Over the past few years the number of independent pattern designers has significantly increased.
Up until recently the only sewing patterns that were readily available were those that you bought at your local chain fabric and haberdashery stores. Those patterns were generally from the larger pattern companies which can provide large scale distribution. These are referred to as the Big 4 and include Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue.
The popularity of DIY and the huge online sewing community created a new market place for alternative pattern producers. Home sewers wanted patterns that were different, they were looking for something new and were more than willing to support the community.
Independent designers saw the need. Smaller companies could promote, create and distribute their patterns with little outlay. Patterns are generally sold as a printed pattern or distributed electronically as a PDF for you to print at home.
Independent designers can often provide a more personal support system than the larger companies can. Pattern instructions are often easier to follow and most designers generally provide sewing tips and tutorials, as well as sew alongs on their blogs.
So what is an independent designer.
Let’s start with what is not. To begin with, calling the major companies the “Big 4” is not entirely correct. It is really the Big 2. Vogue, Butterick, McCalls and Kwik sew belong to the McCall Pattern Company . Simplicty, New Look and Burda Style are part of the Simplicity Creative Group.
To make it easy on me and for the purpose of this blog. I am going to class pretty much anything that is not produced by the above companies as Independent.
And if we want to get technical, an independent business generally refers to a company that is privately owned. “Independent” is frequently used to distinguish smaller companies from corporate chains and conglomerates.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of independent designers out there. Here at Sew Independent I am going to focus on fashion designers of adult apparel. No crafts, toys, quilts, accessories or kids clothes.
Designers that will be included will need to have at least 3 appropriate patterns, have a web presence and sell their patterns online (either printed or distributed digitally).
This will be a fun journey … welcome aboard and enjoy the ride.