Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Flattery or plagiarism?

First of all, thank you all again for your wonderful comments on the Patchwork Bond quilt. One of the things I don't like about blogger is the inability to respond to each comment through email. I try to respond to those of you that I can, but sometimes I just can't get to it. The quilt has been through the wash and is the perfect cover to lie under while watching some TV in the cool spring evenings. Maggie and Unki love it too!

I've been thinking about the type of crafter I am. I think different people have different strengths - some are incredible designers, some have "craft" (Rob likes to use this term to mean people who can put together anything with precision and attention to detail), and others are able to see beyond the pattern and make them their own. I think I'm the type of crafter who just sees something or gets interested in something and just attacks it with gusto. Hence the sweater knitting mania of 2005, the sock making frenzy of 2006, and the sewing extravaganza of 2007. I don't worry as much about detail or the perfection of the execution, because I know I need to make lots of mistakes before I get to that level of precision I'm satisfied with. Then I'll move on to the next phase of my obssession.

I bring this up because I have incredible respect for all crafters who are able to really create things on their own. A couple of weeks ago I was complaining to Rob that I can't come up with my own ideas, and he made me feel better by telling me that all designers get inspiration from somewhere.

So, after I consoled myself, I moved onto one of my other strengths - seeing ideas on other blogs and making them for myself. And this is where my title comes in - when does imitation go past flattery and turn into plagiarism?

Here's a dress that I made a couple of weeks ago after I saw a version on Cheeky Beaks blog. She took a pattern I would have never bought, Simplicity 4675, and created a beautiful dress from it. I followed her modifications and created my own version of the dress.

The wonderful thing about this pattern is that it is timeless - change the fabric and it would change the look immediately. Not only that, but it's very comfortable and covers up where it needs too. The accent material is from Amy Butler's Lotus line, and the main fabric is from Superbuzzy.

I was attracted to the art nouveau quality of the fabric.

I think this dress goes under the category of "Flattery", because even though I copied Cheeky Beak's dress pretty spot on, I did buy a pattern and chose my own fabric. Would you agree?

Now, here's a project that probably goes under "Plagiarism". I saw these cute dolls by Minilabo in a blog somewhere.

I thought, "How cute!" then "I could make those." (Reality check - it's harder to make these than I thought it would be.) So I spent a morning making a couple of dolls to see how easy/hard it would be.

I know that they are pretty rough, I hand drew some patterns and did the faces fairly quickly. I don't know if I would make more in the future, but it sure was fun trying!

Another item I made yesterday that I saw on someone's blog? Quick whole wheat and molasses bread from yai-ann's blog.

I made the light version and it was yummy! The first time I've ever made bread from scratch. The recipe is ridiculously easy and the bread is heavy like banana or zucchini bread.

This week happens to be Maggie's 11th birthday. Happy Birthday Maggie!

I know Unki gets a lot of attention on the blog, but it's because he's always underfoot or getting in trouble. Maggie likes to sleep, eat and cuddle. She's the most lapcattiest cat I know.

Where Unki prefers laying on one's backside. Meow!


blossom said...

lovely dress! it's super cute. you did a great job pairing up the fabrics. i often find that that's pretty difficult to decide.

Stephanie Lynn said...

I think it's flattery concerning the dress. You both used a commerical pattern and you used completely different fabrics. I love the dress so much I would like to make my own variation!

Anonymous said...

Hm. I'd call it flattery, since plagiarism is defined as passing it off as your own, which you clearly didn't. You stated where you got your inspiration from and took it from there.

Anyway, it's gorgeous, and I like your use of two colors of trim.

Another thing I've seen increasingly on crafty (sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc.) blogs is the complete ignorance of copyright restrictions. I've seen patterns distributed on the internet freely, even on forums. And I've seen handmade things which clearly came from Japanese craft mags being sold on etsy. It's one thing to make something and give it away, quite another to make a profit on it.

- MJ

SJ said...

I think the only way recreating something is plaguarism is if you try to pass it off on your own. If you're using a pattern that you've bought, the idea is to make one for yourself. You'd get in trouble if you tried to sell that pattern and make yourself a profit, however.

I think we all use the proliferation of crafty-type blogs out there to get inspiration.

Jillian said...

I am definitely the kind of crafter who gets inspiration from blogs and other people and I do have a hard time coming up with my own ideas. I think your dress is lovely (I have the lotus print in my stash right now and it will eventually be a skirt). Even if you follow someone else's mods, you still made this project your own with your fabric choices and probably a million little things that you did when you put it all together. I think flattery crosses the line when you copy someone's project and then pass it off or sell it as your own idea.

Monica said...

Beautiful dress! and Happy Birthday Maggie!

yumi said...

I'd consider it flattery and not plagiraim. I like the dress. Also, Happy Birthday, Maggie!!!

Kristi said...

All your projects look great!

Agnes said...

Wow ... lovely dress!
The photo of you with the 2 kitties is soooooo cute! I love the expression on Maggie. And happy birthday to Maggie. Meow!

Elizabeth said...

That dress looks incredible! How difficult was it to make?

I am very much a beginner when it comes to sewing... I need to learn how to follow a sewing pattern.

MinaG said...

Love the dress and the dolls... and I want to try making some of that bread!

yaiAnn said...

I dont think I commented on your quilt entry, but I LOVE it.. the diagonals worked out well. Where can I find time? Anyways, I think we both have similar crafting styles, an ADD of sorts. Socks one year, sewing/baking another. We'll be a jane of all trades! Anyhow, I think it's flattery more than anything.. also a way to gather inspiration. Often times I see things I wouldn't make, but then someone else makes it in a slightly different way, and all of a sudden I'm in love. I guess I would also love to be that person to "reinvent" the pattern themselves too. But I'm not sure if my mind works that way.. or if that "ADD" has a part to play in my mind not having time to work that way ;)

Maia said...

Very pretty dress. That last picture is truly awesome, I haven't seen something that funny and charming in quite a while.

Kristy said...

The dress is so cute! I love the fabrics. Great job. The cats are cute as well. Happy birthday to Maggie!

Jen said...

Wow - what a lovely dress!

Lola and Ava said...

I have the same conversation with myself all the time. Anytime someone compliments a project, I think "If you just went online you'd see lots of them!" I take satisfaction knowing that I can do it. Your quilt has inspired me to give it a try. See, it's full circle. Now that's pretty.

Ashley said...

I too wish I was the type of crafter that could alter/invent new ways of doing things, but I really enjoy seeing what people have done and then making it my own. (Once a copy-editor, always a copy-editor!)