Tuesday, January 10, 2012

If You Were The Boss For One Day...

If you could be in control of all the big four pattern companies for one day, what would you do?

Butterick, McCalk's, Vogue, and Simplicity. We all know them. We all love them or hate them. But, if for one day you could make all the changes you wanted to, what would you do.

I'll tell you what I would do.

Simplicity: I would commission the designer of the Lisette to crank out some more patterns. I love the Lisette designs and would love to see new releases every season. I would also release some more vintage patterns, keeping them as true as possible to original. Also, stop putting out so many dog sweater patterns. 

McCall's: I would start digging in the archives ASAP and start releasing vintage reprints, as close to the originals as possible. McCall's had some fabulous designs, especially in the 50s in my opinion, and they deserve to come back to life.Next, I would put those terrible "Make it Crafty" patterns on the chopping block. I am pretty sure "your outfit looks so, so crafty" is not a compliment anyone wants to hear.

Butterick: The fist thing I would do is get some new stylists in there to jazz up their pattern envelopes. Butterick does have some cute designs, yet more often than not they are hidden behind unfortunate fabric choices and bad styling. Buttericsk re-releases are my favorite, so I would also start releasing vintage men's, children's, and accessory patterns. 

Vogue: Just like Butterick, I would work on restyling the vintage patterns. Vogue may be the worst offender for out of date and unwearable looking vintage pattern styling. Nest, I would bring in some younger, fresher designers. I'm sure there is a market for Chado Ralph Rucci patterns, but some new designers would be nice. I would definitely attempt to have the folks at Kate Spade design some fun, fresh patterns. And maybe I'd try for a complimentary Kate Spade fabric line, a lo the Lisette line at Joann's. 

For all 4 Companies: If I were in charge I would start a project that would be a huge undertaking. I would start a database that contained all the pattern counter catalogs in existence. This would be, hands down, the best sewing pattern resource out there. Can you imagine how amazing it would be to search a pattern number and be taken to the page from the pattern counter book, showing not only a photo of your pattern, but the year it was released? 

Next, for all the vintage patterns, I would set up a website that would allow seamstresses to vote for which vintage patterns they would like reprinted. There would also be a suggestion box for patterns to be reprinted.

So, there you have it, all the things that I would do if I were CEO for a day. What would you do? Nix certain patterns? Bring in certain designers? What would do you with the vintage patterns? I'd love to hear all your thoughts lovely readers.


  1. About that pattern database: I would like to find the pattern I used for a certain dress with a flare below the asymmetrical seam (from one hip to the other knee, or there-abouts).

  2. These are really great ideas. I love the idea of voting to bring back an OOP pattern.

    If I were the boss, I'd force a major overhaul in the styling department. So many times I buy a pattern only after seeing it on a blog or Pattern Review because it looks so much better than what is shown on the envelope. And while they're at it, why not feature bloggers on their pattern envelopes? What a great way to create some buzz and free advertising :)

    I'd also overhaul the websites. Add in a lot more social media integration and a rating/review system. I know that's what Burda Style and Pattern Review already do, but if I were the Big 4, I'd want to take advantage of the strong online sewing community (it's good they're all on Facebook now).

    I really like the Big 4, though. They're good companies and they're all freshening up their lines and the way they portray their businesses. Hopefully they can strive to be even better and help us convert even more people to the sewing world :)

  3. I love your ideas! It would be great to have some say on what patterns get printed by the Big4. It would also be pretty amazing to have an online database of all of the patterns ever printed by these companies - even if we couldn't buy the patterns imagine the inspirations!

    To Simplicity - Keep up the good work! Of the Big4 I think they most consistently produce interesting/new/trendy patterns and have a wide selection of patterns. Also love their selection of costumes, and I also really like their Project Runway pattern selections. Also they get props for adding the "Suede Says" patterns for guys. Only wish - more Vintage Reprints!

    To Butterick - I understand that the target demographic are the people who want to dress like the first lady (seriously, go look at their patterns), but could you please try to jazz it up a bit? Envelope styling shouldn't make a difference, but it does.

    To McCall's - Please please please add Finished garment measurement to the back of all your pattern envelopes! Or add less ease. Or both.

    To Vogue - More vintage looks, more classic jackets and coats, more gowns inspired by runway collections. I understand that of the Big4 you are the one label that can most easily get away with the crazy patterns, but please try and limit yourself to 1 crazy pattern per release cycle. Also, more men's patterns!

  4. "your outfit looks so, so crafty..."


  5. If I were the boss overseeing these companies, it would be a serious styling overhaul, I have too see really hard through the blah pictures just envision something great. I love simplicity patterns for their fit and ease of use. Vogue is a great challenge pattern but please more vintage looks or things that are geared towards serious new fashion.
    McCall's- please lets jazz it up a bit, I do like the patterns that are designed for larger busts meaning no FBA but that ease holy mother of fashion.
    Butterick-this is where the serious styling needs to occur more often than not I am turned off by the envelope. What happened to the old styles that looked great.

    Back to all companies-Vintage patterns that complement the modern women so that when sewn look more like they were intended and those websites...something exciting maybe? I would love to see more male patterns for children and men alike and I am not talking about looks out of the 80's....

  6. I want finished garment measurements-bust, waist and hip- printed on the outside of every envelope. I hate when these are hidden on the actual pattern pieces somewhere or, worse, nonexistent.

    I also vote for more vintage reprints and better covers. Seriously, so many of the samples just look ugly. Where do they shop for fabric? The bargain bin?

  7. I love your ideas! I would especially love to see fresher designs from Vogue. Your Make It Crafty example is cracking me up! I would probably go home and change if someone said that to me.

  8. I wish there were one big resource, but don't overlook (and add to) the Vintage Pattern Wiki. There are other collections out there, I use the Commercial Pattern Archive, but there is a fee for that site and it's missing quite a bit.
    I'd love to know other helpful places..any ideas?

  9. Good ideas! I'd love to be able to search one database for all patterns. Wouldn't that make our lives easier?