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Thread: Designing Quilt Patterns

  1. #1
    Junior Member NorthernDeb's Avatar
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    Hi all... I've been working on creating new quilt patterns for about a year now. Only one is in a quilt shop (I'm a real beginner at it :). Anyways, I always wonder what everyone is looking for... what type of design, colors, easy or complicated, traditional or modern, calm or busy? I think most designers ask themselves this. My daughters and I usually create our own pattern for ourselves but now we want to share them. People have asked for some of them and I've given quite a few away. I plan to put some up for sale and some will be freebies on my blog.
    Like I said, I'm a real beginner at this so I would love to have some direction. I've been quilting and sewing for most of my life and it's always been a hobby. I'm retired from home design (kind of a forced retirement considering the economy) and this will be my new occupation as I head into my "golden" years. Any comments would be welcome.

  2. #2
    Super Member nwm50's Avatar
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    great idea to start here !Good luck on your endeavors!! Maybe u need to post patterns that u have or samples of work done ?

  3. #3
    vcinwa's Avatar
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    I look for designs that catch my eye, usually more intermediate skill levels, contemporary or traditional. I like patterns that offer yardage charts and directions for various size quilts. And of course accuracy is so important. When I trust a designer is accurate I have more of a tendency to go back to her/him.

  4. #4
    Junior Member NorthernDeb's Avatar
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    This is a quilt I designed for my brother-in-law who has a home in Arizona. He lets us stay in his home down there for a couple of months each winter. This was a thank you quilt for him and his wife. It's not a pattern that I plan to sell... I just designed it for him.

    I'm really hoping to hear what you all are looking for. I see that some of the ladies want sewing machine cover patterns. I'm going to get right to work on one of those. What else does everyone want?

    Joes quilt
    Name:  Attachment-152067.jpe
Views: 247
Size:  51.1 KB

  5. #5
    Super Member dixiebelle162002's Avatar
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    I like using paper pieced patterns. I know that some blocks or designs can be done the regular way or paper pieced, so it would be nice to have quilting patterns that offered both when ever possible.

  6. #6
    Junior Member NorthernDeb's Avatar
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    I love paper piecing... so glad to hear you like those patterns, dixiebelle.

  7. #7
    vcinwa's Avatar
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    Beautiful quilt, very Southwest!!

  8. #8

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    I think everyone is different. I suggest you find your niche. Design what you love. If your designs are good (which I assume they are :) ), people with similar tastes will flock to buy your designs!

  9. #9
    vcinwa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattee
    I think everyone is different. I suggest you find your niche. Design what you love. If your designs are good (which I assume they are :) ), people with similar tastes will flock to buy your designs!
    Great advice!

  10. #10
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Having purchased several "Self- Published" patterns , I can offer a few suggestions.
    1. Organize the directions, in a very clear step by step using and Outline format. Title each Step.
    2. Clear accurate yardage requirements that are keyed to the photo , so placement of each color is very obvious. Nothing is more frustrating than having to try to figure out what color number 1 is . Do not make me dig for these, I do not want to have to open the pattern up in the store take it all apart to find any yardage requirements.
    3. Having an alternate color photo/example helps those that are visual to start to see it with other possibilites. I have family that purchases a pattern and trys to duplicate the exact colors. Many are color challenged and will be drawn to a pattern first by its colors.
    4. If it is paper peiced , have the printed papers in the packet. I purchased a expensive pattern , And the first step was to trace the pattern. The pattern was copywrighted so I could not take it to a copy place.... and the pieces were too large to fit on standard 8.5 X11 paper. Major frustration.
    5. For those who do want to dupilcate the exact fabrics , tell what fabrics you used. Manufacture and designer.. all the info.
    6. Do have a web site so if there are corrections they can be accessed.
    7. Have down loadable patterns. Once I find a great pattern designer I always look for what they have thats new I might like.... and most shops will not carry all the patterns from one designer.
    8. Have a true beginner test your instructions to see if they are clear to all. Having been quilting for a long time I can read the intent of the author .. but if you are new to quilting ... its easy to get frustrated.
    9. Offer guidance/yardages etc for making it larger/smaller than just one size.
    10. Eleanor Burns made her reputation/business from having the clearest instructions anyone could follow and remains one of the most trusted names in the business. Study one of her patterns and instructions ..for insight and guidance.

  11. #11
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    very beautiful and southwest looking

  12. #12
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    you should think about selling this pattern

  13. #13
    Senior Member quiltedsunshine's Avatar
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    Hi Deb,

    I'm trying to sell my patterns too. There is a great group on Yahoo that is just for quilt designers. Go to yahoogroups.com and type in "quilt designers." There are some nationally known quilt designers in the group, and they are great about sharing their knowledge. And there's another group on Yahoo where you can get quilters to test your patterns. Again, go to yahoogroups.com and type in "quilt pattern testers."

    I hope you are successful with your patterns! I really like your Southwest quilt! You have a great eye for design!

    Annette in Utah
    quiltedsunshine.com

  14. #14
    Super Member nwm50's Avatar
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    that is an Smoking quilt there! I only have a beginner's knowledge and so simpler thing are my forte but would love to try a more intermediate things too besides quilt....

  15. #15
    Junior Member NorthernDeb's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the nice comments and the good leads. I may have to rethink the southwest quilt as a pattern....
    I'm also going to head over to Yahoo and check this all out.

  16. #16
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I would LOVE to see patterns that have cutting instructions added for just ONE block. I like to test the blocks before I begin and cut out all the fabric. just in case..........
    Also -- because I have a longarm...I LOVE seeing how the designer would quilt the pattern.

  17. #17
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    Your quilt is awesome. Most people would need a pattern for something like this one.

  18. #18
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Many younger people are asking for more contemporary quilts, and non traditional fabrics... I say whatever it takes to get them to love or get into quilting :wink:
    There are also a lot of requests on here for "manly" quilts, too :D:D:D

  19. #19
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    I will only buy a pattern for something that I can not easily recreate myself. When I am looking, it always amazes me that the simplest of patterns can go for $10 or more! I often wonder how many actually sell.

    But maybe it is because I have a mathematical perspective....

    I love the Southwest one and that is the type of pattern I would buy -- skill level/difficulty/not easy to recreate.

    I am also drawn to paper piecing....for example PittsburgPam has been posting one she is designing and I could easily see myself buying that.

    I too love the papers in the pattern, but I know when that happens it can hike the price considerably (for example Judy Niemeyers patterns are around $40).

    I have bought one of JN's and one Be Colourful for close to $40, but that is very rare. I prefer a price point around mid-teens. I don't mind copying my own pages because I can do it as I go along. Which means I can spread out the cost a bit.

    I know the Be Colourful one I bought is one where she did NOT give good directions and it is one where some of the pieces will not copy well.....frustrating when you pay that much. It is also confusing about how much of what colors you need. I think part of it has to do with a language barrier. I am actually thinking of selling it because of those reasons.

    Good luck! I'd love to see more of your work!

  20. #20
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    I can say that I'm a little tired of traditional patterns made to look new with a specific fabric collection.Who needs another Churn Dash pattern? Perhaps that's more of a magazine complaint but I don't buy patterns anymore unless they are quite different. Your sample is a very good example of what would interest me. It's wonderful.

    I like photographs of the steps...not drawings.I've seen some AWFUL artwork.

    I agree with Lori S about complete patterns. That's a real beef I have lately. The words "enlarge X %" are unacceptable when you pay almost $10 for a pattern. I've a plan to start complaining on Amazon about authors who do that as well.

  21. #21
    Member Yaharalady's Avatar
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    The quilt is stunning. I think you'll get as many ideas as there are people responding. A pattern changes alot with different use of fabric. When I pick pattterns it can be for a different reason for each quilt. It might be because of block combination or the illusion or the effect form a distance. I think you need to design what pleases you, make sure it's accurate simple or intermediate to construct. (The more complex, the smaller the market.) Good luck.

  22. #22
    RST
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    Senior Member RST's Avatar
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    I see people looking for more interesting and challenging patterns to use with precuts -- the layer cakes, jelly rolls, charm packs, turnovers, candy bars, honeybuns, etc.

    RST

  23. #23
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    [quote=luvspaper I have bought one of JN's and one Be Colourful for close to $40, but that is very rare. I prefer a price point around mid-teens. I don't mind copying my own pages because I can do it as I go along. Which means I can spread out the cost a bit.

    I know the Be Colourful one I bought is one where she did NOT give good directions and it is one where some of the pieces will not copy well.....frustrating when you pay that much. It is also confusing about how much of what colors you need. I think part of it has to do with a language barrier. I am actually thinking of selling it because of those reasons.

    Good luck! I'd love to see more of your work![/quote]

    Interesting you refered to the Be Colourful , there are several designs ... but after having suffered through one , and I am not a beginner by any definition, I did a bit of homework. Since I was so ....dissatisfied. The designer does not speak English , it is a Dutch designer , her husband does the translations. That explained alot. I e-mailed them and listed the improvements to be more user freindly. I did get a response but ... it summed up "we are working on it". I thought I had seen it all but when I read one of the yardage requirements it just said... "lots" that has stuck with me as one of the... I can not believe you would sell me a pattern that just used the term "lots" for a fabric requirement. This is why I am cautious about self published patterns.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S

    I thought I had seen it all but when I read one of the yardage requirements it just said... "lots" that has stuck with me as one of the... I can not believe you would sell me a pattern that just used the term "lots" for a fabric requirement. This is why I am cautious about self published patterns.
    Yes, the pattern I bought calls for over 200 different materials! No where did it say that and they are gradations, so it is hard to see that on the pattern itself. And the instructions for how much you need of each is very confusing. I think the only way to do that one is to buy the fabric kit which was over $200! For the cost of the pattern, I expected a bit more. Unfortunately it is a beautiful quilt!

  25. #25
    Junior Member NorthernDeb's Avatar
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    Thank you all for these ideas.
    I was shocked to hear that the one pattern called for "LOTS" of fabric. I wouldn't buy that pattern for sure.
    I noticed that many patterns figure out how much fabric you need then add 1/4 to 1/3 more to allow for mistakes, etc. This really bothers me when I purchase the fabric needed then find that I have a huge amount left. One pattern I bought called for 4-1/2 yards for backing (lap size) when what I needed was 3-1/2... at $10 yard, I didn't appreciate that. It was a flannel so it's not something I can just add to my stash and use up later.

    Do you like amounts to be more exact or do you like a little wiggle room? I would think adding an 1/8 wouldn't be so bad but if you add that to every fabric called for.. and sometimes it's many, many fabrics.. well, that just adds to the final cost. But I suppose if someone made an error in cutting and the fabric was no longer available, then it would be a good thing....

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