Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rant on poor directions

I read a book recently that stressed the importance of clear directions, if you were to write up your patterns for others to use.  (Publish Your Patterns! How to write, print, and market your designs, by Nancy Restuccia)  The author, who has several successful patterns under her belt, broke down the process into simple steps.  Most important, in my mind, is to have someone follow your written instructions and try to make your item using only the words and drawings you have provided.

I witnessed the painful process of deciphering unclear directions at last month's stitch-n-bitch (otherwise known as Late Night at The Crow).  Kennette, the shop owner, was struggling with directions for a kit that she wants to sell in her store.

And then there is my own tale of woe:  Argh!

I *hate* the directions in this pattern.  Maybe it's not fair to single out Indygo Junction for poor directions.  Maybe I have just been unlucky with the 3 patterns of theirs I have tried (all were garment sewing).  Maybe their quilt-y pattern directions are better. This is a very old pattern (copyright 2000) --maybe they have gotten better at writing (and illustrating!!) directions over time...

The entire directions, cutting and sewing, fit on a single sheet of 8-1/2 by 11 paper.

In frustration, I started making my own set of instructions.  Note the number of illustrations I used.  This is only up to step 6, where I got completely lost.

The offending step.  "Sew pocket pieces to skirt back on each side RST.  Sew around pockets RST as shown to mark on pattern."

And here is how the pocket looks from the inside.  After sewing, ripping, sewing, ripping, and sewing one more time.  Still have no idea how it was supposed to go together.  The "mark on pattern" wasn't needed, at least the way I ended up sewing it.  Wonder what it was really for...

In praise of clear directions: Black Cat Creations.  They have a pattern editor who makes beautiful symphonies out of the individual designers' notes and sketches.  If I ever try and make a pattern for the masses, may my directions be clear like these!

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