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Is it OK to re-write a pattern?

Is it OK to re-write a pattern?

Old 03-09-2019, 12:32 AM
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Question Is it OK to re-write a pattern?

Just finished reading this thread : What you learn in a quilt class stays in the quilt class?

My quilting group made quilts together following a pattern from/by a local quilt shop owner. They all bought the pattern and made their own quilts with "some" guidance from a former employee (minimal at best).

While the quilts are lovely, the ladies hated the process of making them. One lady will "never" finish her top into a quilt because it was such a miserable process. She gave me her pattern when I admired the quilts. I didn't take part because it was the start of my two years of hell and wasn't attending sewing days. It is a very - as in extremely - horribly written pattern. So I can see why the ladies were disgusted/disappointed. The pattern was meant as a class at the store.


From the pictures of the finished quilts, I'm sure I can come up with better and simpler instructions and I do want to make this pattern. Can I do a pattern rewrite and give credit for the design to the creator?
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Old 03-09-2019, 01:20 AM
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I may be wrong but if you are going to re-write the pattern for your personal use I can’t see there being a problem.

If you ‘lend’ the pattern to a friend I can’t see a problem with that either.

But I’m sure it would be wrong to sell the pattern, even if you did give credit to the designer.

Is it not possible for you to ask the quilt shop owner? Perhaps you could say that you love her pattern but have re-written it in a way that you find easier to follow.
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Old 03-09-2019, 03:24 AM
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If the pattern was bought and designed for personal use, you can change it any way you would like. No problem... unless Canada has some strange copyright law preventing your personal use of your purchases. It's like buying a book and underlining or rewriting a sentence so that you could understand it better ... for your personal use (not for republishing). And actually, I can't see why it would be illegal to sell the pattern. There is a very large market for the reselling of used books! (Check eBay and Amazon!)... just so you don't claim it's your creation.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:19 AM
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​You can do the quilt the way you want for yourself. It would not be okay to rewrite it and then teach a class from the pattern for profit.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:23 AM
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Some patterns are not written well. Make corrections as you see fit. The cops have better things to do than to come after you.��
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
​You can do the quilt the way you want for yourself. It would not be okay to rewrite it and then teach a class from the pattern for profit.
What if she did it at no charge?
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:09 AM
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one should never decide whether or not to do a thing based on whether or not they are likely to get caught.
wrong is wrong. period.

if a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody there to hear the crash, whatever gets in the way will still be just as squashed.

if you are the only person using the pattern, then re-writing the instructions for your exclusive use should fall within the parameters of fair use.

from that point forward things get increasingly fuzzy and complicated.

how original is the pattern design itself?
are we talking about blocks already in the public domain?
are the blocks/sections truly unique?

do you paraphrase the published instructions?
will you toss them completely and write everything from scratch without consulting the commercial pattern at all?

the ethical thing to do for a group situation would be to require each person to buy their own legal copy of the commercial pattern. that satisfies copyright law.
if you wish to supplement those instructions with something you wrote yourself, my definitely-not-a-lawyer feeling is that you'd not be violating copyright law if you shared copies of those with the group.
never provide copies of those instructions to anybody who cannot prove to you that they have already purchased a legal copy of the pattern. that covers your patooty.

whether or not you charge for the "home made" instructions has nothing to do with it.
doing it the wrong way, but doing it for free, just leaves you with no money to hire that lawyer you might need.
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:10 AM
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Another scenario: I can't tell you how many times I have purchased a pattern and made it according to my personal time tested methods. I ended up with the same finished design. Even if I didn't write my methods down I did 'rewrite it'. That is entirely OK because it was my pattern after purchase and I can use it as I see fit. I just can't market it as mine but I certainly wouln't hesitate to show another quilter how I did mine if I was asked. I ran into this very thing in a Judy Neimeyer class I took. I made one curved section "my way' and the instructor admired it until she saw me doing the next one. Then, she rather chastised me. Oh, well.
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Old 03-09-2019, 07:33 AM
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For some reason, I can't seem to follow pattern directions anymore. If it is a square block, I end up drawing the block in EQ7 and then use that as my guideline to make the quilt. I can count squares or HST's that are needed and see the pattern so much clearer.

I agree with the others. If you are doing it only for your use, you can do anything you want. If you want to share it, then that might be copyright enfringement, unless the block is a part of public domain. If it is an original block design, then you more than likely could be prosecuted if you shared or sold the revised pattern. Wish you would post a picture of the design or a link to the class.
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Old 03-09-2019, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by quilterpurpledog View Post
Another scenario: I can't tell you how many times I have purchased a pattern and made it according to my personal time tested methods. I ended up with the same finished design. Even if I didn't write my methods down I did 'rewrite it'. That is entirely OK because it was my pattern after purchase and I can use it as I see fit. I just can't market it as mine but I certainly wouln't hesitate to show another quilter how I did mine if I was asked. I ran into this very thing in a Judy Neimeyer class I took. I made one curved section "my way' and the instructor admired it until she saw me doing the next one. Then, she rather chastised me. Oh, well.
As you paid for the pattern and class of a Judy Neimeyer pattern, I think the teacher was wrong to get on you for not doing it "their" way. Its great to try a new way but if your way works for you, Do It! I love to pp, but I do it my way. Some people need the class to get it. Most of the time on a pp pattern I will white out the numbered steps, I can tell what goes where and in what order. I buy the books and do it my own way!

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 03-14-2019 at 04:31 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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