Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Selling on Etsy.


Hi guys, need your thoughts/ advice/opinions on something.

I've been sewing for almost 3 years now, and have held on to every single handmade item I've made. 

About 70% of all my handmades are either not my style, don't fit properly (made straight out of the envelope), or I've only worn once. 

I was thinking about cleaning out my handmade wardrobe and selling some of the dresses that I don't wear, but I don't know what the rules are around selling handmade dresses on Etsy. 

All my dresses are made using a pattern (mostly Big 4 patterns) and I add my own little touches to them: replace the skirts, add collars etc... am I allowed to sell these dresses since technically I have made them using the bodice pattern from the Big 4 pattern company? I don't want to get in trouble.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.


13 comments:

  1. I've been researching this a bit myself. It seems a bit sketchy, but I think that as long as you're not mass-producing dozens of dresses off a single pattern, you're fine. (A rule of thumb I've been told is that you'll need one pattern per item you sell - so if you make three Simplicity 1873 dresses, you'd need to buy the pattern three times. It makes sense to me, but don't take my word for it. A quick glance at Etsy shows that tons of users are breaking that rule anyway, lol.)

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    1. Hrm... I would be selling dresses that I already made for myself, not making to order. It's a very grey area!

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  2. I'm wondering if it couldn't work like recipes and that once you change something its no longer a the pattern? Something to do with you can't copyright a method so if you change an ingredient the recipe becomes yours...sorry not an intellectual property lawyer (haha obviously) - that's who you need. It seems that the way cookery works is that you always credit your sources.

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    1. The ones that I would probably get rid of are the ones that have "full skirts" - the full skirts I 'drafted' myself, ad using the eaither darted bodice or princess seamed bodice I traced off from a pattern - so it wouldn't look exactly like the pattern envelope, it very, very loosely based on the simple princess seamed bodice, you know what i mean?

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  3. These copyright issues are complicated. Whatever others do must not be our concern.its better to comfirm from someone who understands these better I feel :) Good luck !!

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    1. I don't want to list any thing till I get more info. I'm not selling to make money, so no big deal if I can't sell them. Rather than donate them to Salvation Army and not knowing where my precious handmades end up I want to sell them (at a very reasonable price) and know that the person buying it will love it and have fun wearing it.

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  4. Lauren lladybird sells her old stuff on etsy, too. All of them are made from paterns. You should go to her blog, to check it out.

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  5. I've done a ton of research on this and there's no definitive answer, especially since there haven't really been any legal cases against home sewers selling garments made from patterns. The commercial patterns themselves are claimed to be copyrighted (though there's a question there as to whether they have officially registered their patterns for copyright), so you technically can't reproduce the PATTERN or INSTRUCTIONS. However, it's very difficult to enforce protection of the final garment that is made from the pattern, especially if it has been altered or changed in design. You're not seeking profit here, because the prices you ask for are probably well below the actual cost of materials and labor you put into them, and you're not mass producing anything. Honestly, I don't know what real trouble you could get into -- Simplicity has very little to gain from attacking one home seamstress for selling a few garments she made in the past. From what I can see, they haven't done it before. And this site here (http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml) claims that pattern companies have no right to tell you what you can and can't do with their patterns once you purchase them, but I don't know the validity of that site or the background of the person writing it.

    But it's understandable if you'd rather avoid the issue altogether!

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    1. Thanks for that Andrea, it makes sense what you're saying. The BIG 4 couldn't have copyrighted princess seams and darts, I'm sure!! I would never sell something that looked exactly like the envelope, detail for detail, without disclosing that it came from a pattern, and you're right I'm not selling for profit, just to redistribute my beloved handmades to someone who will appreciate the finished product.

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  6. I'd be interested in what you find out!

    A while ago I called one of the 'big ones' to find out... it might have been Mccalls. I mentioned the old vintage pattern I had, and was told it was out of copyright, and when I asked if I could sell a few dresses to my friends, she said no problem. Even the patterns in copyright would be fine for a 2 or 5 versions, if I was selling to friends. My friends bought a few from me direct, and I wasn't really interested in profits, just to make dresses and learn more.

    So I'd call the company, and ask. If I were selling on etsy, it might be a different story of course. As buyers there aren't my friends... but it could be the same since you've made one version not 500 using the pattern.

    Personally, I've seen it frowned upon if you don't disclose it was a pattern. There are etsy sellers who don't say it's a pattern from the big 4 and clearly it is, but they're claiming it as their own. I've made some dresses so many times, I don't use the patterns anymore, I make up my own versions... so maybe technically this is my own drafting? Like a lot of people are saying, it's a grey area with not definitive answer!

    Good luck!

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    1. I would definitely give credit where credit is due :) I would never have the motivation to make clothing for anyone else hahaha so I would never be able to produce hundreds of garments. Might list one and see how it goes. Might not even get any interest hahhhaha.

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  7. Read Christine Haynes 2nd to last post. Discussion on there. Last comment may be of interest.

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