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etiquette for selling items made with someone else's pattern | Hooked by Kati

Selling Items Made Using Someone Else’s Pattern

First and foremost, I’m going to answer the real question: 

Yes, you can sell finished items made from my patterns. Any pattern. But like most designers, I would like credit for my hard work. 

As a rule of thumb, you should always put “Pattern by www.hookedbykati.com” (or the name of the designer) on your tags or listings for the finished items. This shows the designer you value their work and that you are not taking credit for the design. 

Crediting and linking back to the designer also protects you from accidentally lying by omitting that verbiage. Leaving the designer’s information off of the tag implies that you designed the item, and MAY make you vulnerable to legal action from the designer. It could be argued that you claimed ownership of the pattern itself and are, therefore, selling their intellectual property as your own.

Technically, unless the designer has gone through the extensive process of specifically Copyrighting the finished products, you can sell finished products made by any pattern out there as long as you make it known that you did not design it.

My belief is that the PATTERN belongs to the designer. The ART belongs to the artist.

Give credit to the designer for his/her work. Take credit for your craftsmanship.

Respect the Pattern Designer

You MAY sell the finished items from a pattern you purchased from a designer or found for free on their blog or website.

You MAY NOT copy that pattern and give copies to your friends, make a few changes to the pattern and call it your own, or use it in a class and give away copies of the pattern to students. The written words of the pattern are the intellectual property of the designer and any time they change hands, the designer should see the profit, not you.

You MAY NOT use the designers photography of his/her finished items to sell your finished items. You should represent your product truthfully to your customers, so your photos should be of work YOU completed with your hands. Never use someone else’s work as your example. You are certain to end up with customers who feel you misrepresented the product.

The Best Way To Approach the Designer

Here is a tip for when you do decide to use someone else’s pattern for your craft fair or Etsy shop:

PLEASE SEND THEM A THANK YOU NOTE!

Write a thank you note for the pattern and tell them how much you love it. Mention that you will be adding their credit to the tags at your upcoming local craft fair, or better yet, a link to their website so others can find this great pattern. Share where you are selling it and a little about your business.

A thank you note will prevent the possible knee-jerk reaction when they see their pattern at a craft fair (made by your hook) and feel that itchy possessiveness over it. It feels like it belongs to them, especially if you are great artist and you do it just like they would have. But a thank you will often make  seeing the finished product a joy instead of a shock.

It’s Hard To Let Go Of The Pattern

Be understanding of the newer designers who are having a hard time letting go of their perception that they need to have some control over the end product. It is hard to put a piece of your heart out there and hope that people respect you for it and don’t try to take credit for it.

By letting them know you are using their pattern and that you are giving them credit for their idea (or even helping promote their designs), they will be reassured that you are not out to steal their pattern.

Do it to be kind, not because the law requires it.

And, as a designer, I love to hear from people who are selling items made from my patterns! I love to hear how they did at a show, or to see pictures of your finished work. And I would love to know where they are selling, so when I travel, I can watch for them, or better yet, meet you and admire your stitchwork. 🙂

Yarn on, people!

Kati

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22 Comments

  1. I am curious. All this is incredibly helpful but I would like a little bit more clarification on one specific thing. My husband is in the military and it makes things easier with me working from home which is why I decided to open an Etsy shop. I am still very new and most of the sales I’ve made are from family and friends. I was wondering, when they say you are allowed to sell your finished works does that mean you have to make the item first and then you can sell it or is it ok to do a made to order? since my shop is so new, I don’t want to go and spend hours making a bunch of things that I just don’t know if they’ll sell or not. I will always credit the designer out of respect and thanks for their hard work creating a design I love. I will use my own photos to showcase what I MADE, what is the point if you are showing off someone else’s work and not your own. I appreciate that you took the time to explain all this, it really was quite helpful.

    1. You can make a listing for custom pieces, but having a few examples of your work is a good option, and having some popular designs premade is the best way to get your shop noticed.

  2. I feel if you follow a pattern you find and like, after you have crochet it, you can do as you like with it. if I sold any crochet work I would tell people where I followed the pattern from of course, but I did this work myself and wouldn’t take credit for inventing it. If I choose to gift my work you should be able to no problem. I would not crochet and take credit on someone’s pattern. That’s not cool!

  3. I have a question about free patterns. I am thinking of uploading tutorials for free patterns that I like, but I feel conflicted beause yes, I am making my own video with one or two more methods to help the learner, useing a pattern that is free and is not my own. I hope this makes sense and thanks in advance

  4. Wow! I was thinking that I was glad I hadn’t sold anything when I came across the word “donated”. Never sold anything in my life but before I became quadriplegic I knit and crocheted literally hundreds of chemo caps. I often combined techniques but I’m pretty sure I never bought a pattern for this project. Actually many of the ones I used were posted on online bulletin boards which were popular when I started doing this. I can’t imagine anyone sueing you for using a pattern for charity, but I guess every thing is possible!

  5. Any of my crochet patterns can be made and then sold as finished makes. I think it’s a beautiful way to help small businesses grow and it keeps people using my patterns! The only thing I don’t agree with is when someone takes a design and mass produces it. I feel that’s just not moral somehow.

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  7. I actually spoke to a copyright attorney on a similiar subject. I have never sold my patterns, but saw that people were copying my items on their own. At times, I believe they were ordering from me, and then figuring out how I made them.
    The copyright attorney told me that the only thing that is copyrighted is the actual written pattern. The only way something made from a pattern could be copyrighted, is that the pattern has to have a design that could be framed as a picture.
    Otherwise, that’s just the way of the industry. If someone sells your written pattern, they have violated the copyright. And that’s the only way they violate the copyright.
    I think if a designer doesn’t want the items made from their patterns to be sold, they shouldn’t sell their patterns. And, they should at least put that at the beginning of their listings. I wouldn’t buy their patterns if I knew that from jump, and I’m sure many more wouldn’t either. We shouldn’t be surprised at the end of the pattern to read that we can’t sell items made from their pattern, when we use our yarn, and our time to make the items.

  8. Hi! so I’ve been researching this because I purchased a pattern with the intention to sell the finished product. I bought the pattern on etsy and looked all over the listing for their policy on that… nothing, cool! im almost done making the item and I find at the very bottom of the pattern, “For personal use only” contact me for a licensing agreement. Do you have any advice on this? I’ve never heard of this before and am frustrated by this prospect since I had no way to know before making my purchase.

  9. Oops, Entered comment in wrong place…

    Actually,I just about everything in this article is wrong. You say, “I would like credit for my hard work.” THE CREDIT YOU GET IS THE FACT THAT SOMEONE LIKED YOUR PATTERN ENOUGH TO BUY IT!!! THAT is your reward. And your ONLY reward. Financial gain!

    In fact, telling someone who buys your pattern to put a link on their OWN BUSINESS PAGE to inform THEIR CUSTOMER BASE where to go find it elsewhere so they CAN MAKE IT THEMSELVES, or have grandma make it ACTUALLY IS ILLEGAL!! You have no right to tell ANYONE to send their clients to the competition, or skim customers away from another seller, who ALREADY FINISHED their contract with you WHEN THEY PAID YOU. Good grief! And if you see your pattern on ETSY and should you post in the forums anything harassing or derogatory toward that other business, they can and should sue for slander/libel.

    Truthfully, the clause “please give me credit,” on any pattern should be filed as a complaint with the attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission because THAT VERY CLAUSE is illegal in itself bc it puts conditions on an ALREADY COMPLETED CONTRACT!! And you CAN be sued for that!

  10. I wish I could remember where I read an explanation of the legality of this explained very clearly, but I think a lot of designers believe they actually have more control over their work than they actually do. They can and should be able to prevent others from copying their patterns and sharing them with others without getting paid for them. But once people have paid for their patterns and own them, they can make the items and do pretty much whatever they want to do with the completed item. Sell them, give them away, gift them or use them to display in their homes or business, they made it, and they may decide how to use it, or them, however many they make. Which is why the creator of the pattern has to to decide if they want to put their work our there for public consumption, because once they do, they don’t really have much control of it anymore.

  11. Not having been in a. Position to sell anyone’s pattern to acknowledge, I am just beginning crocheting again. I have ordered several patterns some paid for others free. My mom used to make soft sculpture dolls and was amazing at it. She also ordered doll patterns, one of which I have named Joey. He is cute. I want to make a crochet doll from his specs and know it won’t be easy. I appreciate everyone else’s work and would not hesitate to acknowledge their work. It’s like writing a book then having someone copy it and say its theirs.

  12. I did exactly as you stated and asked for permission to sell the finished item. I would even purchase their yarn. They denied me and told me it is illegal. Even though they don’t express that items made with their patterns are not to be sold. Unfortunately I tried to ask, to be nice and to do what’s right. I just won’t be able to continue purchasing their patterns or yarn. Bummer all around.

    1. If it was in a kit, there might be a copyright, since it is more than just the pattern, but also the yarn. I’m sorry you had to go through that. But the good part is you can take your business elsewhere.

      1. Please quit. You cannot copy right YARN. 😂 a person can do anything they please with their products they make. You don’t have any power over what people do with their own things. Please take a class before talking about this. We don’t have to say where we got the pattern from either.

  13. Love this article. I am constantly amazed that designers tell you that you can’t use their pattern to sell the finished items. I do like the idea of thanking them.

    1. Thanks! I think it is so easy to be scared enough to put limitations on your patterns when you are just starting out. Designing is really putting yourself out there, in a big way. My hope is that with experience comes the ability to see all finished products as the result of a good design and to take pride in it. 🙂

    2. Thank you for the information. There is a lot of mixed opinions about copyright and knitting. I would like to start an Etsy shop with knitted fair isle items and am researching this topic. I have bought many patterns that I had no idea had disclaimers about not selling or donating items made from the patterns until after I purchased them. I recently designed and published my first knitting pattern because I figure then I can sell my own designs more easily. I personally have no qualms about someone knitting up my pattern and selling, donating, or gifting the item. I was paid for the pattern itself which is easier to sell then a product anyways (less time, Shipping, and hassle).

      1. Actually,I just about everything in this likea is wrong. You say, “I would like credit for my hard work.” THE CREDIT YOU GET IS THE FACT THAT SOMEONE LIKED YOUR PATTERN ENOUGH TO BUY IT!!! THAT is your reward. And your ONLY reward. Financial gain!

        In fact, telling someone who buys your pattern to put a link on their OWN BUSINESS PAGE to inform THEIR CUSTOMER BASE where to go find it so they CAN MAKE IT THEMSELVES, or have grandma made it it ILLEGAL!! You have no right to tell ANYONE to send their clients to the competition. Good grief! And if you see your pattern on ETSY and should you post in the forums anything harassing or derogatory toward that other businesses they can and should sue for slander. Truthfully, the clause “please give me credit,” on any pattern should be filed with the attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission because THAT VERY CLAUSE is illegal in itself bc it puts conditions on an ALREADY COMPETED CONTRACT!!

    1. I have an issue with people taking someone’s design and treating it as their own creation and brand when resaling the item thus as an early in the process of designing maker I would appreciate credit to myself for the design/pattern for the creation you have made.

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