I was able to catch Bonnie from Fishsticks Designs for a few minutes, and I have to tell you, she was so nice!
Here are some of the cute patterns from her Market exhibit.
This is the new SeeSaw Dress, isn’t it cute?
In the center of this photo is the Playhouse Dress and the model on the table is showing off the Buttons and Buckles Overalls. See the Katie J. Jumper by the chair? And did you notice the table? It is a wooden ironing board. What a great display idea!
Here’s the Everyday Camp Shirt, The Sunshine and Sandals Shirtdress in the middle, and The Sand and Sidewalk Boardshorts on the right. Those last two are brand new designs, they are listed as coming soon on The Fishsticks website, so you will want to check back later to get those!
I must show you the Monaluna booth with their yummy organics, too, because check out the little dress in the bottom left!
It’s the SeeSaw Dress!
Monaluna recently released a bunch of great new fabrics and they have their own pattern line as well.
This post is part of a weekly series – Small Business Saturdays.
10 11 tips for great pdf pattern instructions.
1. Start at the beginning.
List size measurements and corresponding materials and supplies needed. Remember to include notions – type of needle to be used, the size and type of zipper, elastic, buttons, etc.
Make sure this information all falls onto one page, ideally with a picture of the item so sewists can print it if they want to take a printed copy with them to the fabric store.
2. Look at your font and color choices.
A scripted or comical font might look elegant or fun, but do you want to read that for 87 pages? Use it for your pattern’s title or even section headers and then use something less distracting for your content.
A nice clean font may look boring, but you will have lots of pictures to go with them. Here are some great choices.
Keep in mind not all people will be able to print in color. Some people are color blind – red and green may not be differentiable to them. Make sure your pattern and photos are useable in black and white.
Do not abbreviate terms without including an explanation of that abbreviation in the first reference. Even better, include an explanation in the first reference and include a complete list of abbreviations that can be referenced.
Confused by abbreviations in a pattern you are using? We have a list of common abbreviations right here!
4. Title the sections of the pattern instructions.
And then keep relevant information together. For example, “PART A – How To Use This Pattern” would include things like:
* How to layout the pattern pieces
* What shading is used for right sides of materials, wrong sides of materials, interfacing, etc.
* A key for which lines (colors and style) go with which sizes
Do this even if you have the information somewhere on the pattern itself as well.
* Recommended sewing methods, and if there will be different procedures to follow if one is sewing with a sewing machine or serger.
* The seam allowance you have included. Or if you have not included one, where one should be added.
–> If you aren’t including seam allowances, make sure shoppers are aware of this before purchase. Some people are not comfortable adding their own seam allowances to an item.
5. Keep your options clear.
If your pattern includes multiple options, clearly separate them so users can find the parts they need. It is not fun to work through half a dozen steps and then realize they were part of an optional design feature you did not want to include. (You might tell users to read through all instructions before beginning, but most still won’t.)
6. Within each section, number the steps.
Likewise, number the pages!
7. Read your instructions out loud and then follow them, step by step, before you send your pattern out for testing.
* When you read things in your head, your brain will fill in missing words and overlook typos.
* Combine instructions into a single step where appropriate. You do not win if you use the most words.
For example, if you want to sew two pieces together, this is sufficient:
Sew fabrics right sides together along outside edge.
This is excessive:
Place fabrics right sides together.
Pin along outside edge.
Sew fabrics together along outside edge.
* Put photos with each step and check your layout to make sure the photos and the text stay on the same page.
* Use material that has a distinct right side/wrong side.
Here’s one where I’m not even sure which side is which when I have it in my hand!
This one is better…
But it is less obvious in black and white:
If possible, choose a material with very obvious front and back sides.
The change to black and white is barely noticeable:
* Use thread that contrasts with the fabric. Here we have a fabric that is mostly yellow. The stitching on top is with white thread, the stitching below it is purple. You can see the white, but the purple is much more obvious.
Check it out in black and white:
9. Use testers with different skill levels and models of different sizes.
It makes sense to have one or two testers try out your pattern to evaluate the instructions and printing of pieces, but will you be offering your pattern only in the sizes of their children? Do those children happen to be “standard” size? Do your two testers each have different skill levels? If you answer yes to all of those, you are done! Go forth and release your two sized pattern to the world!
If not, you will need to expand your test pool after the first two have finished and you have had a chance to review their notes and make adjustments as needed. (And if you find these magical standard sized children, do not let them out of your sight!)
10. Let your testers interact with each other during the testing process.
If you can set up a group for them, they can ask questions as they go through the pattern. This keeps you from having to answer the same question multiple times and it allows testers to help each other. Not only will you have a very nice record of what might need to be clarified in your pattern, you will be able to see how other people do things. They might suggest something more efficient or just plain better than what you had originally planned. Do not be afraid to incorporate such changes.
11. Does part of your process seem like it needs 1000 detailed pictures to capture the motion of your steps? Consider video!
If you have found some steps to be challenging for sewists during your testing process because they just can’t “see” what’s happening in the pictures, consider creating a video tutorial of just that part and linking it in your pdf.
If you know of a tutorial or video that someone else has created that explains wonderfully how a technique is done, link up to it with a mention of thanks to the creator rather than reinventing the wheel.
What would you want pattern designers to include in their instructions?
It’s always fun to flip through the latest Ottobre pattern magazine when it arrives. This issue is no exception.
This coat is done up in wool, but I’d like to give it a try in a heavy Polartec fleece.
There are a couple tops that are also extended as dresses. I like this raglan. The fabric choice in the dress gives it a different look, too.
There are a couple blouse patterns and some dressy office clothes that I don’t see myself wearing, but they are nice looking if I were in need of such a thing. This wrap dress as cute and not too dressy. I just don’t know where I would wear it!
Did you get this issue? What are you planning to sew?
I’ve warned you about my love of organizing things, right?
I haven’t been sewing much since I went to quilt class, but I did a bit of organizing.
At some point, we were discussing organizing magazines and Bobolots (her forum name) said these were great for magazines. I checked them out and they are great! More on that in a moment. Check these out!
When they first arrive, six of them are stuck together:
So you pull them apart:
Then you take out the middle piece – this is where the magazine pages will slide through.
And then you need to poke out the little holes for the binder rings to go through. You can stack a couple of these together and push them out.
I put mine over a couple of my pattern weights because it’s easy to push through the holes that way and the little plastic pieces don’t go flying all over.
For the children’s issues, I use two binder holders because it just seemed like it needed the extra strength. I’m not sure it was necessary, but I had enough, so I just went with it. :)
You can just slide them over one corner a bit…
And then all the way to the middle of the magazine:
Hopefully you slid it through with the holes on the outside:
And then the holes just go in the binder rings!
Stick them all in binders and you’re set. So pretty….
I highly recommend the seller named rvbookseller listed in the “new from” link, especially if you want to get a whole bunch. That seller also offers them in a pack that contains 120 of them for a very reasonable price. When you buy them individually, the shipping is killer. The seller shipped quickly and answered my questions with lightning speed as well. The link is a Sewing Mamas affiliate link, but I’d recommend the seller even without it. :)
You didn’t notice that my Ottobre changed to three different issues along the way, did you? No, you’re too nice to mention it, thank you! ;)
A Burda Style just for North America?
The latest press release from Burda seems to indicate a new focus for the Burda Style brand.
From the April 11, 2013 press release:
Immediate initiatives for Burda Style USA include:
· Creation of a Burda Style USA publishing program; encompassing the Burda Style magazine, various e-mags, books and e-books, as well as themed PDF pattern collections, using interactive content and the extensive library of patterns and instruction programs
· Developing and launching direct-to-consumer online products and services – including extensive online education programs, a pattern release program with upwards of 20 new projects per month, as well as transactions in sewing related products
· Growing the US online audience through comprehensive SEO/SEM campaigns, email list optimization, social media activities, editorial promotion
· Creating exclusive Burda Style USA sewing kits and VIP programs
You can find the full release here.
What do you think? What would you like to see?