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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Design Review: Instructions

Again I'd like to thank you for filling out the previous survey. I can't believe how elaborate some of your answers are, I really really appreciate that! And I love how some of you have the same ideas that I already had, which means I'm on the right track! I'm planning a special Design Review giveaway to express my gratitude :) If you'd like to share your opinion too, check the previous two Design Reviews:

Paper Goods
Style & Size

So today I'd like to talk with you about the instructions that come with a pattern. Again, a lot of decisions have to be made and all designers seem to have chosen differently. One thing is for sure: in general the instructions that come with indie patterns are a big improvement compared to most magazines (I'm looking at you, Burda).

Sewaholic is the only one with instructions in the shape of a fold out leaflet. I like the overwiew of the steps you get this way, but it also takes up a lot of space on my sewing table. So I prefer having a booklet to flip through. Not as tiny as Papercut's though. Funny that the one with the biggest package has such a small instruction booklet. What I like about digital patterns is that I open the instructions on my iPad. A combination might be possible too, get the physical pattern but download the instructions. It would make printing cheaper and adjustments are easily made. What do you think?

Different sizes of instruction booklets. Clockwise: Sewaholic, Papercut, Megan Nielsen.

Victory is the only one who uses a combination of photo's and illustrations to support the text. Personally I like illustrations better, it's easier to see what's going on. What I like is that most designers have blogposts where they explain certain steps of the process in more detail, with photos. Sometimes this is part of a sewalong, but Grainline has picked out the most elusive part of the process, in case of the Moss skirt installing the fly. How would you like the text to be visualized?

Victory Patterns' instructions
Additional info
What other information besides the cutting layout and fabric choice would you want in your instructions? Would you want me to explain different techniques you can use? For example, Colette explains how to make flat felled seams for the Negroni, and how to press pockets. Deer & Doe has minimized the use of illustrations as you can see. Grainline just says 'finish seam as desired'. Papercut says 'overlock the edges' but gives no alternative for what to do when you don't have an overlocker. Do you have ideas about additional information?

Information heavyness: Colette vs Deer & Doe

To be honest, I rarely follow the instructions to the letter. I also haven't made up all of these patterns (planning to, though) so I haven't come across any difficulties yet. Have you made anything from these designers, and what do you think about the clarity of the instructions?

Below you can find the form! If it's visible you can fill it in, if not, click here.

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