July 9, 2012

Sometimes Pattern Companies Just Goof

Sometimes when I go visit other people's blogs and comment, I think about something that might be of help to others in a post. I was visiting this post http://www.stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/2012/07/mccalls-6397-nearly-done-sneak-peak.html
and thought of a similar thing that happened to me.
Years ago, my DD #3 was in the process of getting ready for Girl's Camp (it's a camp for Young Women of our Church). They want the girls to be modest in their clothing so in stead of wearing a regular swimsuit, she decided that she was going to make some short pants out of swimsuit material... killing two birds with one stone so to speak.... (no, I don't encourage killing birds... just so you know!). But, as happens sometimes, time just got away from her and she didn't get them made b/4 she left. As she would be at camp all week and I was to go up there for some reason that I clearly don't recall now, I told her that I would sew the shorts for her. Famous last words..... o.k. so I have mentioned that I have sewn wedding dresses for lots of people, done lots of alterations etc... with out  as much headache as these shorts were to make!  They were a Simplicity pattern and honestly.... the name of the company does nothing for that pattern! They were the farthest thing from simple (as far as how the instructions were written) that I've ever seen in my life! Honestly, I was so thankful that my DD had not tried to make them... I'm afraid that she would have decided then and there that sewing was something she would never want to do again!  After getting totally frustrated with the instructions, the company and finally myself, I stopped and decided that I needed to step back and do it my own way. Once I did that it made sense to me and I was able to finish up the shorts. They ended up being cute once all the headache was over and done with. But, all I could think of was if someone who had never sewn b/4 got a hold of this pattern... that would be it for their sewing enjoyment. There was certainly nothing to enjoy about it and mind you the only enjoyable thing about that pattern was when I folded it up and put it into the garbage! Not to let something like this keep me down, I did what I typically would do. I complained, first to DH and then because he just looked at me like.... o.k. what would you like me to do about this, I emailed the Simplicity Company. I explained the in's and outs of all I went thru trying to figure it all out to no avail and finally just did my own thing. Believe me, when I was done, I felt much better! Nothing like a good rant (albeit the non-nasty sort) to blow off a little steam. I did explain that I knew that the person on the other end of the email I was sending had most probably nothing at all to do with how the instructions were not that instructing at all and I didn't hold them personally accountable for it... I just wanted them to know that it was frustrating to me and I'm sure to anyone else were they to pick up this same pattern. Believe it or not.... my email did not go right into the  "delete bin"..... (how do I know you ask?) because I got a reply!
The sweet person on the other end of the email address responded to me within a day or so. To which I was really surprised!
Basically, she told me how sorry the company was that I had had such a problem with one of their patterns. She went on to tell me that although they couldn't reimburse me for my fabric (which I neither asked for or wanted because I did make the shorts finally work) they wanted to make sure that I would return to be a customer again.... she asked for my snail mail addie and with that sent me a coupon for a free pattern. And on top of that she asked if I would be so kind as to maybe send any thoughts I had on how the company could improve the pattern. And that any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! To be honest.... I told her the best thing they could do for that pattern was to toss the instructions and start again! I can just see her laughing about that one!
The important thing that I wanted to pass on to any one who has a problem with pattern company instructions is... make sure read them thru 2-3-4 times.... and then if they still don't make sense to you...you can do another thing that I've done and that is to call someone else like say someone at the local fabric store. Ask them if they have  a minute or two to listen to the instructions and read them to them.... (it does help if they can pull a copy of the pattern... if it's a current one that's fine, of course, if it's not you need to either take it in so they can re-read it themselves or read it over the phone to them).  I found that if the person brought the pattern into the shop (when I was working) I could check it out and help them walk thru it.
Just know, that if in doubt check it out!!!! Don't forget to let the pattern companies know if there is a problem. Hey, they want you to buy their products, we keep them in business! If not for us... there go their jobs! So... proofread your patterns b/4 hand.... there is nothing like being up at 1 o'clock in the a.m. trying to figure out what in the world this pattern is saying and then.... you can't call anyone to ask questions. Well, I suppose you could call your mom or other bestest sewing friend, but I doubt if that person would truly appreciate it that much! Hang in there. Oh, and remember,  we sew so that we can do what we want, the way we want.... there are no sewing police out there  coming to knock on your door if you don't make something exactly like the pattern cover! If you make a mistake and it's something you can live with.... go with it! Sewing should be enjoyable! Granted, if someone is looking over your shoulder while your sewing, I get where that isn't all that enjoyable... but you probably wouldn't be doing it if you didn't like to sew. 
One more silly thing; while working at the fabric shop and dealing with customers that were having problems with pattern instructions.... I can't tell you how many times we wondered out loud, if the person who wrote the instructions actually ever sewed? Yep, sometimes.... I think not! Think about that the next time you look at a pattern and then say.......  they want me to do what? Believe me, it makes you feel a bit better!  

Hope your week is wonderful! Don't forget to contact the pattern company if you have a real problem with something they have done! Oh, and don't tell them I've sent you! LoL.....

2 comments:

ReStitch Me said...

I had a similar experience, but with a vintage reproduction Sack Suit pattern. I called the company that sold it to me and they proceeded to tell me I didn't know how to sew! Now, I don't think I am the best there is, but I HAVE done my fair share of sewing! The pattern pieces were on paper and I think were distorted in the copying process--they were up to 3" off in places. Needless to say, they didn't listen, and I didn't ever buy from them again!!!
I'm glad that Simplicity has such great customer service! And I agree, sometimes the instructions aren't written by a seamstress! lol

homeschooled said...

I was in a workshop with Jan Mullin and suspected the pattern she had given us wasn't quite right.
What would I know?
I thought that the 6" and the 8" blocks instructions were reversed.
Did not go down well. The pattern had been in print for some time and no one had complained. So I shut up and got on with my quilt. Eventually she said "yes" ther was a mistake, despite all her pattern editors.
I still haven't finished that quilt I have to say (another UFO)