Some heavy hearts and some pretty big news from us


 Throwback to October 2012 and the end of our first photoshoot - By Hand babies! 

Dear lovely sewing pals, wonderful customers, Kickstarter backers and general internet-friends-who-like-what-we-do,

It is with extremely heavy hearts that we are writing this post and with great sadness that we have recently had to make a rather tough admission to ourselves… From the outset we knew we were taking on an awful lot last year when, all with the same three-person-strong small business, we aimed to continue expanding our range of sewing patterns as well as launch a textile printing service - but we were excited by the challenge! And we have tried our hardest, done our best and put absolutely everything we’ve got - money, time and love - into making it work. However, even through our best efforts we simply have not been able to make the business financially viable enough for us to be able to continue as we are. Which means that we have decided it necessary to close down our textile printing service over the next few weeks and also no longer print paper patterns any more.

But we are definitely not disappearing! We have loved every single minute of being part of the wonderful online sewing community with its inspirational, sharing and supportive attitude and you are what has spurred us on since the start of it all. Making this difficult decision to quit the fabric printer and paper patterns has forced us to re-evaluate everything: what we want for the brand and the reality of actually needing to put food on the table at the end of the day. So this is our plan: we continue to sell our existing stock. However, from this moment, our printed patterns are now limited edition as they will never again be re-printed. As and when the paper patterns run out, the designs will become available for PDF download. All future patterns will be released as PDFs only (don’t worry, we already have a handful of new beauties waiting in the wings!). We will continue to keep the blog active with tutorials, pattern hacks, guest posts and the usual fun stuff, as well as keeping y’all updated with our daily goings-on via our various social media portals. We will continue to be on hand to answer all your blog comments and emails as normal. Basically, to the naked eye, it will be business as usual (minus the printer and paper patterns of course). But behind the scenes, we will go back to living as so many of us in this industry do - meetings held around kitchen tables, new patterns masterminded and sampled late at night after the kids/boyfriends have been tucked in, and all of us pursuing new careers that actually pay the bills.

The past few months have been pretty scary at times, but what has continued to be a source of endless motivation is you guys! It’s no secret that one of the most rewarding things about what we do is seeing women all over the world, of all ages, shapes and backgrounds interpret our designs in their own unique way. The community, the sewing patterns, the blog, the constant exchange of inspiration and information is what has driven us from Day 1. And when you take away the things that circumstance has dictated to no longer be a possibility - an expensive London studio, salaries to support three women and pricey physical products - amazingly, we still find ourselves left with the essence of what we set out to create in the first place: a library of sewing patterns that continues to grow, and the (also ever-growing) community of wondrous women who make our vision a reality.

We’ve always felt compelled to be honest with you in the past, whether it be our faux-pas or our triumphs, and this is no exception. And as a small creative business exploring fairly new waters, we also feel it important, and maybe even of use to our peers to be transparent about what has worked for us and what hasn’t, keeping an open journal if you will, to document and share our journey. Although we are terribly sad that it didn’t turn into quite the empire we had intended, we are approaching this as a positive step in the evolution of By Hand London. We are, as ever, extremely grateful for the opportunity we have been given, and it has been an absolutely amazing journey so far. Any success we have had is quite simply all down to you and your loyal support. So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Ok, so what happened?? AKA a lesson in high points, low points, crowdfunding and a rookie error or two.

A great question! And one which we are still rather painfully unravelling ourselves, washed down with a bittersweet pill of hindsight.  

We launched this business back in 2012 with big dreams, big excitement, and big loans. Over the following two and a half years we threw ourselves into it fulltime - AKA overtime! At the start we relied on part-time jobs to see us through till word got out amongst stitchers around the world, orders picked up and our little business came through it’s baby stage and could at least wobble around on its own two feet a bit more. We then graduated from bedrooms as warehouses and kitchen tables as offices to our own studio in a business park in the outskirts of NW London - the studio might have been grotty, the business park was definitely creepy, but it was ours and by golly it was magnificent! Then we took a massive leap, as we made the decision to expand by adding a manufacturing business to our little empire and launched our Kickstarter campaign, which was unbelievably nerve-wracking and almost exactly a year on we are still overwhelmed with humility and gratitude at all the support.

Equipped with your Kickstarter dollars we set about building up a totally new and much more complex business to work alongside our sewing patterns. With your help we were able to move into and rebuild a brand new studio in a more accessible part of London, do some seriously jazzy and beautifully designed web development, get our hands on some cutting edge hardware and generally work with an exciting array of talented web, print, design and textile experts along the way! We were excited and unbelievably proud when we managed to launch our print-on-demand fabric service to our Kickstarter backers at the end of November 2014 and were beaming from ear to ear as we printed the first orders for them.

In a small startup, it’s quite amazing (in both the most wonderful and terrifying way) how quickly your fortunes can change. For instance, our sewing pattern business was in a very different shape this time last year - namely, we were quite comfortably cash positive. This was because until the end of 2013, at which point we started paying for salaries and rent, we had been selling pretty well but hardly had any overheads. Therefore, we had not quite appreciated how quickly that meant money would start leaving the bank account and therefore how ‘do-or die’ every month’s earnings would suddenly become. And also, how what had seemed like loads of cash to us, actually didn’t stretch very far! We then also made some rookie errors over the course of last year, like over-buying stock, over estimating earnings in traditionally terrible summer months and not moving fast enough in getting out new sewing pattern designs. While it seemed like we were bringing in good money from our sewing patterns, the bills were always more and pretty much every month we would not quite make enough money to cover our costs and every month that loss compounded just a little bit.

Along with our sewing pattern business showing signs of real trouble by the second half of last year, we had also taken on a rather risky Kickstarter model. Most Kickstarter campaigns around a product are tantamount to presales, using it to guarantee a certain amount of orders needed to put a product into production. However, we needed all the money to fund the setup alone -  to finance the printer, web development, ink, studio rebuild, and cotton - meaning that all the rewards were to be fulfilled at cost to us. We were well aware of this, by the way! It just meant that there was very real pressure on us to hit the ground running and be selling well as soon as the print service went live. The shaky cash situation in our existing sewing pattern business added yet more pressure, because what we had counted on - that this would cover running costs in the early months while we got our printing service up and running - suddenly looked pretty unlikely. 

Thanks to the Kickstarter funds we’d been able to afford a good sized first instalment of cotton, so we thought  we'd be buffered against having to buy more fabric for a few months, by which time we figured we would have made enough sales to afford to buy more anyway. But, with the printing learning curve being very steep, we ended up using way way way more of that first fabric shipment on testing before launching than we had expected…. With most of the rest being used to fulfil Kickstarter rewards and us not selling anywhere near as much in those first couple months as we thought we would, this meant that we were suddenly out of that first supply of cotton and with another serious cashflow problem. And, as  we very quickly discovered, starting up a manufacturing business, however small, with no cash buffer to get you through the early months when you’ll be more tied up in operations than you will be freed up to promote your services, is extremely extremely tough (and, we would now say, most probably ill-advised).

A few short weeks ago it all came to a head and we had to fully admit to ourselves quite how precarious our finances were on both the sewing pattern and the printing side of our business.  We forced ourselves to face the hard truth that there didn’t really seem, short of borrowing more money (too terrifying!), a way out and therefore, perhaps it was time to change the way we did things before it was too late.

So, where did all the Kickstarter money go?

Another great question! Firstly, and most importantly, please rest assured we have no intention of earning any ’profit’ from your generosity. Below is a pie chart to demonstrate what the money has been spent on. Hopefully this chart illustrates that this money was never spent on anything other than costs directly related only to setting up and running the printing business. Another important thing to note is that we do not own our printer and therefore it is not our asset to sell on and pocket the profit. In order to get the Kickstarter funds to cover as much as possible, we decided not to try and buy a second hand machine outright, but instead to get a finance lease on a first hand one. This basically means we put down a deposit and pay a monthly fee to ‘lease it’. Therefore, now we have to sell it and pay off the full value of our five year lease, which is equal to the new value of the printer + interest.

Although our Kickstarter page says that the final amount pledged was £37, 033, in actual fact we received £32, 566 - due to a mix of dropped backers and Kickstarter fees.

We’ll know more within the next couple of months and we will be updating you here and picking a charity to donate any leftover Kickstarter money to. 

*Stock update*

Fabric printing

We have very little cotton left - so if you are interested in getting your hands on some custom printed or gallery fabric it’s best to place your order very soon. Those Kickstarter backers who are past the deadline and have not yet claimed your fabric, please also do so asap to guarantee getting your reward!  

Sewing patterns

We currently have Anna, Elisalex, Flora, Holly, Kim, Sophia and Victoria in printed pattern form. However, we are running pretty low on all of them, so please do place your order soon if you would like to own one of these ladies in hard copy.

And last, but definitely not least, a list of thank yous! This gang below went above and beyond for us in various aspects of our business and we absolutely could not have done it without their support:


YOU! Our customers and Kickstarter backers. We would literally be nowhere without your support, shout outs and makes over the years and are forever grateful for the opportunity you gave us to pursue our dreams. 

Our pattern testers

Our stockists

Tadberry Evedale - printers of our packaging

ZipBoss - tech wizards and builders of our fabric customiser

iSub - printer suppliers

Pon Carden - our accountants

  • Charlotte, Elisalex & Victoria
  • news

Comments on this post ( 84 )

  • May 13, 2015

    I’m late because I’ve just found out this post, this is really sad news. I have to say your Anna dress (worn yesterday with great success) is my “Precious” on so many levels (being able to sew such a nice dress, getting compliments from it and also feeling great in it). Thank you so much for your hard work.

    — Za

  • Apr 23, 2015

    So sorry to hear you’ve been having a rough time. Running your own business, although rewarding, can be so unbelievably hard. I think what you’ve done so far has been amazing. Elisalex was the first pattern I bought when I decided to get back into sewing last year and I absolutely love all 4 dresses I’ve made from it. I couldn’t have wished for a better dress pattern to start with and the sewalong posts on your blog have been invaluable. I have since bought Holly and Kim and look forward to making awesome pieces from them next. Congratulations (and thank you!) for all your hard work so far and I wish you all the best for the future. Looking forward to seeing how the brand evolves.

    — Jo

  • Apr 18, 2015

    Lovely By Hand London Ladies,

    I’ve been quietly stalking you guys, your patterns, and your business for a while now. So sorry to hear you’ve had one heck of a rough patch.

    Think it’s pretty awesome that you’re so positive. Can’t wait to see your next patterns and hear what you all do next.


    — Elena

  • Apr 17, 2015

    Hello Lovely ByHand Ladies,

    My discovery of sewing coincided with your launch of ByHand and it has been such a revelation and a delight. I have received so many compliments about the clothes that I have created courtesy of your designs and your invaluable tutorials, so thank you so very much.

    Well done in making the decisions now so that ByHand will continue to exist, develop and evolve and I shall continue to follow and support you in your future endeavours.

    — Zoe

  • Apr 17, 2015

    Bummer about your printed patterns being no longer available!!! Thank goodness I just bought the ones I did not have!! So worth it!! I look forward to your PDFs. I will miss the beautiful presentation of the printed ones!! Will continue to support your business though. Best of luck??

    — Marsha

  • Apr 16, 2015

    I just wanted to say how much I love your patterns and to wish you such good luck with the new chapter of By Hand London. Having used “normal” dressmaking patterns in the past, I find it such a pleasure to make your designs as everything is so well explained. I really enjoy reading your blog too, although I haven’t commented before. I look forward to seeing the new designs you come up with and will have no problem with the pdf versions, although I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we see more of your beautiful printed patterns in the future :-) xx

    — Jo Navin

  • Apr 16, 2015

    So sorry to hear this guys. I admired your gutsy decisions in a very competitive market. However continue with your ideas and your spirit and enthusiasm will help you through this time. Wishing you all the wishes I can. Lee x

    — Lee

  • Apr 16, 2015

    I am not worried. By Hand, or another wonderful business, will grow again. You have what it takes. For one thing, you created one of the best kick-starter campaigns I have seen. It was very well written and each message was a pleasure to receive in the inbox. Being a woman in business myself, I have admired your business style. Your integrity and intimate communications made us feel like part of your community. Keep on keeping on.

    — Laura Grunfeld

  • Apr 15, 2015

    Just wanted to say, please do not give up on designing new dresses in pdf patterns. Your patterns are one of my favourites among all of the online indie patterns. All the best for the future. I am sure that this steep learning curve will help you in future challenges!

    — Eszter

  • Apr 12, 2015

    Anyone who owns or has owned a business knows one thing for sure : business changes all the time & in order for you to grow, you have to change with it. Its part terrifying, part exciting but requires a whole lotta faith. Im confident you girls will revisit this project sometime in the future, wiser for sure. Ive loved being part of your adventure & would continue to support in what ever direction you decide to take yourselves. x

    — Ange

  • Apr 12, 2015

    So sorry that you have to stop printing paper patterns and end the fabric printing business. But I’m happy that you will still be releasing patterns! I look forward to seeing your new designs! XXOO

    — Chuleenan

  • Apr 11, 2015

    Just a quick message to say good luck! It’s sad to hear. I like your patterns because they feel like clothes I actually want to wear – not always the case in terms of sewing patterns.

    — Elaine

  • Apr 10, 2015

    I’m very sad to read this news. I echo everyone else’s sentiments that your ethos and your honesty make you truly brave people.

    You know Simon Cowell went bankrupt and began again. A few unfortunate decisions and unlucky timing doesn’t mean the end of your something wonderful. It’s just going to be a bit different from what you’d hoped.

    I’ll be watching, with all the very best wishes.

    — Sarah

  • Apr 09, 2015

    So the start to a new chapter girls? Lets look forward and continue the terrific optimism that BHL always exudes. Can I please, please put up my hand in support of copy shop files – pleeeeese. I just cleaned up my sewing room and those blasted pdfs give me the pips. If anyone has an excellent storage solution for taped and glued bits of A4 – please share.

    Best of luck for your future endeavours. Nearly done with my daughter’s latest Georgia in brocade. I’ll send you a photo to remind you of how awesome you all are.

    — Lesley

  • Apr 09, 2015

    This is such a shock and so sad to read, but I greatly admire how openly you’ve shared everything and I have utter faith that you three wonderful women will make BHL work beautifully in its new guise.

    I really needed a good incentive to help me overcome my PDF-pattern fears, if anything will do it, this will!

    Good luck and I can’t wait to see what goodies you bring us in the future.

    KS x

    — Katherine Sheers

  • Apr 09, 2015

    I’m sorry to hear that things did not work out as you guys would have liked. The industry is a tough one to be in. Even though it didn’t work out in some regards I’m sure it was a great ride. All the best with the individual pursuits and the future endeavors.

    — AriB

  • Apr 09, 2015

    Even if I wasn’t already a fan, the honesty of this post (which must have been the hardest thing in the world to write!) would have had me totally sold. It takes real class and guts to be so straight up about what worked, what didn’t, your plan and all stops in between. I can’t wait to see what you do in future, and will continue to rave at basically everyone who will listen about how great you are.

    — Niamh

  • Apr 09, 2015

    Hats off to you ladies, you’ve been doing a grand job and I’m sure you’ll continue to do so. As someone who has just started their own business along side two other jobs I can feel your pain. Your post is very courageous and reading it bought a tear to my eye. Keep your chins up and be proud. I look forward to new patterns!xx

    — Lula

  • Apr 09, 2015

    HI Ladies,

    I discovered you when I was doing research on digital fabric printing, as in the past year, I have started my own digital fabric printing business in the United Stated (just north of Boston, MA). I was so excited to see three women starting this business, as I, like you, am starting this business on my own with loans and a lot of money out my (and my husband’s) pocket. I was rooting for you and also told my family and friends in Europe about you! I would love to talk to you if you are interested in sharing stories..positives and negatives not in your great post above. I am also patent pending on a fantastic idea that ties digital fabric printing and patterns together.

    Good luck in your future ventures!


    — Lisa DiAntonio

  • Apr 09, 2015

    I want to echo the support on here too. I think you’re very brave, and this post is honest and inspiring. Great things come from taking risks, and setbacks are an inevitable part of that. I’m glad that you are continuing – your patterns are fantastic, and I’m sure whatever comes next will be great too. With all the best for your futures, which I’m sure will be bright!

    — Tor

  • Apr 09, 2015

    Totally understand exactly where you are coming from – there are never enough hours in the day when it comes to a business in this industry and after all life is for living! Good luck for the future :)x

    — Julie Bonnar

  • Apr 09, 2015

    This is sad news! But I’m glad you’re not going away completely. I’ll definitely still be buying your patterns, PDF or paper :)

    — Amelia

  • Apr 09, 2015

    You are such clever and talented ladies. The success you have already achieved is evidence of that.

    Cashflow is the thing that really does make or break companies. The fact that you have recognised this and made the necessary changes to protect your brand and ensure your business can continue shows you are very sensible business women.

    You have been on such a journey over the last few years and will have learned so much from the whole experience, keep going and who knows what the next few will bring.

    We’ll all be hear waiting to see what you do next :0)

    — Laura

  • Apr 09, 2015

    These are challenging times for small businesses but be proud. You have inspired so many people, with your on-trend stylish designs, to get out their machines and start sewing or return to sewing. I know because I am one of them. The sewing machine has sat dormant for thirty years but your patterns have me making things again. The right decision at the right time; who knows what the future may hold. Although you have to suspend areas of the empire now down the line it may be possible to move back into some areas, especially printed patterns! (Guess what – I’m not a fan of PDFs!) If your creativity continues, your timeless, stylish designs keep coming then the money will follow. Congratulations on everything you have achieved so far. (If you don’t believe me Google ‘By Hand London’ to see how many you have inspired!) Good Luck on your new journey, you know you have many following you along the path.

    — Kitkatkrispie

  • Apr 09, 2015

    Sad day but I am sure you have learnt a huge amount. You should be proud of what you have achieved, it is a massive plus for the future.
    Good luck with whatever you end up doing.

    — Hilda

  • Apr 09, 2015

    I’m so sorry to hear that things haven’t worked out exactly how you girls wanted them too, but I’m so glad to hear you’ve not finished making your beautiful sewing patterns altogether. I love your designs and will continue to support By Hand London as you move on to your next adventure. Thank you so much for all the patterns!

    Good luck with everything,


    — Beth

  • Apr 09, 2015

    Sorry to hear your news, all the best for everything in the future, I’m sure it’ll work out – you 3 definately deserve it after all the hard work you’ve put in.

    — Ali (aka thimberlina)

  • Apr 09, 2015

    We’ll be here waiting to buy the PDFs. You are clever, ambitious, talented women, and we salute you. You tried, and you tried really hard, and that’s what REALLY matters.

    PS My bag and mug were with every penny of my donation

    — Morag

  • Apr 09, 2015

    Thank you for the beautifully articulated, and reflective post. I have thought of starting my own business and your post has given me much food for thought. I’m sorry to hear that things didn’t work out with the printing side of things. I love your patterns and will ensure that I buy up any more that I like before they go out of (packaged) print. I love the beautiful presentation of your patterns and will be sad to see them go

    — Jenni

  • Apr 09, 2015

    This was a very courageous post, and I applaud you all on your honesty. Everyone in business makes mistakes – that’s simple reality. But I am glad you are not giving up…just changing the way you do things.

    Given I live at the other end of the world, I am rather pleased that your patterns will all be pdfs in future, as that is the way I prefer to buy (given international shipping costs). Not to mention environmental factors. So, realistically, I will undoubtedly be buying more patterns from you in future!

    — Gillian

  • Apr 09, 2015

    While very sad to hear you are making tough changes, I don’t regret for a second being a Kickstarter backer, and I will continue to support you ladies any way I can, as I have from the beginning :) I have adored every pattern I’ve sewn of yours, and am so happy to hear you’ll be continuing to do what you are SO good at: designing and drafting great patterns :) Keep your heads high, ladies; you are brave and beautiful and talented – we love you! :)

    — Amanda

  • Apr 09, 2015

    Thank you so much for your lovely patterns. I will proudly cherish your printed patterns and look forward to owning the collection in full whether in PDF or paper. Your patterns are lovely and stylish, and I can’t wait to sew them all up! You inspire so many of us to create beautiful and quality garments. I am glad that you’ll keep on creating and being awesome members of the sewing community and thank you for taking a risk to bring all these things to us. All the best – will be cheering you on from here in the States!! ❤️

    — Janet

  • Apr 09, 2015

    Such sad news, I can only imagine how much stress and pressure you’ve all been under over the past year. There’s often a feeling of relief once a decision is made and I hope you can draw a line and move on in a way that works better for you. I think that PDF’s are a good way to go forward, you can carry on doing what you do best without having to worry about such high overheads. Really hope it works out for you all. X

    — Helen

  • Apr 09, 2015

    I can only echo what everyone else has already said – and wish you every success in the future. You deserve to succeed and I’m sure you will !!!

    — Anne

  • Apr 08, 2015

    So sad to hear that it hasn’t worked out for you but I’m so inspired by your strength to make this tough decision to help your wonderful business survive.
    I love love love your patterns and am so glad you’re carrying on with making them! Wishing you lots of luck and success in the future, Ladies!

    — Kate Prins

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I’m sorry that things didn’t work out as you ladies had hoped. But I’m really looking forward to being able to buy PDF Anna! I really hate buying paper patterns anymore and frankly, it’s the reason I haven’t purchased more of your patterns already.

    — jennifer

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Really sorry to hear that things have been so difficult. Good luck with your other endeavours & looking forward to seeing what happens with By Hand London in future. x

    — Charlotte

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Massive applause to you for having the guts to put yourselves out there and TRY to do what so many of us would love to – to make your passion into a career.

    I made a small kickstarter contribution because I so admired what you were doing, and nothing has changed. I have huge respect for you being smart enough to change your business model and regroup. The life of an entrepreneur is scary and exhilarating – and this is part of the ride.

    I have four print patterns, as well as my very own BHL printed fabric – I feel very lucky to have been part of your dream so far, even if only in a very small way.

    Looking forward to your next patterns. Your lovely designs make me feel like a dressmaker and look like a proper girl, because you make it easy to hide my flaws!

    — Lisa

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I think this is a positive thing! You are moving forward and with all the learning behind you, you all are making a smart decision. I am just so glad that you will continue to inspire us with your patterns. I love digital patterns so I am totally rooting for you.

    — Deepika

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I’m sooo sorry to hear about all the stress and worry you have gone through. You are three very inspiring and talented women. Just know you have the whole sewing community wishing you the best!

    — Melissa

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Oh lovely ladies, sad news indeed. This is just a setback! Bigger and better things will come out of it all, I’m sure. You’ve all been so nice welcoming us into the sewing community so you need to stick around! All the love x

    — sandra meek

  • Apr 08, 2015

    If you’re going to be selling electronic downloads of patterns please make sure you and your accountants are up to date with the EU Digital VAT regulations – http://euvataction.org has lots of info.

    — Catherine

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Oh such sad news. Your paper patterns are a joy to have in the collection so I’ll definitely try and snap a couple up. I’m very proud to have backed the kickstarter campaign and gutted for you that it hasn’t worked out. Keep coming with the PDFs though and all the best for your next adventures!

    — Charlotte

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Very sad you have had to make these difficult decisions. My sister is one person bespoke and high end jeweller and she finds it incredibly difficult running her business so I can appreciate how scary its all been for you.

    I’ve used a number of independent pattern companies PDF patterns and find they excellent value. Enables me to be able to reprint as I want to and can be fun putting the jigsaw puzzle of pattern pieces together.

    I have your Anna dress and maybe will try to get it made up for this summer when I go to Italy. Only thing is I have so many historical outfits to make as well.

    Looking forward to seeing new patterns from you. All the best and good luck for the future…maybe you can go back to paper patterns/fabric printing in the future.

    — Bess Chilver

  • Apr 08, 2015

    So sorry to hear your news. It must have been such a hard decision for you all.

    I love how stylish your patterns are and am glad to hear that you will continue to produce them in PDF form. I really enjoy the website and pattern hacks too. I have been using my Anna dress pattern over the last few weeks to make some summer dresses and I am delighted with them. I am very much looking forward to your new releases and best of luck for the future!

    — Anna K

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Oh I’m so sorry to read this and that it hasn’t worked out how you’d hoped but you should be so very proud of your success so far! You’ve been an inspiration and first choice pattern company for so many sewists! And I know I’ve always been so impressed by not just your patterns (they’re ace!) but also by you as individuals; as young, female entrepreneurs and your business acumen. Making what must be a difficult decision and also sharing it with all of us is very brave! But I’m very happy you’re sticking around. Rest assured, you have a lot of support in the sewing community and I’m sure amongst many others, I’ll be here eagerly waiting to see what’s next for and from you, ready to buy the PDF patterns. Now I’m off to buy more paper patterns to go with the four I already have!

    I wish you the best for the future and have no doubt you’ll be successful.

    — Jen

  • Apr 08, 2015

    i hope you don’t think for one minute that you have failed. The fact that you tried is an achievement in its self. So it didn’t work out how you expected but you have learnt from your experiences and look forward to see what you do next.

    — Wendy Maslen

  • Apr 08, 2015

    mad love to all of you sweet ladies! clearly I know first hand how costly it can be to print patterns, so I feel your pain close to heart. though I know that PDF patterns aren’t your first choice, it is great that you all are carrying on in this way so that we all can continue to enjoy your patterns. as they say, the only constant thing is change, or however that phrase goes, so with this change perhaps there is a bright side, even if you don’t yet know what it is. hugs from across the pond to all of you and cheers to keeping going in whatever way makes you happy! xoxo

    — christine

  • Apr 08, 2015

    What a painfully difficult blog post this must have been to write, much respect to you ladies for having the courage to be so transparent. I love your patterns and as gorgeous as the paper patterns are mine usually get smashed up after the first use so bring on the PDFs! Very very best of luck x x

    — Bryony Olney

  • Apr 08, 2015

    What a brave decision. You’ve been and will continue to be such an inspiration to me and your patterns are the best fitting I’ve ever used. I love the blog, hacks and sew-alongs and your general enthusiasm for all things sewing i so darn infectious! I’ll definitely be first in the PDF queue!
    Sewing love, Catherine xx

    — Catherine

  • Apr 08, 2015

    If it helps to know you’re not alone, I started a company back in 2002 to make accessories and handbags. It was a modest success at first, so I expanded. Big mistake. I racked up a lot of credit card debt and didn’t have nearly the sales I needed to sustain the business, never mind actually earn any money from it. It was a painful learning experience, but a learning experience nonetheless. After I shuttered that business and licked my wounds for a bit, I started another company, which is going strong to this day.

    So take heart. When one door closes, often another opens. Stay positive, pick yourselves up, dust off, take a deep breath and look toward the future. The right opportunity is still out there waiting for you all!

    — Ann

  • Apr 08, 2015

    We will all be here, waiting to buy the pdfs and encouraging you all the way. My “By Hand London” bag and “Happy Sewing” mug are two great treasures and quiet joys in my daily life – and worth every penny of my small Kickstarter donation.

    You tried, and you tried really hard, and that is ALL that matters. You are clever, talented, ambitious, hard-working women – and we all salute you !

    PS We also LOVE your patterns, hacks and tutorials :0)

    — Morag

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I have a tear in my eye for you as you must have felt so under pressure for the last few months. You’ve had to make a big decision but hopefully with the decision made and the publish button clicked today that weight has lifted significantly from your shoulders!

    I’m just glad you are keeping on keeping on as I love the blog, love your patterns and this weekend I completed my first Victoria blazer and it looks awesome. Will be snaffling up the remaining BHL paper patterns I don’t have to make sure I have the full set :)

    Good luck for the next phase x

    — Kate H

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Sad news, but obviously the right thing to do. I look forward to new pattern releases in the future. You guys are very talented and I have no doubt that BHL will continue, and hopefully will become more successful again in future. X

    — Helen

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I’m really gutted for you all—it must have been so hard to not only make this decision, but to tell everybody. I backed your Kickstarter and will have an even fonder appreciation for my rewards now, especially the entire collection of paper patterns and my fabric. I am very glad that BHL will continue with PDFs and look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next. Good luck, ladies!

    — Abbey

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Even though I know this is a heavy heart situation, I can’t help but see the bright side, which is that soon (as soon as the paper patterns sell out) I will finally be able to purchase a PDF of the Anna Dress! From what it sounds line, the future of your business is bright with less overhead and a larger audience for your patterns. Hopefully the stress of running the business will recede and you can focus on the more create aspects. Good luck!

    — Grace

  • Apr 08, 2015

    This is really sad news, as you are great at what you do and your patterns are such gems in my collection (as they are to many others). I truly hope you girls can find some positives in this situation and I really believe that you can come back from this some how! Xxx

    — Marilla

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Really sad to read this news, love everything about By Hand London. Hope the move is as easy as possible and can’t wait to see your next pattern!

    — Hannah

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Look at Steve Jobs. He was kicked out of his own company and came back to invent the iPod and the rest….you know.

    Failure is actually good because it means you tried. Take heart and do something different and all will be well!

    Godspeed, ladies!

    — colleen

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I know how much guts it must have taken to press ‘Publish’ today ladies, and I commend your courage, and your business acumen to realise when it was time to change things up. It might not feel like it now, but you will look back at this time one day, and realise how much it shaped you for the better. You have a whole lotta support from us. Stay cool.

    — Sam

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Oh ladies, you do know that we all love you to bits, right?!?!?

    I am very sorry that you have come to this fork in the road, but also glad that there is still a way forward for By Hand London. I read somewhere that the most successful businesses fail more than once before they actually succeed. I have lived by this mantra, having my own small, precarious business. I have absolutely NO DOUBT that you will succeed, because what you do, the silhouettes of your sewing patterns, are brilliant, and unique. This is just a bump in the road, and I would say that you are showing admirable maturity and vision by re-tooling now instead of going deeper in the hole and screwing the pooch entirely. I will be cheering you from the States as you move forward. And while I abhor pdf patterns, I will buy yours, because if that’s what you will offering, I cannot go without….

    It is a sad comment on our modern times that you were unable to make this model work. I firmly believe that if more people sewed, worked with their hands to produce something for themselves, we would be better off as a society. But until we get there, steady on ladies. Your path, your dreams are worth following!

    With great respect and admiration,
    Samantha in Portland, ME

    — Samantha

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Thank you for your honesty about this process. You’re doing a huge service to so many others who wonder what it looks like to grow a business.

    I trust that you’re going to learn loads from this and hope that you can get back to a place of sustainable cash flow, because the work you’re doing is lovely!

    — Maggie

  • Apr 08, 2015

    You know I was only thinking about you girls this morning and wondering how the business was going as I had a very early cup of tea from my ‘happy sewing ’ mug . I’m really sorry to hear things haven’t gone as planned but you should be proud of what you did and be happy in the knowledge that you had enough business sense to call a halt. So often we let our hearts rule and we forget sensible business decisions. It takes courage to do what you have done. Concentrate on your core product and I’m sure you will find a niche that suits. If I could ask though… Can we have the option of a0 printing so we print full size locally! Lol! Good luck!

    — Tracey

  • Apr 08, 2015

    This is such sad news! I was just drafting a blog post about my Easter sewing (of course your patterns) when I got the message on my facebook news feed.

    It is sad, but I’m so happy that you’re still continuing! While I was reading I thought “Please don’t shut down, please don’t shut down!” You guys are my favorite sewing company, you are the gals that got me inspired to start sewing last year, and I’m so grateful!

    I hope everything works out for you guys and as always I will buy your latest patterns. You’ve seen my collection ;)

    — Sophie Bach

  • Apr 08, 2015

    So sorry to hear this news. I’m glad you’ll still be continuing in some way and I hope that in time you’ll be able to rebuild from pdf to paper patterns again and who knows where in the future.

    — Fiona

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Hi, I’m really sorry all has not worked out as planned for you and your business. I’m a fellow entrepreneur too and having read about the subject a bit; having an ‘honest failure’ is part of the experience and many very successful businesses have started again from rocky starts. In fact having a previous failure can improve your chances of success in future ventures and make you more attractive to future backers than no experience at all!

    I wish you so much success in the future, I love your patterns and they are the workhorses that I reach for again and again, requiring little in the way of fitting. I can’t wait to see your next pattern release, lots of love xxx

    — Jo

  • Apr 08, 2015

    You ladies have been an inspiration and this but a small blip in lifes journey. I am sure with your personalities and skills that you will go on to bigger and better things especially now that you know what works and what doesn’t. C’est la vie ladies, c’est la vie.

    — Sheridan Colson

  • Apr 08, 2015

    This is such a sad post! I only got into sewing about 9 months ago but very quickly came across the BHL brand due to how prominent it is in the online community.

    From the modern and stylish designs themselves (lets be honest the mainstream patterns don’t always hit the mark… to say the least) to the high regard in which you hold your own products, to everything about the brand, you ladies should be so proud of yourselves and what you have achieved.

    You never know what is around the corner and the opportunities that may arise, even just from people learning about the business’ current situation so hold tight and don’t give up the dream!

    — Ala

  • Apr 08, 2015

    You guys should be super proud of what you have created and the inspiration you have given others.

    I wish I could wave my fairy godmother wand and give you a load of cash to keep it going … you know what the Reverand Mother says “when the goddess closes a door, she opens the window somewhere else”

    :) Lisa

    — Lisa

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Good luck in the future girls!
    Much love from Team Making x

    — Abigail Cox

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I’m sorry to hear the news. I used the Elisalex dress pattern to make my wedding dress and I remember being so happy that I found the perfect pattern for my perfect dress. You ladies made that possible. Thank you for all your hard work and creativity through the years.


    — Melissa

  • Apr 08, 2015

    This is such sad news. I’m a huge fan of your patterns, having most of them in my collection.
    Your tutorials have helped me to learn how to sew. The smallest tips and tricks have really helped me along and I love, love my special custom printed fabric.
    I am pleased you will still be working in PDF forms and still blogging and will be keeping an eye out to see what you do next. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be fantastic.
    Love and best wishes to all of you. X

    — Karen

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I’ve just read this during a quick tea-break while making (another) Charlotte skirt! No word of a lie! Although this seems like sad news, the fact that you’re continuing in some form is still good news to me and many others, I imagine. I can’t comprehend how scary it must have been taking such huge leaps but it was definitely worth it for all the inspiration and wonderful creativity you’ve brought to many people’s lives – you got me back into sewing and making after a long time of looking for modern patterns that I would actually wear! So thankyou thankyou THANKYOU and good luck with everything you’re now set to do… I’m off to buy the last couple of paper patterns I don’t own already! Xx

    — Anita

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Such sad news! I hope things improve soon xx

    — Aneira

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Don’t worry ladies. This is just a step in a slightly altered direction. You can always get back to what you have traditionally offered…when the time is right. Keep learning and growing!

    Oh and I love your patterns!

    — Beth

  • Apr 08, 2015

    So sorry to hear this, ladies. You gave it your best shot and it’s sad that it wasn’t too be. Good luck in your future endeavours, including the reimagined By Hand London of course; with such talent and integrity I have no doubt we’ll be hearing about glowing successes in no time. x

    — Julia Bobbin

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I’m really sad about that! But I wish you all the best for every upcoming step you have to make, don’t lose your confidence! I’m off to buy some paper patterns, as long as I can. ;) Good luck and go on, please!

    — Friederike

  • Apr 08, 2015

    So much respect for your courage in making this decision. I donated to the Kickstarter as I wanted to invest in By Hand London, and although I’m sad at this news, glad that you will continue in another form. I, as well as I’m sure all your customers, will continue to support you ladies no matter what the future holds. All the best x

    — Steph

  • Apr 08, 2015

    It’s with sadness that I read your post but I hugely admire your honesty and bravery. It takes a lot of guts to set up in the first place in ever changing economic times and even more guts to change your business model when things have become untenable in their existing form.

    Your patterns are amazing and I am trying to resist the urge to buy one of everything as I feel this is a part of sewing history slipping away. Your brand represents everything the contemporary sewer is looking for in a pattern and just to have and to hold one of your paper patterns is a great feeling, now more so than ever.

    I wish you great women every luck and success as you move forward and hats off to you for pushing your business this far. What works on paper is sometimes different in reality but at least you ventured where some only dream. Long live By Hand London in its new form and may your lives become less stressful for the decisions you have made.

    All the vey best to you all x

    — Angela, Confessions of a Fabric Magpie

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Hey girls, my heart goes out to you. You’ve created an excellent brand and you should be extremely proud of it! Keep chasing those dreams despite it not working out this time round because you ladies have amazing talent, such honesty and integrity in biz! Jenny x

    — Jenny Lam

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Really sad news….

    — Kate

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Oh ladies, I’m so sorry to hear this. No doubt it was an incredibly tough decision, after a very stressful period. Wishing you all the best, and looking forward (and hoping) to see new pattern designs in the future xoxo

    — Zoe

  • Apr 08, 2015

    Wow ladies, that is definitely big news! I’m so sorry to hear it hasn’t worked out as you hoped. :( but am very very glad that you aren’t calling it quits! It takes a huge amount of courage to chase such big dreams, and even more to admit when things aren’t working.

    Thanks also for your honesty in telling the story. Huge respect to all three of you!

    Best of luck for the future, I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you come up with next :)

    — Kat H

  • Apr 08, 2015

    I’m teary-eyed reading this so I can barely imagine how difficult it must be for the three of you! I’ve bought three of your patterns, my mum has one and we both agree that your designs and pattern cutting skills are stellar. I’m glad that you’ll continue on in a new but different guise – and I’ll keep buying from you and supporting you all the way. Love and best wishes, Natalie x

    — Natalie

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