one of these birds is just like the other

I’m a huge fan of Boden Clothing… and as a result, I follow their tweets. So when I saw this tweet…

Want to know how to make the lovely Boden Birdies from our new online magazine?
Here’s @
JudiNolan ‘s how to guide.,,

… I immediately clicked over! I mean. Crafts and adorable clothing! What a combination!!!

But what I found, was very disappointing. They shared what they called a “Boden birdy” – created especially for Boden. And they loved this bird so much, that they’d share how they made this bird with everyone else by sharing their pattern.

Here’s the problem. It’s not their original pattern to share.


On the left, the printable template for their birdies. On the right, Spool Sewing’s ubiquitous bird pattern that has been spread around the Internet crafting world a hundred times over since it came out in 2008.

A little too obvious, right? And considering that this pattern, and the birdies made using it, have been an internet craft staple for the past 3 years, I thought it was going to be caught as extremely obvious.

So I tweeted my dismay..

Always sad when people don’t credit the originator Shame on @Bodenclothing + @JudiNolan
for not crediting @

and in response, the originator of the Boden pattern told me that she didn’t copy it. Not at all. She saw the birds in a store window and created the pattern on her own.

And, being the “inspired by” crafter that I am, I would have given her the benefit of the doubt, had it not been so obvious. The “fold” marking on the right of the bird body gave it all away. If I were making a pattern, I’d just make a thick line. Or write “FOLD HERE.” But she didn’t. She used the exact same marking that Spool uses. And it’s just, well, blatently obvious.

When I was teaching and would catch a student cheating on a math exam, I rarely did it while the test was in progress. It was when I was grading them, that I would see someone making the same weird calculation error, or have the correct answer but the numbers in their work were transposed. I’d see cheating that is so obvious that it just jumps off the page to you and you can’t ignore what you’re reading.

I expected Boden’s bird designer to say, “Oh my! I did forget to credit Spool! I’m so sorry! Let me fix that now!” Instead, I was told that I was the one who was mistaken. It was all an innocent coincidence.

On the Internet, the collective memory of viewers/participants and the stored knowledge they have online/offline is very easy to trace. Easier than it’s ever been in the past. It’s so hard to knock-off something without others noticing. Like how Rachel Zoe tried to pass off a new design in her collection as original, only she had been in a magazine piece styling a very similar dress? Or when a Fashion Show (on BRAVO) competitor overtly copied (from their mind) a very famous Oscar dress? People remember and people know… and you can never hide from that.

I’m just tired of seeing people pretend that they didn’t know better. They did. They just thought people wouldn’t notice and they could get away with it.

[I’m admitting that part of my anger over this issue is not just that this is the umpteenth time I’ve seen a copy with attribution try to be passed off as original, but also with another blatant lie that I dealt with selling on eBay this week. It’s naive to say, but I’m disappointed at people lying on the Internet right now.]


  • Sara

    I saw your tweet and checked it out also and I agree, sorry Boden, copy cat you are indeed! I think it’s sad people can’t admit that they found something they love, they made it and then give credit to the person who FIRST credited the item/recipe/etc. I wish I were some fantastic recipe creator but right now I’m just trying to get the hang of cooking/baking as is—soooo when I post a recipe I link to the cookbook/website and adapt the recipe and sing the other’s praises for such a wonderful recipe. That’s the only way to do it!

  • Sandy

    dude, this deeply disturbs me! especially how she reacted after being BUSTED by you. it’s bad enough that she did this, worse that she is denying it and just plain insulting that she thinks you should just believe her. two thumbs down!