Saturday Pattern Sharing 4/9/11

In a rare event, last Saturday I took the day off of sewing for someone else and actually sat down and worked on a project for myself.  Myself!  (And truth be told, I’ve sewn stuff for both girls this week too.)  My husband could hardly believe that I’d spent so much time doing something for no one other than me.

When it was all said and done it felt wonderful.  I need to do projects for myself more often.

About a month ago I splurged and bought myself a new camera.  As soon as I started playing with it I knew I had to dress it up a little.  That plain, oh-so-boring black strap that comes standard just wasn’t going to cut it with this girl.  And I knew that if I made something pretty and maybe even ruffly my husband would be less inclined to want to play with MY camera.  :)

Lucky for me I had a great tutorial already bookmarked on my computer.

Lindsay over at The Cottage Home shows you how to make a fabulous Gathered Camera Strap Cover.


I had won some fabric in a giveaway last summer/fall that was still sitting in my fabric stash, waiting for the perfect project.  I deemed it the perfect fabric for this project.


I can’t wait to make more!

Licensing Lingo

Yesterday I tackled the weighty issue of copyrighting patterns.  Today let’s discuss licensing.


We’ve all seen taglines in variation of this:

Tutorials and patterns are for personal use only.  If you are interested in using any of the patterns or tutorials for resale, please contact The Owner at to discuss licensing agreements.


Here’s the nitty gritty of licensing.

Under copyright law, a license is a written permission from the copyright holder granting the licensee privileges that are normally reserved to the copyright holder. So yes, licensing is a way to restrict use of the material.


The key in the above statement is the copyright holder is granting permission.  But it was discussed yesterday that patterns themselves can not be copyrighted, nor can the items produced from such patterns.  So there is no copyright holder and in turn, no license and no need to grant permission to the end-user.  Yet again, in my opinion, it becomes just an issue of ethics.

A quick check of copyright records shows no clothing pattern copyrights held by Simplicity, Butterick or McCalls.  Simplicity holds copyrights on some of their pattern envelopes, but not the patterns themselves.  Of the more popular designers, Amy Butler was the only one I found to have registered copyrights for some of her patterns.  Her copyright material was mainly for non-clothing items, technical drawings within the pattern or needlepoint designs.  The other designers had some fabrics copyrighted but nothing else.


Which makes a person wonder why we see the technical wording we do.

  • Why do designers state their items are copyrighted when in fact most aren’t?
  • Why do they state a requirement of licensing agreements when no copyright for the item exists?
  • Why do they indicate they have a legal right to restrict the end use product of their patterns when in reality they don’t?

Is it because they think they do?  Or is it because they think we don’t know otherwise?

Copyright Confusion

Truth be told, I’m not a very good pattern maker.  Some of the items in my shop I’ve completely designed myself (the peasant dresses and eyelet sundresses for example) but it takes me days and days and days of tortuous struggling to figure out sizing adjustments, bodice widths, skirt lengths.  When I consider the time and headache involved it’s much easier for me to purchase patterns or adjust a free online pattern to my liking.

The drawback to this is that some pattern makers/designers –mainly independent ones such as Etsy sellers, not the big names such as Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls and Vogue– add a stipulation to their work stating any items made from their patterns are for personal use only and are not to be sold.  I’d say that 2/3’s of the patterns for sale on Etsy are this way and it makes it challenging for sewists such as myself.   So I look for patterns in which the seller encourages the sale of items from their pattern and then I go so far as to credit them fully in the resulting listings.  (Whimsy Couture is fabulous for this and is the first place I now shop for patterns!)

Legally though, the pattern designer has little control over what a seamstress does with the items made from their pattern or tutorial.

For starters, the pattern itself cannot be copyrighted as it is a template and templates are not copyrightable.  A pattern could also contain specific methods or procedure which are not copyrightable.  And all items considered “useful articles” (which we all agree that clothing certainly is!) are not copyrightable under sections 101 (definition of “useful article”) and 102 (subject matter of copyright) of the Copyright Act.  I suppose one could argue that both the pattern and the resulting articles of clothing are “useful articles”.

Even if the pattern *could* be copyrighted, how could the copyright extend to the items made from the pattern?  All of the pieces used to construct a garment — fabric, thread, zippers, buttons, ribbon, lace, velcro, etc.– would not be covered by the pattern copyright.  Logically, one could conclude that IF a pattern could be copyrighted the rights would extend only to the physical pattern purchased.

Carolyn V. Peters (a licensed attorney who specialized in Intellectual Property including copyrights, patents, and trademarks) states the following in regards to pattern copyrights:

Under the copyright laws, you are not allowed to make a copy of the pattern, except for your personal use. As the legal owner of the authorized copy of this pattern, you have purchased the right to make the article that is presented in the pattern, to sell or give away your authorized copy of the pattern that you purchased, and to sell or give away the article that you made from the pattern.

In my opinion it comes down to an ethical issue.  Legally they can not tell you items produced are for personal use only.  Legally you can do whatever you wish with the resulting items.

But if someone asks you not to do something, shouldn’t common courtesy come into play?

Hence why I try to only purchase patterns that allow items to be sold.  Even though the designer has limited legal rights regarding the items I make, it still makes me feel funny to go against their wishes.


If you want to read more, check out “Patterns and how they are affected by copyright law” and “Pattern Companies and Copyrights“.


As a way to usher in the warm weather and beautiful days, Stitch To Stitch is offering a fabulous spring promotion.

This promotional price includes shipping so there is no extra shipping charges for the shirt.  You can choose any of the colors I have available (white, black, chocolate brown, gray, beige, cornflower blue or pink) or request a custom color.  If I can find a matching color locally I’ll gladly make it!

This is a savings of almost 50% on these adorable shirred peasant shirts so take advantage of it before this promo expires!

Happy Shopping.

Peasant Top — Now in More Colors!

This top is the perfect addition to your little girl’s spring/summer wardrobe!  And one of my all time favorite pieces to make.

Girls Cap Sleeve Shirred Peasant Top

Currently for sale in the following colors:

If there’s a color you’d like that I don’t have listed, I’ll gladly try to find it locally at no extra charge.  You can see the full listing here in my Etsy shop.

Poor Employee Performance

Last fall I hired on some new help, in the hopes of attaining a more conducive working environment. Up until this weekend it appeared as though my model was working fantastically.

Although I know yesterday was the weekend it appears as though my employee forgot to read the company policy about imbibing while on the job.


I’m not sure if a verbal warning is appropriate or if more drastic measures need to be taken.  Obviously our work environment has become too relaxed.