Skip to main content

Banner Sponsors

Tedsby - Handmade teddy bears and other cute stuffed animals. Hundreds of teddy artists from all over the world and thousands of OOAK creations.
Teddy Bear Academy - Online teddy bear making classes

toadbriar ToadBriar
western massachusetts
Posts: 532

So I'm learning to knit (and spin on a wheel, but that's a whole nother post).


I got ambitious today - bought some cute patterns for cardigans & other little clothes.
I'm not touching these patterns til I can do more than garter stitch! But I know when
the time comes, they will make super neato bear accessories. I got really excited
by some of the very cool stuff out there!

So if I make a OOAK bear to sell, which is my usual thing, is it ok to make him a sweater
from a boughten pattern, or does that violate some etiquette or worse, legal issue? I don't
usually make anything from boughten patterns. ("But they show a photo of how it looks on
the cover - why should I bother making it if I already know how it'll look?" lol)
I'll probably end up changing stuff on the sweaters except for the most basic ones. BUT
I'd be more comfortable if I knew what's proper if I want to dress a bear for ebay.

Thoughts? thanks!

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Posts: 5,162

I sometimes use commercial knitting patterns Kim ... it wouldn't stop me from marketing the bear as OOAK though, after all, the bear is your original design.  I mean, if a bear was embellished with bought ribbon, silk flowers, clothing etc etc., you wouldn't question that the designer of the bear was using something freely available to others to accessorise, would you?

When I sell a bear wearing one of my own hand knitted designs, I'll market it as such, but if it's wearing a handknit I've taken from a commercially available pattern, I only lay claim to having hand knitted the sweater, rather than designing it myself.  It just helps to clarify to the collector exactly what you've been responsible for in terms of the bear's creation and his accessories.

I may have the etiquette, (if there is any!) on this wrong, but I'm comfortable that the way I deal with it is fair and honest.

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

I've sold many OOAK bears wearing sweaters my dad has knit from bought patterns. As Paula said, it's the BEAR that is One Of A Kind!! Many sell bears wearing antique brass bells...... I can guarantee those are not one of a kind bells! Some have used bow ties or spectacles on their OOAK bears.... more than likely those accessories are manufactured so not ooak either.

Yes, you can say the sweater is handknit.... it is! But to say "sweater by me" would be perhaps too vague? I always advertised dad's sweaters as "handknit by..."

Just my 2 cents!

bearlyart Canna Bear Paint
Posts: 749


I think that patterns and fabric fall in a rather grey area, as to whether you can make them for commercial purposes or not.  The best you can do is check the pattern itself and the packaging, and if you don't see anything there you could try calling or emailing the company to make sure.  Sometimes they really don't mind.  Other times, you may find a copyright notice that states "for personal use only", in which case they probably do not want you to knit the pattern for the purposes of selling it, as an accessory to a bear or otherwise.  I know that, for example, the Disney fabric / patterns / designs and Daisy Kingdom brand of fabrics ALWAYS have these notices, "for personal use only" and "no commercial use".

I concur with the answers to your other question... the clothes on the bear do not change whether it is OOAK.

Hope this helps!

sarahjane Brisbane
Posts: 2,951

I have been wondering about this myself I'd love to dress some of my bears in hand knitted sweaters but would have to use a pattern..... bear_ermm

WildThyme Wild Thyme Originals
Hudson, Ohio
Posts: 3,115

If you wish to be absolutely CERTAIN that you are not violating any laws when you use a commercial pattern....

Use one that was copyright before 1923!  Seriously!  If the pattern was copyright before 1923, you can not only sell what you make from the pattern... but you can actually even distribute the pattern itself, as in make copies and give them to all your friends... or even SELL them to all your friends!  You can even post the pattern on the internet!  So.... there are tons of FREE for the looking vintage patterns out there on the web.  Plus... I think it's kind of neat to know that you are using the same pattern that some sweet little lady was using back in 1890 or something!  When I use patterns for my tatted edgings, crochet collars and the like... I use my Great-Grandmothers patterns (well... not designed by her... but they are the patterns she bought way long ago!!!)

That's one way to just avoid the worry entirely.   bear_thumb
A different set of laws applies if it's 1923-1948.
Another set applies from 1948-1978.
And you guessed it... another set from 1978 on!

Many times when a pattern says, for "personal use only" they are referring to the fact that you can't distribute the pattern itself (as in you can't copy it for your friend, post it on the net, sell a copy of a pattern, etc....), not that you can't SELL things made from that pattern.  But you absolutely DO have to write/call the company and ask for sure if you really wish to be "safe."  There are companies that will let you sell the finished product outright, there are companies that will expect you to state the pattern name and designer if you wish to sell, and there are companies that actually mean that you can't sell anything that is completed using one of their patterns.  Kelly is right on as far as this issue goes, sometimes "for personal use only" means you can't even legally sell what you yourself have made from that pattern.

To make it all the more confusing... sometimes when it says "not to be used for commercial purposes" they mean that a "big" company can't use the pattern to knit their sweaters... but can Kim knit 10 of them and sell them at a craft show or on her bears.... YES!  But sometimes they mean "can not be sold."     bear_wacko  bear_wacko  bear_wacko  bear_ermm   You know when you buy a coffee maker it says "not for commercial use," meaning that you can't open up your own coffee shop and start cranking out 200 cups a day with your Mr. Coffee 10 Cup pot!   

It's a real quagmire, I tell you!  Honestly, I think that the companies (or their attorneys!) leave things completely grey like that so that they CAN go after Prada when they use a commercial pattern to produce a $ 400.00, but they don't HAVE to go after Ms. Smith who used the pattern to make mittens for her church charity craft show!   

Etiquette wise... assuming that you are out of the "deep, dark, & confusing woods of copyright"  :crackup:    bear_innocent   I think that you can't go wrong when you do credit the designer of the pattern.  As in, "Hand knit by me using a pattern designed by Susie KnitsAllDay, but with my own special little flourishes and modifications."   Not that it's always required in every instance.         

Kim Basta

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

("But they show a photo of how it looks on
the cover - why should I bother making it if I already know how it'll look?" lol)

I found this MOST interesting, Kim - only you!!! What a unique way to look at something!!

toadbriar ToadBriar
western massachusetts
Posts: 532

Thanks everyone! I know there'd be plenty of wisdom here!
I was writing a reply yesterday & then the power went out  bear_angry

Bobbi - what can i say, I like suspense.  bear_grin

I'm having so much fun. I am spinning up all my old rovings that are too
coarse for felting nicely - but make lovely yarn! For Christmas, my in-laws
gave me a great big armful of gorgeous auburn alpaca fleece (how cool a gift
is that, seriously?? They are great.) They'd gotten it from their choir friends who
keep a little 'paca herd. It is a LOT to felt, though - & all one color. So I'd seen some
neat little instructions online for making a drop spindle, for yarnmaking - so I tried that
out! Here's what I made:

The brown is the alpaca, the raspberry/blue/purple is wool.

Spindle is tooooo slow, though - so I 'invested' in a cute little double treadle
spinning wheel  :twisted: with which I made the stuff in the original post!

I'm having tooooo much fun  bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Posts: 5,162

What fabulous yarn Kim!  I think spinning it yourself to knit up into clothing, will definitely add a special dimension and your bear collectors will love it!

chrissibrinkley Posts: 1,836

That is so awesome Kim!  The brown is so pretty...looks like a yummy cappuccino swirl bear_original
I can't wait to see one of your lovely bears wearing.


TeddyTyke Posts: 65

Hi there!  If you become a confident spinner you'll probably graduate pretty quickly away from using commercial patterns at all.

My tip would be to learn to knit in the round ASAP - that way you can knit most things by simply making a tube, with 2 smaller tubes for the arms, shaping it (or not) as you go!

Elizabeth Zimmerman's books are great to encourage knitters to do this - and it's far easier and less fiddly than following a pattern.

You could also turn old tension squares into garments.

If you check out the Interweave website, you can find info about their magazines Spin Off for spinners and Interweave Knits, which also give you tons of beginners' tips and inspiration!

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB

Banner Sponsors

Johnna's Mohair Store - Specializing in hand dyed mohair and alpaca
Past Time Bears - Artist bears designed and handcrafted by Sue Ann Holcomb