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How to Launch Your Pattern – Part 1: Write Your Pattern

Welcome to Part 1 of How to Launch Your Pattern. I’ve been wanting to create this series for so long to help new designers get their patterns out to the world! I didn’t feel like a video series would be the way about it as I thought I would miss critical information, where as written form allows you to come back to read it again and I can edit when needed.

As a Tech Editor, I see all sorts of designers from experts to beginners, and there are ALWAYS questions during the editing process. My helpful nature means I go above and beyond for designers and even help them find ways to create their own journey.

Part 1 is all about Writing Your Pattern. There are all types of designers out there. Some need to make a sample to perfection before writing it out. Some write it out as they go. And some write it up and then make a sample. Whatever your journey is, the key things here are to write it up and have a sample.

Why do I need a sample?

This is super important! The main focus of a sample is to show your potential audience what the design looks like when it’s finished. As a maker yourself, you most likely will only purchase a pattern if you can see what it looks like, otherwise you’d scroll on. This also helps the maker when they get stuck. They can look at your images to ensure they are on track and know they are making the same item that is in the pictures. It’s a great reference! Always have a sample made and pictures taken for your testers. Before you start making, let’s look at writing the pattern.

Writing your pattern.

This part is equally fun and daunting. You know what works for you, and in what order, so stick to that. However, I do have some questions you may want to think about before you begin writing.

  1. What terminology will you use? US, UK/AUS or both? Which will you write first and translate later? Making this decision at the beginning will eliminate confusion later.
  2. Will your patterns include detailed photos to assist makers? If yes, have your camera handy. You don’t want to miss a thing! The last thing you want to do is make another sample just to take photos.
  3. Do you want to take notes or write in full as your go? I personally (most of the time) will write in shorthand as I make it. For example; 30 fdc, 30 dc x 10 rows. And then rewrite later in my pattern template.

I find it easier to make these decisions first, so you don’t need to make changes later.

Choose your program.

This might not sound important, but it will be. If you start writing your pattern in your notes on your iPhone, but decide to use Google Docs later, that’s just a whole lot of copying, pasting and reformatting that you didn’t allow time for. I say pick a program and stick to it to begin with. Make sure the program is able to do what you want it to do too. Is there space for your logo? Does it have your brand colours? Does it have the font you want to use?

I personally put it straight in my Canva pattern template, but that’s where I’ve ended up over the years!

If you are able to, start designing your template. The sooner you have your template and style sheet ready, the sooner you can get your pattern to the next step!

Make a stylesheet.

What’s a stylesheet you ask? A stylesheet is a list of guidelines you create for yourself to follow in order to create your pattern document. Sounds wanky, I know. But if I didn’t tell you to do it now, you’d start doing it after your 3rd pattern when you’d had enough of overwriting the previous pattern and missing bits.

So, what does a style sheet consist of?

  • How do you write your instructions?
  • Where will the information be laid out?
  • How will you write your abbreviations?
  • How will you design your charts and graphs (if you’re providing them)?

The main purpose of a stylesheet is consistency and to ensure your information is in the order you feel your pattern needs it to be in. You can always refer to patterns you’ve purchased for styling ideas. I sure as hell did!

You can create your stylesheet in anyway you like. If you prefer a check list to ensure you have all the info, do that. If you want to design your pattern template in Canva or Word, do that. Your stylesheet is for you, and you can design it HOWEVER you like! And it can absolutely evolve with you as you continue your designing journey.

Types of writing styles.

Okay, here is where picking your style of writing is important and it will go in your stylesheet. So find the style you like and stick to it!

Below are some examples of how you could write your instructions.

Style 1: Create a magic loop (or ch3 and join). Ch3. DC 11 times into the loop, slip stitch to top of ch3. (12)

Style 2: Make a mr, ch 3, 11 DC in the ring, sl st to join. (12 sts)

Style 3: Chain 3 and join to create a loop. Chain 3. DC x 11 into the loop. Slip Stitch to join. (12 DC)

There are MANY more ways to write your instructions, and whatever way you choose, is the style you write in. The one thing I encourage everyone to do, is to be clear in your instructions about how to read it. For example, at the beginning of my instructions for all of my patterns, I will write something along the lines of:

  • Ch 3 at the beginning at each round, does not count as a st.
  • The number before the st abbreviation is the amount of times you need to perform that st in the same st.
  • The number in the brackets at the end of each row is the number of sts you should have in that row.

This confirms to the the maker that ‘DC 11’ doesn’t mean ‘put 11 DC’s in the same stitch’, they will read it as ‘make a DC in the next 11 stitches’.

Also have a think about if you want all your abbreviations to be in capitals, lower case, bold, underlined, shortened from stitches to sts or written in a whole. The most consistency you have, the easier your pattern will be to follow and will likely create returning customers for more of your patterns.

Maker resources.

Now, before you get to writing your design, think about the pattern. What does it need to be able to make it, and what is your target audience? Does your pattern need detailed pictures, charts, graphs, videos or links to information to help your potential customers? If your pattern is targeted at beginners, you may want to include as much information as possible. If your pattern is quick complex but aimed at advanced makers, you may only need to include some helpful resources. Or if it’s straight forward and aim at an intermediate audience you know will make it with their eyes closed, you might not include anything at all.

This information will help you with your targeting audience and establish your brand as the go-to beginner friendly designer or straight forward patterns for established makers.

Check list.

The checklist I created for myself is the most important thing I have for my pattern writing process. It literally covers everything I need to include in a pattern and ensures I haven’t missed a thing! If you subscribed to the newsletter about this series, you would’ve received a copy in your email. If you didn’t, you can grab it here for free or for a small donation, up to you!

What I recommend though, is creating a system that works for you as everyone works differently! Everything I have written here is merely a guide to help you take the steps needed to launch your pattern.

photo of laptop near plant

What’s next?

If you are going along with this series, I’d get your pattern made and written up ready for the next step (obviously, don’t rush it!). If you have any questions, please reach out or comment below! I’m happy to add to this portion of the series if needed.

Part 2, we will go over Tech Editors. Do you need one? How important is it? Why can’t I go straight to testers? To read more before next week, check out Are Tech Editors Important?

Happy Crafting xoxo


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