How to Make a Pattern Tutorial– Pricing your pattern

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Today- we are finishing up the Focus Friday on How to make and designer your own patterns.

Let’s talk about what to do with your patterns after you have figured out the design, templates and measurements, sewing steps and instructions.  Those were all the steps leading up to the biggie….what is in it for me? What do I get out of it?    Oh, come on. We all are in it for the return on investment aren’t we? Even if you offer it as something free you are getting a ROI…. ego {everyone loves you- hee hee}. So let’s get to it.

How do you figure out: Where? How? Price?

Let’s start off with the Where—Because of the internet {love that technology}  there are 2 options for selling your patterns:

  • Online— There are multiple resources and places to sell your patterns.  There is Etsy, Ebay, Cotton Spice, Art Fire….ect…. I am sure there are many more out there..{share it if you would in the comments, but these are just a few.}  The internet allows you to open up a shop online and sell them yourself also–but those big distributors pull in the buyers a lot easier when you are just starting out.  When you sell online you are typically selling an e-pattern.  Usually, this is a pattern that is not a hard copy.  They purchase it, and recieve an email with a dowload link, or you attach the pattern to the email for them to open.   You can sell a pattern hard copy, but alot of buyers these days love the ability to have the hard copy within 24 hours in their email.  Because of this option, the buyer has the option to save it forever on their computer and print out just the pages they want. Need a new template–no need to panic! Just print another copy off. Easy as that.  Because you are the boss of your own pattern you can determine the sell price.  The other great thing with the online option- it’s open 24 hours.    **Drawback— starting out is hard. Finding your spot and having people find you and your great pattern.  Fees- there are costs for transfering money and listing fees.


  • In Store— There is just something about going to a store, looking at all the wonderful eye-candy, touching, smelling, chatting, loving..oh sorry. I was in a trance there. I do love real life shopping!!  With a store you can sell more than one pattern at a time, usually they purchase in groups of 10-12.  This can also open up to a few more options— teaching, finding some new contacts, your item of the pattern on display, notoriety, guest spots in local sewing groups and so much more.  You also build a reprior with the shop…and sometimes they present you with more opportunities than you had anticipated.  **Drawback— A brick and morter store closes, is only shopped by those in local vicinity, can run out of your pattern, and it isn’t open 24 hours.

How? How do you go about selling?

  • 1st step—- Just get out there and do something!!!  You have all the other steps done. Just do it—   This is what i have a hard time doing. I easily add it online. No biggie. In person though, whatever.  If you can believe it, I currently have nothing in the shops!! ugh. I haven’t made that next step/jump. Not sure really why.
  • Set up your store.  Open an account on Etsy {i find it the easiest and friendliest site}.  Decide on your name –you should have one by now.   This is the quickest and easiest way to do it.   If you are daring enough to just go for it and start your own online store —here are some to check out ecratormals e commerce,  zencart.
  • Load it up with all your patchwork crafts and goods!!!  Get listing, tweeting, blogging and facebooking.  Let everyone know about what great patterns for beginners, intermediates + you have, and how wonderful it is.

Frosted Cupcake Hotpad e-pattern        Sizes Reversible Bag PDF Pattern

Price?  How do I figure it out?  What do I charge?

  • This area is up for grabs…. I started out charging more for my patterns. For some reason I have found the lucky number of $5.00 for my e-patterns.  I am really kind of cheap girls.  I have a hard time paying a lot for a pattern and then have to purchase the fabric/supplies on top of it.  That is my reasoning for keeping my patterns where they are.  Plus, I took a lot of time to make that pattern…..but….. I can sell it over and over again without spending any money on gas, printing, color photos.  I send that pattern via email.  2 clicks and it is off to its new owner!
  • Finding your price means you have to take into consideration a few things:

      Time– look how long it took you to make that pattern.  Try to keep track of what you have spent, and add in the time of marketing, selling, listing..ect.  Keep the time on the same pages as the pattern. That way you know what time refers to what pattern. After a few you will be able to kind of guess —How long does it take to type it into the computer? How long does it take to make the pattern pieces?  How long does it take to test the pattern?  How long does it take to go to the store and purchase the supplies? How long does it take to promote? Drive?

Supplies– I am not quite sure if we can count the supplies like fabric, zipper and stuff like that. I mean, we aren’t selling the item…..only the pattern for someone to make the item with.  So really we are talking- paper, making copies, photo development, color copies, slider top bags to sell them in, anything you want to include with the pattern. aka- plastic templates.

      Cost to sell– when you sell to a store it is a one fee they pay. Online, there are listing fees, money transfer fees, selling fees.  There are always more incedentals–  For more pricing help check out this pricing post.  The price that you come up with will be huge! I am sure to take into account of all those items. Be Realistic though, it will take a bit of time to recoupe the costs.

*When selling on your own your price will be the retail value.

* When selling wholesale or to a store you will be selling at a discounted rate. Wholesale is when you sell a bunch of one thing to someone at a discounted rate. The retailers will be marking up their purchase price 40% {is this right? someone help here}  It is lower than selling it on your own….but you get money right then, and you sell more than just one, and your name is out there getting publicity and it is networking for you.

Research your Competition— I think this is very important to the process of pattern design.  Know what is out there price wise.  What do the more expensive patterns have that the cheaper ones don’t? How do you feel about paying that price for a pattern?  Take a walk around that store just looking at the patterns and their pricing. This will give you a great idea of what the going rate for a pattern is.  I totally love staking out the others patterns and looking at them and critiqueing them. hee hee

Really I guess—– Just enjoy the moments and the fun you have figuring out the whole process and designing something new –that is an origional made by you!!

By the way, even if you have decided on a price that doesn’t mean you can’t give a few for free, change the pricing or whatever. It is YOUR pattern and you can change anything you like or dislike about it.  And hey- there are a few patterns that are free in one place and are priced and sold in another. You can do that too.

Great link on pricing and finding out where your profit is going.

Clickety Click Here by sewing business blog


What about letting others sell items they make from your pattern?  This is again totally a personal thing.

At first when I started selling patterns I had at the bottom of the page— please don’t sell items. But do you know what? I like that others like my pattern enough to want to make them to sell them. + really I am not a sewing machine when it comes to my own items. I sell things at boutiques occasionally, but I am not a mass producer of them and I don’t ever see myself becoming one either. So I say- Go For It!!  Let me see those cute things you come up with!

There are a few out there that you must get specific permission from to sell things from their patterns. Made by Rae sells the right for one of her patterns. Oliver + S is Very specific in their rules for selling items.

So think about it, and again if you change your mind– noone will ever know but you! How do you feel about it? Do you like it when others offer this? What about charging an additional cost for the right to sell?

Whatever you decide make sure that you have that written warning or permission on the pattern itself.  It’s always better to have it in writing isn’t it? They have been for-warned.

Now, just quickly let’s chat about protecting yourself.  This one—well, is a hard one.  You need to decide how serious you will take it when you find something that is wayyy to similar to what you have. This happens.

I will be frank here—-everyone is a copycat!!! Everyone has in their mind, hey I can make that…and then, we do! So really I guess what comes around, goes around. BUT, if this does happen to you don’t worry… you have some rights.

Here are a few sources for checking out the copywright info:

By Craft Designs

by Laura

Since we started I took you on a little journey of design, templates and measurements, sewing steps and instructions. and selling your patterns.

Hasn’t it been fun?

I am expecting that everyone that is following along made a pattern!! oh, didn’t you?  Well, anyways. When you are ready to you know where to come.  If anyone has any questions contact me. I would love to help.

Oh, hey- just a quick side note—- make sure you have contact info on the pattern!!!! This should be your .com address or your real address or business address or something.   That way if there are any questions or mistakes or whatever there is a way they can contact you. I have been asked a bunch of questions on patterns- no biggies- but just some clarifications.  People learn differently, so just in case they need it have it there for them.

Did I miss anything in this little series? DId you want to talk about something else? Let me know— I am pretty sure we can fit it in. 🙂

Please leave us some comments on what works and doesn’t for you. We only learn by others success and mistakes.

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