Popular Patterns: An Update!

A week or two ago I blogged about how come patterns become popular, and some don’t. Since then, a few new patterns a blog posts have come out, so I thought I’d check back in with some of my observations!

Shorts: Not only do we have Colette, Sewaholic and Grainline shorts released this year, a new pattern company called Sinbad and Sailor has announced their Raven Shorts pattern! They don’t have a zipper or buttons, which will appeal to some… but the styling – Eeek! So baggy! They aren’t really selling me on the design. (BTW, have you seen their kimono dress? It looks so familiar, but I can’t place what pattern it is reminding me of! I thought it was Pattern Runway, but they only seem to have the short-sleeved Kimono dress pattern now…) Always exciting to see a new pattern company launch though – Bring it on!

Beignet: It’s back, baby! Laura Mae made a lovely version for the Sew Weekly, and Pins and Needles included the pattern in her Autumn Sewing list. Someone suggested after my last post that it is a better cool-weather pattern, and I guess they are right! (Seriously, who said that? I can’t find it anywhere in the comments… was it on Twitter?)

SEWN Go Anywhere Dress: In my last post, I was wondering why the Sewn Go-Anywhere had never caught on. It’s a cute dress from an indie designer, with great reviews from Spool Sewing Blog, so why hasn’t it caught on? Well, my pattern arrived in the mail, and, well… the packaging is definitely old-fashioned!

It comes with 7 double-sided pages of photocopied instructions, which are written as if for the complete beginner. Seriously, there are detailed, wordy instructions on how to pre-wash fabric, which way to fold it, and dont’ forget to iron it! Plus two full pages of different layout options, and a full page of yardage requirements for each and every possible version of the dress: long sleeves with pockets, short sleeves without pockets, etc. It’s kind of charming, really… but way too detailed for my tastes!

Sewaholic Alma Blouse: Here’s me earlier this week:” OMGOMGomg, new Sewaholic pattern – I MUST BUY!!!!” And I did… but the honest truth is that I didn’t LOVE the pattern, I just loved Sewaholic! I’ve made at least 5 Pendrells, and countless Renfrews, so when Tasia came out with a new blouse, I knew it would be a clever design that fit perfectly and sewed up quickly.

Oddly, I didn’t feel very inspired by Tasia’s own versions… Did you? I mean, she’s so pretty and cute, and her pictures are great, but I just don’t see myself in that business-casual styling. However, I knew bloggers would be popping up with their adorable test-sewn versions and that I’d soon fall in love. They all popped up on the same day (Good marketing, Tasia!), and oh my gosh they are CUTE! Look! Look! Look! I’m clearly a sucker or seeing something made by my favourite bloggers!

So what? Here’s what I think about popular (and unpopular) patterns and marketing.

Popular Patterns Truth #1: Pretty pictures sell us on the dream.

Pattern pictures need to be aspirational and make us believe that the pattern is the solution to all our fitting problems! The Raven Shorts might be a masterwork of drafting, but if the picture isn’t selling me on it, then I’m not buying!

Popular Pattern Truth #2: Classics will last more than one season.

A classic pattern like Beignet might not be the hot new thing any more, but when the right season roles around, people will dig it out and fall in love with it all over again!

Popular Patterns Truth #3: Packaging matters!

I’m planning to sewn a muslin of the Go Anywhere dress sometime soon, so we’ll see if the dress pattern itself is good… but certainly the packaging doesn’t give it any of the cool-factor of Colette’s little instruction booklets, or the innovation of Papercut Pattern’s packaging. If I saw it in a store, I might not pick it up!

Popular Pattern Truths #4: Loyal clients buy into your brand.

For Indie pattern designers, the branding of your “look” and marketing of yourself has become a huge factor in your popularity. Through Twiiter and blogging, we “get to know” indie designers like Sarai from Colette, Megan Neilson, and Jenn from Grainline. I love Sewaholic patterns because they fit my pear-shape, but also because Tasia is friendly, helpful, exactly my age, and from the same country! When bloggers that I admire endorse a pattern, it helps build that brand image of something fun, cool, stylish and accessible.

What do you think?

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