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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Selling Sewing Patterns on Craftsy

DISCLOSURE: I am a Craftsy Affiliate and receive commissions from them via referrals and ads on my blog. That said, all of what I am about to say in this particular post (beyond this paragraph) is about my experiences with Craftsy before I joined the affiliate program.

I have provided information about the actual affiliate program and the application process on a separate page here.

UPDATE NOTE: As of December 2018, Craftsy (now bluprint) has disabled the ability to set up shops in their independent pattern marketplace. When/if this functionality is restored, the process will likely be different.

The subtitle of this blog is "charting a personal sewing journey from student to designer". After I rediscovered the sewing bug in 2012, I set out to hone my sewing skills [again], challenge myself with a few projects and then see if I could create a purse design/pattern that others might like enough to purchase. Sounds reasonable enough, right?

But early on, I was asked, how do you intend to sell your pattern?

It was thus that — even before I started this blog — I checked out Craftsy.com and saw the obvious advantages of using their service as a launch point. You really can't argue with the following:

Craftsy charges NO FEES OR COMMISSIONS for listing your patterns!

Etsy.com, on the other hand, charges listing fees (good only for four months at a time), a selling commission of 3.5% and also payment processing fees (on top of what PayPal will charge) that vary depending on country.

Set Up a PayPal Account

To do business on Craftsy, all you need is a PayPal Premier, Student or Business account, your pattern in PDF format, and you are good to go! To be honest, it may well be the setting up of the PayPal account that's the most tedious part of the whole process. (I personally don't remember how hard/easy it is to set up a PayPal account since I've had one since forever.) Of course, PayPal is both an advantage and disadvantage. It lets you take payments easily but when you sell something, it is not as nice as Craftsy is, to let you get away without surrendering a fee. (I have a PayPal Business account and use their standard payment plan, which is $0 per month, with a fee of 2.9% + .30 per transaction. You can appreciate that for small transactions, you tend to get dinged. Something priced at $2.49 nets $2.12. International sales will cost a couple of cents more.)

Set Up a Craftsy Account

The second thing that you need is a Craftsy account. I am loathe to sign up and register for anything online, so kudos to Craftsy for "convincing" me — even before I started investigating options for selling patterns — to sign up with them.

My first contact with Craftsy was actually to gain access to a free pattern. It was something that I was considering making at one time (now on the rear, back, back burner) so I figured, if I have to create an account, I'll create an account. But it worked out well, because by the time I had my first PDF pattern completed and ready to go to market, I had less work to do.

And the thing is, becoming a member of Craftsy is not exactly the worst thing that you can do on the internet. It's full of valuable resources for the sewing enthusiast. (Actually, not just for sewing; true to its name, you can find all manners of crafting covered there, from cake decorating to weaving.) You may be aware that Craftsy has a huge selection of online classes that you can take (some are even free), but did you know that you can also purchase sewing supplies and fabric there (for up to 70% off MSRP on sale)? And apparently — for classes anyway — if you wishlist it on your account, you can be notified when they go on sale and the savings are often significant.

But the most important part of Craftsy to me is the Patterns section.

Check out Craftsy's latest promos...
[affiliate link]

Set Up a Craftsy Shop

Once you have your accounts established with both Craftsy and PayPal, all that remains is to upload your pattern PDF and some photos and enter a description of what you're selling. Instant "shop"; instant sales! (Compared to the process required at Etsy — which wants a slew of your banking and contact information before you can start selling — this is so easy!)

Upload Your Pattern

A bit of professionalism never hurts, so have someone proof everything you write, from the pattern itself to the description of it in your shop. You can upload up to five photos for each pattern, so take some decent pictures. (Include a shot that provides some idea of scale. People like to see the finished size of something, beyond basic measurements.)

Here are some screen shots of what is required when you upload a pattern:

Enter basic pattern info (including selling price) here...

Enter detailed pattern info here, including level of difficulty,
required skills, tools and materials needed, etc...

Enter your PayPal email here, along with your personal profile details...

You know what I love most about doing business via Craftsy? It's all out of my hands. Order fulfillment is handled directly by Craftsy upon receipt of a PayPal payment, which triggers a welcome beep on my cellphone.

What could be easier than that? And all for no fees!


  1. I love Craftsy. I have created both free and pdf's for sale on Craftsy. I have downloaded oodles of free patterns of all kinds and have purchased some too. It's absolutely great for everyone whether you buy or sell. It's also great to download free patterns to see how that person's patterns are written and photographed before you purchase a pattern from them, because if you like their instructions, you'd be more than likely to purchase from them in the future.

    1. Excellent points, Daryl. Yes, Craftsy provides an amazingly supportive environment for crafters to test the waters. (And the wealth of information that the site provides seems endless.) Thanks for the great comment!


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