It has been a while since I wrote any blog post and a lot has changed in my sewing world since.
So much so that I decided to bite the bullet and release my first pattern. The plan was to release it as a freebie for those who follow my IG account, see what the feedback’s like and maybe release it on Etsy with some expanded options and briefs to match.
I worked on the design for a while and towards the end of the process, as I shared the news about my plans, someone commented under my post leaving an IG handle of a Russian designer and hashtag to a pattern number (not a popular one, not easily searchable). It was uncannily like the bralette I was working on. It pulled the rug right from under my feet because I thought I was bringing to the table something unique and exciting. The person who commented blocked me and didn’t even try to engage in any conversation, whilst I felt like they publicly questioned my integrity and honesty.
I knew I have not copied the pattern, or had any prior knowledge of the designer (I don’t speak or write in Russian so searching for a similar design amongst the vast number of Russian pattern websites would be impossible for me). In fact, if you look closely at both, it’s quite obvious that it is not the same pattern. The fit is different, the neckline scoop is different… I cannot tell you about artwork or instructions, because I have not looked at them nor I intend to.
By this point I invested in the fashion illustration for cover, I spent hours creating illustrations for instructions and on grading, teaching myself AI… I had many people messaging me that they were excited to try out my design. I can admit I was absolutely devastated.
I ended up contacting the other pattern designer (which was only possible thanks to Google translator) and explained the situation. She didn’t even understand initially why this would be an issue. She said that we clearly got similar taste and maybe even got inspired by the same designer along the way. To not worry and thanked me for reaching out(!). It got me thinking about pattern designs, home sewing and the sewing community and below are my musings if you’re interested.
Home sewing for many people is the only way they can get their hands on designs that would either be too expensive for them or would be impossible to obtain because the nature of the couture is that it’s exclusive i.e. scarce and as such not mass produced. For years big pattern houses got inspiration from catwalks. Carlos Correa from Vogue Patterns regularly posts side by side pictures of his patterns and catwalk inspiration. Duchess Kate had her wedding dress turned into a pattern the same year she got married, Melania Trump’s blue inauguration coat pattern was on sale practically immediately. Similarly, many indie designers have twinning patterns and it may sometimes be tricky to try telling them apart if you don’t know which pattern was used in making a garment.
Now, let me be clear: stealing other people’s work is never ok, but, in the era where we are all bombarded by thousands of pictures every day, is it so inconceivable that two people on the opposite side of the globe create similarly looking pattern without copying one another? Because this is what’s happened here.
I am not condoning profiting on other people’s creativity. I never will. And, if a well-known pattern designer releases a very popular pattern with distinctive style lines, extremely popular hashtag, and someone else soon releases a pattern “heavily inspired” by that design, I too am left with bad taste in my mouth. This is why I am not angry with the person for pointing out the similarities between the two patterns. I am disappointed that she didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt and didn’t contact me first, before typing that passive aggressive comment (because, let’s face it, it was left there to stir drama between me and the other designer). For that reason, second time in history of my IG account (first one was an obscene remark) I will be removing this comment. Just in case anyone else comes across it and gets a wrong idea about the situation. There is absolutely no bad blood between me and the other designer. Who by the way is a very lovely lady.
Luckily, I have shared the process with my IG followers from the beginning, so it’s clear to those of you who follow SewYourHappy that I did all the work putting my pattern together and I had an avalanche of lovely, encouraging messages. Lots of you pointing out that there are many triangular bralette patterns looking identical, briefs, t-shirts and that sewing patterns are not only about the style lines but also about fit, instructions, size range and more…
With that in mind, although, admittedly, I feel like this situation sucked all the joy out of this process, I decided to go ahead as planned. Love it, hate it, comment down below. I’m keen to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for all your support and kind messages. They were very uplifting.
Until the next time!