How to Not Be An Asshole at JoAnns - A guide


I’m beginning to flinch just seeing cartfulls of teal fabric, so help me.

So, I’ve been working for JoAnns for two years! Yaaaaay. C: As Halloween (and cons!) approach, we’ve entered our busiest season. Halloween is actually more intense than Christmas for us! So, it’s a stressful time for everyone. However, there are some ways to make this a good experience for everyone!

For info on how to save mad bank on coupons, go here!

A Disclaimer: I am just one person describing my experiences. Anyone can be an asshole. Sometimes employees can be assholes, even if you do everything right.

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A Cosplayers Guide to Shopping at Joann’s


**Okay I’m going to start this with a disclaimer that I’m using solely personal experience to create this guide. What I do works for me, idk if it is your style or if its something you can do based on your location. I’d also like to say that I work for Joann Fabrics and in this guide I’m going to point out some mistakes I often see by customers and tell you how to avoid them in order to save yourself as much money as you possibly can. 

Know Your Store

Alright lil homie, in case youre like any angry middle aged women shopping at Joanns, I’d just like you to know that ALL Joann’s vary by location. My local Joanns is  very small store, so we don’t carry as much as a larger store would. Understand that if you cant find something at your store, you can special order it or go to another store. 

Get to Know the Workers

Believe it or not, most of the workers at Joanns sew (at least to some extent). I know for a fact that there are three cosplayers that work at my local Joanns. Other than them, there are two seamstresses as well. If you have a question about fabric or construction, ask someone who is at the cutting counter, assuming they’re not busy. Usually, the workers at the cutting counter sew, and will be able to help you. The workers at Joanns just want to help you as best they can, so don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. Also, try to see if you can find someone wearing a maroon apron, because it is literally their job to help you find what you need and help you with any questions you might have. 


Sign up for the mailing list. Sign up for the emails. Sign up for the texts. Download the app. Are you a student? Sign up for the Student Discount card. Are you a teacher? Sign up for the Teacher Discount card. Hell, apply for a job there and get that Employee Discount too. Before you know it, you will be drowning in more coupons than you will know what to do with. The mailing ads are sent out every sale (about every two weeks). Emails are sent every couple of days. Texts aren’t as often, but will have great coupons. 

Read the Ad

Here’s this current sale’s ad:


I’m using this page and a personal experience as an example. 

This page may seem super simple and straight forward, but if you don’t look carefully while you’re reviewing your ad, you might miss something really useful. For example, I skimmed the ad when I first got it, noticed a few things I needed that were on sale, and closed the ad. I did not see the ad for the pattern sale, and nearly missed the sale ($1.99 is an amazing sale omg). Keep an eye out for pattern sales, too, because you can’t use coupons on them!

Okay, so I needed to buy four yards of a bottomweight fabric. As the ad above says, Fashion bottomweights are on sale for 40% off. Does that mean ALL bottomweights are on sale? NO. Only Fashion are. This is where people often make mistakes when trying to use coupons. Fashion is a brand (collection? idk what really but its a type). My local Joann’s carries two brands of bottomweights, Fashion and See and Sew. The bottomweight I wanted, which I had seen the last time I was shopping, was See and Sew, which is not on sale. 

"But that’s not on sale!!"  the novice shopper cries "I thought you were going to tell us how to save money!!!"

It’s not on sale. Which is better. Because it’s not on sale, I can use a coupon on it! Almost all of Joann’s coupons are for regularly priced items. Luckily for me, going on right now is an event called Coupon Commotion, in which Joann’s gives out a metric shitton of 50% off coupons in their ads. Remember how i said to sign up for everything? Well, because I receive both the mailer and the emails, I had EIGHT 50% off coupons going into the store. However, when it’s not Coupon Commotion, there is usually a 50% of fabric coupon every now and then in the mailer.

Back to the bottomweight I bought. I needed four yards of it, and regularly priced at $9.99/yrd, that comes to $39.96 for just that fabric. I, however, still needed four more fabrics, and there’s no way I’m paying with my firstborn child in order to cosplay. BUT, since I have a 50% off coupon, bam! That fabric comes to $19.98 total. Not too shabby, huh?

Never Pay Full Price For Anything

This is my motto whenever I go shopping. Hoard your coupons. watch the sales. Know what you gotta get and how much. 

"But I don’t wanna give out my personal information!!" cries the young cosplayer

No worries, homie. I understand. If you go to Joann’s website, you get print coupons right off the site! And they’re the same exact coupons that you would get through the emails. 


Just go to Joann’s website, and click the coupons link and the very top on the right hand side of the page. 

Pay! Attention! To! Your! Coupons! Some coupons are online only or are not for something you’re buying. There was a 50% off notions wall items a while back, and it ONLY took off of notions wall items. However, people still tried using it (whether knowing or not). A handy guide for you to know whether or not the coupon you received from email or the site is for online only, is that an online only coupon will literally say “ONLINE ONLY” on the top of the coupon. They also will not have a barcode.


As you can see, the 15% off total purchase and free shipping coupons are online only. 

Also, watch for when your coupons expire! Cashiers cannot take expired coupons; the computer cannot read them.

Wait For Sales

"But you just told us not to!!" cries the confused cosplayer. 

Yes, buy regular priced with a coupon IF the coupon is better than the sale. Last sale, the bottomweight I wanted was 30% off. I knew that was not enough to get me to buy it, so I waited. Shopping at Joann’s can sometimes be a gamble. You have to be patient and watch the sales. This is also why you should start your cosplays months ahead of time so that you can plan for the best sales possible. Some sales will be better than the coupon. Right now, fleece is on crazy sale, Blizzard and Microfiber are both 50% off, and Anit-Pill is 60% off. During big holiday sales, some things are on insane sales. During Labor Day weekend, tons of fabrics were 50% off on sale. 


Patterns are tricky. Most cosplayers need patterns at some point in their cosplaying life, but they are hella expensive. $18.75 for tissue paper with some guidelines on it? Ugh. Crack open the piggy bank now. 

There are, however, some good things about patterns. Major patterns companies like Simplicity and McCall’s both produce costume patterns for characters from many series, including Disney, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc, as well as other costume patterns for strange things that cosplays might need. 

However, you can’t use coupons on patterns. Why? Because patterns are ALWAYS on sale, usually 30-40% off. But thats still $11 a pattern, and who wants to pay that? Not me. So unless you desperately need a pattern asap, what you gotta do is wait for pattern sales. Pattern sales are amazing because you can stock up on all the patterns you’ll need for whatever the hell you might make. 

Patterns usually go on sale around Halloween, but its always different for each brand. McCall’s go on sale this week 3 for $5, and last week Simplicity was on sale for $1.99 each. Every now and then, there will be a $0.99 pattern sale for (insert company), and those are the best. They don’t happen often, though. 

Be a Good Customer

Believe it or not, employees remember faces. They remember if you caused them trouble. They remember if you were rude to them. On the flipside, they remember if you were courteous and thankful. They remember the smile on the face of someone they helped. Just be nice to them. They are overworked, especially during Halloween season.

Always have your coupons ready before checkout. Please don’t be that customer who walks up, gets all their stuff rung up, and then asks “so what coupons do you have?”. Cashiers aren’t allowed to give you coupons during certain sales, and saying “But you gave me coupons LAST time” isn’t going to make them break the rules for you. Also don’t be that person who, upon hearing the total, pulls out their phone and asks the cashier where to find coupons. It’s your job as the customer to know how much you’re going to pay, and it’s not their fault as the cashier when it’s more than you wanted.

Also, if there’s something you picked up, but decided you don’t want anymore, DO NOT just leave it somewhere in the store. Just bring it to the cashier, and they will put it away. It’s so much easier for them to put it away than to collect all the random mismatched thing throughout the store and then put them away.  

Black Friday

Black Friday sales are at Joanns too. The sales last all weekend and change every day. And if you have nowhere else to be that weekend, I suggest stocking up on stuff you need. I went there last year and spent maybe $60 on nearly $150 worth of stuff. I’m not sure what the sales will be like this year, but it might be a good idea to watch for when that comes out. Last year, there was a coupon for 25% off your total purchase, which is amazing, especially when you’re buying eighteen yards of fabric. However, this will not be the time to ask employees questions about construction and things about your costume, because they will be overworked and stressed out.

"But isn’t it their job to help me?" the novice shopper asks.

In the grand scheme of things, yes, that is part of their job. However, Black Friday is a stressful time for everybody involved, and literally every employee that store has will be working that weekend. It’s not bad to ask employees questions like “Where’s the elastic?” or “do you carry brocades?” that weekend, but it might be a good idea to wait until a less busy day to ask something like “hey how do i make this thing”. You don’t want to hold up the cutting counter on the busiest day of the year and upset not only customers but also employees. 

**I hope this little guide can help some of you out there. This is all I can think to add right now, so I might add later on. If anyone else has anything, feel free to add! And if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an ask about something! ignore the copious amounts of spelling mistakes this took a long time to write and also take a shot every time i say ‘however’

As a JoAnns Employee, I say Bless You.


Seriously though, I have so much respect for cosplayers who put incredible amounts of effort into choosing their materials carefully or put such effort into fabricating their costumes that their final product looks “easy.”  I don’t know if it’s an actual named psychological phenomenon, but I’ve noticed on multiple occasions that I’ll look at a really cohesive-looking costume, be like “oh wow that’s pretty neat,” then look at it closer and be like “HOLY FUCK YOU HAD TO DO WHAT TO ACCOMPLISH THAT??”

A few examples:

- My friend Stellawind has been working on her Bilbo Baggins housecoat for months and months and months.  All the fabrics were painstakingly selected and dyed to match the reference pictures as closely as possible, and she even had to correct for the fact that the coat in real life appears much different than the coat that’s in the movie because the post production people have corrected for the fact there was ELECTRIC GREEN greenscreens everywhere that reflected light onto the coat. I know how hard she worked on it and I’ve cleaned up scraps of that coat from almost every room in my house.


And the closer the coat got to being finished, the more unimpressive it seemed at first glance.  My brain started processing it as a single, cohesive unit instead of the patchwork monstrosity of labor and pain that I knew it actually was.  When it was finally done, it looked to me like she had just found an old patchwork quilt at a thrift store and made a coat out of it.  I had to remind myself that no, actually, everything was carefully calculated and planned out to produce that effect.

- The color selection on Dessi Desu's Elsa dress blows my mind, and I probably wouldn't have even noticed it if I hadn't been wracking my brain on how to do the exact same thing for over six months.


Do you see how the color transition between the skirt and the bodice is almost seamless despite being made of different materials?  And how there’s a slight gradient within the bodice as well, with paler sequins towards the top?  That’s because it’s like that in the actual movie and so far I have not seen anyone else get that detail nailed down, not even me.


Holy shit, please hold me.  But I would bet some hard cash that the majority of the people who see this costume will not notice how fantastic the color match is, because they’ll be seeing the entire costume as a single functional unit.

- Amanda's hand embroidery on her Anna coronation gown was another thing that I saw get waaaay less attention than it deserved.  The skirt and bodice were embroidered entirely by hand, and there were multiple people at Gen Con that came up to talk to us while we were in Frozen cosplay together that gave the general impression they thought her skirt was machine embroidered.


Even our craftsmanship judge for the masquerade had a fairly muted response to the skirt.  Any time a passerby would commented on how they her outfit and grind their faces into it while hissing “one hundred and fifty hoursssssss” into their ear.

But that would have probably gotten facial oils on the dress and really weirded out Amanda, so I didn’t.

TL;DR - I have so many feelings about materials selection and little repetitive tasks. It’s like the most tragic part of craftsmanship, because if you do it well then causes people to cross some sort of psychological threshold where they don’t notice it anymore.

All of these.

I remember very vividly a girl who cosplayed Yuna at Katsucon like…. 2004 or 2005. Almost 10 years ago now. She did a skit where she was the only girl in costume, and she was surrounded by people in black morphsuits doing poi with pyrefly props as she did the Sending. When she won best-in-show, the crowd literally booed her, because they had seen other skits with more people in costume, more showy. The Emcee shut us all up and shouted, “SHE EMBROIDERED EVERY SINGLE FLOWER BY HAND.” and everyone made this choked gasp sound. They had a handheld camera, and went up to look at her skirt in-detail, and sure enough, she not only had done the vines by hand, but each blossom was done in RIBBON EMBROIDERY. It was fucking beautiful.

It’s something I try to think about with strangers’ cosplays. It might not look impressive from a distance, but get closer, and you’d be amazed. And, don’t just assume, “oh, they did it with a machine.” I know ceruleancynic does all her costumes by hand.



Homestuck God Tiers
Otakon 2014

♋ Karkat Vantas | Hhhhammy
Sollux Captor | Gothichamlet
Photography | Vantasticmess

thank you for the opportunity to take photos for you guys!

Can I just talk about Karkat/Scones leaning up against the rail like “hey how you doin” but managing to look like the most awkward child in existence I LOVE IT. A+ Cosplayers, A+ Photog, A+ Humans.

Also, I want to say that I watched these photos get taken, and was basically sitting at the picnic table in Queen Aurora going TOUCH HIS BUTT

Fly on you golden girl
And take on your fears
I’ll be with you in your dreams
The world is darker than it seems

Child of Light

Otakon 2014

Aurora | Pinklikeme/Saccharinesylph
Igniculus | Lithefidercreatures
Photography | ceruleancyniccowbuttcrunchies | snowchildhero

the girl and the firefly

Child of Light - Queen Aurora - pinklikeme/saccharinesylph
Igniculus - lithefidercreatures
Photography - vantasticmess

Igniculus glows! C:

Crummy cell shots, but the point comes across!

this is how you use this right

this is how you use this right


Since Silvia (DA) is the only one in our Militarystuck group that doesn’t have a tumblr account, I thought I’d promote her a bit. She makes such a gorgeous Aradia!!!

The rest of the group:

Vriska Serket: DA / tumblr
Terezi Pyrope: DA / tumblr
Nepeta Leijon: DA / tumblr
Feferi Peixes: DA / tumblr / FB page
Kanaya Maryam: DA / tumblr 
Designs were made by Mookie000

Photos taken by Rodrigo García and edited by me 

Love is just greed
A selfish little need
You follow or you lead
If we really love ourselves
How do you love somebody else?

Princess Emeraude - Magic Knight Rayearth - CLAMP