December 14, 2014

Patterns: some sad news - #VATMESS

Wave Goodbye by Nicole (Follow the White Bunny) - 
pattern available here until 30th December 2014

Hands up who's addicted to embroidery .pdfs? I am, there's nothing like a spot of instant pleasure, affordable art and anticipation (of the stitching you plan to do with the pattern), that a good embroidery .pdf can bring. So, I'm very sad to hear that some of my favourite designers have been badly affected by a change in European tax law, that comes in force at the beginning of next year, meaning that, if you're an European designer, selling digital products (such as .pdfs) will suddenly become a hell of a lot more complicated. You can read more about the change in law on this excellent post from What Delilah Did

Nobody has ever become rich from selling embroidery and craft .pdfs, in fact even before this some embroidery designers were shutting up shop, the new ruling makes it even more questionable whether selling embroidery .pdfs is worth it. Reading the recent crop of blog posts has been sad and frustrating, that bureaucracy meant to tackle tax avoidance in large multinationals, is instead going to stifle fledgling businesses. Nicole from Follow the White Bunny is no longer going to sell .pdfs from 31st December, however her shop will remain open. Carina from Polka and Bloom thinks she may have to put up her prices to counter the cost of the extra administration. Sami from Teasemade will also stop selling .pdf patterns on 31st December. Laura from Bugs and Fishes will be removing her .pdf patterns from her shop on 22nd December, as well as no longer accepting blog ads (also affected by the new rules), she will be looking for a VAT compliant reseller and selling her .pdfs that way. 

So, if you've been eyeing up that Follow the White Bunny .pdf that you never quite got round to buying (Nicole's latest pattern Wave Goodbye is particularly lovely), want to get in on the action on one of Carina's classes or pattern clubs before prices may rise (I love her new Stitchy Souvenirs pattern club) or fancy wanting to know how Laura makes one of her felt creations, or support any of the other talented European designers out there that are selling digital products, now is the time to do it. 

If anyone knows of any other European designers whose businesses have been negatively affected by this new ruling and I haven't mentioned them, please do leave a comment below.

Hi, I'm Jo - I feature new embroidery patterns Sundays on Feeling Stitchy. I also post on our Twitter and Pinterest.

Is there a new pattern you'd like us feature? Email me!


  1. II know that this new tax law is also affecting beadwork designers too. The internet will be a poorer place due to this bureaucratic craziness.

  2. Unfortunately this doesn't just affect European sellers - it is worldwide. Although how exactly this would be enforced is another question! It covers any digital business selling TO customers in Europe, not just businesses based in Europe. You could block European customers, however this is never 100% reliable and the EU expects businesses to keep records for 10 years to show they have not sold to Europe (crazy!).
    The whole thing is a disaster from start to finish but will in time be rolled out worldwide more than likely as this has come from the OECD guidance on countries collecting tax in the country where the item is 'consumed'/bought, rather than the country it came from. I would recommend anyone worldwide who is involved in this sort of business contacts their local politicians to lobby on this matter. And as a pre-warning HMRC in the UK have stated that this will be expanded out to physical goods as well in 2016.

  3. I'm going to have to stop selling my cross stitch PDFs too, as of 31st December. as it's really just not worth the hassle - I'm offering 25% off them until then at The code is 25PDF. If you'd share that with your readers, I'd be most grateful! :)

  4. She is not embroidery but U-Handblog is going to stop selling her patterns for making handbags.

  5. This new EU VAT law affects us in the US too! Starting in January all of my .pdf's will have to be emailed - and only to customers in US & Canada as there is currently no way to restrict purchases to specific countries via Etsy without listing patterns as physical items. This is such a huge and negative thing for micro businesses and I am definitely sad to see many of my favorite artists and pattern creators having to shut down. :(

  6. How unfair that micro businesses will be affected when I am prepared to bet the big guns will find a way around the deal!

  7. Monika Kinner - WhalenDecember 14, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    No blog ads either!????
    Oh heaven. Seriously? ?? These are such small businesses... micro. Most are work at home mamas for goodness sake!!

    Monika in Canada

  8. *sigh* This is so absurd, but in my many years of watching (and, once upon a time, writing about) politics I've only seen laws like this, aimed at big companies, end up genuinely hurting the smaller ones who simply cannot afford the time and money necessary to comply with them. It really is outrageous—especially since this of course hardly aids the consumer, as it makes obtaining necessary or desired products more difficult!

    So upsetting, and I'm very sorry to see so many weighing between having to close up shop or, in some cases, dramatically change the way they do business. It's just not right...and the little businesses, I'm sure, were told this law would *help* them! :( So sorry to all of those affected. It hurts you, and therefore hurts all of us.

  9. For those in the U.K. there is now "Patterns to Print" set up by Samantha Hussey who will take care of the official VAT business for you as a seller. You can find it here

    Karen aka Aunty Stitches