In your blog feed, which designers dominate?

In your blog feed, which designers dominate? Whose patterns will you see pop up at least once a day? 

Those questions caught my imagination yesterday, for no apparent reason, so I went through and tallied up all the finished garments that showed up in my blog feed for the last day two days three days! (I started with just a day, but thought more time would be more representative.)

Here’s what I found:

Untitled

To my surprise, no one pattern company dominated! Grainline has the most makes by a bit, which I think comes down to well-designed classics…. self-drafting was popular, which I think is a nice indication of confident sewists… the “other” category included kids stuff, means wear, Japanese patterns and so on.

The biggest surprise to me was just how many pattern companies got blogged in those three days – I was not expecting my list to fill the whole envelope I was writing on! There’s no doubt that the indie pattern world has exploded in the past couple of year (and I bet we’ve all either rolled our eyes at yet another blogger starting a new pattern company, or felt overwhelmed while reading a “new patterns review”). What I think is so cool though is that the blogging community has embraced so many designers, and such a wide range of things are being made! Simple basics? Check. Vintage? Check. Modern, traditional, trendy, Big 4? Check, check, check, check. I was expecting certain designers to dominate, but turns out I’m so pleased that they didn’t!

Of course, you’d get different results if you tallied up your own blog roll, depending on who you follow, but I think the diversity would still be there same. I know this is hopelessly optimistic of me, but it just makes me happy that we’ve got so many patterns to choose from, and that each blogger can choose what suits them, and yet we can all be part of the same community! (Hey, I told you this was hopelessly optimistic. Go somewhere else for your snark today! ;) 

The nice part of so many companies getting blogged is that I’m aware of their patterns, even if they aren’t my style (Tessuti, I’m looking at you!) The scary side of it is that I can picture designs by almost every single designer on my list off the top of my head. HOW MUCH BRAIN POWER IS PATTERN KNOWLEDGE HOGGING IN MY BRAIN? Agghhh! I dare you, scroll back to the list and see if you can name or picture at least 2 patterns from each designer mentioned!

I’m not sure I really have a point with all this, I just found it interesting… and I haven’t felt like sewing for a week, so I’m got time to sit and think!

Is your blog feed varied like mine, or do certain designers get made noticeably more often than others? What about on your own blog – are you loyal to a few brands, or is it a bit of everything? Were you happier a few years ago when there were just a handful of indies and Big 4 to choose from, or do you like the explosion or new choices now available?


47 thoughts on “In your blog feed, which designers dominate?

  1. Surprised to see such a big list too! Imagine what it would have been like in Indie Pattern Month! I’m not loyal to any designer, I like to try them all! I often buy them with no idea when I’ll make them just to support them!

    Like

    1. Maybe because of the random 3 days I tallied up, or maybe it’s who I follow? I definitely follow people who sew a majority of indie patterns, although I think Big 4 are well represented, especially by US sewists who can buy them cheap!

      Like

  2. All I can say, is the support provided compared to the Big 4 is so appreciated when you are investing the time to create a garment. I don’t know what I would do without the Sewaholic Renfrew, for example. And that new bathing suit pattern by Seamstress Erin – OMG, Love! And the lovely creator at In House patterns … responded to my comment on her tutorial. Gotta love the personal interaction. I have so much of pattern info in my brain too!!! 😉

    Like

    1. I definitely agree! In fairness, I’ve never tried the customer service for Big 4 patterns… I do really appreciate that McCalls is active on social media, and Vogue/McCalls have had lots of blogger through to tours their offices! If Big 4 patterns were cheaper in Canada, i’ be more inclined to put the work into getting the fit figured out so I could use them a lot… but as is, I just find Indies cost effective and easier to access!

      Like

      1. One time I was at Jo Ann Fabrics looking through their pattern books and another lady was there looking for a specific pattern. She actually called the customer service number and was talking to someone about finding this pattern she was looking for. I couldn’t believe it. I never would have thought to do that!

        Like

        1. Oooh, what a clever idea! I’d never have thought of that either, but I’m impressed it was that easy to talk to someone!

          Like

  3. Did you make any note of how many patterns had been customized to the point of unrecognizability? I feel like I see a huge number of those, at which point I don’t even know how to count them.

    Like

    1. Do you feel like it says good or bad things about a pattern when people alter it a lot? For me, I think that if they have to work super hard to make the first version fit then I’d be cautious about that pattern (like Colette Myrtle for me)… but if they’ve made tons of versions and then get creative, that seems like an endorsement!

      Like

      1. I always find it a little disappointing. Some fitting changes are to be expected, but if I like something and I want to make it for myself and then it turns out that there are a million steps worth of drafting to recreate it, I’m bummed about it.

        Like

  4. What a great topic, Gillian! My blog feed is totally oriented toward indies. They really got me back to my sewing machine, with better products and better service (Pauline Alice and Grainline being my favorites). I like the idea of paying directly for the work of a designer instead of financing a soulless profit-oriented company. Plus, with indie designers, you get to know their signature style and silhouette and know in advance if it will fit you or not. Now, I do have to admit that some indie designers publish “n’importe quoi”… some design are ridiculously basic!

    Like

    1. There definitely are some super basic is-that-really-worth-releasing indies out there, but the big 4 have lots of super simple basics too! I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a pattern designer releasing your precious pattern into the world, wondering what people will think of it! Yikes. Self-employment is not for me.
      Have you ever watched any of the videos from the McCalls/Vogue/Butterick blog? It’s pretty fun to see some of the people behind the “big 4”! http://blog.mccall.com/

      Like

      1. That brings up a point that hasn’t been mentioned so far (well, to be fair I haven’t got to the end)! They (mcCalls) use a model for their clothes – so one who works there, to be fair, but she is tall and lithe – I love seeing the indie models embracing all body types in their marketing (for the most part), to see what patterns will look like off the bat on different body types.

        Like

        1. That very true! I can see why they choose someone modelesque to wear the samples instead of having to make all-new clothes… they do show employees of all shapes, sizes and ages wearing McCalls patterns on their IG feed. Actually, I think they just asked for feedback on what people would like to see more of – maybe you should pop over and ask for clothes modelled on a variety of figures?

          Like

  5. My blog feed definitely has a bigger Big 4 presence (especially the lines that focus on everyday basics–McCalls, Simplicity, and New Look), but other than that, mine looks pretty similar to yours. Without peaking, I would guess Grainline to have the biggest presence, like yours.

    Like

    1. Oh interesting – I never thought of certain pattern lines focusing more on every day basics, but it makes sense now that you say it. I guess Vogue is more about workwear and fancier stuff! Do you prefer any particular brands over the others?

      Like

  6. What an interesting post. I think that my blog feed is dominated by vintage and indies. Personally, I will sew from anyone that produces patterns in my size. I have been leaning towards Simplicity recently. They have some very nice new designs and I have all the adjustments pretty much sussed for their sizing. I wonder if it would be the same spread if it was over a year? Do you think that us bloggers are very representative of the sewing market or are more likely to lean towards the indies and vintage? Xx

    Like

    1. There’s always a flurry of posts for a month or so after a designer releases a new pattern… I think it’s fun to see which ones last longer! I think that with more designers to choose from, that ebb and flow might actually even out over the course of a year. Too bad I’m not a big enough data-head to actually do the work to find out!😉

      Like

      1. Oh, and as for if blogs are representative of the entire sewing market… well, considering that I haven’t met one other sewing blogger in my town, yet we have two fabric stores, I really think we must be an odd minority!😉

        Like

  7. I think indie patterns vintage patterns are the ones I have used the most of late. And I usually found out about them thru’ my rss feed. There are some Big 4, and I have one in my queue, but they seem to dominate more in the US blogs I read than the Canadian, Australian, and European ones.

    Like

    1. The Americans have such cheap access to big 4 patterns – no wonder they are so popular there! Then again, Europe seems to have great pattern magazines, which I would love to have here in Canada for more reasonable prices!

      Like

  8. Really interesting! I don’t think I would have been able to accurately guess any of these numbers! Personally, I think it’s great that there are so many different designers and pattern companies… that makes it more likely that more people are finding patterns that suit their niche. There are companies that I avoid because they’re not really my style (ex: Kate & Rose) and others because they’re drafted for a much different shape (ex: Sewaholic), but I’ve seen beautiful versions of their patterns on people that are more suited to them!

    Like

    1. Totally! I’m fascinated by Japanese sewing books, but no way in hell am I going to sew them when I spent 5 years avoiding wearing those styles! On the flip side, it’s fun to see people who look really different than me make up the same patterns. (Like you and me – we have totally different figures, but we can still make and like the same design!) It’s also nice to see that little start-up indies can hold their own against more established ones!

      Like

  9. ooh interesting! I like a bit of diversity – it can be a bit repetitive when everyone is posting the same pattern / few patterns. Now I’m wondering what it would look like over a longer period!

    Like

    1. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the data over a year? Too bad I”m way too lazy to look at more than 3 days worth of posts. It would also be cool to look back 3 years ago, and see what the difference was then!

      Like

  10. What an interesting topic! Thanks for tallying up these results and sharing them with us. I agree, I would have never predicted such a rich diversity with no one pattern company really dominating. The diversity of sewing bloggers, pattern companies, styles, and creative interpretations in altering patterns is what makes the sewing community so wonderful. I hope this trend continues. 🙂

    Like

    1. Yes! Viva la difference. I’m also really pleased to see so many more companies releasing larger sizes in the last year. Now if some indie would do larger sizes of menswear, I’d be thrilled!

      Like

  11. I’m glad there is so much diversity because sometimes I’ll see a pattern released and I won’t think it’s for me, but then I’ll see a blogger (or two or three) make it and it will convince me to buy it.

    What’s your opinion on negative vs. positive reviews? Sometimes I don’t like blogging about stuff that doesn’t work out because I don’t want to be negative. But I appreciate reading about honest negative reviews because it’ll make me re-think whether to make something. I suppose there is a way to be negative without being mean, so maybe that’s what I should aim for.

    Like

    1. Oh gosh, I so agree about being convinced about patterns by other bloggers… I”m waiting and waiting to see if anyone can convince me that the Sallie jumpsuit would look alright on me!

      Negative and positive reviews – that’s such a tough one. I pattern-tested one dress that turned out terribly, and I chose not to mention that one on the blog… partly because it wasn’t a finished pattern, partly because I might not have chosen the right fabric and certainly didn’t put any effort into fitting… and partly because it seems rude when the designer had asked me to test! I do feel ok criticising technical things (like the pdfs for BHL, which I found were so clunky to work with, or the finishing suggestions on Colette knits, which I also find odd) but I’m always wary of poking the beast – basically, I find that if I’m critical of stuff then other people on forums or in the comments jump on and say negative things about the designer that go beyond what I’m comfortable with. It’s a fine line!

      I remember really interesting discussion online a while ago about how sewists avoid blaming the pattern by blaming themselves or the fabric… but in truth, those are often the problem for me! I can’t think of a pattern I’ve sewn that was BAD – but I’ve definitely chosen the wrong fabric or sewn too fast. On the other hand, I agree with you that gentle critical reviews are so useful to read!

      What to do, what to do? I guess my answer is: I don’t know!

      Like

  12. I love all the options out there. I say the more the merrier. However, the bulk of what I sew is usually a big 4 pattern. That is totally because I can buy them so cheap. There have been quite a few indie patterns I’ve been interested in but haven’t purchased because of price. I’m cheap when it comes to patterns because I’d rather spend my funds on fabric. I will splurge every now and then, though. Actually a tessuti pattern has really been speaking to me lately…

    Like

    1. If I could get big 4 patterns as cheaply as Americans, I’d be all over them too!😉 And don’t get me started on all the free shipping options within the USA…
      I could see you liking Tessuti! And Japanese patterns too, actually…. I wonder if your local library has any Japanese pattern books?

      Like

  13. There are times that I feel hopelessly outdated in my pattern preferences. As great as I think it is that people are putting out some really interesting patterns, I really would prefer to keep working from my Burdas and Ottobres. I know what to expect from them and their fit just works for me. And I appreciate that I can buy 1 magazine for $20 or less and get enough patterns to keep me busy for years (I’m actually getting ready to make a lace jacket from a Burda mag from 2008 as I’ve had a secret goal to make every single jacket from that issue). Switching companies constantly feels like having to start from ground zero and work really really hard to get something to work, plus I kind of hate the whole printing and taping PDFs bit. I’m starting to make my peace with it and accept that this is the way of the world at the moment. As I move my blogging in a more serious direction, I’m starting also to see this process as just part of my job that I’d rather not do, and really, what job doesn’t have undesirable parts to it?

    Like

    1. I can totally see the appeal of Burdas and Ottobres! I’ve thought about buying Ottobre online, because it does look great.. but the price plus shipping just seems too high for an experiment.

      Like

      1. It took me a long time to push the commit button with Ottobre for the same reason. I stalked their website, checking the line drawings in every women’s issue for some time. If you’re going for a sure bet, issue 5/2014 is pure gold. I think I’ve made maybe 6 things so far out of it, and there’s possibilities for more.

        Like

  14. Interesting topic! I would say that there are more Indie patterns in my blog roll than they are big 4 for sure. I think it’s so cool how big the Indie circuit has grown and that Indie patterns are usually my go to when I’m looking for a design.

    Like

    1. I’m definitely an indie girl too. Not that I have anything against the big 4 – they just don’t lure me in like indies do!

      Like

  15. I love this little experiment, and it makes me so happy too how diverse and interesting the sewing pattern landscape has become. When I started sewing 10 years ago it was so hard for me to find clothing patterns that appealed to me as a teenager. My grandmother’s vintage pattern stash was a huge boon, but I really started investing my time , creating more, and honing my skills when I saw the pattern offerings just grow and grow!
    I love scrolling through my feed and seeing how people work patterns in their own way. Often times after seeing a pattern release and go ‘oh, that’s not for me’ and see some people make it in a way that makes me change my mind. It’s just so exciting and there are so many possibilities!

    Like

    1. It’s so nice to hear that the sewing world has improved over the last decade! I only sewed the odd Big 4 pattern back then, and wasn’t really into sewing clothes… but looking back, if indies had been around to hold my hand back then, I would be a much better sewist by now!🙂

      Like

  16. This is a great and interesting post, Gillian! I love all the discussions you start on here🙂 I’d say that on my feed maybe 75% is indie and 25% are the Big Four. I’d never thought to break it down like you did, clever! Myself, I am mainly an indie pattern purchaser, however I do have quite a few Simplicity patterns that I would like to sew.

    Like

    1. I’m definitely an indie girl too! I always think, “Oh, I should give big 4 patterns and magazines a better chance” but really, who has time to sew things you don’t love? I Indies just catch my imagination more effectively!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m definitely an indie pattern lover- although I have to say that most of my makes are all self-drafted lately. I did a short series through me-made-may this year where I made 4 indie pattern makes and I loved all of them, the stand-out favourite for me was the Nettie from Closet Case files. I personally think it’s amazing that so many designers are launching pattern lines, catering to all different shapes and sizes and styles. I love supporting indie designers and a big part of that is because you get to know them through their blog, and you know that they invest so much time and passion into their work- and they share so many more tips and tutorials ways to share your make with the community than just buying a big 4 pattern at Fabricland!

    Like

  18. Oo that’s fascinating! I’m as much of a sucker for indies as the next girl, but I do enjoy a lot of big four, especially vintage. But that probably has as much to do with how I acquired my pattern stash (thrift store diving) as anything else. I never even used to look at the current big-4 offerings until I started working at Fabricland—I didn’t want to be tempted. Now if I make one, it’s very likely to be a project. Though I often don’t blog those, as I feel weirdly conflicted about the whole “disclosure” thing. I sure do miss Simplicity patterns, though. Not that I need more patterns—I might theoretically sew through all my current stash someday, but I’ve got far too many patterns. Which didn’t stop me from ordering a ton of the new Jalies… >_<

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s