The Sewing Place

"Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business

StitchinTime

"Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« on: January 22, 2020, 10:29:02 AM »
I saw on another sewing forum that the company that owns the "Big Four" (Vogue, Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity) has been acquired by a UK business.

I've watched the video the company has issued about the acquisition and it seems to be full of wrapping paper, greetings cards, party stuff and Christmas crackers - no mention of sewing patterns at all.
https://www.thedesigngroup.com/css-acquisition/

I'm not sure where sewing patterns are going to fit in their portfolio of activities.

UttaRetch

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2020, 10:54:02 AM »
I don't see how the pattern lines are going to fit into the existing business either.
What goes around comes around.

Kwaaked

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2020, 11:03:39 AM »
There's some talk in professional sewing circles that they will be sold off soon because of the longevity of the pattern companies and some idea they are looking for buyers.  Also some business experts are predicting being shuttered due to the current market of independent patterns/sewing decline/younger sewers not using patterns.

Nothing I can prove or point to, but rumors on other groups I belong to, both professional sewing and stock market (and I own stock in CSS).



HenriettaMaria

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2020, 15:59:46 PM »
Different company - it's not the wallpaper people, it's the crafting people:

https://www.cssindustries.com/our-brands/

There's an analysis of the situation from the industry perspective here:

https://craftindustryalliance.org/mccalls-simplicity-merger-points-market-impact-independent-sewing-pattern-companies/

Tamnymore

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2020, 16:19:53 PM »
The acquisition by CSS happened a few years ago, I believe. That analysis is interesting @HenriettaMaria. I've only skimmed through it but it suggests that people are beginning to favour indie brands over the Big4 (especially the instant download from indie brands  and also suggests the Big4 have difficult instructions. I love Style Arc patterns but the instructions are really minimal - give me Big4 instructions any day.
'One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.' Oscar Wilde

Ohsewsimple

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2020, 16:24:37 PM »
Many of the indie pattern companies also have poor markings, wrong instructions or even missing instructions.  I used to hate it when one of my girls brought in an indie pattern to make.  Half of the info I wanted wasn’t there. 

Acorn

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2020, 16:44:42 PM »
I'm not sure that the quality argument works any more.  The worst pattern I have made up for many years (by a country mile) was Butterick - it failed in terms of instructions (clarity and accuracy), pattern pieces not fitting together and the cut and size of the actual design. 

Setting aside Style Arc's very basic instructions, I find that the indie pattern companies tend to have excellent instructions, often illustrated with photos.
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.

HenriettaMaria

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2020, 19:48:39 PM »
I smell a business opportunity for teachers of pattern drafting!  When you've drafted your own pattern you don't need instructions  :D

UttaRetch

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2020, 20:13:40 PM »
If the 'big 4' ultimately disappears, I wouldn't mourn.  I have enough that suits my style and there is a lot that is already out of print.  I have no interest in the so-called 'indies'.
What goes around comes around.

Missie

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2020, 08:23:10 AM »
If the 'big 4' ultimately disappears, I wouldn't mourn.  I have enough that suits my style and there is a lot that is already out of print.  I have no interest in the so-called 'indies'.

I would as I love their vintage patterns.  They are useful for when I do dramas and some I have made to wear IRL.
A measly 2.5m of stash used so far!

Tamnymore

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2020, 10:23:10 AM »
I too would be sad if the Big 4 disappeared. I don't like all their stuff but there's enough of interest to keep me going and I love being able transform designer pattens into something that will fit, and hopefully suit little old me (well maybe not so little  :D ).
On the indie front as well as Style Arc I like Pearl Red Moon. She does some very original lagenlook wearble art designs - not  everone's taste if course but I love them. However if you read her blog you will see that she makes a pittance from her patterns and she is constantly having her designs ripped off and copied which sadly she doesn't seem.to be able to do anything about.
'One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.' Oscar Wilde

Helen M

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2020, 10:57:19 AM »
I haven't made up a Big 4 pattern since I came back to sewing 8 years ago. They just don't seem to fit me whereas the Indies I have used do. I'm small so maybe it's the 'extra' size allowance that they factor in? I keep thinking I'll try one of my old patterns but the thought that they won't fit really puts me off.

Must admit I've not seen anything that I 'must have' in their books in years.
Stash Busting 2020
Goal: 35 metres
So far: 5 metres

Ohsewsimple

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2020, 12:00:11 PM »
@Acorn I agree that the Big 4 aren’t as good as they used to be.  And I’ve come across some really bad errors and terrible instructions.  But they generally mark the bust point, etc.  And yes some of the indie pattern companies are good.  But I have come across some reallyl dire ones.  And many of these patterns aren’t produced by pattern cutters but by people who like sewing and think they'll have a go.   :S.   I think it’s insulting to ask the public to pay quite a lot of money, often more than the Big 4, for what is essentially an amateur job which you then have to print yourself if it’s a pdf. 
I always suggest people look at the About Me piece. 

annieeg

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2020, 13:13:00 PM »
I always suggest people look at the About Me piece.

@Ohsewsimple
I'm intrigued to know what is the "About Me piece"?

UttaRetch

Re: "Big Four" pattern companies bought by UK business
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2020, 13:22:57 PM »
'About me' is just what it says and tells readers the aims and ambitions.
What goes around comes around.