How not to copy a pattern

Today I was looking for a pattern (to make a blanket coat for Ida) that I have somewhere on one of my racks and found this funny example of a pattern piece that I’d saved from way back when. I had no real reason to save it, I just thought it was funny (I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried). I’ve always wanted to show it to somebody -so now that I’m blogging, I guess that’s you.

I don’t have the complete pattern, just one piece of it. When you see it, you’ll agree that one piece is plenty although you might not find it as humorous as I do. Below is a picture of a pattern piece for the back lining of a jacket. What the “pattern maker” did, was to disassemble the jacket he (and it was a he, I knew him) was copying -only he didn’t take it all the way apart- and tape it to a piece of oaktag to make his own back lining pattern piece. As you see, the shaping of the back lining is very very interesting. It is rare that that much pattern design is put into a lining so I can only imagine what the shell pieces could have been like (the shell pieces were not taped to oak tag, they were long gone). I would have liked to see the original but this is how the knock off was rendered.


I find this hilarious. This was a largish DE operation, maybe 30 stitchers, run by this guy named Gus. I’d mention the name of the company but somebody else on the web is using it for their leather company and the two are unrelated. Maybe this won’t be a surprise to you but Gus went out of business about 4 years ago. Boy, did he make crap -but it sold! Bikers loved it, they couldn’t get enough of it. None of it was well made, patterns being the biggest problem as you can see. He had good stitchers too but there’s only so much they can do. I only saved the one piece but rest assured the other pieces were just as horrific. What Gus had told the “pattern maker” to do was take the thing apart to copy it. Only Gus is a real cheap skate and didn’t really see the point of paying for his guy to completely disassemble the thing to do the job properly so there was no way it could even begin to have the effect of the original. I really don’t know why he bothered. It’s baffling but surprisingly common. When people copy you, they often do shoddy copies. Don’t worry and let them dig their own graves, like Gus did. The reality is a lot of DE companies copy garments. It’s a big dirty secret. However, I have found that the biggest transgressors are the ones most likely to want somebody to sign a confidentiality agreement. I guess that’s so nobody will tell on them. I can’t figure out any other reason. That’s why if somebody wants me to sign one my first thought is what are they doing off color.

Here’s a picture of the flip side of the pattern. The style number is just scrawled haphazardly across the piece; the number to cut is circled but it’s written on top of the style number; very sloppy. I guess I should be glad they used a style number, a lot of DEs don’t even do that. That should be something to consider; as unprofessional as this company was, even they used style numbers and not names. Another good point is that the ink is blue so the color coding is correct. Then again, that could have been accidental. Maybe he wrote in blue ink on all of his pieces. Otherwise, there are no other identifying bits of information. That is not good. Use the standards in the book to correctly label your pieces.

Here is a minor/major pet peeve in pattern making: tape. Some pattern makers are rabid about this, they hate tape and think if anybody ever uses it, that they have an IQ of 19 points below plant life. Pattern makers don’t like tape because the tape dries up and the pieces fall apart so you lose whole sections of patterns. Me, I think it’s okay if you must do it for a fast correction but you should re cut the pattern as soon as you can. I’ve been known to tape up notches myself. I would never send work out with tape on it though. That’s considered lazy.

Just for grins and because I think the style lines of the original lining are cool, I took it apart so you can see the shaping of it.

Lastly, below you’ll see a comparison of the two patterns. In my opinion, the designer of the style on the left, had nothing to worry about based on the rendition of the copy on the right. I imagine that greater effort was made to copy the style lines of the shell from the original but there is no way it could have come close to fitting the same or having the same patina of quality as the original.

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