Sewing · Uncategorized

Copying Designers by Sewing for Yourself

It seems easy, you see an item of clothing in a shop that you like but it’s too long/short/expensive/something else, and you know you could make it yourself exactly the way you want, so you do. The Monthly Stitch even had a copying RTW week. But is that fair to designers who put work into designing, creating the pattern and producing the garment?

This is the harness I copied worn by my model, I had to pad out the bust with an old bra, next time I’ll use a subtler bra!

I’ve done some reading on this primarily in regards to lingerie, Esty Lingerie have a good post on copycats and due to Hopeless Lingerie’s recent accusations of ASOS stealing their designs The Lingerie Addict have a fantastic post on this also.  The overall conclusion I’ve gathered is that there’s really little that can be done to stop companies/people stealing designs, and there really only is a case if it directly impacts sales. By this logic, sewing something for yourself that you were never going to buy is perfectly acceptable as it doesn’t take away profits from the designer/producer.

All of this is on my mind recently, because I copied a piece of underwear from a small, independent, but incredibly talented lingerie designer. I love her work but I could never be able to justify her prices* (her new Miod wired bra has me wondering if I really need food/water/petrol), so I copied it, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I could argue that me making my own doesn’t take money from Karolina, I’m not selling it nor was I going to buy her’s, the original (my bank balance thanks me, but not my heart).


But still, I’m not completely comfortable with the decision. Maybe it’s because I feel like I know Karolina (Christ, I feel like a stalker werido writing that), I’ve read a lot she’s written on running an independent business and the struggles she’s faced. I also know the work that goes into bra, so I can only imagine the work it takes to make a whole collection.

So, while one could argue that I’m in the clear, but I still don’t feel right. Will that stop me in the future? Honestly I’ve no idea, maybe but most likely not.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Have you ever copied a design? I’d love to know what other’s opinions are.

*Karolina Laskowska is a luxury lingerie designer who uses beautiful and luxurious fabrics. Thus her pieces are largly out of my price range or what I can justify spending on underwear. Although I do dream of a day when they are not.


7 thoughts on “Copying Designers by Sewing for Yourself

  1. You could write to her, you know? Tell her how inspired you are by what she makes, how much you’d love to own one of her pieces but really can’t afford it, so you’ve copied her design from a picture, but is there a any chance she would consider releasing a pattern line? That way you would give something back to her. Or maybe a tip/donation?


  2. Thanks for introducing me to a new designer! As a Polish expat I’m always trying to get to know the world of both Polish home sewing and design, so I’m really excited to learn more about Karolina Laskowska’s work.

    I think copying designers has always been something that home sewists have done. The crucial thing is to acknowledge the inspiration (exactly like you did) and not make more of that design beyond what you yourself will be wearing. I think that keeps it ethical. And getting in touch with the designer to let her know you like her work and that you think it would be great if she considered releasing some patterns is a lovely idea. You’d be giving her an idea how to expand her business.


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