When I first started Sew Independent I knew I wanted to focus on Independent Designers.  I thought initially it was quite simple to determine what was “independent” but the lines quickly blurred.

I don’t avoid or dislike commercial patterns – I have a wonderful collection myself.  I just don’t want to include them on this site.  I class a commercial pattern as something that is mass produced and distributed to a wider audience.  Generally they have a huge pattern catalog and new collections are released every season. They are readily available and found for sale at places like dress fabric shops and at large craft chain stores.  Often the brand is part of a larger company.  

For me – Independents are the smaller companies.  Generally you know who the designer is, they have a blog and sell online or to a small group of niche retailers.  Pattern formats are often PDFs.  If they are printed, the designers produce the pattern themselves or outsource the printing. If you had an issue you could contact them directly and expect a response. 

But what about 

  • sewing pattern magazines
  • reproduction patterns
  • computer drafted patterns.

Should these be part of Sew Independent? In the next couple of months I plan to do some more research into these types of patterns. But here is a general outline.

Sewing pattern magazines like Burdastyle and Ottobre produce beautiful glossy magazines. The pages are filled with fashion inspiration, without the advertising.  The joy is that the patterns and for the clothes are included.  The cons are that the patterns sheets are messy to use with overlapping patterns and at times the sewing instructions are brief.  Burdastyle also release their patterns from the magazines via download on their website.

If you are interested in pattern magazines FehrTrade and Sewing and Style den have reviewed and discussed their favourites.

Reproduction patterns aren’t clear cut either.  Some designers use a vintage pattern as inspiration, re-designing it  to incorporate modern fit and provide multi sizes.  Often the instructions are in more detail than the original and are also updated to reflect modern sewing techniques and methods.  

Reconstructing History have a large catalog of patterns that they have translated and redrafted for the modern sewer.

Other pattern companies offer a true  reproduction patterns, releasing an exact copy of a vintage pattern, preserving the authenticity of the pattern.  Ageless patterns have a wonderful selection of authentic patterns.

Both of these designers are Independent companies.  But their patterns are based on old commercially produced patterns.  Do you see my issue?

The last category is the computer drafted pattern.  This is the one where you put in your measurements and you get a pattern that is “made” for you.  

Sewing and Style Den have done a great review on pattern software for both the professional and home sewer.  

Popular company Lekala use the LEKO software to create your custom patterns.  Basically Lekala have created the interface to allow you to enter your measurements to create the “made for you” pattern.   They are an Independent company but are they a “designer”?

Did you know that you can also buy the LEKO software from SewingPatterns.com.  On each Windows CD you get about 30 patterns to play with for approx $5.99.

To be honest I really don’t have an issue with any of these types of patterns.  We all love to sew and I am ecstatic about the choices and selections that are available for us.  

Should I really be fussing about where patterns come from and how they are produced?