The cost of a pattern

Here is a list of all the things I needed to learn in order to run a moderately successful* pattern-selling business.

(In no particular order)

Adobe InDesign
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
WordPress
Etsy backend
Ravelry backend
MailChimp
Crochet/Knitting (obv)
Maths
Coding
Pattern Writing
Creative Writing
Patreon backend
Copyright
Photography & Lighting & Set Design
Modelling (assuming you’re doing it yourself, cause that’s cheaper)
– and consequently, make-up, hair, clothing
Self-promotion
Ad Lib Public Speaking
Speech Writing
YouTube backend
Accounting
Public Relations
Crisis Management
Instagram/Facebook/Twitter etc
Self Care
Time Management
Teaching
Team Leadership
And on top of all that, you have to be creative, original, inspiring, socially conscious and available for questions.

And some people think designers don’t deserve 7 quid for a pattern?
And bare in mind, both PayPal and your selling platform of choice will take a hefty cut of that 7 quid too, and there are taxes and expenses to factor in after everything else.

So, really…? We don’t do enough for the cost of the cheapest bottle of wine in Lidl?

When you buy a pattern, you support a designer and you validate their hard work and long hours. When you steal a pattern or complain that designers don’t bend over backwards to supply multiple samples in multiple yarns, or that they don’t reply to your email within 24 hours, or that you chose a complex pattern as your first forray into a particular craft and now you’re stuck and it’s their fault… you kill morale and break hearts. And a broken heart is rarely creative.

All I’m saying is, there’s a LOT involved.

I mean. We’re in a pandemic right now and stress is already at an all time high.
I’m really feeling it, and I can see others struggle to cope, too.
So, can we please all lay off one-person businesses for a little while, let us recover and regroup after the shock of Raverly’s ignominious decisions, and instead, spend our time and energy focusing on the bigger fish for a change?

And can we please acknowledge how much time, energy and expense it takes to get a pattern ready for sale – that most designers will have discounts throughout the year if the full cost is genuinely too much – and maybe be glad that it ONLY costs the price of a couple fancy cups of coffee?

*ftr, by “moderately successful”, I mean I just about break even most months on average. And I am fruuuugal to a fault, let me tell ya.

Categories: Design & Inspiration, Yarn Talk

Aoibhe Ni

I'm a crochet shawl designer from Ireland.
Feminist. Trekkie. Dog Lover.

2 Comments

  1. Ellen

    Very well said! I’m not a designer. I’m an appreciative knitter, crocheter who is thrilled that there are amazing, creative people like you who put in all that hard work so that I can then create a beautiful gift for the people I love. I dont know why you all are now being put in the spot where you have to defend what you do to make your living. It’s not fair.

  2. allisonjoneslo

    Years ago I designed a pattern for a hat, a hat , and tried t o sell it. No takers in the magazine realm and a huge expense to me. I still had a lot to learn but I had already learned enough and decided to teach locally instead.

    Your article is very insightful and educating. Yes, pattern designers do a lot that is not seen by customers and go to a great deal of expense and effort! Seven quid for a pattern is nothing for all the work that goes into making a pattern. People, buy your own patterns and encourage others to buy their own, too.

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