You might have noticed, yesterday I faced problems with a copycat version of my Louisa dress pattern. Because cases like this make me sad, angry and astonished at the same time, I would love to share my personal opinion on pattern design and intellectual property infringement.
First of all let’s explain you in detail how I work. I’ll take my new Susanne cardigan as an example. Every pattern starts with an idea. I’m a industrial designer from education so the first stage, the initial design is my personal favourite activity. I love the stage that you have an idea in your mind, that you try to translate in a pattern and after the first test you can tell whether it turned out exactly how I had in mind, you just have to tweak it a bit or have to start from scratch again… Luckily the last outcome hardly ever happens. :)
So an idea gets turned into several muslins. For the Susanne I made 5 in total. 3 for the women version, only 2 for the girls pattern. Most muslin stages take a couple of weeks. Afterwards I can start digitising my patterns. In this stage I start with my own size, a 40, which is in the middle of the sizing range. I’m so happy that my measurements are exactly in this one size. This really helps me a lot in the first stage! A good motivation to keep it this way! ;)
Then I sometimes start having doubts. I’ve also spend a lot of time and effort in a design and only in this stage I ask my fixed testers panel what they think of the idea. Some are positive at once, some have to get used to the idea. Not seeing a final result yet (as I only have muslins and vague descriptions of all the options ) makes it sometimes really difficult to understand for me whether you will like a design or not. Since I put so much effort and time in one pattern, I just can’t afford to launch patterns that you will not enjoy to sew in the end…
So that’s when I enter a new stage that I like a lot. The pattern test! Since the launch of the Louisa dress for women, I have a fixed testers panel that sews the first test versions together in one or two days / evenings / small events. For women patterns this is a perfect solution. People sew up my patterns and I can immediately see the result, talk to them about their concerns and make a ‘to -adjust-list’ straight away. I can’t stress enough that I appreciate the tester’s help a lot. Their input is crucial in my work. Only with their help, I can work to a perfect fit. :) THANKS THANKS THANKS testers!!! Seeing how you make the first fabric-pattern combinations, creating the first Susanne cardigans ever been sewn, is just so special to me.
Once approved, Bjorn and I start the hard work. Finalising the pattern, drawing the version with seam allowance, preparing the files for the printer, designing the packagings, taking product pictures, making postcards, writing the instructions, preparing the webshop, writing blogposts,… But most of all! Reading your feedback on all this hard work. When you get excited, wanting to buy the pattern, that just gives me a feeling I can’t explain. For about 2 months I work really hard, but afterwards the satisfaction is something I never experienced before. I do feel that you appreciate the hard work and that’s so important to me. That’s what keep me going. So thanks a lot for all your support. I can’t do this without you. :)
And then a pattern gets released in the market. You use your own creativity and give your own interpretation to my work and that is just so special. Every creation is different, although the pattern stays the same. I love it how you lix & match my patterns, how you hack them, take them to a next level. The last contest was just overwhelming for me. In a positive way of course.
My pattern kind of start it’s journey, sometimes not being respected the way it should. With yesterday’s case in mind, I would love to ask every one to respect the intellectual intelligence rights that we have as a pattern designers. But most of all to keep the positive vibe going! This is the only way to keep doing what we all love! Thanks strong sewing community for your support!