Printed Sewing Patterns – Your Opinions are Needed Please

I’m in the process of getting a few of my most popular PDF sewing patterns into physical printed format, with the view to stocking them in fabric and haberdashery stores. I have spent ages designing the front covers for them and deciding how I’m going to put the packs together. I really need your opinions on what you think of the whole concept and the cover designs. Your thoughts will be very much appreciated. So, here’s the possible cover designs (click on the images for larger views):

What do you think, do they look appealing or not? Are the colours good or are they too bright? Would you be tempted to buy them if you saw these in your local fabric shop? If you have a fabric shop, would you want to stock them?

I plan to include the following in the printed pattern packs: Full colour 8-12 page booklet containing the pattern instructions and step-by-step images (or diagrams) and a separate, fold-out pattern sheet with full-size templates, ready to cut out and use.

The pattern booklets will be A5 in size so the step images will be smaller than my usual A4 PDF patterns. Are full-colour images of the steps important to you or would you prefer line-drawn diagrams?

I have two options for packaging – 1. Simply popped into a clear, zip lock bag. 2. Placed inside a glossy cardboard presentation folder, which would then be displayed inside a zip lock bag or other clear pocket of some sort, maybe with hang-tags if shops require them for display.

What do you think of those two options? Do you like patterns being supplied in zip lock bags?

Prices will be higher for printed patterns, as opposed to downloadable patterns.

Are you happy to pay more for a printed pattern from a shop (keeping in mind that you don’t have to print anything and you don’t have to print and tape pages together to get the full-size templates). Or do you prefer to get the pattern cheaper as a downloadable? Would you rather see new patterns that are not available as downloads?

(update:) Lastly, the paper the templates are printed on, what do you prefer when bag making – ordinary paper or the tissue that most shop bought clothing patterns are printed on? I’m thinking the tissue ones don’t last too long and can rip easily but maybe this isn’t a problem and maybe they are in fact easier to use?

Well, I’m hoping you can help me with all these questions. I will be deeply grateful for any insights, advice and constructive criticism that you could offer.

Thanks everyone!


17 thoughts on “Printed Sewing Patterns – Your Opinions are Needed Please

  1. What a good idea, I think there are some people who are still resistant to pdf patterns. They just want to get the pattern out a pack and start cutting & sewing. Personally I don’t like the grided back ground, I think the covers would look a lot better without them. It will make the photos stand out more if there’s not so much detail around it.

    I also think the green could do with being a little brighter/lighter to tie in with the other covers which are lighter. Zip lock bag sound like a good idea, it keeps all the pieces in one place.

  2. I think they look great, I like the colours and how they match the fabrics you’ve used. Yes, I’d be tempted to buy them. Funnily enough, I was thinking about your patterns this morning and how one would make a good birthday present for my friend tomorrow, but as they’re pdf files I wouldn’t be able to give her an actual present to open (just an email!). So having printed patterns is a great idea for gifts.

    I like having photos of the steps, but I’m quite new to sewing, so that’s what I’m used to.

    A clear zip lock bag is fine if it keeps the price down. The box is a nice idea if it’s a present for someone. I have bought one paper pattern and it came in a card folder which was in a plastic bag with a sticky seal, so you have to be careful not to stick it to the card when you put it back in the bag, so zip lock is better in this respect.

    I’d like to see the patterns available as both printed and pdf. If I was planning ahead to buy one then I’d probably go for the pdf option and save a bit of money, but if I saw one in the shop and fancied treating myself (or wanted to buy it as a gift) then I would buy the printed one.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with them!
    P.S. Please try and get them stocked in my local shop (Tatters in Staines)!

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      fantastic comments, thank you so much for taking the time to send me such helpful feedback. I hadn’t even thought about anyone buying them as gifts for others so that’s really helped to have that to think about. All your thoughts are duly noted and will figure greatly in my decision making. Thank you. (I will take a note of your local fabric shop, fingers crossed!)

  3. Hi Susan

    Not only do your pattern covers look appealing, they look scrumptious – I like the bright colours of the bags and the borders and the simple, non-fussy styling. The colours are not too bright – I think they reflect your taste in bright, bold, interesting fabrics.I would definitely be tempted to buy them in a shop.

    I like the idea of full colour steps. I am used to line drawings from having used printed patterns from Simplicity etc for many years so I would be comfortable with them. But the colour steps would be appealing.

    The glossy cardboard presentation folder inside the zip lock bag would be attractive for purchasing in the shop as well as making the pattern more easily identifiable amongst my selection of patterns at home.

    I would be happy to pay more for a printed pattern as it reduces my time in preparation of the pattern – taping pieces together then using tracing paper to trace the pattern to use like the tissue paper of a printed pattern.Plus there is no using my own paper and ink to print the pattern myself. I think most people would be happy to pay the extra for the convenience of being able to open the packet and start laying out and cutting fabric straight away.

    As I Iive in Australia and may not have access to your printed versions of patterns as quickly as UK customers, I would like to see patterns available in both formats. To acquire a printed pattern, I may have to order it via your website or a supplier’s website, pay for postage and wait for the pattern to arrive. Downloads are instantaneous and convenient. Ideally, your printed patterns would become available in outlets in Australia so that I would have a choice of pattern versions.

    I wish you all the best with your new pattern designs – I love them. I love your simple styles, your excellent instructions and your choice of gorgeous, delicious fabrics. I have made three of your bag styles so far and love them all. The completed items have attracted admiration.

    Best wishes
    Theresa (Seams Different)

    1. Hi Theresa,
      thank you very much for all your comments and suggestions which I’m going to find so helpful. Great feedback for me to work on and thank you too, for the lovely comments of my PDF patterns. I’ll keep you posted.

      One other question I hadn’t thought to mention but you’ve brought it up – when bag making, do prefer templates to be printed onto ordinary paper or do you prefer the tissue that most shop bought patterns are printed on? I’m thinking that the tissue ones don’t last too long and can rip easily but maybe this isn’t a problem and maybe they are in fact easier to use?

      1. Hi Susan
        I’m glad everyone’s feedback is helpful to you. Regarding tissue paper – I was used to using the tissue paper throughout my life and learned to take care of it, fold it neatly etc to keep it intact. I think tissue paper patterns can last a long time. With pdf printouts on to printer copy paper, I find it too thick to use as the actual pattern to be pinned to the fabric. I use the print out as a template and trace the pattern on to baking paper. It is more lightweight than the printer paper and is transparent, which I like as I can see the fabric and can help me decide on pattern placement for patterned fabric. It is also not as thin as the tissue paper in commercial patterns so is a great compromise between tissue and printer paper. Thanks. Theresa

        1. Hi Theresa,
          thanks again for such wonderful advice. I’m getting a sample of good quality pattern paper sent to me so I can check the thickness. I like the idea of being somewhere in between traditional tissue and paper. As you say, baking paper works fab so I’m trying to get something of that style. Not sure if available but we’ll see.
          best to you,

  4. I really like the covers the way they are. The colors in the fabrics match the border colors perfectly! I prefer patterns instead of pdf for one reason–when I print out a pattern and it is bigger than 8-1/2×11 inches, I have to tape the pattern together. I’ve had to do this when using patterns from books and magazines! Plus printer paper is a lot stiffer than pattern paper. I have been sewing for almost 46 years and I’m used to pattern paper!

  5. Covers: I love the bright colors of the cover pages–very cheerful and inviting! You’ve done an excellent job, Susie!

    Images: My preference would be the photos as you show them in your PDFs although smaller is fine.

    Packaging: It’s always nice to have the zip lock for pieces. However, I’ve purchased some cardboard folders (very attractive) that are closed with a sticky tab about the size of a quarter, so after I’ve used the pieces I just return them to the folder and hold it all together with a binder clip.

    PDF vs. Printed: Personally, I prefer PDF–instant gratification you know. 🙂 And I don’t mind taping since the pieces aren’t that large. But it would be hard to pass up your beautiful patterns if I saw them in a shop. And, it is true, that it would make a great gift. I’m usually very tempted to buy a shop pattern if I see a sample of the finished product displayed by the patterns.

    Tissue vs. Heavier Paper: If you have the sturdier paper, it will last longer and store easier, and you can always choose to trace on something thinner if necessary. Bag pieces tend to not be that large nor intricate, so I haven’t found tracing necessary thus far.

    Hope this helps. Best of luck to you! Awesome patterns! Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Anny,
      thank you very much for your great feedback. Really helpful comments and I appreciate you taking the time. I’ll let you know how things pan out. I feel very encouraged by everyone’s help so far and all the suggestions and advice is invaluable to me.
      Thank you!

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