One Of My All-Time Favourite Patterns
When I was recently interviewed on the Stitcher’s Brew podcast, one detail of sewing that Almond Rock and I touched on was the rise and rise of sewing pattern companies. When Amy and I began sewing about eight years ago, there were The Big Four – Vogue, McCalls, Simplicity and Butterick – and the only indie was Colette Patterns. Burda fitted in there somewhere.
Boy, has that picture changed.
The Foldline’s database of sewing patterns currently runs to nearly 250 pages of content. That’s a lot of patterns to sew. Interestingly, Tasia (who used to run Sewaholic) recently shared on Instagram that her sewing productivity runs to 21 items a year.
I don’t try to keep up with every new pattern release by any stretch of the imagination. I buy what calls to me – when and crucially IF I see it online. I’m not particularly loyal to company or product. I’ll buy PDF or paper. It’s all pretty random. How many of those purchased patterns do I sew? Ouch. I’ll take a random guess at 20 per cent.
And where does this leave the pattern companies, new, maturing and evergreen? Do they put out more patterns to maintain a profile, or does that weaken their brand? Should they make each carefully spaced pattern release an event we all leap on? How do owners project growth when the market is exploding around them? To be the only indie pattern company in the UK is great. When you’re one of 50, how does that change?
One consistent argument about the challenged UK bookselling scene is that there are just too many darn books being published every year. It’s close to impossible to stand out from the crowd without a publisher investing a huge amount of marketing spend in a few select titles.
I literally have no idea where I’m going with these musings (!), but this topic does interest me. What’s the next chapter in the world of sewing pattern companies and in this brave new world, how do designers stay original and commercial?