Aargh. . . my list of advice that annoys me.
In this new year I’m telling other people their resolution should be to give better advice
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“Start your colour choice by picking out a favourite print from your existing closet”
But I haven’t got any prints in my closet.
I’m a patchworker and I have a huge stash of print fabrics. But they are nearly all one-colour prints. Patchwork advice also often tells you to start your colour planning from a multi-colour print. But it’s not something I like to do.
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“Choose your size by measuring a favourite fitted RTW jacket”
But if I could buy a fitted RTW jacket that didn’t make me look like a freak I wouldn’t need to be doing this.
And with my high round back and short waist, using RTW neckline and waistline as reference points for length measurements is a very bad idea.
Well, I suppose at least that’s a good clue that someone who says this is unlikely to give the sort of fitting advice that I need.
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“Every woman looks good in . . .”
“Every woman should have a . . .”
It’s difficult to understand how people who say this become style advisors, as they obviously don’t really look at people, and aren’t interested in people as individuals.
Well at least it’s a good cue not to take their advice.
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Why are so many people who make sewing videos so badly dressed. . .
Partly it’s the universal black, which is truly flattering on only a minority of people, and even worse in harsh lighting. Very few TV presenters wear it.
I know of 3 fitting videos now where the person giving fitting advice is wearing badly fitting clothes herself.
And the wrong styles for their body shape. I won’t say more or you might recognise who I was being unkind about ! But there are several people who give marvellous sewing advice but I wouldn’t turn to them for colour or styling guidance.
Of course it isn’t true about all videos, but a surprisingly large proportion.
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Why do some independent pattern companies show their patterns so badly
I’m happy to promote independent pattern designers. But some of them give such poor information about their products, they don’t deserve to succeed.
As an example : I recently looked for a pattern with a shirt-style sleeve placket. Some of the companies have photos so small you can’t even tell if the style has a cuff (and I’m looking on a desk-top, not a small screen). Or the garment is in a strongly patterned print and there’s no line diagram, so again you can’t clearly see the style. Or there’s no back view, so you can’t tell if a cuff is open or closed. Or there is a line diagram with a back view but it’s so tiny or of such poor quality that you can’t see the type of placket opening. I’m not going to choose a pattern if I can’t tell what its style elements are.
Also the information about size can be very limited. Small to Large – what does that mean ? (Extra Large for the Japanese has 38 inch hip. . .) Sizes 4 – 24 : well, are those Big4 pattern sizes or US RTW sizes. Not very helpful.
It’s sad, but if pattern designers don’t take the trouble to tell us about their products, they can’t expect us to buy them.
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Lists of must-have tools for beginners
Why oh why those daunting lists in beginners’ books, of 100s of tools you must have before you ever begin. It’s a wonder anyone ever gets past that stage. I’ve been sewing for over 60 years and I still haven’t got all of them.
You can improvise many tools. Though beware cheap thread and pins. Use new sewing machine needles. And a quality fine tipped seam ripper really does help with near disasters !
LDT2011 at Pattern Review has devised an entertaining sewer’s version of the ‘Keep Calm’ poster.
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Difficult books for beginners
It’s surprising how many books for beginners are much too difficult. And few books for beginners are aware that people have different learning styles. Some like to watch, some like to see, some like to read, some like to share in a class, some need to do it themselves. Some like to be fully guided, some want to find out for themselves. Some like to take tiny fool-proof steps. Some like to jump in the middle and merrily make mistakes. Brief written instructions with no pictures really don’t meet many learner needs.
And how many beginners books have not been properly checked or tested. They contain small errors or gaps so the inexperienced don’t know what to do for the best. Thorough testing of what you think is the final product, on real beginners not sewing friends, is essential. I think it’s irresponsible to claim a book is for beginners without doing this. Learning to sew is quite difficult enough – many new skills needed to make even the simplest item. Understanding patterns and fabrics, fit, cutting, marking, sewing, pressing – it’s amazing we ever get confident about it all. In fact the only two sewing books that have got me in a real rage have been books for beginners. It’s sad to give beginners a confusing or even a bad experience.
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Grand claims for fit
I’m a trusting soul. When people say their pattern making instructions tell you how to draft a successful personal pattern for your body, I used to believe them. But I’ve learned a lot in the past few years. Including that no pattern drafting system (or the software based on them) can allow for all possible body shape combinations. And if they try they can get horribly complicated.
Of course people are enthusiastic about the fitting schemes they’ve devised. But please do admit there are some people it doesn’t work for, instead of claiming it works for everyone. I hate to think of all the grief I’ve spent on picking myself up off the floor when yet another fitting method doesn’t work for me and I’ve taken it for granted it’s me that’s done something wrong. . .
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Sorry about the bad temper !
Moral – don’t take it for granted that people giving advice do know what’s best for everyone. And that includes me
Have a lovely 2012 finding the best people for you to take advice from
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Links available January 2012
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