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Hello All:

Where might on find sewing patterns to purchase for (handbags, dolls
clothes, or whatever)  and then resell the finished product without breaking
any copyright laws?

Jim Moore
(you might know this is a man's question)

Re: Patterns
Jim Moore wrote:
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I personally don't know of free patterns, but you can always contact the
company to find out about licensing. Here's another idea - make your own
designs, don't use someone else's.

Re: Patterns
Jim Moore wrote:
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The best thing is to draft you own.  None of the commercial pattern
companies allow this use of their patterns, but you might try some of
the smaller private pattern companies and see if they will grant you a

Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Patterns

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That's a very intelligent and important question that everyone who wants to
start a sewing business should ask!To repeat the short and safe answer: if
you are going to sell your sewing, and you want to stay out of trouble in
the long term, make your own patterns.  It's the only way to insure yourself
from copyright infringement. The purchase of a commercial pattern comes with
an implied licence to produce something for home use, and not for re-sale.
Commercial patterns used to have this "not for re-sale" condition in fine
print on the instruction sheet, now it's buried in the pattern counter
catalogue.  They assume if you purchase the pattern, you agree to this
implied licence.  A commercial dressmaker is covered in this licence because
it assumed that the pattern is purchased by the customer and delivered to
the dressmaker, therefore the original purchaser is within the licence
agreement.  I researched this extensively a many years ago when I started
dressmaking, my source was Vogue/butterick patterns.  They know that their
patterns are used for re-sale and they do consider it against the law.  And
they do know there are only so many places that one can place darts on a
skirt, it's often construction details that tip them off if someone is using
their patterns for commercial profit.

This is an incredibly thorny and complex issue and will likely ignite a
firestorm of controversy among people who sew.  There is the "if it's out
there I can use it however I want" group; and there's also the "It's my
intellectual property, I worked long and hard on my designs so don't rip me
off" group.

Approach other people's creative and intellectual properties with integrity
and respect for the creative and artistic process.  If you want to licence a
pattern from a company, be prepared to pay.  If you want to make something
like "SpongeBob dolls" or "Dora the Explorer" Backpacks without proper
licensing, then be prepared for bad things!  If you just want to make cool
clothes for Barbie sized dolls, then be as generic as possible, such as
labelling "For 12 inch fashion dolls" and everyone will know what you mean.
Use the same approach for other specific dolls, such as the Bratz or 16 inch
baby dolls or larger ceramic dolls.

Many sewn items are really made from simple pattern shapes, such as bags,
pillows, etc and require nothing more than a bit of time and patience to
refine the construction process.  It's much more rewarding, both in pride
and profit, to say "It's all my design" then to say "It's from a McCall
pattern" Customers will think they are getting something that is different,
unique and higher quality, rather than look at it and say, "Well, I could
have made it myself then!"  Customer perception is important!

That's just my brief little opinion on a very complicated issue!

Linda, who makes patterns out of fear of the big bad Vogue monster someday
getting her!

Re: Patterns

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Reasonable fear, Linda.

Now, some of the pattern generating software will allow you to use their
patterns for resale things. They just won't allow you to create a pattern
and sell that --- you have to make whatever the pattern is for and sell the
garment, purse, etc.

Here's a post that Cea made a long while back.  I've saved it since this
topic comes up frequently and she told me to post it whenever and wherever I
pleased.  ;)

From: (Consumer Service) Date: Tue,
May 1, 2001, 11:06am (EST+1) To: Subject: Re:
Copyright/pattern uses
on 4/30/01 12:04 PM, at wrote:

I participate in several online sewing discussion sites, and, quite
frequently, the subject of pattern uses and copyright laws comes up.
There is much supposition, half educated, and un-educated answers thrown
out into what is an international forum for sewing folk. Specifically, a
post will ask if it is "all right" for the poster to use a commercial
pattern for small-scale production--probably for items to sell at craft
shows. However, one never knows how small a scale the sales are.
I am requesting an answer to this, and I would like your permission to
post this 'Statement of Use for Commercial Patterns' on the Usenet
sewing/quilting sites, and I would like to re-run it on a regular basis.
Does the purchase of a pattern entitle the purchaser to make unlimited
quantities of items, as long as the items made are for personal,
non-profit use? ( Items made for gifts are in this category?) Where do
these re-use rights end?
Clients purchase patterns, and hire me to construct a bridal gown for
them, and I am paid for this. Technically, I have used the pattern to
make money, so it might be argued that making an item for re-sale is no
Who do the rights to the pattern design reside with: purchaser,
designer, or the pattern company? ( I note the: 'All rights reserved'
statement on the envelope, and am well aware of it's meaning, but some
folks are not.)
Any other relevant information which you share will be posted, also.
Thank you for your time.
Cea Robbins
Thank you for your e-mail. ALL McCall's patterns, regardless of when
they were produced, are protected under copyright. It is illegal to sell
photocopies of our patterns and to use our patterns to make items for
subsequent resale. If you sell photocopies or make and sell items from a
licensed pattern you would not only be violating McCall's copyright ,
but would also be in violation of the licensed designer's copyright.
A seamstress or dressmaker may use a McCall pattern to make a dress for
a client and charge fees, however it has to be made for a specific
client and a new McCall's pattern must be used each time. A person CAN
NOT use a McCall's pattern to produce garments or items intended for
subsequent resale. For example, if a woman wanted to start her own
business of making Prom Gowns, she could make them for individuals that
approached her, using a brand new pattern each time. However she COULD
NOT make several dresses ahead of time and then take them to a boutique,
or anywhere, to sell.
All of McCall's patterns are intended for "Home Use Only", which means
they can be used to make something for yourself or as a gift for someone
Permission to use copyrights for home businesses is never granted and
can not be obtained.
Regarding the rights to a design, they belong to either the pattern
company or the designer but not with the purchaser. We sometimes use
outside designers that we have licensing agreements with. The designs of
the licensed patterns belong to the designers.
Copyright laws are complicated and have changed quite a few times over
the years.
While a pattern may appear to be no more than a few sheets of tissue
paper and newsprint in an envelope, it actually contains the creativity
and expertise of more than 100 people including designers,
patternmakers, diagram artists, technical writers, and others-all of
whom work hard to bring McCall's customers more than 300 new designs
every year.
We hope this information is helpful.
Meg Carter
McCall's Consumer Service

That seems to be the stance of all the pattern companies.  Pretty basic.


Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It's a waste of time and just annoys the

Re: Patterns
Thanks to all for your info. re copyrights and patterns.
I will be sure to put it to good use.
This seem like a great group

Jim Moore
Terra Firma Ltd.

PS, This is what I make with no copyright problems (yet)
My bride of 51 years is giving some thought to making dolls clothes for the
so called "12" fashion dolls" and baby dolls

Re: Patterns
Jim Moore wrote:

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I know we aren't supposed to advertise here (just a friendly word to the
wise!  :) ), but those are Soooooh pretty!  You should nip off and join
the Rennaisance Festeval lot and tell them - they are always looking for
things like this to make their pretties and embellish their creations.

You'll see me there occasionally in the costume section.

Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Patterns

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You're very welcome.  We love answering questions, and we really love
sparing folks trouble down the line.  :)

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Ooooooohhhhhhh!!!!!  Pretties!!!!  Really gorgeous stuff Jim!  I know a
couple folks who do a lot of jewelry, I'll forward your link. :)

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In that case, you might want to think about something like this:

I've heard really wonderful things about the Doll Shop software.  And I
believe she would be fine to make doll clothes from that and then sell them.
She just couldn't sell the pattern she prints off.  :)


Congrats on 51 years!  My parents will celebrate 56 years in January.  And
that's just how it ought to be.  ;)

Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It's a waste of time and just annoys the

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