On Starting a Pattern Label – Pt. 2

onstartingapatternlabelAs explained in the last post, I rushed into starting a pattern line last year and have had an exciting but difficult ride. The new year is a great time to reassess my focus. “Focus” is my word of the year!

I have so many fun ideas for GrayDay Patterns, but I am realizing that I didn’t know what I didn’t know when I started. My beginning pattern drafting skills will not allow me to create the designs I want. I don’t know how to make a sleeve! If I want to create a top quality pattern, I need to invest a large amount of time and energy into the following things;


  • Hands-on learning of pattern drafting from a teacher, not just books
  • Practice and proficiency with Adobe illustrator, because that tool is so vital in putting out a quality, professional pattern
  • A website that is fast, easy and helpful as a tool to my customers
  • A clearer vision of what I want to provide for my customers. I hope to create a cohesive style so that you can look forward to new design releases with confidence.
  • A business plan in place to make GrayDay Patterns a legitimate business and not just a side hobby. I had given no thought to all the other details that must be attended to in running a small business. Like customer service, marketing and outreach, let alone the nuts and bolts of accounting or taxes!


And so, the next steps for GrayDay Patterns is actually to take a step back for a few months to work behind the scenes and get everything together.

I will be intensely focused on pattern drafting learning, and plan to release a free pattern soon. It will serve as a tool to help me learn in a real and applicable way, and as an offering to the community of sewers that have been so supportive during this journey!

I do have a nearly completed pattern that I plan to release in March. I draped it (in case you were wondering. No sleeves!) and I am excited to share it soon. I will be taking the new skills I am learning in drafting to this project, too,  so I decided to push the release date back to make sure it is the best I can make it.

I will continue to do lots of sewing to share on the blog. I am finding especially now that my focus has changed to drafting, that sewing things for me or my girls is such a fun thing! I love to sew. And the relief of working with an already expertly drafted pattern is the perfect antidote for the intense stimulation of learning all the time.

When I first came up with the idea of GrayDay Patterns, I knew I wanted to be transparent during the process. Winning a contest that was partially judged by popular vote made me feel part of the community. And it is very obvious to me that I will need to build confidence before you know what you can expect from my pattern label.  There are no smoke and mirrors here, and I will continue to allow you to see the process if you find it interesting.


4 thoughts on “On Starting a Pattern Label – Pt. 2

  1. There is so much imvolved in making a good pattern that it seems to me that a few months is not enough to reach a level of professionalism that would allow you to make a really good product. Sewing a garment that looks really good takes so much time and money that I would only want to buy a pattern from a pattern maker who is trained and experienced such as Sewaholic, Colette, or Grainline in order to give myself a good chance at success. I love your enthusiasm and desire to be creative, but I would encourage you to be realistic in how much time it would really take to be a good pattern maker.

    • I understand your concern, Kimmie. I did not mean to imply that 2 months is all I need to become an expert. I will be taking time out from producing new patterns to learn, then I can come back to designing with a better understanding of my skillset. I know my next pattern will not be a 3 piece suit! That is why I wanted to be honest with this post. The learning will be ongoing (and has been since this idea came to me) and I will not pass off patterns beyond what I can produce well.

  2. Helena, I think it sounds like you now know what you don’t know, which I think its going to be really helpful. And I don’t think you implied at all that you were going to be an expert in a few months, just that you were going to use those months to acquire skills and get your bearings on this endeavor. I very much enjoyed your posts, especially since I think some other pattern makers have gone the opposite route, on the fake it till you make it track, and they aren’t actually fooling all that many people. Wish you the best!

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