Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Pregnancy Pillow pattern is about to change

My pregnancy pillow sewing pattern that I designed in 2012 has had rave reviews. People in countries who cannot order pillows like these have especially told me of how they appreciate what a great pattern that this is. It has helped many mamas through their pregnancies when they didn't have another option.
Sadly though, the makers of a similar pillow have accused my design to be too much like theirs. Not that the pattern itself is a problem, but that I am "encouraging people to infringe on" their said patent.  I want  other wahms to feel free to sew any of my designs to sell without worry of infringement. Also, as a wahm myself, I absolutely do not want to be in a business rivalry, so I need to make a few modifications to my design.
I will look into this issue further, but for the time being, the current pregnancy pillow pattern will be retired as of July, 2013.
Although I love this design, I am forced to re-visit the pattern to try to adjust the shape so as to not infringe on any patents.
In the mean time, I would love to hear personal reviews of the pregnancy pillow pattern, the likes and dislikes, new ideas for a replacement pillow design and of course.....(drum roll)....Pictures! I would love to see some pictures of your pregnancy pillow that you have sewn from this or any other pattern.
Although it might take a while, keep a lookout for the next full body pregnancy pillow design. Someday I'll get another one out there. :)
UPDATE - The new pregnancy pillow pattern can be found here: 
New Pregnancy Pillow Pattern


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Designing a sewing pattern

I love to design sewing patterns. It's a hobby, my business, and my "go to" when I need something for myself! I have been ridiculously disappointed in store bought patterns multiple times, so I have resolved to only make my own. If you have ever wondered how to make a sewing pattern, this gives you the details on what I do to make my sewing patterns perfect.

I've had hundreds of questions about sewing articles made from my patterns to sell. I think it's a great idea! Moms need to help moms out. My pattern designs are (pat myself on the back) top notch, so it would make sense to use them to make your business grow! I have a contract page here that allows a business Mama to do this very thing: http://www.mammacandoit.com/articles/Make-Your-Business-Grow.cfm
One of the stipulations in the contract is to simply point a link in your product listing to my site. This is great for the following reasons:
  • Potential customers see the link and appreciate that the seller is in a working relationship with another mama business. (If I customer is buying on Etsy or from a local Mama, they are aware of how important it is to support working Moms).
  • Customers can look up the design to see if other people say positive things about it.
  • Customers will see the seller's business integrity and appreciate it. It could be a great selling point!
  • Customers will see more pictures of the design. 
  • There might be helpful pages on my website that go along with the design like washing instructions or wearing instructions.
  • A seller who is in a working relationship with me also gets my referrals (which are many) for people who want items sewn for them.
  • I get more helpful exposure which makes my google search results go up, pins on pinterest, facebook likes and more. 
  • I would be happy to point a link back to the seller. Just ask!

I've recently had a person ask me if it was necessary to link to my pattern if they tweaked a couple things or if they didn't follow my tutorial. Based on the above reasons, I don't see a reason not to! However, I think it's fair that I tell you what is involved in creating a sewing pattern. As you read below, please understand that the time stated is during my 'work time'....which is nap time. 

  1. The first thing that I do when deciding to create a sewing pattern is to determine what I need or a customer needs. Frequently, I have an idea of what I want, but I want it to be the best that it can be!
  2. I like to see what other people like. I do hours of research with google images and key words to see what people are searching for, what's popular, and trendy. 
  3. Then I research products. What products in those keywords do people like the best? What are their complaints or praises about the products? Do I personally like various things about those products? What could I change to make it better?
  4. Then I check out sizing. Many times I have to call around, measure, research, or ask the doctor for average body measurements that would work for my project.

    (The above 4 steps can take anywhere from 10 hours to 80 hours depending on the time schedule)
  5. Once I have decided on the necessities of the design, I start to draw. I use very expensive programs that have required a huge learning curve over the span of about 4 years to become efficient in. I still don't know the programs all that well, but I am efficient at the little bits that I do know. Drawing the original pattern pieces take anywhere from 4 hours to 40 hours. I have body measurements to take into account as well as placements of seam allowances, snaps, elastics, etc.
  6. Once I have a rough design drawn, I test it by sewing it. Tweek it, test again, tweek again until it is what I want. Then I make a prototype in various sizes so that I can hunt down friends who might want to try the article on their baby, themselves or just to give me input. 
  7. After I have input from others, I tweek the pattern one last time.
  8. I finish the pattern pieces by making a page out of it so that it will be printable from a home computer. Then I print and measure to be sure that it's right.

    (The main design is accomplished. Whew!)
  9. Once the design is done, then it's time to make the tutorial. The first thing that I do is take pictures (with my expensive camera) for each step while I am sewing it. This process usually takes me 2-4 hours.
  10. I then edit the photos so that I have crisp images which will look good and be easy to understand.
  11. I write a rough draft of the tutorial steps.
  12. I design the tutorial in layout form.
  13. I have people test the pattern to make sure that it is easy to read and to follow and tweak as necessary.
  14. I have a photoshoot with the finished product. Edit more photos.
  15. Finish the tutorial and pattern.
  16. Put on my website, etsy and various other places.
  17. Once the pattern is done, I am constantly answering emails or questions. I tweak the pattern/tutorial if I see that there are issues with how it is written or place new images if the previous ones do not clearly show how to do that step. I also have recently started to make videos for people if they don't get a particular part of the pattern. 
Overall, it takes about 80 working hours at the minimum for each pattern design. I even have designs that I have started a year ago that are moving slowly...it's not a fast process for some of them. In a perfect world that I can spend each and every nap time working, that is a minimum of 20 business days.

Now you know how much time and effort that I put into my patterns. To answer all "tweaking and forgetting that MammaCanDoIt designed it" questions: Unless you have started from the ground up like I have done, it wouldn't be integrally right to "tweak and forget". If you use my design as a base for your project, please send the referral. It is much appreciated.
I frequently get customers who tell me that my patterns are the most professional designs that they have ever bought or used online. I am thankful for the compliment. It's nice to know that my hard work is paying off. 

Every once in a while, I have someone who asks if my design is similar to someone else's. It might be. But I have designed the entire thing myself. I will buy a pattern from other Mama designers sometimes if I need a pattern in a pinch...but I never use them for a base for my designs. 

By writing this article, my hope is that it will help other Mamas who are trying to decide whether to use my designs to make items to sell. It is also intended for the Mama who wants to start designing sewing patterns herself to give her an outline on what she needs to do to get started.
This page was also intended to put at ease any infringement ideas.

Have a wonderful day and thank you for joining me!

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