Are you still unsure about trying an indie sewing pattern? What are the roadblocks for you: price, size range, aesthetic and type of garments?
Let’ start with the size range…Most indie pattern companies are very well tuned in with the trends and what the customers are looking for, including being size inclusive. Like commercial patterns, most indie companies offer 2 size ranges but these are not the same size charts at all!
For example, a Butterick, McCall’s or Vogue pattern will have size ranges from size 6 to 14 and then 14 to 22. Some go beyond that on either sides (smaller or bigger). Some indie patterns will offer size range from 0 to 18 (generally drafted for B cup) and 14 to 30 (generally drafted for D cup) for example. But these are only numbers that do not really have a meaning on their own. Let’s look at the actual given measurements for these size ranges from Butterick, McCall’s and Vogue compared to the indie pattern company Grainline Studio:
I am 36 inches for bust, so I would be a size 14 for a Butterick pattern or a size 8 for a Grainline Studio pattern according to the bust measurement only. For most Butterick patterns, I would be at the upper limit of one of their size range whereas for the Grainline Studio I am right in the middle of the size range. The important thing here is that you have to measure yourself and compare it to the size chart on the pattern itself. Don't assume the size you are is the same for every brand. Also, sewing pattern sizing is not the same as ready-to-wear sizing.
As for the aesthetic and type of garments, indie sewing patterns have it all! There are so many different points of view, you can really get any style you want.
Ok pricing…Unlike the commercial patterns, indie sewing patterns are rarely found in discounted bins next to the cash register at a local fabric store. Prices can seem higher than some commercial patterns. However, most companies and stockists will offer sales once in a while - best way to know about these is to subscribe to the newsletters and/or follow them on social media. At Sew Not Complicated, you can get 10% off your first purchase when you subscribe to the newsletter or 10% off when you buy 2 patterns or more (code 2PATTERNS at checkout).
Buying the printed pattern directly from the pattern company might increase their profit margin a bit on that sale, but the price for you will likely be similar than buying locally from a stockist. Just be mindful that you may have to wait longer for it to arrive depending on where it is shipped from and taxes/fees you may have to pay extra. And you might have to make purchases from multiple places if you want different patterns rather than one purchase of all the patterns you want from a stockist.
What about PDF? Well digital download are a bit different. Only the designer gets to sell their digital patterns. You must go through the purchase process for each individual company. Digital patterns are usually priced a bit cheaper than the paper version and you don’t have to pay shipping. For the pattern company, they don’t have to take time to package/ship/deal with a printer etc. Everything is automatic, but I suspect that they must deal with a lot of technology issues and questions. You as a customer can then print the said pattern. Depending on how you do this, there can be a cost associated with that (a few dollars per A0 pages or a few cents per A4/Letter pages). If you print at home, you also must assemble the pattern (your time). On a side note, if you buy a digital pattern, it is for your personal use, not for you to share. So yes, digital version will be cheaper if you are willing to work a bit for it.
Most indie sewing pattern companies will offer one or more patterns for free (most are free digital download when you subscribe to their newsletter) so that you can try it, see the quality of the instructions, and assess the drafting for yourself. Some of these free patterns are great basic garments that you will reach out for time and time again. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the free indie sewing patterns that I personally love:
- Hemlock tee from Grainline Studio
- Acacia undies from Megan Nielsen
- Bailen top from Pauline Alice
- Plantain shirt from Deer and Doe
- Sewing machine cover from Closet Core Patterns
- Sunday V neck from Friday Pattern Co
- Sleep set from Assembly Line
- Sparrow Tee from Common Stitch
- Luna tank from Helen’s Closet
- Pocket Skirt from Peppermint magazine
- Cross back apron from Purl Soho (not really a pattern to print, but instruction to draft your own)
- And many more!!!
You could make a whole wardrobe out of the free sewing patterns out there! However, at some point to keep these small businesses alive, you might want to consider buying a pattern from a lovely stockist (like me!)😉