Is FREE an Expectation?

So…

everybody loves getting something for FREE right?

The AeroPac is just ONE of patterns we've uploaded for you to enjoy FREE of charge!
The AeroPac is just ONE of patterns we’ve uploaded for you to enjoy FREE of charge!

And you know what? I’m no exception!

As a matter of fact, years ago (circa 2004) when I was struggling to get started in this business, a very wise person who I admired very much advised me to try placing a couple of free patterns out on my website. The logic? “If folks try your free patterns and enjoy them, it’ll expose them to ALL of your products, increase your website traffic and then maybe they’ll come back and purchase one of your full-sized handbag patterns.” And you know what? She was right! After placing a free downloadable pattern on my website the increase in traffic and subsequent sales was almost immediate and undeniable!

So… how you might ask, can there be a downside to FREE?

Well… maybe this question is best answered by relating to you what happened just the other day on my FaceBook page. If you “follow” my FaceBook page, then you know that I like to post all kinds of stuff . Videos, cat pictures, fashion trends, items for children and holidays, funny stuff that makes me laugh and of course pictures of gorgeous quilts and other pieces of fabric art, many of which include a link to an available tutorial or pattern, (many of which are free).

So on this particular day I posted a link to a little cute-as-a-button clutch purse featuring a very clever twisting action in the fabric on the front of the bag. In a word… it was adorable. Mind you, it wasn’t free, but the pattern itself was available by download for $6. Within minutes of posting this however, the following responses appeared in quick succession…(the names of the commentors have been omitted to protect the guilty)

“Very Cute! And Thank you for sharing. But $17 is bit more than I was expecting for a pattern.”

Whatever happened to sharing for free? Seems so many have their hands out” :((

The Heart Holder- for keeping the things you hold dear close to your heart!
The Heart Holder- for keeping the things you hold dear close to your heart!

So… I responded back to the commenters and this is what I said, “Actually _____ and _____, the pattern is $6 via download. I think that’s a fair price. It’s only $17 if you want to order the KIT. Since this designer probably put a lot of work into this pattern, she should not be expected to give it away for free!”. I wanted to correct that misconception on behalf of the designer since incorrect statements about price can potentially kill what few sales she might have otherwise enjoyed from the free publicity we gave her. Now admittedly I responded as Kathy Southern, and these commenters probably weren’t aware that StudioKat Designs is my alterego, and I suppose its possible that these folks might have tempered their comments a bit had they known this, but nevertheless these are the answers they posted on FaceBook.

“All (the kit) includes is the zipper and pattern.  Pretty sure I’m not going to pay $6 for a pattern and then $11 for a small zipper.” (admittedly, $11 for a zipper & jump rings is kinda high, but the pattern price is very reasonable)

and then…. “I remember a time when folks sewed their own things because it was less expensive than buying store bought items. Also, folks shared because it was the right thing to do.”

Now I’ve got to tell you, I felt VERY discouraged when I read those comments.

Small Nester measures  1.25" X 1.5" X 5.5" long
Small Nester measures
1.25″ X 1.5″ X 5.5″ long

Because I could almost feel the contempt in those words. It made me feel devalued as a designer and as a person. And here’s the thing… if this were an isolated incidence it would have been easier to dismiss, but comments like this are starting to crop up more and more frequently now. (It just so happened that these particular comments may have been two too many for me!)

Are these folks really so callous about how much time and effort it takes to bring a quality product to Market? Is it really so unreasonable for a person to make an honest living by way of their creative talents? I find myself shaking my head and thinking… “Are you kidding me?”…. “Really?”

“REALLY?”

I could have continued to engage these two, but chose instead to walk away from the conversation, (the old adage of “knocking the dust off your feet” seemed to apply here) because I also knew it was unlikely I would have changed the mind of either one of them. But you know what? Exchanges like this are really starting to weigh on me. Since unkind comments such as these seem to get quite a few likes, and since only rarely does any one else step forward and call people out for boorish comments …. does that mean that we can expect this kind of attitude to be more common in the future? Is it actually indicative of our current “social temperature”? Because if so, it begs the question,

“Is FREE becoming the EXPECTATION?”

Of course I can’t answer this question, nor can my fellow designers for that matter, but we sure have a vested interest in the answer, don’t we? So I guess what I’d like to do right now is just start the conversation with a few rhetorical questions? Let’s take some time to think about where we’re headed and what each of us can do to make sure the products we love to make and use (whether we get them for free or not) remain available to ALL of us in the future. So here goes… Given the virtual explosion of free patterns and tutorials that have become available via the social networks in the past few years…

  1. Do you think that FREE patterns are really becoming the new normal? Do you have any theories as to why this has become so?
  2. Do you think that in the future, say 10 years from now, there will even be a niche left for anything other than FREE patterns?
  3. For those of you who have taken advantage of the wide variety of free patterns that are now available, do you find that the quality of these items is generally on a par with the patterns you have bought from the Big Majors, or from smaller independent pattern companies?
  4. What if anything can we, as a sewing community do to encourage an environment where designers of all types of patterns can flourish and succeed?
  5. Are independent designers (myself included) sending mixed messages by offering free patterns on our websites, in addition to the full-sized patterns that we sell?

And now it’s YOUR turn!

I would REALLY love to hear what the online sewing community (YOU) has to say about this subject (even if it’s not what I want to hear). I really could benefit from  some honest, yet courteous feedback on this very important subject. Please feel free to provide commentary on any or all of the questions posed and I look forward to some constructive discourse!  🙂 ************************************************************************************************************************* We actually LOVE comments and questions too, so if you’d like to share yours, please feel free to do so the section provided below! And if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it via FaceBook or Twitter!

 

92 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. I like free patterns, because they are a great way to find new to me pattern companies. Are free patterns important? Not really, but I’m more inclined to use a free pattern from a new to me company. If you are talking about free patterns from some person who had a good idea and then made a free pattern out of it, then it is necessary. Often those free patterns from a sewer with a good idea have pattern making skills that aren’t very good. But those “Jane Doe” free patterns have lead me to independent pattern companies where I bought a pattern similar to the free ones. For me, free patterns are a sort of marketing tool, but I don’t have free patterns.

    • Good comments Tanja- I do think it is right to have higher expectations out of patterns that you buy, but free patterns are a great way to encourage a new buyer to check out your skills. That’s kinda the reason we posted our first few free patterns. (The last few we posted as a sort of thank you gift.)
      🙂

      • Hi Kat,
        I love free patterns! I do not expect them. I consider them a bonus “nugget” for perusing designer’s websites or blogs. I think social media is an avenue for negative “beings” to blah-blah. I, personally do not like Facebook, for that reason, and rarely sign on to Facebook. I’m all about smiles and fun, when it comes to my fun hobby of sewing. I save my mojo energy for more positive passions.
        Terry Back

  2. Chris in South Jersey

    Perceived value and devaluing the designer is nothing new. My great grandmother (turn of the last century pioneer woman) said often that “they will pay you for your needle and thread but not your time”. I think social media and the ability to respond anonymously has made it seem more prevalent.

  3. I like free,but with free comes an obligation to try out the designer. I have bought many patterns after the free trial. If a pattern is too expensive I forego. sometimes what you get means many hours of work and testing as far as kits go I buy rather than make a 2 hr. one way trip to buy That zipper and ring. And I love down loaded patterns. to me that makes them more affordable not a reason for criticism.

  4. Honestly, I rarely bother with free patterns unless I know the work of the pattern designer. So many are not well written. But I definitely agree that some people feel free is an entitlement. A few months ago a very well known fabric and quilt pattern designer I follow on Facebook posted that she was going to sell some of her sample quilts on her website. Some people actually had the nerve to say that they were offended that she was asking so much for “just a quilt” and wasn’t either giving them away or “at least” donating the money to charity. Like she wasn’t trying to make a living, or like her unique pieces of art weren’t worth being sold for profit. I was astounded and saddened. So yeah, some people definitely expect free. 🙁

    • Thanks for weighing in Jennifer. These are great points. Fellow designers have reported similar stories to me as well. I guess folks just don’t realize how hurtful remarks like that are to a creative person. If all they want is “just a quilt” they can definitely pick up a cheap one at Walmart, but if what they want is a piece of art, then that is absolutely going to be more expensive. It’s all what THEY value, but that shouldn’t give them free license to devalue someone’s work. 🙂

    • People who don’t have the skills often don’t know how much time and energy is needed. One Christmas, I really worked hard, and tatted loads of ornaments as gifts to special people — one asked me for several extra ones, that she wanted to put on the Dollar table at her bazaar. Yes. Tatting. Yes, Dollar. I was hurt and confused, and gave her some. Later, my husband told me to refer any similar requests to him and he would take care of it, and “no more dollar table”.(Sweet wonderful man.) We stopped giving those folks anything handmade. They don’t see its value, so we give things they do value.

  5. I love free patterns! I share the links with my quilting friends. I also appreciate all the work it takes to design and provide those free patterns!
    I make things myself, so I can use my own colours, fabric choices etc., not to save money! Many friends make “bags”, but I love making purses, with many interesting pockets, divided areas and other features – that is what brought me to your site, and began my fun adventure to make the perfect purse for me! Thanks for all your hard work…..

  6. I agree with all of the above comments. I also love free when it’s available, but I realize the amount of time and trouble, testing and remaking that pattern development means. I have developed a couple of patterns myself, and it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to get everything right. Many young people especially, have had things handed to them all their lives and don’t realize that their elders worked their way up and paid their dues. (Sorry about the rant, but I do think this is true.) If free is available I use it to test the designer’s instructions, correctness, etc. and buy patterns from those that I know I can depend on because they have spent the time and paid their own dues to get it right. I feel I OWE it to them to pay for their time and it saves me from making all those same mistakes – I can make whatever it is more easily because somebody else already worked out the bugs. That’s very VALUABLE to me. I thank you, Kat, for your hard work, because I have never had any trouble with any of your patterns, free or not. I expect to pay for that savings in time and effort that pre-printed patterns like yours give me. I depend on good patterns and don’t mind paying the price.

    • I enjoy a free pattern as well. I will try a free pattern to check out directions, etc. I’ve found that some people can design beautiful things, but then don’t know how to give correct directions. Knowing and teaching are two different things. I will always buy a pattern from a designer who knows how to give the correct instructions for assembly.
      As to why people think things should be free….just look at our nation right now. We have so VERY many people who feel they are entitled to everything they can get for free. They have their hands out waiting for someone to put something of value there. As an RN, I deal with this attitude daily. We are raising a nation of dependent individuals who expect to have their every need taken care of by the few who are working to make a living.
      Now, I’m getting political…didn’t mean to do that.
      By the way, I have bought many of your patterns and love every one of them.

  7. I love free patterns! And sometimes you get what you pay for! Sometimes I feel that the designer deserves to be paid for their pattern because of their ingenuity and the uniqueness of the pattern (even for a simple design that I could copy with a little effort). A simple zippered pouch tutorial is not worth a paid pattern, but a simple zippered pouch with a twist could be. I believe thoughtful designers should be rewarded.
    Some people just collect patterns and don’t want to pay for their collection of projects that they’ll never actually make.
    Also, bitching tends to propagate. If you get one person crabbing about having to pay, someone else with the same cheap spirit will chirp up. Really, if you don’t want to pay for a pattern, why not just move on. They’re hoping that you’ll be discouraged and start offering your patterns for free.
    Don’t be discouraged. Real project-makers don’t mind paying for your patterns.

  8. I appreciate all the free patterns and tutorials that are available. However, I do not hesitate to buy a pattern that catches my interest. I bought seven this week. I have sold handmade items but at this point in my life I give them with love to the people I have in my life. I have a long list of things to make and share with the people that bring joy to me. Keep designing and we will keep buying.

  9. WOW! I am so appreciative of these thoughtful responses. Thanks so much and you know what? You are echoing my very sentiments so I feel much better. Working somewhat in isolation as I do, sometimes the crabby insensitive comments can seem to predominate. I guess I was a bit premature in my despair. 🙂

  10. If I may comment on this too…I think your friend was a very wise woman indeed. Just recently I found a free pattern from a designer, and loved the way it was written. It was very clear, easy to follow and understand, and had lots of pictures. I immediately purchased 3 of their patterns that I probably would not have done if not for that free pattern. I do understand the amount of time and work that designers put into their patterns and when I find a good one, I don’t mind paying the price. And I will say I love the instant pdf’s of patterns. When the inspiration hits to make that fabulous purse, I appreciate it when you can download right then.

  11. I love your free patterns. And when I click on a link from your Facebook page, I am always pleased when I find that the pattern is free. But I don’t expect it and I’m always at choice as to whether I want the pattern enough to pay for it.

    I have long since noticed that grumpy people have no problem finding more to be grumpy about and they tend to be disproportionately forceful about it. I was behind a woman in a check-out line the other day and she was so obnoxious about having to wait two minutes to check out that I was embarrassed for, and by her. She told off the cashiers and assured them that she would be calling “corporate”. She even bragged about having a stellar collection of corporate phone numbers. So for every grump who comments, I would automatically assume that there are at least ten people who made good use of the post and didn’t bother to comment, or even hit the “Like” button. In all honesty, unless something funny or relevant pops up for me, I often go to the links you post without commenting or reading the comments. So thank you for the heads-up on this. I will take more care with that in the future..

    I make it a practice out in the “real” world to look for experiences to be happy about and to tell people when I have had a good experience.

    I find it both sad and amusing to see or hear people cringe when I ask to speak to a manager, and walk away, bemused, after I’ve told them how much I enjoyed my experience with them. (Yes, you can “hear” a cringe) I have also realized that just noticing good experiences helps me to have more of them.

    Just remember that the silent majority are the people who appreciate and value what you do, and you have the successful business to prove it.

    And I will try to remember to be as free with my compliments online as I am in person.

    • Thanks Diane- You know, ever since I started this online business I am more aware than ever how much better service I get when I am kind. Thanks for you kind words today! 🙂

  12. I spoke once with a guy who was selling his technical computing services. Not a similar product at all, but his advice was good.

    Price your product so you’re happy if someone buys it, and you’re happy if they don’t buy it.

    Meaning, make sure that you’ve priced your product to reflect the real costs of producing it so that if someone buys it, you’re not losing. Likewise, if someone doesn’t buy it, you know it’s not because you’ve overinflated your price–your price is fair.

    shris

  13. I love free patterns, sewing quilting crocheting, etc. I downloaded your nesting zippered pattern and really loved making them. I think free patterns help a potential buyer test the mettle of the designer. Last year I ordered your Uptown Saddlebag pattern. It was quite challenging and I really appreciated the online tutorial. I am looking forward to buying more of your patterns. I probably would not have tried one if not for the free pattern.

    I think some people never develop an appreciation for the work that goes into designing something and delivering a pattern that anyone can follow.

    A few years ago I made a quilt I call my Grief Quilt. I made it while learning to live with my brother’s death. When I should to a sister-in-law she asked about the cost to make one for her. After telling her the actual cost of batting, backing, and the professional quilter (not accounting for MY time and the fabrics in the top) she said she would buy one at Walmart. Many people do not appreciate the skill, patience, and OJT involved in this craft.

    • Thanks for weighing in Kim. You know, I just don’t know HOW people make a living selling finished goods. The majority of people are just not willing to pay for quality! 🙂

  14. I feel I have to weigh in here. I absolutely LOVE free patterns, because that means one more investment I won’t have to make in a project. However, I also use them as a testing ground if the author also sells patterns. Are the patterns correct? Are they clearly written, and precise? We all have our “favorites,” and I love to “test drive” someone to see if I can add them to my favorites list. If I’m happy, I don’t mind paying for a pattern, because I do know the amount of sweat equity and work involved in creating a pattern. My only question (complaint) is why do so many people charge the same for a paper pattern as a PDF download? IMHO the PDF should be a bit cheaper because they are saving paper and the hassle of envelope, label and mail service. My Pinterest page consists of mostly free patterns rather than “Flicker” pictures, because it is frustrating to see a beautiful quilt and then click through to a Flicker picture. I don’t want to see ANOTHER picture …. I want to know what the pattern is! Who’s pattern is it? Is it free? Does it cost? How much? There! My 2 cents! Good subject .. and I love your free patterns and your “pay” patterns! ♥

    • Thanks for writing Pat- I really appreciate your kind words and support and I think I can shed some light on your question even though it would probably be better if I devoted a whole post to it.
      I’m pretty sure that the main reason pdf patterns often often are priced the same as the paper pattern is because of distribution concerns. It is NEVER a good idea for a designer to undercut their distributors, which is what a discount pdf pattern does. Let’s face it, I need distribution and catalog sales in order to make a living, but why should they keep me on their books if I undercut them. SO…. many folks keep the price the same for both because that way folks can get the pattern immediately by download if they want, which is a big plus for international customers, but their distributors can’t complain.
      make sense?

  15. I have been sewing for 20 plus years now. I have used a little bit of everything from store bought big name companies to someone had an idea they wanted to share tutorials. Most of the time when I look at a free pattern it is because I have had a similar idea but am stuck on how to get a certain aspect of it to work. A few examples of what I have looked for- a wristlet template, getting the lining in a wet bag right, and how to get the layers of a cloth menstrual pad so they weren’t so bulky at the edges. I am very appreciative that the individuals were kind enough to share their work with anyone and everyone who is willing to find it. I do not expect it or feel entitled to it. Also, I do not expect to get the same detail in instructions or templates from a free pattern as I do a paid one. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised and find the quality of the free pattern to be what I’d expect from a purchased one. For what it is worth, it is because of your free patterns that I purchased several of your patterns. I do hope that society hasn’t gotten and never gets so greedy and feeling entitled that free patterns are the only way the people that take the time to perfect the design are able to share them. I follow your purse pattern chronicles so I have an idea the thought and time you put into each of your patterns. You deserve compensation for that. Please don’t let the negative comments discourage you!

    Staci

    • So kind of you to say such kind things. I gotta tell ya, I am blown away by the responses so far. As discouraged as I was before, this has been So helpful to me! Thanks!
      🙂

  16. I totally agree with your comments above. I would ask how many of those people expecting free patterns are prepared to give something free in return. These are just selfish people who have no understanding of the fact that you are trying to run a small business whose income very rarely matches the hours & effort put into it. I think your initial idea of why you give free patterns is correct & free patterns should not be the expected norm

  17. I grew up sewing what ever I needed – whether it was clothing, curtains, quilts, etc. – and bought the needed patterns from the major pattern companies or designed whatever it was I was making myself. It wasn’t until the past several years that individual pattern designers have come onto the scene, and with the computer, that number has really expanded quickly. As for me, I never really stopped to think about what was really involved in producing a pattern by an individual….. from concept, to trials, to putting the designs down on paper and making it understandable to most levels of sewing experience, and then producing and marketing it. Until I began following your chronicles of a pattern, I didn’t appreciate all you went through to make all this come together. Unless others have had the benefit of someone like you giving them a glimpse of your world, they have no way of understanding all that has gone into getting that pattern into their hands. It sure makes whatever you decide to charge have a whole new value. Don’t get me wrong I love “free” too, but I also understand there’s a price to be paid for free.

  18. A good, quality pattern is really a work of art. (i.e.Studio Kat Designs!) I believe artists should get paid for their hard work and creativity.

  19. wisconsin dragonfly

    I bought a $12.00 pattern from an independent pattern company. It looks as if it has been sketched by a 5 years old: the directions are useless. I wish I could have auditioned this company prior to buying this terrible patten. Most free patterns are a version of a square tote shape, with minor variations on size, closures, handles and decorations. I came across your roly-poly challenge. Since it looked different, I decided to give the free pattern a try. The difference was night and day! Easy to understand directions, patten pieces that were actually accurate! It lead me to you and I now have 5 of your patterns (and anxiously waiting for the next one!) Do people want only free stuff? Some do. Some prefer quality. There are millions of people in the world and all you have done is gotten a couple of “negative Nancy’s” behind you. History. That boat has sailed. Now there is more room for people who appreciated what you do. You will hear from a few negative people but there are many more positive people out here. We are the ones who want your patterns and are HAPPY to pay for them. I personally am grateful for the opportunity to audition your patterns via the free patten and am glad to pay for “regular” patterns. I really don’t see any other use for free patterns. You really do get what you pay for, a concept that seems to elude some people.

    • Thanks so much for your insight Wisconsin! 🙂 I think I’ll print it so I can pull it out and read it on days that seem to be filled with “negative nancys”! You gave me a lift today! 🙂

    • i totally agree with the “Wisconsin” reply. There are miserable folks on line who do nothing but put others down. DON’T let them get to you or trick you into engaging in an ongoing dialogue. You gave them a decent answer. Now, it is time to move on. I make vests from men’s neck ties — VERY labor intensive and I find a number of people that think $100 is way too much. However they would not do the work themselves an any price. But I know I have a quality product and well worth the price. You have quality products, too. Don’t let anyone discourage you. Keep on keeping on, my friend!

  20. I like free patterns, and I like to buy patterns from the independents more than those from big box stores the directions are so much better from a small company! (I actually think those mass produced have the most muddled directions and it amazes me that any beginner can actually follow them!)
    That said, independents who can answer a question in a reasonable amount of time is worth their weight in gold! Imagine asking Simplicity/McCalls/Butterick for clarification on a direction and getting a response in hours 🙂
    My only complaint (if indeed is a complaint) is the small pattern designers that include pictures of other projects in the directions and say do the same thing as in another pattern. If you are selling me a pattern then take the time to make the directions relevant to that pattern.

    • You mean they refer to the directions from another pattern assuming you have that one ALSO? WOW! I’ve never run across that but that would be annoying! 🙁

  21. I don’t expect things for free, but judging from my recent and not totally recent experience, that appears to be the trend with a large group of people. People just don’t want to make an effort anymore and it turn don’t appreciate any effort made by someone. I’m always happy and pleasantly surprised when I get stuff free. When it comes to patterns in specific, I expect to pay for patterns that are more complex and have more pieces, vs, lets say a pillow case. But I appreciate the access to simpler pieces that I don’t have the brain to figure out myself and the more experienced individuals provide as a courtesy so I can spend my money on more complex patterns I would like to have. But it is still not an expectation. At least (probably more) 90% of my pattern stash are purchased. I say about 80% are not mass produced by larger companies since I prefer great instructions and error free patterns over cheap (with or without coupon). The time that I have to sew is valuable to me too, so I don’t mind paying if its worth it and within reason (I know that can be hard to determine since that can differ). I like a bargain as much as the next person, but I rather pay than have free if I get quality.

  22. Hi there,
    I will be honest – I *love* free patterns.! 😀 I’m a beader too, so there’s freebies in that world. However – if you look at all through my sewing/beading/crafts room, the high majority of patterns/designs/tutorials are paid items.

    I work p/t in a quilt shop – so get patterns/fabic at a 50% discount. And you know what? In the 4 years I’ve been working there (moved from NH to MI), I spent more money at online shops, then in this shop.

    I will admit when looking for something – google is the first place I go to. If I like it, free is best, but will spend the money to get what I’m looking for. I’ve see a difference between freebies & paid items – free is a taste, something very small & simple; paid is more intricate, complex. (Like the micro tastes at a food store – want more? buy & pay! Right?)

    Maybe it’s just me – but I definitely understand the work behind it. I sell my beaded items – and even there people expect it for next to nothing – why? “You did this while watching TV, why should I pay you for your time?” Like not!

    Don’t be discouraged – these people are “ignorant” and not worth fretting over. Knowledge / experience is what’s valuable. Thanks for “listening”! OH – and the answer to your question, NO! It should NOT be an expectation.
    -gabriele

    • It must be EXTREMELY discouraging to sell finished goods because I have found that your average American consumer has NO CLUE the amount of work that goes into a handmade item, and further is only willing to pay pennies per hour for its production.
      Thanks for your thoughtful words and I WISH YOU much SUCCESS!

  23. I, too love free patterns, that is how I found your website and blog (nesting pouches). I have downloaded and printed and taped hundreds of free patterns, especially for little girls. Some are better than others in putting together. I also have bought about 500 patterns at JoAnn’s when they are on sale for a dollar. However, I have come to appreciate the amount of time and energy it takes to develop a pattern, have it tested and you and other designers absolutely should be compensated. I happen to love your blog (I have 2 cats) and love the mix of patterns. I use yours and other blogs and websites for inspiration. I think that a kit is a great place to start for folks who do not want to think about the fabric choice. I balked at paying $16 for some Oliver and S patterns but was patient and found a fabulous 50% off sale on Black Friday. Sometimes I think I am weakest when I think I am getting something on sale. If the Kit had been $35 but then offered for half price, would that make a difference?? I have been sewing for 57 years (since I was 8). My maternal grandmother was a professional seamstress in the 50’s. Keep up the great work!!

  24. Kathy, I don’t think free is necessarily becoming the new norm but unfortunately, many crafters/sewist think they should be able to get ‘something for nothing’ and maybe it’s because so many of those crafters make their crafts and give them away. When I come across a new designer, I personally like to see that they’ve added a small project for free. That allows me to see if their patterns are easy to read and follow. Quick example here – I was recently given a pattern from a friend that I thought was a bit pricey and it was really difficult to understand and follow… I was very glad I had not purchased the pattern!
    I also believe many people don’t understand that it takes time to “kit” a project. Time to order items for the kit. Time to separate items. Time to organize orders. Time to put orders together. Time and GAS expense to take orders to the P.O….. and the list goes on. And yes, too many people don’t believe a person should be paid for their time…
    I do hope ‘free’ is not the way of the future because I really believe that with free will come with a loss of quality. A loss of pride in ones talents.
    And with that maybe a comment of instead of simply “free pattern/project” add a “try it” with an explanation that the specific pattern is for the person to get to know how you write/print your patterns…
    You have a wonderful talent, don’t give it away!
    Just my thoughts.

    • I think they expect no-or-low prices because they do not value their own skills. My Grandma was an absolute GENIUS — she could make almost anything from practically nothing, but in her day and place, only the poor could not get “store-bought”. I am astounded by the range of her skills, but she didn’t think that anything she could make was worth anything.

      I wanted to know how to do these things myself, and we spent many happy hours of teaching/learning/sharing, and now my friends are amazed by the range of things I can make or save money on.

      The “dollar stores” and the thinking behind them, have done a terrible miservice to creative people. I am horrified and sad to see something like a hand-crochet doily being sold for a dollar, and knowing that since at least 2 levels of distribution have made a profit, the artisan must have worked for pennies on the dollar.

      Keep designing and selling, Kat, and keep your chin up, too. There ARE people who see and know the true value of what you do.

      • You’re absolutely right Mary— I call it the “Walmart-mentality” and yes, I think it does color the way a LOT of folks view the market. They’re seemingly only interested in the lowest price possible. It’s very sad. 🙁

  25. I am probably “preaching to the choir” here- but this is an ongoing problem-not just in Arts/sewing/crafting, but all over. There seems to be a “new normal” of expecting everything to be handed to you. This sense of “entitlement” has grown so out of proportion! This also carries over from patterns into the actual item -when was the last time an artist/sewist/crafter was paid the true price for a hand created item?The attitude is that there is no value in “hand made/hand fashioned/produced” I find that many times what they expect to pay does not even cover the materials-much less the time.It borders on insulting. That is one reason why I do not do alterations/mending anymore for income. I don’t know if there is any solution,unless society as a whole goes back to a self-sufficient/appreciative mentality.Off my soap box now…

  26. First I want to say thank you, you have changed my sewing in a grand way. Your “Kat tricks” and “Sewing tips and tricks” are the most valuable free items I’ve ever looked at! Unfortunately, the internet and especially Facebook has unleashed narcissists who we would not normally run into or have to deal with. Thank you for all you do and those of us who are happy need to let the artists know more often!

  27. Actually, I like free patterns in order to try out a designer’s patterns. If I like it, I order—Denise S

  28. I like ‘free’ as much as the next person, but I have to say, that a lot of the ‘free’ patterns and embroidery designs that I have collected over the years are just not as well done as the ones that I actually purchase.

    I have attempted to make a couple of things from free patterns in the past couple years, that in the end, I end up having to rework or modify in some way because they either were not complete or did not work the way they said that they did.

    If I need something for a specific project, I usually will head to the places where I know that if I purchase a pattern/design they will be well done and work as they are suppose to.

    I’m sorry that people are being rude to you. When I see things that I like and the patterns are linked, I will follow the link. If it is free I might snag it, if it is for sale, and I really like it and have the funds to purchase it, I will likely purchase it.

  29. It is a shame that some say things via FB etc that they probably wouldn’t say to your face! Rude is rude is rude – so many folks today seem to be rude. I’m sorry you got two who obviously are in the *take what you can get* category.

    I like free patterns but I’ve come to find that most are so basic I could draw the pattern from looking at the photo. I have a degree in mechanical engineering, learned the *old school* way before computers and CAD were the norm. I can pretty much draw any pattern out if I study it for a while. But I don’t – I don’t have time – I’d rather buy the pattern and pay someone else for the work! 🙂

    Many many moons ago (mid 1980s), I tried the arts/crafts show circuit up/down the east coast. My products were intricately pieced small wall quilts, fashionable totes with pieced designs and pillows with pieced and quilted fronts. I did fairly well, sold out a few times. I priced my items at the high end of the what I felt they should sell for and of course heard comments from viewers such as, “I could make that.” or “It’s just a pillow, I’m not paying that for a pillow.” So I crafted a nice signage that stated: **These are handmade items, made by one person, each took many hours, each is one of a kind. Wouldn’t you rather have a unique item than one that is mass produced by the thousands? You are investing in an American craft when you purchase my wares. Keep sewing & crafting alive in the USA!**

    Who knows what the future will bring as far as free everything. I can’t see it happening but I feel if the sewing community keeps growing there will always be a demand for nicely crafted patterns that are not free.

    Ani in Wilmington

  30. I like free….who doesn’t? I have downloaded lots of free tutorials and patterns and have made most of them. I have also purchased patterns. I don’t mind paying a reasonable price for a pattern what I don’t like and I find this attitude to be very common among my group of sewing friends, is a purchased downloadable pattern that costs $12 and has thirty or forty pages to print. If the pattern were $6 and then I have to print say twenty pages I can do that. I live in a predominately Dutch area. They are all about free. It is very rare that they would buy new if they can find it for free. I want to support and encourage designers. I love new ideas and patterns. I follow you because you are very innovative and different than most. I would hate for you to get discouraged and not design any more.

    By the way, I recently took my first plan trip and flew overseas. I made the passport wallet and it worked great. Thanks for sharing.

    • How lovely for you to say that and I’m glad you enjoyed the Aeropac! I never leave home without it either!
      Thanks so much!
      🙂

  31. I worked at a library, and there is the whole issue of copyright on published material….so I am very uncomfortable when I see patterns being copied and passed around. That is not right!! I remember showing a friend a pattern I had purchased and her first comment was, “oh, I want that…make me a copy.” I conveniently forgot to do it, but I wish now I had told her that it was illegal and I would not do it. You have been extremely generous with the freebies on your website, so please do not feel bad about the comments!!

  32. People wanting something for nothing is not just in the sewing industry.

    I repair computers for a living and answer computer questions for a local newspaper. Whenever I review software that costs money, people write and complain that the software should be free. They have no idea how many hours goes into programming software.

    I recently read the following response on another forum, “All I have to sell are my time and knowledge. Taking those from me without paying is like taking a loaf of bread from the grocery store”

    Elizabeth Boston

  33. I write simple, yet accurate, knitting patterns for classes I teach, and for programs I teach at my local guild. They are included in the class price, but I know the students copy and share them with friends. I kinda got over that, but I know they’re also being shared from the programs at the guild meetings, which I do at no cost because I want to. It IS a lot of work to create a pattern, from the conception to writing it (the hardest part) and then knitting the item at least twice to check the pattern. I guess those who don’t do it have no concept of the effort that goes into it – kind of like someone I hardly know asking me to knit them a pair of socks. But it is a bit depressing.

  34. Too many people are hiding behind their computer being snarky. It’s as if there are no longer “filters’ that keep people from writing the first thing that pops into their heads and they click send too quickly.

    I found you on the All People Quilt web-site years ago when they did an article on their favorite bags. Yours was the only pattern that had to be purchased but…it also was the only bag i made! If All People Quilt would have only posted free patterns…who knows when I would have discovered you!!!!

    I had a friend, that doesn’t sew, tell me last week-end that she is obsessed with your Facebook posts!( I guess your posts show up on her wall when I LIKE something.) She loves the inspiring couture items with all the details.

    Soooooo….keep it up and don’t bend to this entitled mentality that is shaping our society.

  35. Kat, i also feel compelled to weigh in. I can’t remember where I first saw your site and how long ago it was that I bought my first pattern from you, but I love your blog, your Purse Pattern Chronicles. I have never used one of your free patterns, and thinking back, I can’t remember too many free patterns that I have ever tried because when I have, I’ve found that the patterns are so simplistic that I can make it without the pattern.
    Yours, however, I need to actually read the instructions and they never let me down. I really love your site – the purses come out exactly like the pictures.
    Regarding people’s expectations that things should be free – if folks are unable to make a living from the patterns they develop or the hand crafted items they make, eventually they will stop doing it. I have always loved beading and making bead jewelry, but when I’ve looked on Etsy or Ebay, I’ve found similar items for sale at less than I can even purchase the materials, so the items I make are for myself, my friends or for donations to charities which I support. If I ever wanted to sell my creations, I’d be paying for the privilege.
    Those of us who really make the patterns we purchase do appreciate the time and energy that go into the developing of the patterns we buy. Those who merely collect “Free patterns” will always complain if they have to pay for one.
    Keep up the excellent work!

  36. Unfortunately because so many designers do what you did and put out free to start off with, you eventually run out of different items that have not already been free.

    The internet has changed the world.

    Most, not all sewers, once they get the basic pattern can tweak the pattern. If someone takes a pattern that is already out there that is free, tweaks it and makes it free again to let people get to know her, it just won’t draw a crowd,. You have to come up with something original for free.

    Also, so many on the internet do not care about you designers and give away all for free.

    Now, unless you are totally original your patterns just are not going to fly free or not.

    I support designers wholeheartedly but do believe as far as patterns go it is not going to get easier. It is just going to be good for a very few. And I do wish those good luck also.

  37. I sew purely for pleasure however I do make, teach and sell papercraft kits.
    I llove making all sorts of things and I am perfectly happy to pay for a pattern or kit as I know the amount of time and effort that goes into designing, making, writing out instructions, making up kits and answering questions.
    If I want yo make it I buy the pattern. Simple. If you want a dress you pay for it. Same rules apply to EVERYTHING and if you find a free pattern then it’s even more special. Like a thank you. Ok rant over lol x

  38. I think our society is becoming a “Me First” society. Many feel that
    they DESERVE things, that they shouldn’t have to pay for things. It’s
    sad, but I believe true! While I enjoy Free as much as anyone, I don’t
    expect it because I understand creativity. While I am not a designer at
    all, I do a lot of quilting and am just getting into machine
    embroidery, and may stitch designs other than how they are presented,
    but that is part of the fun for me. I have paid for the vast majority
    of the patterns I have.

    I have some of the free patterns you provided when you were just
    getting started, and love them – but haven’t expected you to continue
    just giving them all away; especially not when I’ve seen thru your posts
    just what it takes for you to come up with a new pattern., and the
    complexity of the bags you design. You do too many test runs with good
    fabric (that is increasingly more and more expensive) to be able to just
    give away all your patterns; not when this is a business for you and you
    aren’t a multi-millionaire! ( You aren’t are you?) (Smiley face)

    I hope you get lots of notes from people like me who don’t expect to
    have everything handed to them with no cost to them. I believe there
    are more people out there who appreciate, but don’t expect freebies and
    I sincerely hope they take the time to let you know. I say “Just keep
    on keeping on” the way you have with new patterns and notions for
    awesome bags (purses). Consider yourself hugged.

    Donna W

  39. Hi-I was very sad after reading todays posting-I think one of the problems
    is that alot of people want FREE everything-Our country has become a money
    grabbing place. if someone wants a free pattern, they should go the library
    & check out a craft book for FREE, & then copy the directions.There are tons of magazines
    also at the library which also have FREE patterns.Another thing is if they don’t
    like the price on your patterns-please go to another site & stop being a cry baby.
    They probably just like to see their name online. Thank you for being such a great
    person & designer-don’t let the cry babies get you down!!
    Sent with love & admiration,Chrissi V

  40. OK, free is a misnomer alot of times. I’ve made some things from the free issues, I have found that if I stick to designers, shops that I know, I have a better experience. They don’t want to associated with a shoddy project. Sometimes the “Free” means that it’s not well tested, accurate, very basic.

    I think that for a stylish, well designed item, you need to buy from a quality designer. I can make tote bags that are simple without a pattern, but if I want a purse that’s useful and keeps my valuables safe in this scary day, I want to work with someone who has made this, tweeked it, made it and carried it, before they think I’d like it.

    Oftentimes I will take a free pattern and make a “sample” to make sure it is sized appropriately for what I want. I found a “free” pattern on line that I’ll use some of that “what was I thinking” fabric to make a sample to check the size. It will be poodle skirts for 1 year olds.

    People are crass, some of them will gripe about paying, but gripe louder when the pattern is poor. You get what you pay for is just what it means.

    Take care, Thanks for great patterns, great inspirations. I enjoy your blog, facebook posts, you are a well rounded, real person. I miss your kitty, he was such a beautiful baby.

    Dee W

  41. When I was a child, many of our moms made our clothing and taught us how to sew. But now very few people can sew or do the other crafts that have been mentioned in the other comments. They have no idea how much time and expenditure is involved in the sewing/making of items and in the making of the patterns. They probably figure that some talented person sits down one evening and quickly sketches out a design which then somehow magically becomes a pattern within a day or two.

    I hope that sewing and crafting remains an option in the future. I’d hate to think that so much artistry could be lost to so called progress.

    I personally always expect to pay for my patterns. The exception would be to your tutorial the other day about how to make a crib sheet. I hope to try that soon.

    As for the rudeness you encountered, as others have also said, this seems to be more prevalent, but probably mostly because they can and they will. I’m not sure why that gives them a feeling of superiority. I think that kind of remarks show ignorance and crudeness. So try not to let them get you down. You have lots of faithful followers who appreciate your hard work and talent. We will always stick with you!

  42. You’ve really touched a nerve with me about something I feel so strongly about. This is the time of fast fashion where you can get a sparkly tee shirt at Walmart for 4.00 dollars. It gives the impression that the labor must be 25 cents, which it well may be. Off shoring the textile business is all about cheap labor and horrendous working conditions. That is point one.

    Point two is a perception that ALL sewing and related work is about saving money and doing it on the cheap. There is a devaluation of the skill required for this craft by the general public. My guess is the two commentors were of this ilk. Anyone who has sewn much of their own clothing in the past few years knows they spend more on fabric and patterns than ever and to do it right definitely costs more than gross retail fast fashion. But, we do it because we like quality garments that aren;t headed for the landfill in three weeks, garments and bags from quality textiles that will give us years of wear. Our cost per wearing is way lower than the retail junk because it just plain lasts longer.

    Your patterns are a quality item. To do them justice takes quality fabric. I would never invest time and money into something made out of junk. Most good sewists feel the same.

    The people who shared those comments with you are the same people who ask you at work to fix their daughter;s prom gown for free. They are the same people who think you wave a magic wand and pouf, their draperies are hemmed. They are the ones who say, “Can you make me one?” and expect to pay nothing. I have been sewing for over fifty years now and these people are always around. I just ignore them, chalk up their attitude to ignorance of the craft and move on. It is not worth sharing headspace with their thoughts. I have people that I can count on one hand that will pay me what I am worth on the rare occasions I agree to do work for them. They are a pleasure to work for and get very involved with the design and fit process which I love. Everyone else can go pound tar.

    Your skills and business abilities are so impressive. Take that thought. Let it warm you all over. Let it ignore the ignorant. Just keep doing all the fabulousness you are doing and don’t worry about the rest. I wish you the best.

    • Bunny, I especially like your comment, “It is not worth sharing headspace with their thoughts.” That’s a thought that I could apply to lots of negative situations! Thanks!

  43. I don’t do any of the social media, thus my response here. but I, for one, really appreciate free patterns, being retired and on a fixed income. I have found some problems with patterns both free and for pay. I’m working on a quilt from a beautiful fabric kit a friend gifted me with for my birthday. that kit also included the book the pattern was found in. I would NOT make another one of her patterns. This was both times, first and last, for anything by her. That book was $29.95 I think. Rather outrageous IMO but I realize what books cost these days. Had I purchased that book separately tho, it would have been a total waste of that money.

    I also think that a lot of people that don’t sew, most of them probably, have absolutely no idea what it takes to develop and market a pattern…or what it takes for someone that purchased the pattern to make the item.

    It’s sort of like a person saying ‘you want $750 for that quilt’. They don’t really know what a quilt is or what it takes to make it, and say I can go buy one with all the accessories (bed in a bag) for $50. That is one reason I don’t sell quilts. I’ve gifted friends and family over the years and now make and donate mostly kids quilts.

    I’ve been told my donation quilts are ‘too pretty’ to give away so you know they are not just 6” squares of different fabrics sewn together either! If I wouldn’t give it to a friend or family, I wouldn’t donate it either.

    I’m sure you will get an overwhelmingly positive response. Anyone that makes things has a good idea of what it takes.

    I have bought some of your patterns in the past. Have gifted many items made from them. I have not made anything from your free patterns tho. I have no doubt they are as good as the ones you sell.
    Karol

  44. Hi!
    I agree with everyone who said some people will always want something for nothing and if they had their way they would also have you come over and make the item for them too. Then of course you won’t have done it correctly or used the wrong material so that gives them something to complain about no matter what. It takes a thick skin to do what you do and I admire that about you or for that matter for anyone who puts a part of themselves out for sale. Because that’s what artist’s really do, they sell items that are an extension of themselves which is why when someone is a critic it hurts so much.
    I have seen tons of tutorials, free patterns, etc and in the end they are all a marketing tool, some people have simple patterns and a few have more complex but in the end it’s still a tool to get you to buy something. It’s not a bad thing either, I have used free patterns to see if I want to buy a pattern or book. You have great stuff, don’t let unhappy people make you devalue yourself or your talents.

  45. I am agreeing with everything said here thus far. I am one who has downloaded many free patterns, but when I look at them and try to figure them out, the instructions (if there are any) usually leave out something critical (at least critical to me).

    I have also purchased patterns. Again, some have turned out better than others. What really encourages me to pay for patterns is when the creator will answer a question if I have one. Most have been kind enough to do so.

    To answer your question is free the norm or the expectation? No, I don’t believe so. Sure there are some who are so “cheap” and ill-mannered they want to shame you into giving it to them for free. They might have better luck if they were nice.

    I wonder if these same people would go into a grocery store, for example, and because the store is handing out a taste of a new product, if they would expect the product to be free. The attitudes expressed by these people is unfortunately becoming quite common on the internet. Social media, and the ability to comment pretty much anonymously and without accountability makes it much easier for these selfish attitudes to flourish.

    Please don’t let these losers steal your happiness or make you feel guilty for charging for your patterns. They are in the wrong, not you.

  46. I love free patterns! I do spend quite a bit of time cruising around the internet looking at all the free stuff out there, and I bookmark a lot of it that I will never make. When I do make something from a free pattern, I am always aware of the possibility of errors, because that’s the “price” of a free pattern! I made a tutorial (once only!) for a small group of quilters and was very surprised at how much time it took, how hard it is to write clear instructions, and how frequently errors happen. That’s why designers who are professionals — like you! — should absolutely be paid for their patterns, without squawking. I am absolutely in awe at your whole process of designing, and I am so glad that you share it as you do.

    I am afraid that the comments you received are just the tip of a huge problem developing from our use of devices for communication rather than person-to-person. We are losing our manners and our awareness of a real, living, feeling PERSON on the receiving end. It’s always an effort to communicate clearly, honestly, thoughtfully, and respectfully. The devices seem to make these “optional” — unnecessary and not worth the time and effort — because the person receiving the communication seems so distant. We’ve become accustomed to firing off an instant response with very little thought.

    I have seen comics of two people sitting together but communicating through their devices instead of looking at and speaking to each other — this is NOT funny! It is a catastrophe with the potential to totally unravel our society!

    The sense of entitlement re: free patterns and the rudeness of the comments you received is just one example of this distancing. In the past, this was the mindset of criminals and hustlers, not a general attitude. As a sociologist, I am very afraid of what the not-too-distant future society will look like.

  47. It is ridiculous to expect that those wanting free patterns all the time, to understand why patterns are offered for free or are paid patterns.
    You will probably find that those people are quite willing to charge for their time at the appropriate rate, rather than ‘give’ their time away, when making an item.
    I’ve always said that ‘you get what you pay for’. If it costs nothing, then it is probably not ‘worth’ a lot to the person on the receiving end, and they probably won’t give credit to the designer if they do make the item from the free pattern.
    I value the time and effort which goes into designing and creating any item, because I know the time and effort which is involved.
    I thank you for sharing your processes when creating a new design.

  48. Free is always something special to me and I try to make sure I write a thank you comment to the wonderful designer(s). {But, then, I am an oldster!} I think sometimes in the rush of social media, attention to details and what’s being offered, etc. is rather neglected. I have even sped over details that were apparent and which I wasn’t careful enough to notice. I’m not sure where “free” will be in a few years; I am amazed that sewists/quilters/designers are so generous with their free designs.

  49. I think partly it’s the economy, partly, basically, at heart we’re cheapskates! As a sewer, and in the past, I have made patterns up, I can appreciate the time and effort it takes to bring a pattern to market. My daughter always asked me to start selling my designs, but I laughed and told her most of the population has the attitude of the “loving hands of home” attitude toward independents. I used to do the crafts show circuit, I gave up when I realized the amount of time I put into a product equaled to working for 50 cents an hour. All crafters know the labor doesn’t count when factoring in the cost. Do I think free will be the way? I hope not. I know from reading your newsletters for years how hard you have worked (and I really appreciate you!) to develop your patterns. I don’t think people realize how much time goes into drafting, testing, and finalizing a design, oftentimes when you’d rather have your feet up or enjoying your grandson! All in all, it’s a crap shoot. It’s sad, but I think people equate independent designers as “hobbyist” as opposed to McCall’s, etc. I enjoy looking at all the independent designers, from clothing, knitting, crochet, purses, and anything else. Sometimes I even offer to send a donation to the designer who offers free patterns, telling them how much I enjoy their work. As they say, you can’t please everybody. I used to alterations, sewing, etc. for people. I live in a senior complex, and the word got out I do sewing. So I had 3 ladies who I did sewing for. One said the prices were fair, one was happy with her work (I had to redo several times, but did not charge more), and one complained. I charge $10 to shorten and the one complaining said she got the capris she wanted shortened from Goodwill, and the alterations costs more than the pants! Well, I had to shorten them and I went the extra mile to add all the details that were on the cuff. Long story short, no more calls for alterations. Am I sad? NO!!! I will not devalue my work or myself. I have friends and relatives who appreciate my work and pay accordingly. They know the purses I make, the skirts, etc. are the best I can do. I think there is always going to be someone out there looking for a free lunch without realizing there is a real person out there who worked many hours bringing that “free” pattern to fruition.

  50. Kat, I do love getting things for free. Like you mentioned,I think it is a great way to get folks to visit your web page to see what else you have or to see the value of what you are getting for your money if you buy a product from that vendor. I love how you show all the work that you do to get a pattern ready for sale. I find the thought process that you go thru fascinating. I am on SS so I do have a limited income and freebies do come in handy. I don’t usually buy kits as I have been sewing and crafting for years with an almost endless amount of product that I can use, say with one of your patterns. I did buy a kit from you once to better understand the interfacing and to get some of your fantastic zippers. There are always those that do want everything for free but I have learned from you that you stick up for you and what you believe in. I admire that in you. Take care of you and thanks for all you do for us. I started this email about an hour ago but my cat decided his nap time was in my lap and I couldn’t reach the keyboard. I knew you would understand. Love, Phyllis and TC who is napping, again, in a different chair this time.

  51. I raised my children to understand that “free” isn’t free. SOMEBODY paid for it in order for you to have it for “free ” even if, in this case somebody paid with their time (time is money) in order that they might freely give it. I prefer to think of “free” as a GIFT –of generosity; not an entitlement. I love making bags and your patterns have given me a good understanding of construction so that I can really make them my own. I have a high end very expensive leather purse that, with the aid of one of your patterns, I was able to figure out how to make my own pattern and reconstruct it in cloth and I love it. I don’t have to tell you that it took me forever to write my own instructions and photograph the steps (because who can remember how to do it 5 minutes from now?) I have several of your patterns. They are awesome and truth be told I can’t remember off hand how much I paid for them but I got so much more out of them than “just a pattern” and they were worth every penny. I can’t take a class in bag making for the price of one of your patterns. Anyone who sews knows the value and worth of one of a kind specialty items (including quilts!). I really dislike whiners and complainers. OK. Off my soapbox now 🙂

  52. I love your website and products, and agonize with you throughout each new bag process. I think your products are worth every penny for the quality and convenience. I do appreciate free patterns, but certainly don’t expect them.

    Now, I have a question for you and your readers:
    So many of the easy bag patterns (not yours) and quilt patterns are simply old patterns recycled in different fabrics, but with copyrights and all. I have seen many quilt patterns in older books that are redone, even in reputable quilt magazines, without acknowledging that they are “updates” or whatever you want to call them. Many quilt patterns in magazines simply seem to be advertisements for new lines of fabric, using old patterns.
    As far as giving credit to the designer, I think that is an important issue. However, I don’t remember crediting anyone, or any other seamstress doing so either, for all the hundreds of patterns I bought and made over the years from Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls, Vogue, etc. I also don’t remember any warnings against selling garments or other items made from those companies.
    So, while I do think designers should be paid well for their work, I think some go a little overboard with their restrictions and warnings about use of their patterns.
    Anyway, there is some law that there is no copyright on fashion design, and one is allowed to copy certain aspects of garments without penalty. I don’t know about other items however.
    Anyway, i wouldn’t let the negative comments of a few discourage you. Just as one of the previous posters wrote, most people who read a blog don’t take time to post every time. You have a loyal following, and we all appreciate you.

  53. Do I like ‘free’? Sure. Do I know that something ‘free’ is really isn’t ‘free’? Of course I do. Like the others, I know what it takes to design and perfect a pattern. As one of your readers said, it is a gift. I just don’t understand why some people feel that they are entitled to ‘free’ anything. I find it a nice surprise to find a gift to try on a designers website. Your roly poly’s were great and I have bought some of your patterns from my local quilt store (another pet peeve of mine is people who don’t want to support their local shops).

    As for your complainers, I could say something rude about them and am thinking it 🙂 – but in the long run, they don’t matter. Like the saying goes, don’t let the turkeys get you down.

  54. I like free patterns, but I buy many patterns as well. I get irritated when people see something I have made and automatically ask me to violate copyright laws by making a free copy of the pattern for them. Not only are they ripping off the designer by not purchasing a copy themselves, they are asking me to do something illegal and unethical.

  55. I don’t think that the expectation of “free” is a new thing. I started the website for the fabric store owned by a friend. This was at the time when home embroidery machines were just gaining popularity. One of her customers enjoyed sharing the floral designs she digitized, so we’d post them on the site for download. They were only available in the machine format she designed them in, however.

    It was amazing to watch the site stats whenever a new design was posted. Within 24 hours, hundreds of downloads. But with that came complaints about it not being in THEIR machine format. Or not being a particular size. Or blah-blah-blah.

    Which led to my realization that the people who feel entitled to EVERYTHING they want on THEIR terms – not reality. So, in my opinion, not worth fretting about.

    When I find a pattern offered for free that I like well enough to download and save, I do a little happy dance in their honor. I may never actually make the item in question, but I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the offering.

  56. I will confess I love free patterns. However, I’ve read through enough of them to wonder if the “designer” actually made the pattern because, as a visual learner, the picture I’m getting in my head doesn’t match the intended result. As a designer of sorts myself, I know it takes hours and hours to develop a product to its final stage. If you need to write out the directions, that’s even more hours to devote to the project. Anyone who thinks this process is easy should have their head examined and I have little patience for cheapskates that think you should do all the work and they should not have to invest anything at all into the process. I think they would change their tune if the shoe were on the other foot.

  57. Do I like free? Yes, but I am fussy. Free junk is just garbage. Free from a website that is well done, and a reflection of the product that is for sale, is what I look for. I have made your nesting bags many, many times. Your instructions are clear, concise and are easy to follow step by step. After trying your free pattern, I have then purchased many of the ones for sale. I don’t hesitate to spend the money on a future pattern, especially when the designer has taken the time to give a sample of her work for free. I do agree with a comment made earlier about the price of downloadable patterns. I live in Canada and the shipping prices to have anything sent outside of USA is ridiculous. I prefer to order pdf files that I can get immediately and hopefully will cost less. I am an instant gratification kind of girl 🙂 in pj’s at midnight doing online shopping, lol Keep up the amazing work and we will keep buying.

  58. I have discovered a rather useful trick when it comes to those who expect free all the time. When I started my Etsy store, I always stated in the description of the item my years of experience in crafting and how many hours are involved with the creation of the item.

    Including your years of experience lets people know that you are not a novice crafter and putting how many hours of work it took to make you an item or pattern helps them to understand why the price point is set where it is.

    Today, I have such a backlog of custom orders that I don’t even have time to list new items in my Etsy shop anymore. Score!

  59. I sew, embroider and quilt and find that sometimes free helps me to make my own more difficult pattern, but to get free all the time, I just don’t put that much trust in the site as they are expecting you to pay more for other items offered. Most sites for clothing are very simple and not worth the effort as you can make it yourself. If a free item is offered at times, it states that the vendor is giving a small gift to its valued customers as a thank you. Always free changes people and they expect free, what is the worth of yourself to always take? I like to think of free as a gift of thanks for loyalty or friendship. If I really want or need a product and it is on sale more the better and free sometime is great, but I support the vendors I buy from for their great service and care.

  60. I can’t see the problem with paying a reasonable amount for a pattern. When total cost is figured into the purse it is still a huge savings over the price of a designer bag that anyone else can also have. If I enjoyed making it I can also make another, sell it, and recover the cost of the pattern, usually in one sale. Some people are always looking for something for nothing.

  61. I like free patterns to try before I buy. Some pattern companies are not as good as others with description, layout, instruction,etc. Embroidery freebies let me know the quality of their work before I invest. I am retired and have to watch my pennies. Believe me I buy these things before I eat sometimes because this is my life! I need to know that I am making good decisions. When at a show I view the entire show before making purchases to assure that my money is best spent on quality not necessarily quantity. I enjoy shows because you can see first hand what you are purchasing and can often read the directions for clarity.

  62. I put links to free patterns on my website for the same reason but I have not had any customers for a long time. It’s like my website doesn’t excist. I also have an etsypage. Are people not buying fabric anymore? Or is my handpainted fabric too expensive? Or are people making their own?
    Lisbet

    • Thanks for writing Lisbet, but are you doing anything to promote your website? Do you have a FaceBook page, or an Instagram acct? Do you write a newsletter, or do you post to a Blog? Because here’s the thing… just because you have a website is no guarantee that people will start flocking there. You have to constantly remind them of why they need to come there.