06 January 2009

102. A Day of Semi-Surprising News

Semi-Surprising News Item #1...

... which I didn't know about before, and I don't create any children's products for sale: Sarah posted a link on Facebook to an article on DigitalJournal.com covering the new Consumer Product Safety Information Act, which affects seemingly anyone producing anything for sale intended for use by children.  I offer a disclaimer on my interpretation that you should check out the above linked article and the many links to other sources it provides for the full scoop: Anyone producing toys, clothing, home accessories, etc. for use by children has to get their products certified at the cost of... a lot.  (See what I mean?  Read the article and click around to all those links.  Very informative.)  Another good summary here at CoolMomPicks.com.

Seems that there is some last-minute, race-against-the-clock effort from various places -- including Etsy, as we would have imagined -- to rally substantial support for the plight of the small/ micro businesses.  I don't read nearly as many craft sewing blogs as I do apparel sewing blogs, and I still don't think I've read anything about this new legislation on the sewing blogs that produce children's clothes for sale.  Is it possible that they might not know about it?

Semi-Surprising News Item #2...

Darling of the DIY apparel sewing community, BurdaStyle.com, announced today that they plan to start charging for their patterns.  My assumption was that they were going to start charging for new patterns, but I went through their catalog and saw that they have begun charging for many of their patterns which had previously been free.  So yesterday, if you went to their site, you could download the Talea coat pattern for free.  Today it costs $5.

I get needing to turn a profit.  Believe me, I totally do.  It would have made perfect sense if BurdaStyle had begun charging for all their new patterns to start a solid move toward profit (and combined that with other strategies, such as increased advertising on the site, membership subscriptions, or a host of other ideas).  But this move of charging for patterns that used to be free could destroy a whole lot of goodwill.  Again, was I just out of the loop or did no one else see this coming?  

What a day in sewing news!  Well, I'm beat.  And I don't even have a picture to share with you today.  Tomorrow for sure, stay tuned...


  1. I was really surprised and saddened by them charging for "free" patterns. And now I have to go back through my old posts and pull out all of their links, since I only link to free projects. Bummer!

  2. I was pretty irked about the Burda Style patterns. I totally get their need for a sustainable business model, but I thought it was rather ridiculous to suddenly, without warning, to completely change the way they do business. BurdaStyle has a lot of loyal fans (I've always been sort of "eh" on the site, myself, since there's never really been much that excited me there) and I'm sure a lot of folks will be really upset and alienated because there wasn't any notice or inkling that this was coming. I think their charging for patterns (many of which were originally published in BWOF, by the way--I know, because I have the magazine versions) sort of negates the concept of "Open Source Sewing." They're just replicating a component of PatternReview.com, in my opinion. And that's my 2 cents on BurdaStyle.com.

    I have seen the toy thing posted on some of the craft sites, but not at all on any of the sewing ones, so I hope folks who are affected by this law find out about it before it's too late. (Which reminds me, I should probably post something on our site--oops.)


  3. I really can't see the hype on the free patterns when they used to be free. I checked out one pattern for a top, and it was 50+ pages. Add that up to the time it takes to line up all the dots and Scotch tape and printer ink, I thought the pattern though free was costly anyway. BTW, I like the new profile photo. What do you have between your fingers?!!

  4. Well of course, I can't see the hype. I'm a stuck-at-home-mom, the only hype I see are from children who get second wind half an hour before bedtime.

  5. Rachel -- That's a lot of work to pull stuff from your site because of the BurdaStyle change. I hope it doesn't take too much time.

    Sarah -- I've also seen BurdaStyle patterns with twins that are printed and sitting in a pattern envelope at the fabric store. I wonder if the "open source" thing was about releasing the copyright on that handful of patterns? Good point that BurdaStyle is now offering a service that has been part of what PatternReview.com offers.

    Geek Sewing -- [Will I ever know your name?] I have gritched and griped about taping those 36 or 40 pages together, and I've even modified some of their patterns so that I don't have to deal with so many pages. But I sure like the fit. At these prices, I will forgo all that and just buy the pattern at the fabric store, printed and ready to go.

    The old BurdaStyle would all be completely up my alley if I were a penniless student. Which it appears many BurdaStyle users are...

    I bet 4 kids create A LOT of hype. Heaven bless you.

    That's a big pretzel between my fingers in the profile photo. Technically, two pretzels. :)

  6. I had heard of the legislation, though I wasn't aware it extended to children's clothing, too. I can't help but wonder what that will mean for home sewers who make clothes for their own children? Or those who make them for children as gifts, since I'm far from having kids myself.

    I was quite surprised at that move on BurdaStyle's part. I wasn't aware until reading blog comments this morning that the formerly free patterns were also being charged for-- I also thought it would only be for future patterns. I'm still going to use BurdaStyle, but I do think that was an unwise move on their part that will alienate a lot of their users. Not so much because of the charging, because if that's what it takes to get fashion-forward, well-drafted patterns, so be it. But what most people seem to be really upset about is that charges were added to the patterns that used to be free without any warning. It would have been much better if they'd given us at least a 2-week notice or something!

  7. Not cool on BurdaStyle's part. I JUST decided this weekend to try one of the free ones, the popular Anda dress and printed it out before the price change. However, because of the change that will definitely be the last one for me.

    It was hard enough printing them out, eight pages changed orientation from portrait to landscape and I had to print them out again individually. I would not pay $5 for that at all. I'll still look for inspiration though.
    Just not cool to retroactively charge for anything if you ask me.

  8. Becky -- I don't think that legislation extends to items given as gifts. As the owners of a recalled Thomas the Tank Engine train or two, it seems to be an effort to require preventative corporate responsibility. Unfortunately, it will affect everyone, even the tiny businesses that haven't offended anyone.

    Interestingly, it also affects items for resale. Our local TV news ran a story last night about kids' resale shops that are concerned that their entire business may be extinct in a few short weeks.

    Lisa -- Another good point -- charging for BurdaStyle patterns will raise the level of expectation on all fronts, from the quality of their written instructions to technical support on their site. Will we get to see your Anda anytime soon? (hint hint)


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