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Selling Plushie made from Pattern

Hello everyone,

I have purchased a sewing pattern pack from http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/ that includes five different animals for plushies. If I make plushies from these patterns, would I be allowed to sell them? I'm assuming the answer would be yes because I know that a lot of fursuit bodies are made from the McCall's jumpsuit pattern but I don't really know anything about copyrights and such.


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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 23rd, 2012 12:47 pm (UTC)
I don't have any personal experience with this topic, but a quick Google search brought up several links, including these:




They have differing views, so it'd be interesting to see what others in this community have read or know on this topic.
Jul. 23rd, 2012 01:20 pm (UTC)
You should see the varied opinions on this topic in doll groups. It runs the gambit.

The conundrum comes down to something rather simple but complex at the same time and can be summed up with the phrase "there are only so many ways to make a doll leg". There is going to be repetition in patterns. Even in the professional patterns. Those are what I call the universals. However there are pattern pieces that are distinctive to the creator and you can look at the finish product and say who's pattern was used. Those are the things that can be copyrighted.

Recently there has been a rash of both clothing and doll patterns that are based wholly on patterns that were out of copyright and free to use that they have claimed to have created and copyright them. Especially with all the interest in Steampunk.

I have had a lot of experience in this area and would be willing to answer questions based on over 30 years in the business.
Jul. 23rd, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC)
Agreed. There are, indeed, only so many ways you could sew a sphere for a plush head. Using commercial patterns can teach you different techniques that might be useful to achieve similar shapes, but in the end it's the overall combination of the shapes into a final product that reflect which pattern(s) was used.
Jul. 23rd, 2012 12:58 pm (UTC)
Most patterns will say on the package or the pattern itself whether or not you're allowed to use it for commercial use. I doubt it would be okay to make them solely for the purpose of selling products derived from the pattern.

In the example of using the body suit pattern for fursuits, many fursuit builders don't actually use that pattern for commissions. Speaking from personal experience, I used a similar pattern maybe two or three times for making personal costumes, for personal use. (Which is what the pattern is licensed for.) I later sold the costumes when I no longer wanted to use them, but I did not use the pattern with the sole intent of making money from it, and I did not make any kind of a profit on the sale of the costumes.

Using the pattern did teach me, however, how to draft my own patterns. Now, if I make a body suit for someone else, I use a duct tape dummy to create the pattern to fit the individual, using basic knowledge I acquired from having assembled a commercial pattern in the past.
Also, I might add that relating using a plush pattern to using a body suit pattern is hard to do, because again, most fursuit makers that offer commissions don't use the commercially available pattern (which is not form-fitting to the individual, instead it would look baggy and unprofessional), so it is highly customized/tailored.

My suggestion would be, use the pattern you bought to practice making plush and learn how the patterns/assembly work. If you find you enjoy making plush, try drafting your own patterns, or see if you can find someone that offers patterns you can use to re-sell your creations. (You can find some on Etsy, or deviantArt, from people that have created their own patterns and are fine with people selling what they've made.) I would avoid selling, or taking custom work for, items made with commercially available patterns from McCall's, Simplicity, etc. (anything you can find in the craft store) and only use those patterns if you have a personal interest in making one for yourself to enjoy.

Edited at 2012-07-23 12:59 pm (UTC)
Jul. 23rd, 2012 01:09 pm (UTC)
I agree with this.

Learning the basics from a commercial patterns and the various tricks to create the shape you want (like how darts can help you round things out) is a good way to start. Eventually you can take this knowledge of "how things go together" and expand it into patterns that you create and use. Thus you aren't re-inventing the plushie wheel every time you make one.

If I make something using a pattern, I credit the pattern or pattern maker if I use one.
Jul. 23rd, 2012 01:42 pm (UTC)
I agree with your last paragraph, especially the "draft your own pattern." It's time-consuming, but so very worth the work. :)

(I've been drafting patterns for 15 years, so I know what a pain it is. xD)
Jul. 23rd, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
Honestly, even if it is "technically legal" to re-sell something you've made using a craft store pattern... why would you want to? Since it's something so readily available, you won't be able to ask a very high price for the finished product- shoot, even custom plushes made from someone's unique pattern sometimes have a hard time selling for what they're actually worth when it boils down to time and materials put into it.

Not to mention, if plush-making is something you're looking to get into from a professional standpoint, it'll be hard to gain the respect of your peers (and networking can be incredibly valuable in this particular line of work) because you're known to take the "easy" way out by just using patterns anyone could pick up for a dollar at the fabric store.
Jul. 23rd, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
Not sure why this was in reply to my post. Doesn't really have anything to do with pattern drafting or the part I was in agreement with. :O

Frankly, as far as just selling goes, it doesn't really matter what pattern it was made off of.

What matters is the seller's popularity, the quality of the item, and the item itself (or an odd equation of all three). I've seen stuff made from available base patterns sell high just because the seller is popular, even if the product was of poor quality in the end.
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
I appreciate the honesty!
Honestly, sewing is a new hobby for me that I love. My plan wasn't to start advertising for custom plushie commissions. My plan is to make these plushies for myself and as gifts for my friends. This question was spurred on by the thought of some small chance that someone was to approach me about making one of the plushies for them in exchange for the cost of materials, could I even do that? Kind of thing.
Down the road when I become more experienced with sewing and if I still enjoy doing it, I might offer commissions but only as a small time hobby type of thing. :)
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
Thank you for all of the information!
As you suggested, I will practice with these patterns and if I want to pursue making custom plushies I will make my own patterns! ^_^
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC)

This site sells patterns and they are fine with you selling what you made:
"It is ACCEPTABLE to make these toys yourself, for personal use and gifts or to sell in limited numbers, only IF the toy is labelled or tagged ‘Made from a www.funkyfriendsfactory.com pattern’."

Full info:

Hope that helps :)
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
That is very helpful thanks! :)
Jul. 23rd, 2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
To clear up the bit about fursuit makers using commercial patterns- clothing patterns can not be copyrighted (clothing has been deemed too utilitarian for copyright). The only way clothing companies can protect their products is with trademarks, hence why brand clothes have the brand logo/s all over them ^^ So that's why there's no issue with fursuit makers using patterns.

As for the plushies pattern, the patterns can be copyrighted. It depends on the use specified on each pattern. Mainly most drafters don't want them used by commercial companies to mass produced 1000's of them at large profit. There's less of an issue with someone making a couple custom ones and selling them for pocket money. They're prepared for that to happen when they make the pattern available.

It's a difficult one, as a plushie maker who makes own patterns, I'd be pissed if someone nicked mine. However, if I put up a pattern for sale, I would expect buyers to probably make a few they would sell. I think most pattern sellers expect a certain amount of that to happen.
I think if someone was using a commercial pattern and making a lot of commissioned plushies with it, there might be an issue. If they were taking regular commissions I would probably encourage them to try their hand at their own patterns. Patterns aren't easy to make but most generic patterns are very similar so looking at commercial ones is a good way to learn.

However, one thing I would advise if you do use the pattern, that you may want to specify that the pattern you use is a bought one to avoid theft/ plagiarism call outs.

Edited at 2012-07-23 05:49 pm (UTC)
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC)
Ohhh. That makes a lot of sense about the clothes!
See what was making me confused was clothing made with McCall patterns were able to be sold so I thought maybe it was a McCall policy that you could sell items from any of their patterns. This absolutely cleared it up though! Cheers. :)
Jul. 24th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
My mother had this same question, only with making crochet objects. She decided to contact the company first and they told her that she could sell the product she makes provided she credits the original pattern and/or doesn't sell the pattern design as her own. I THINK. It was a while ago, so my memory might be blurry ^_^;; But maybe contacting the company can also help? The company my mother contacted was a top company and they responded to her politely and quickly. So hopefully McCall will be just as nice.

Sorry if this was painfully obvious advice >_>;; I didn't see anyone else with this kind of anecdote, so thought I'd give my two cents.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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