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Is this legit?
Custom dressmaker using commercial patterns
ryan's mom
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ryan's mom
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Date: 6/1/13 6:31 PM

My school district has a Facebook page for "XX Prom Dresses 2013". What is interesting is one girl's post that her mother is a dressmaker/designer and can sew prom dresses to spec as well as doing alterations. I also do prom alterations so I was interested in checking out her site. She has a shop in a town about 10-15 miles from where I live.

I was surprised to see at least two photos of finished prom dresses on her home page which I immediately recognized as two Big 4 patterns on mannequins. I believe one was a Vogue, the other was a Simplicity. (Edited that after looking and researching, they're both Vogue patterns.) She advertises "custom" work so I was surprised that it appears she is making dresses from patterns and selling them.

If this is true, is this legit? Or is it violation of the rights of the pattern companies. If I were to make a dress for a girl, she would have to purchase the pattern and be charged for the labor. It actually bothered me to see two Big 4 dresses featured prominently on her website because I was thinking her work was truly custom--she designs and sews the dresses. I was about to be impressed until I saw two of the photos. The others posted are probably Big 4 patterns as well, just maybe some featuring unique use of two fabrics. Maybe. I've been buying a lot of prom dress patterns so I'm seeing some similarities in her photos to other patterns as well.

ETA, this is an excerpt from the webwsite:

"Looking for that special dress for the bride and the bridal party? Want to turn heads at your next soiree? Browse through our collection of custom made dresses and choose a look that expresses our individual style. So when you step out in one of our designs for your next occasion, you will shine like a Hollywood star on the red carpet."

As I navigate my own business, my question is if the situation above is ethical, and if it's legal to use commercial patterns and not advertise that they're being used. Advertising as custom made dresses is correct, but it seems like a lie by omission--misleading if you ask me. Not sure what to make of it. Of course, I may not be getting the entire story, just reading what appears on the website.

-- Edited on 6/1/13 7:05 PM --

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Big 4 Pattern size 12, RTW bottom: 6, RTW jacket 8, RTW top (no size fits me well!)
Measurements: 34 HB/36 FB (34C bra)/27.5/36 (and working hard to keep it that way.)
Machines: Sewing: Elna 760, vintage Kenmore Model 33 (1967), Janome Gem Gold 3. Sergers: Babylock Imagine and Babylock Enlighten. Embroidery Only: Janome 300E. Coverstitch: Janome CP1000. Straight Stitch: Janome 1600P.

If you think your sewing is better than everyone else's around here, get out of my way b****. I hate sewing snobs.

My blog: www.phatchickdesigns.blogspot.com

birdmcfarland
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Date: 6/1/13 7:48 PM

I came across something similar. A local wedding seamstress posted some photos on Facebook claiming to have designed and sewed everything coming out of her shop. She posted a photo of a dress that I immediately recognized as one of Gretchen Hirsch's latest available from butterick. I emailed Gretchen with a link but never heard back. That kind of thievery makes me mad.

JanyceR

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In reply to ryan's mom <<


Date: 6/1/13 8:28 PM

It seems very wrong to me

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marec
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Date: 6/1/13 8:45 PM

Yeah, it seems unethical and perhaps illegal. But now the bigger question is "What do you do?" Is it your responsibility to confront her, to contact Vogue, to let the school district know...or just work on your own business? What do you, and other readers think?

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my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
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talesofawannabe
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Date: 6/1/13 9:53 PM

I don't have time to pull up the info now, but it is not illegal. The Supreme Court has ruled on this many years ago and the ruling has not changed. I would agree though that it is a bit unethical to call them completely custom dresses. Maybe customizable from a pattern ( i.e choosing colors, fabrics, etc) but to me custom is more than just a custom fit from a pattern.

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dresscode

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Date: 6/1/13 10:45 PM

I think "designing" is broad enough to cover using a pattern template from a company that sells to general public.

Fit, fabric, construction, marketing and all still have to be given to seamstress.

The copyright has more to printed reproduction and resale than the end uses in sewing of the patterns.

Frankly, I would say half of what is in department stores could be sourced to "someone else's" pattern templates...just from industrial drafting which is very different. Mass produced clothing is not going to spend season after season creating new pant drafts....tee patterns or tanks...

I don't see anything wrong at all with a seamstress using sewing patterns.

ryan's mom
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Date: 6/1/13 11:13 PM

My issue with this seamstress is her card indicates she is a fashion designer and the website implies that she creates the design. One is clearly an out-of-print Vogue Belleville Sassoon still shown on the Vogue website straight from the pattern, the other is Vogue 8190. Both look identical to the pattern. I'm fairly sure I could trace her other "designs" to specific patterns.

I admit I do get kind of peeved about things probably because I have created a couple of original patterns that are my own from sketches I have created. And although they are inspired by RTW, the pattern was mine and it took plenty of time to make and proof it. Do I call myself a "fashion designer"? No, because what I do is copy a RTW garment and make it a knockoff.

I created a garment about 6 mos ago and when posting about it, I said it was my own design inspired by a RTW knockoff. I would expect that if she is calling herself the designer, she created the pattern for the dress from scratch. I was looking to be really impressed with her work, but when I realized at least two of those prominently featured garments on the website were Vogue patterns, I was disappointed.

Selling dresses made from a Vogue (or any other commercial pattern) and implying one is the fashion designer of the dress is what I consider to be *IMO* false advertising and unethical. I found no mention anywhere on her website that these dresses were made from Vogue designer or regular patterns.

Rest assured if I ever run into this woman I will make a comment that I loved her dresses made from Vogue XXXX and Vogue XXXX patterns.

------
Big 4 Pattern size 12, RTW bottom: 6, RTW jacket 8, RTW top (no size fits me well!)
Measurements: 34 HB/36 FB (34C bra)/27.5/36 (and working hard to keep it that way.)
Machines: Sewing: Elna 760, vintage Kenmore Model 33 (1967), Janome Gem Gold 3. Sergers: Babylock Imagine and Babylock Enlighten. Embroidery Only: Janome 300E. Coverstitch: Janome CP1000. Straight Stitch: Janome 1600P.

If you think your sewing is better than everyone else's around here, get out of my way b****. I hate sewing snobs.

My blog: www.phatchickdesigns.blogspot.com

katlew03
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Date: 6/1/13 11:14 PM

There was a thread here not too long ago that established that you can make up a garment from a printed pattern and sell it without violating the copyright laws. Claiming that it is your own custom design is another story. Very few professionals have time to completely draft a new pattern for each girl and even if they did, some of the design elements are almost identical, allowing for individual body differences, that it would be hard for one person to say he/she designed a dress that looks much like many others. I think it would be more accurate to advertise that the dress might contain custom design elements.

I made dresses for one of my daughter's wedding that started with a Big 4 pattern. However, I made several design changes to the basic pattern that I have not seen anywhere else. I still would not say it was my custom design. Then again, that is my personal opinion and many others might disagree. Not something worth arguing over.

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Sewn in 2012: 176.212 yds.
2013 Goal: 400 yds (again)
Total sewn in 2013 -- 225.848 yds.
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Goal for 2014 -- 400 yards (for the third time)

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PattiAnnJ
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Date: 6/2/13 12:09 PM

The seamstress could sell the used pattern to the client, buy it back and resell it over and over.

Or, she could add "kock offs made here" to her ad.




-- Edited on 6/2/13 12:11 PM --

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I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

2mulie
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Date: 6/2/13 2:08 PM

http://www.harvardlawreview.org/issues/126/march13/forum_998.php

You can buy "designer" wedding gowns and bags out of peoples homes in the midwest, complete with the logos...but they are cheap imitations and are presented that way. Trouble is, I now have friends who think I can make them a wedding dress for a hundred bucks or so, if they just bring me a photo or a pattern. If I sew for them, it is out of love and not profit (or even breaking even). Only out of love am I doing alterations on these types of garments as well. I don't know how you can make it a business unless you live in an affluent area.

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