Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Sunday Night Question

I keep reading comments and threads lately about how Big 4 pattern *INSTRUCTIONS* (Simplicity, Butterick, McCall's, and Vogue) are particularly poor. Do you all feel that way? Funny thing is, I don't. Maybe it's because I grew up with these patterns, and I know exactly what to expect from them. And what not to expect.

Yeah, occasionally (actually it's somewhat rare) I'll get a doozy of a pattern with a section that has really horrible instructions. Then I just do "intuitive" sewing. Or pull out one of my many technique books and do it the way a particular author/sewing authority recommends.

But overall, I'm generally happy. I read them over, look at general construction, add in my sewing knowledge, and get the job done. Truthfully, I haven't been reading them much the past few years and doing my own thing instead, but these threads have me going back to the instruction sheets to read over instructions. Trying to see if they're really that poor.

They're vague in some spots and leave off things I know to do, but that's okay. Good sewers read. And read a lot. Our sewing libraries tend to be chock full of all sorts of good books. I mean, a pattern can't include all the little tidbits that are in the books. So basically I think the Big 4 instructions are fine. Not superb, not necessarily perfect, but still fairly good in my book.

What do you all think about this? Am I one of the few that is generally okay with Big 4 instructions sheets?


Laura said...

I'm usually not thrilled with them but I don't mind them either. In fact, I dislike the Sandra Betzina et al. instructions that are overly detailed, down to the brand of interfacing you're supposed to use. I use them as a starting place and then mentally work through the steps and any changes/additions I might make before I get started.
I agree that it's probably impossible for instructions to satisfy everyone; we all have our own tools and preferences. I guess I don't expect the instructions to tell me everything I need to know, and I never have.

gwensews said...

I'm not so concerned about instructions. I am dismayed at the errors in the patterns, themselves. That includes ALL patterns, the big 4 and the independents. And--as many times as I've written the companies concerning errors, I've never had a response.

Anonymous said...

I use the instructions as a guide and just fill in the blanks by referring to several favorite sewing books. I sometimes change the sequence shown to suit my needs. I guess they could be improved but I find it easier just to work with them since I might prefer to use another technique than shown. For the 99cents to 2 bucks I pay for them, I don't expect much...just that they have some instructions to use as a guide and all the patterns pieces are accurate and present.

Rhoto said...

Hi Kat!
I find the instruction quite good. Also, you can e-mail or call Simplicity, I know, if you have a ?.
What I wish they'd add to the directions is serging instruction, 'cos a good # of us have 'em, eh!!
Soft hug,
Rhonda, whose serger is on "empty" threads :(