Sunday, February 21, 2016

Working with Sewing Pattern Companies, Getting Published

Wow! I was completely surprised to see on my detailed royalty report I had another Simplicity number for the Tailgate Teammate Tote, "It's So Easy, It's Simplicity #1190". It looks like they rebranded the tote and now are selling these two pattern designs together. 
I am still a newbie and my only problem with this is, one they did not let me know ahead of time and there is no "Sew Spoiled Logo" on the cover. 

If you are a pattern designer and you are wanting to work with a major pattern company you might want to know a few things first.

  1. Your pattern design is usually contracted for two years. If you sell a lot, then you might be asked to go on another 2 year contract. Or they might produce your pattern on a new number to refresh the branded look, seen here.
  2. The percentage you make as a newbie is usually under 10%, don't go under 5%. That means you have to sell well over 10,000 to make a $1,000 profit. However, they do sell your pattern around the world and translate it in different languages.
  3. Simplicity and most major companies pay you twice a year. End of February and again in August.
  4. You have to look at the long term return. If you are looking for a quick buck, this method is not for you.
  5. Simplicity does allow you to sell PDFs of your patterns, even though they are selling the printed versions. They see it like this, "We have two different readerships.", that is so true. This is a huge plus, most magazines do not see it that way and once you publish with a magazine you are asked not to share it any other way. 
  6. I was discovered on Etsy. They contacted me after seeing that my sells where good. Selling PDFs on Etsy or Craftsy or anywhere online can gain you exposure. That is a wonderful!
  7. You need to try to create a set. Major sewing pattern companies like there to be a common theme and more than one item in one sewing pattern. Especially if you are an accessories designer. My first design set was the "Ladybug series" and my second set was the "elastic double pocket design".
  8. You will have to make the item so they can take pictures of it. They will reimburse you for you supplies and time, with a "dress maker stipend".
  9. When making your cover product choose fabrics that the stores who carry your patterns will have. 
  10. This process of sending in your pattern and materials, to actually seeing your pattern in the stores takes a half a year to a year.
Disclaimer your experiences might be different from my own. These are things that I have found to be true. I could not live off the money I make from only royalties but if you have a diverse profile, meaning this is one of the many ways you make money designing sewing patterns, you could do very well. 

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