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Submitted on
April 24, 2012


…at least for the time being.

Some of you may have noticed that the patterns are no longer available for download.

Here's why.

When we started Lastwear we were very into the idea of open information.  You might even say we were a little starry eyed about it. Open source was on the rise, people were successfully marketing themselves through free electroic distributions of their ebooks, songs etc. and still making sales to pay the bills.  It looked like sharing was the way to go.

We liked that fact that it flew in that face of conventional business practices, thumbed it's nose at corporate colonialism.  In a world where people seemed ever more distrustful of businesses large and small, open sourcing our work seemed like a way to show we were for real.  That we weren't just in it for the money.

We felt confidant that any sales we might lose to folks downloading and sewing their own gear from our patterns would be more than balanced out by the increased exposure.  We thought being the first truly open source clothing company would be something that got people talking.

Sadly, that hasn't been the case.

While it seems that many people certainly like the patterns, and a few of you have even been so nice as to voluntarily pay for them, the exposure we were hoping for never materialized.

We've had very little by way of feedback (on person to date blogged about their use of our pattern and kindly sent pictures) and we're not seeing any clothing sales that we can attribute to making the patterns available.

We have heard that some folks are sewing garments from our patterns to sell. That's fine, we never said you couldn't, but it would have been nice to be contacted .  To know that we could expect some business sent our way too?

The other big problem has been the extra work that releasing the patterns entails.  Unlike open source software, we have had to put many hours into converting patterns from the file format we use for production, into a more widely readable format.  Even once we do that then it becomes an ongoing tech support issue to try to figure out what software on what system will work to read them properly.

On the other side, amongst those of you who do buy our product, no one seems to list our open source philosophy as the main reason for buying our clothes.

So we had to ask,

If our customers don't care about us being open source, and making our work available doesn't make us any sales but instead costs us money, why are we doing it?

The truth is, we don't have a good answer for that other than to stop.

As I write this, I'm genuinely sad about it, it feels like the abandonment of a cherished belief.  Being copy left (almost militantly so) has been a big part of who I think of myself as for almost a decade now and it's very hard to let that go.  As things currently stand though, all the evidence I have says I was wrong and at this time I'm not willing to gamble my livelihood on it.

Lastwear is still committed to promoting small independent businesses and personal creativity of all types.  We still love maker culture.  We're just going to have to find other ways to support it for now.

We hope no one is too horribly disappointed about this and we certainly encourage your feedback on the issue.

I will continue to post sewing tutorials and perhaps further down the road, when we're not scraping to get by month to month, we'll be able to start offering patterns again.

-Thom B.
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lgryphon Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013
I know this happened some time ago, but here's my $.02
I was attracted to the unique style of your garments and your open sourcing of your patterns.
I purchased quite a few of your Steeplejacks, Pinkerton vests (including one in red--possibly the first one--and my favorite), a couple pair of hakama (which I wish I could get more of...) I even have the patterns you offered on for download.
In fact, the fact that I wanted your patterns made me feel somewhat obligated to purchase something as well. The quality kept me coming back.
While I am disappointed, I understand your reasons (and was furious on your behalf when I saw other vendors passing off shoddy quality knock-offs)
I will remain a customer (as my budget allows) and hope to meet some of you when I come to SteamCon V later this month.

In the meantime, have you considered selling the patterns as a hard-copy from your store? You can make money on them, no software issues, print them out on sheets and let the buyer cut them out as with other patterns. Just a suggestion.

Keep driving on, and I hope you gain the success you deserve
steamorchid Featured By Owner May 3, 2013
Hi Guys,
I love your stuff and in the past have reproduced some of your patterns for myself. I would love to see your patterns polished off and available for sale :)
zippythewildone Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I understand why you guys did it but my halloween costume is going to suffer greatly, hahaha.
Dragonarium Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012
Since you've put the effort into creating the patterns, why not just put them up for sale on various costume websites? People pay (what I consider) ridiculous amounts of money for something as simple as a cloak pattern ($15 and up), and though us Deviants have known about you for years, there are many in the costuming world who've never heard of you and would welcome access to your patterns.

Even posting them on Etsy for 5 bucks a download would be more than zero. There are lots of people on Etsy (and the other arts n crafts sites) that post knitting, crochet and costume patterns for pay-to-download.

Love your work!
DigitalisVitae Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012
Open source anything requires just as much effort as offering for sale. Sadly, most people won't pay for anything, if it's offered freely, even as a show of support. The plan behind most of the efforts is as a 'loss leader' - offer one thing for free, and other things for sale.
SighD Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I am very sorry to hear... Thank you for that amazing service when it was available, I wish I had found out about you sooner to have been able to have experience it.
T-A-Raskelt Featured By Owner May 7, 2012   Traditional Artist
That's really unfortunate. Have you ever thought about selling the patterns as well for profit? I would be more than happy to pay a good bit of money for a good steampunk/cyberpunk-esque clothing pattern to make myself an outfit. I didn't know until I read your journal entry that you were even making the patterns available, and if I had known and used them I definitely would have sent you photographs and whatnot; it seems like it's really only common courtesy to do so when it comes to things like this. Either way I've always admired the patterns used by Lastwear, and maybe one day if I ever have enough money, I will buy an outfit from you.

I definitely agree that anyone who took your pattern with intent to sell and didn't notify you was very much in the wrong, and I'm sorry it didn't work out. Either way it is really unfortunate that you didn't hear back from anyone about the use of the patterns. People can be petty a lot of the time; its sort of like with music sharing. People download a song, some with the intent to pay for the actual album/song if they like it enough, same with e-books, but a lot of people don't think about supporting the artist. I wish they did.
seams-unusual Featured By Owner May 2, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
the whims of the market being of particular fancy to me, I can't help but wonder if the choice to move to open source may have been a great idea, but premature. I'm wondering if there will be a point later on down the road that will have you experiencing more of the benefits from a couple of free patterns here and there.

Keep the faith and be patient.
Marcusstratus Featured By Owner May 2, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hmm interesting, the best part about being open source IMO was having the chance to get feedback from other sewers as well as incorporating their new ideas into garments and vice versa. Certainly is discouraging to know that not much feedback was received from fellow craftsmen. I regret not being able to give more support as far as recent designs are concerned. This last month (or two rather) I've gone from being a SteamPunk to a proper Diesel (or petrol in my case) Punk or Greaser with the amount of car work I've been doing. Enjoyable but I've really been missing the workshop...
CuielRilwen Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I understand completely, no worries. I haven't even gotten the pattern to print yet as I haven't found anyone who can do that for me...that's the reason no feedback has come from my end at least. Hope to do so this summer, and of course credit will follow. Everyone's gotta make money. :)
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