Business Basics: Can You Copyright a Sewing Pattern?

Craft & Design Yarncraft
Business Basics: Can You Copyright a Sewing Pattern?


In the world of designing and making, questions about legal rights abound. And, when you add the buying and selling of handmade goods into the mix, things can get even more confusing. Most makers and creatives know that they need to protect themselves and stay on the right side of the law, but not everyone has a lawyer BFF on speed dial to call whenever they need help. As a project designer myself, protecting my work is always at the front of my mind, but I often find that I have more questions than answers. Because of this, I’m constantly on the lookout for solid, crafting-specific resources that can help clarify my own rights and protections, as well as the rights and protections of the people who use my projects and patterns to create their own finished items. So, when I saw this fantastic Can You Copyright a Sewing Pattern? post that attorney and quilter Jen Bernstein from Brave Little Chicken shared on While She Naps, I knew that I’d found exactly what I’d been looking for: expert insight from an actual crafter. Hooray!

Including the post that she shared on While She Naps, here are some additional topics from Jen’s Quilting and the Law Series that you might find helpful:

Note: The information linked above was written with quilting in mind, but the basic information is applicable to a wide variety of crafts.

Jen provided the following disclaimer in the original post, and you should definitely keep it in mind while you’re reading her advice:

These guides are meant as a resource. Even though I am an attorney in my day job, this information shouldn’t be construed as legal advice and I am not acting as your attorney. If you are ever faced with a legal challenge, you should contact your attorney to discuss the specifics of your case. I will always work for 100% accuracy in this information, but no one is infallible so always check with your attorney before taking legal action. This information will relate to the laws of the United States. If you live in another country, you should contact your government or an attorney to learn your rights and responsibilities as it relates to the laws of your country.

Is it time to brush up on your copyright basics? Check out Can You Copyright a Sewing Pattern? and the rest of the Quilting and the Law Series.

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley.

View more articles by Haley Pierson-Cox


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