Project Indie

As part of Indie Pattern Month, The Monthly Stitch and Dresses & Me are running a contest to help one of you launch your own indie pattern brand through Project Indie.

We told you a little bit about it a couple of weeks back, and now – it’s time for some more details about what to do if you want to enter! (Exciting, right?!?!) (Well, we’re pretty excited about it all. 😉

We’re super passionate about indie designers – we love seeing all the ideas and creativity out there, and supporting emerging businesses. Here at The Monthly Stitch, we’re running Indie Pattern Month every June, to celebrate all the amazing indie pattern labels that are out there and encourage you all to try out a new indie label or two. Over at Dresses & Me, Penny is dedicated to stocking only indie designers, helping them to get their patterns to other corners of the world and helping all of us get our hands on their designs a bit more easily.

It seemed a natural step to us to collaborate to help support new labels with getting off the ground and getting their designs out there for us all to enjoy.

And so, Project Indie was born!

We thought long and hard about what to offer the winner. Since Project Indie is all about helping another indie label get started, we’ve pooled our knowledge and resources, and gotten a couple of other people on board to share their skills and knowledge as well, to put together a sort of support kit. Helping with some of the details of getting started – pattern testing, proof reading, logo design (if you don’t already have one), publicity, selling your pattern (via the Dresses & Me store), mentoring from a well-known indie designer (Kristiann from Victory Patterns), and helping make sure your website design is easy for customers to use and matches your brand. There will be people on hand with experience in graphic design, web design, usability, marketing, pattern testing, and kick-starting an indie label. And we’re all keen to share our knowledge and skills to help get your label off the ground!

Sounds pretty awesome, right?!

So, what do you need to do to enter Project Indie?

Well, first things first – you need to design and draft a pattern for a garment for an adult women.

Then you need to take that pattern and grade it, so it covers a size range of at least four sizes. You’ll also need to digitise it – put it into a PDF format so people can print it out on their home printers. And you’ll need some instructions too, so people know how to stitch it up.

Once you’ve got your pattern, you’ll need to get some photos of the finished garment on a real, live human being, so we can see what it looks like made up. You’ll also need some line art for it, so we can see the pattern’s lines. And of course, you’ll need a description and a name for it, too, so we (and your future customers!) can read about it and know what to call it.

Since it’s not just a pattern that we’re helping you to launch, but an entire indie label, you’ll also need a name for your label, and to have given some thought about what your label is about. What’s your design aesthetic? Who’s your target market?

Bundle all that up, and send it in to us by the end of July 2014, to enter the Project Indie contest!

Who can enter?

Pretty much anyone!

However, since Project Indie is all about helping someone launch a new indie label, you can’t have had a pattern published for profit before (however, if you’ve released a free pattern, you can still enter).

Aside from that, as long as you’ve met the requirements below and sent in your submission in time, you can enter. 🙂

Now, you may be wondering, how will we decide the winner?

The winner will be chosen based on two areas – how popular the pattern idea is, and how well executed the judges thing the pattern idea is.

We’ll figure out how popular a pattern is by putting all the Project Indie submissions up on The Monthly Stitch for everyone to vote for their favourite.

The rest will be assessed by a panel of judges (The Monthly Stitch editors (Kat, Mel and Juliet), Penny from Dresses & Me, and Kristiann from Victory Patterns).

Then we’ll combine the scores from both areas to find out who won!

What will the judges be looking for?

We’re going to be looking for a few things. Creativity, execution, and a strong business idea.

First up, let’s talk about creativity. We’re on the hunt for an exciting original design. A pattern that makes us think “Wow! That’s awesome! I want that in my wardrobe now!” Obviously, it’s got to be your own idea. (And if we see anyone who has essentially just copied another pattern, they will be disqualified. But you’re a creative bunch, so we’re not too worried about that happening. 😉 )

Execution covers a couple of areas. How well done is your PDF? Does it print nicely, does the layout make sense? What about the instructions – are they easy to read and to follow? Does the line art and the description give us a good sense of what the pattern is for? Can we clearly see what it looks like made up and worn?

And as for a strong business idea? What we’re looking for here is how well you know what direction you want to take. Have you given much thought about what your label is all about? About the designs you want to make in the future? About how you’d describe your label to other people?

Ok, I can do all that. How do I put in my entry for Project Indie?

Submissions must be emailed to by the end of 31 July 2014.

When you send in your submission, you need to include:

  • Your pattern, graded over at least four sizes, in a format that can be easily downloaded and easily printed on an at-home printer. We recommend you use a PDF format
  • Instructions (in English, however if you want to translate them into other languages as well go for it) for sewing up your design. Again, these need to be in a format that can be easily downloaded and printed on an at-home printer.
  • Line drawings of what your garment looks like. Make these look good and make sure they include the style lines – they’ll be what people use to help them decide whether they want to buy your pattern or not.
  • Images of your design, sewn up and modeled by a real human being. These images are what will attract your future customers to your design. Want some ideas of what makes a good photo of a finished garment? Have a look at some of your favourite indie labels and see what they’ve done.
  • A description of your design – this will be used to give potential customers more information about the style and help them decide whether to buy it
  • And some information for the judges – this can be in whatever format you like. It could be in your email, attached as a document or PDF, whatever works for you, as long as we can read it. In this should be:
    • The name of your indie label
    • The name of your design
    • A description about your label – what is your design aesthetic? Who is your target market? What’s your label all about?

The small print

  • The winner will be chosen through a combination of community vote and scores given by the judging panel. All entries will be posted on The Monthly Stitch in early August for readers to vote for who they’d like to win
  • The judging panel consists of the Monthly Stitch editors (Mel, Kat and Juliet), Penny from Dresses & Me, and Kristiann from Victory Patterns
  • The winner will be posted on The Monthly Stitch in August 2014, and contacted by email
  • The judges decision is final

Keen to take part? Is there anything else you’d like to know? Just email us and we’ll get back to you! or tweet me @pennyarrowsmith

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