it! 

So do you have any shopping tips you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear them.
Okay, just one more picture of the bag. I love these doodles!

Megumi Sakakibara bag

11 Responses to “My contribution as we enter the busiest shopping season of the year…”

  1. 1 Tracy November 28, 2009 at 12:36 am

    This might be old news, but Joann Fabrics honors competitors’ coupons – Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, AA Moore etc. If you’re using a Michael’s coupon, you can’t use it on fabric (since Michael’s doesn’t sell yardage).

    Also, many if not all Joann fabrics will honor multiple coupons in one transaction as long as the number under the bar code is different on all of them.

    Just today I went in with four internet coupons, two from two newsletters, one from the newspaper and one from the flyer they stuffed in my bag on my last trip. I used SEVEN coupons in one transaction (one had slipped out of the envelope)… and now my daughter will get quite a nice boost to her knitting needle supply at Christmas time!

    With the Black Friday advertising here, I have another EIGHT coupons for tomorrow PLUS a Michael’s coupon.

    Cool beans, yanno?

  2. 3 modernjax November 28, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Thanks for the shout out! And thanks for the tips! Our JoAnn doesn’t do numbers at the cutting table so you have to wait no matter what. *sigh*

  3. 4 Becky November 28, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Your tips are great! I found out about that Target and the number four many years ago when I’d shop for toys for my now grown sons. I felt sneaky too. But a good sneaky, ya know?

    I have to tell you that after seeing your bag made from the Target shower curtain I HAD TO HAVE IT! We are in the process of downsizing from a 4 bedroom 3,000 sq foot house in FL to a 1300 sq foot rented townhouse in NC. The bathroom is wallpapered in a dark green and dreary. I saw that shower curtain and thought that is one way I can make that bathroom my own.

    So I dipped into my “sneaky” mad money and bought it for myself. I expect it will make me happy every time I use it.

    I love your site! Happy Christmas sewing to you!!

    • 5 craftapple November 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm

      That shower curtain will make you happy in your new home! It sure makes me happy 🙂

      And sneaky isn’t always bad, especially when there is “sneaky mad money” involved. Where can I get some of that?? He he.

  4. 6 Tracey@sewsimplycreative (formerly Cute2Carry) November 28, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Super ideas! I’ve done the same. Shopping at JA’s is certainly a science. Just to pass on another tip for ya regarding the swivel hooks. I’ve used these often, and will pair one with a big O-ring for easier clasping. It makes securing your bag a bit quicker and saves you $$ on using two swivels, as the O rings aren’t as pricey. Try it…I think you’ll like the effect. I’ve used this technique often on my slouchy bags. Enjoy your holidays! 🙂

    • 7 craftapple November 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm

      I didn’t even think about using a ring opposite a swivel hook. Great idea! And oddly enough, JoAnn’s seems to be the only place to get the swivel hooks that don’t have a little “trigger” sticking out the side. I really like them.

  5. 8 keepitthimble November 29, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    The advent calendar is a great idea. I went to Trader Joe’s today to get a chocolate advent calendar for my son, but of course they were all sold out. I doubt I have time to make one for this year, but I can always start on one for next year. Thanks for sharing this – the staples do look good with it.

  6. 9 Michelle November 30, 2009 at 12:13 am

    I’ve noticed in their ads that JoAnn is now regularly discounting magazines by 10%. I think they saw their profit margin disintegrating with those coupons. Michael’s won’t take the coupons on their books or magazines anymore, either, and Borders doesn’t accept coupons for any periodicals. Wah!

  7. 11 kliao December 3, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Thanks for the link to the magnetic snap source. Do you have a list of suppliers for all your bag-making supplies? I’d love to have that as a resource.

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Craft Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, crafting is my apple. It’s what I do to maintain my sanity while taking care of my family. I homeschool my three boys, ages 14, 15, and 16), am a quilter, a bagaholic, and pattern designer.  Oh – and I also like taking pictures.

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