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Thread: Frustrated...sewing pattern so vague

  1. #1
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
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    Frustrated...sewing pattern so vague

    So I am trying a new pattern I found on Etsy for a Mommy and Me apron set. The instructions are so vague. Most saw sew seam as shown in picture, then the picture is super small. I am tempted to give up on this pattern even though I have all the pieces cut out. Ever found a pattern that didn't explain very well? What did you do?

    I really like the look of the apron...maybe I should wing it?
    Sabrina
    Mommy to a 6 year old little girl, 3 dogs, 4 cats, and 3 fish. lol Life keeps me busy but when I have a moment, I love to sew or digital scrap.
    http://ataleofamilitaryfamily.blogspot.com/
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/HugsLove?ref=si_shop

  2. #2
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    Did you buy it from the pattern designer since it's on Etsy? I'd email the person and ask them to clarify the steps you are having problems with.

    It will help them also in writing patterns so they know where people have problems with their written instructions.

    I do have problems following patterns in general. I have a Simplicity pattern all cut out right now that I just don't have the time to figure out what they are saying.

  3. #3
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
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    Yes, it was her design. I might have to let her know that some steps are kinda vague and need to be clarified or at least make the picture bigger. She doesn't give any suggestions on how big or small a seam should be so I am trying to guess on some areas.

    Example: Step 3: Trim and clip the seam as shown. The picture if small so it is hard to tell that you don't just cut straight across the top of seam but you need to trim the corner as well. It is for a point so I knew to trim the corner to make a good point but if a newbie saw this, I am sure they would say WHAT?
    Sabrina
    Mommy to a 6 year old little girl, 3 dogs, 4 cats, and 3 fish. lol Life keeps me busy but when I have a moment, I love to sew or digital scrap.
    http://ataleofamilitaryfamily.blogspot.com/
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/HugsLove?ref=si_shop

  4. #4
    Senior Member patmas57's Avatar
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    I've come across this lots of times in the past... patterns that don't have clear instructions. I agree with charity-crafter that you should contact the designer and ask for clarification. And maybe even bigger pictures! I have a lot of patterns that come from a Canadian company that drafts custom patterns for you based on personal measurements. (Actually, mine were based on a laser scan, but the current owners don't do that any more.) The instructions for their own patterns, as opposed to some from a major pattern company that they can size for you, are often vague and I suspect that they just assume you know what they mean. I did have to contact them once when I was confused, and they were very helpful (and apologetic).
    The worst was back when I had just graduated high school. I was working in a fabric store (the old Clothworld that I think JoAnns bought out), and we were encouraged to sew and wear the items we'd sewn for "encouraging" customers. Back then, you really could sew your college wardrobe for less, too. I remember being so frustrated about sewing the placket on a long-sleeved blouse. I finally went to a friend's mother, who made it seem so easy, and when I looked back at the pattern, I decided one problem was that they had picked the wrong step to illustrate. I would have totally given up without her expert guidance.
    Good luck, and don't be afraid to ask. You bought the pattern, after all; the designer owes you!

  5. #5
    Senior Member patmas57's Avatar
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    Oh, and I meant the sleeve placket for a button-cuff, not the front placket.

  6. #6
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I agree, since you purchased it from Etsy you have access to the designer to ask questions. If she's selling on Etsy there is a good possibilty that she is a new designer and would appreciate the feedback about pattern writing.

    I have had problems with patterns before. I've learned to read through the pattern and "pretend" like I'm doing the function (both sewing and cutting) and most of my patterns are chock full of pencilled in notations. One pattern in particular (a tote bag) I had to make it to that point and mock it up so I could see what was being illustrated - once I had the pieces in my hand the lightbulb went off and I got it.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  7. #7
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
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    Thanks. I think I will make notes. I just did one step: Fold the ties in half and sew the ends....I didn't find out until the next step that she meant just one end, not both ends. So I gave up and went to get some supper. lol
    Sabrina
    Mommy to a 6 year old little girl, 3 dogs, 4 cats, and 3 fish. lol Life keeps me busy but when I have a moment, I love to sew or digital scrap.
    http://ataleofamilitaryfamily.blogspot.com/
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/HugsLove?ref=si_shop

  8. #8
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    One of the big manufacturers, Mccalls I think, sold a redwork pattern for kitchen accessories with embroidery. They gave the embroidery pattern but never explained anywhere how to transfer it to the fabric. I knew what to do but can imagine a newer sewer who bought it and wondered what to do with the picture and no transfer or transfer directions. So it happens to the biggest of the pattern designers.

    I have gotten horrid quilting patterns. One had hand drawn pictures that were totally unclear and incorrect yardage amounts. I compounded the problems by making my own but finally got a quilt done. I will never buy her patterns again.

  9. #9
    Super Member Cindy60545's Avatar
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    this problem happens more times than not. The designers know how to do something & assume others know too. I just did a Carpenters Star pattern that was so totally out of whack that I had to redo all the fabric requirements & a lot of the instructions. Most aren't as bad as this one was, but there's an awful lot of patterns out there with flawed directions.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tngal22 View Post
    Thanks. I think I will make notes. I just did one step: Fold the ties in half and sew the ends....I didn't find out until the next step that she meant just one end, not both ends. So I gave up and went to get some supper. lol

    Definately let the designer know also. It's not easy writing directions because when you do something often, you forget what the basic steps are-or how to explain it clearly. Or you don't know the skill level of the person who is trying to make it. That way she can add a note about the skill sets needed to make this pattern. "You need to already know how to...."

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