It’s no wonder

Fair warning: there is going to be some serious ranting today. My youngest DD and I spent the weekend sewing for our yet-to-be-born GRANDDAUGHTER. No, the ranting is not about sewing, it is about sewing instructions. Or more to the point, the lack thereof. Since we need to keep our sewing projects a surprise until the end of August, I can’t provide pictures or describe what we were making, but I can give you a little taste of our frustration.

< begin rant> One of our projects was in a magazine. My youngest DD was in charge of this one, and she is gifting this to baby GD at the shower next month. She is NOT an experienced sewist. The instructions specified “cut one left” and “cut one “right”. OK – is the fabric supposed to be face up or down, and is the pattern supposed to be face up or face down? Nothing was specified on the actual pattern piece. Since there is a specific right and left pattern piece, and you do not cut them out TOGETHER because you are using different fabrics, I assumed the fabric and pattern pieces were face up. Probably my first mistake, but that is likely how the big 4 would have done it. How about the one crappy little diagram that was supposed to suffice for about 15 paragraphs of written instructions? No cutting diagram, no shading distinction for right side, wrong side, batting, etc. Crap. Total crap. There was no throwing of sharp objects, but there were some bad words said. Hopefully they were not absorbed by the very cute baby object. I wouldn’t want my darling GD to absorb any angry karma. Yes, this project did get finished. Yes, it is adorable. But the process could have been much smoother AND faster if the instructions were written more clearly.

Also worked on this weekend was a project of mine for the baby shower. It is safe to say this item is outside my normal skill range. The written instructions on this were pretty good. But one of the pattern pieces did not have the seam allowances included. Only ONE ^&%#$(*&$ pattern piece!!! All the other pattern pieces included seam allowances! Why in the h-e-double-hockey-stick was it omitted from one stupid pattern piece, with a big note to add the SA in at the top of the page. That I did not notice until I had cut out and completed 4 of five said items??  When I realized this error, there were some VERY SERIOUS bad words uttered. I am very sorry, darling GD. I will wash them out of your adorable baby gift.

Let’s just say I experienced a new appreciation for my students’ frustration with pattern instructions this weekend. It really is no wonder people get discouraged sewing. I did call one of my sewing buddies, and we devised a solution to my SA problem (thank you, Sara!), and all will probably be fine in the end. But seriously people, hire a good copyeditor. One who actually sews too, and tests the pattern for you. By actually trying to FOLLOW your instructions rather than just reading thru for spelling mistakes. </end rant>

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

4 Responses to It’s no wonder

  1. Cindy says:

    I can so relate! I wrote this review on patternreview.com: http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/readreview.pl?readreview=1&reviewnum=58590 . Sounds like a very similar experience. Believe me, I was being kind too when I wrote the review, it was really much worse. I wonder if pattern writers have anyone review their work, test the patterns, etc? Clearly sometimes they don’t! Can’t wait to see the items you’re making for the new baby.

  2. SewMaris says:

    Arrggggh! I can imagine how tough it was, Cindy. Sooo frustrating! I know the independents are on tight budgets, but we all should be PROMOTING sewing, not hindering it!

  3. Angela Fitch says:

    I have been working on an apron for my daughter for months from a pattern in a book I bought. The whole thing is like trying to follow a blind driver up a mountain road. I finally have everything cut out and started, but now I am having to make bias binding to edge it. Are there clear instructions for that? Yeah, right. Thank goodness for YouTube instructors. Hope the rest of your baby plans go much smoother. 🙂

    • SewMaris says:

      Thanks Angela – boy these instructions can be frustrating, can’t they! I love YouTube also – VERY helpful. I am sure the remaining baby projects will be better – at least the garment projects will be thoroughly familiar to me! Keep sewing! 🙂

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