On Pattern Reviewing

So… it seems that lately a lot of my subject matter has revolved around criticism in one way or another, and this might lead you to believe that it’s because I’m being criticized more than usual of late. And you know what? That’s kinda true, but its not the primary reason behind this post.

This particular post has been percolating in my mind for several weeks months now because it involves a tricky issue that has no definitive answer. I’ve had the basic outline fleshed out numerous times, only to shelve it because the timing just didn’t seem right. But yesterday, the perfect example… the epitomy of what I’ve pondered so much, arrived in my inbox.
(For purposes of full disclosure, I probably receive an email like this 2-3 times per month and I’m not really sure why this particular email seemed to provide me with the clarity I needed to finish this post.)

Let me preface this discussion by saying that the Internet has changed EVERYTHING about advertising and marketing, and by that I mean, everyone who has a Blog, a website, or a FaceBook page is now an instant publisher. That might even describe YOU, right? Nowadays, by simply hitting the “Enter” button, anyone can promote or undo any advertising strategy, no matter how carefully crafted it might be! It’s just a fact of life for today’s business owner and that’s OK with me, because you know what? In all likelihood, my business might not even be a reality if not for the Internet and this very phenomenon.

All this to say, I’ve pretty much made my peace with the Internet critics. We get our share negative reviews along with the positive ones, some of which we deserve and others of which we don’t. Overall, I think we’ve been fortunate enough to have fared better than most, and I’m thankful for that. But today’s post isn’t really just about criticism. That’s because today’s post is about the booming industry of Pattern Reviewing. What? Pattern-reviewing is a business? You bet it is! There are literally countless Blogs and websites devoted to simply making items from patterns and then reviewing what’s good and what’s not so good about them. There’s no qualifications for this job and no experience is required. All you need is a computer and an internet connection (dial-up will do).

Now you might be thinking that I’m getting ready to lambast these Bloggers and put them in their place, but you’d be dead wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, these amateur critics are a very important part of the growing independent pattern industry. They’ve probably had more impact on spreading the word about my pattern line than all the advertising I’ve actually paid for. And believe it or not, both positive AND even negative reviews can have positive results for our pattern line (but that’s a whole ‘nother post as they say).

Which brings me back to that email that arrived in my INBOX yesterday. It was from a Blogger (who shall remain nameless, because she’s really just a metaphor for the countless similar ones I’ve received before hers), and she had just finished making the Guardian, our newest handbag pattern.

Now keep in mind that I am writing this post on April 11 and the official release date for this pattern was April 8th, but this particular sewist convinced her local merchant to order the pattern for her about 2 weeks ago when I first made it available thru our distribution channels. She didn’t buy the notions kit and was missing some many of the required “supplies”, but made her own substitutions, sewed the bag up anyway, wrote her review and published it.

Now please don’t get me wrong. This is a free country and this customer is certainly entitled to make this bag up as she wants and to change as many things as she likes, even if in so doing the result is a less than optimum outcome. But…maybe she would have been happier with her bag if she had used the recommended materials and followed the instructions? We’ll never know I guess. What I don’t understand, is why this Blogger would depict this as an accurate “review” of our pattern on her website and most mystifying of all, why would she then send this critique directly to ME?

What do YOU suppose she was expecting to hear from me? 

Because the first thing I usually say to MYSELF is… “When changes are made to a pattern, is it EVER really a fair & true review?” Even if she gives it a glowing review, is this an accurate review of this particular pattern, or is it a review of her derivative? After all, let’s say a book critic from a local paper substituted his own ending to a new novel he was reviewing, and then published his review based on the version with HIS ending. Would that be fair to the author? And would that review ever be taken seriously by the public? Somehow I think not. So here’s my dilemma… I certainly can’t/won’t chide this gal for taking liberties with my pattern, BUT, I absolutely can’t say that I’m happy that wholesale changes were made to our design, especially since the final result was considerably less different than it could have been.

So I wonder… what do YOU think is the appropriate thing to say to a person who has posted a review (which includes negatives) about a particular pattern, but…

  1. has ignored part(s) of the materials list and made some inappropriate substitutions
  2. has changed the size or shape of certain pattern pieces
  3. has ignored part or ALL of the instructions and put the bag together her own way.

And before you answer, please consider that the person you’ll be corresponding with has a public venue to distribute her review (as well as your response) and also has a following who listen and respond to what she says. Because I have to say, oftentimes I am at a total loss as to how to respond! I’m not even sure there is a right way to  respond… so sometimes, I just don’t…

So… what am I hoping to accomplish with this post, which I happen to feel may be one of the most important that I’ve ever written?
Maybe just an opportunity to get the conversation started

 

So with that in mind,
I would REALLY LOVE 
to hear your comments! 
*******************
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58 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. That is much like going to see the doctor for an illness, receiving a prescription for a drug to cure it, and then going home and taking 2 aspirin instead, and then telling everyone your doctor is a ‘quack’ because you weren’t cured.

  2. I’m in my 60’s now and have been sewing since I was a little girl with my first hand crank Singer and with experience have learned some tips and tricks along the way. Every time I pick up a new pattern I read ALL the directions first then make it as directed and ONLY then make any changes. Most of the time none are needed. Your patterns and directions are very precise and accurate! I have enjoyed the final product and always receive compliments.
    If a person does not follow directions and/or changes those directions/patterns the final product cannot be the same as what was published. It is not the same original!

    • Thanks for writing Donna. I understand that sometimes an individual has important reasons to change a pattern. They want larger or more pockets, or they just cant find the prescribed hardware, but what few of them understand, is that every change that is made CAN change the final result.

      The thing that would even the playing field is full disclosure. Wouldn’t that be great? 🙂

  3. I think your analogy of an author having the end of his story changed is an apt one. I cannot imagine someone taking the liberty of making multiple changes in a pattern/materials and then having the gall to criticize it. It takes all kinds to make the world go around.

    • If I could ask one thing of all reviewers, it would be to state all the changes they make UP FRONT so the reader could consider these in light of the final result. There are some that do this and I really appreciate the ones who do) but they are unfortunately in the minority. 🙁

    • … and to state clearly when a change caused an undesirable result.

  4. I do a bit of pattern reviewing and I always make sure I note where I made changes, whether it is using a screw in twist lock rather than a glue on one. If I use a different interfacing then I make a note of it and don’t comment on the stability of the bag – because I have used a different weight or style the bag is going to be different. I comment on the pattern, the way it goes together, the way the pattern is written and the ease that it is made.
    If you are reviewing a pattern and presenting that review in a public forum then you need to be accurate in your review. If you have used different hardware then you need to state this VERY clearly and at the start of the review as well as in the appropriate part of the review. If you adapt the pattern, the same thing applies. Any changes you make to the pattern as it is written and sold then you need to state this at the start of the review, where appropriate in the review and at the conclusion – so that the person reading it is in no way deceived that the pattern is to blame for the issues raised or for the improvements that were made.
    I do not think it is professional or appropriate to publish a pattern review without these disclaimers. While you are a small company – think about what Apple or Ford would do if you remove the main part, replaced it with an inferior part and then wrote a negative review.
    Having said this, I think that to respond in the comments might lead to a “she said, he said” type argument and will make you look petty. I would ask the person to state clearly any changes they made and hope that people are sensible enough to realise that this would change the pattern and that they should investigate further.
    Unfortunately, in this situation I think that you are better off in the long run to take the higher ground with the hope that it doesn’t affect your pattern sales. Good luck!!!!

    • Thanks SO MUCH for commenting Mhairi. How I wish all pattern reviewers would follow your template! Because I really think that stating the changes up front would be a satisfactory solution for all involved. Then readers could draw their own conclusions based on complete information. 🙂

  5. Couldnt agree more with Judy!! Well said!

  6. I am new to your blog and your products, but what I see so far I really like. I also am an old time draftswoman and seamstress about 45yrs worth. I have created everything from custom clothing to crafts to high-end decorator drapes/bedding/pillows that were sold within my own company. I also drafted plans for home remodels and construction. I am very careful to state when I make a change to a pattern and why I made it. If it is an improvement, (in my humble opinion) I state why and if it is a “fail” I own up to it. A designer has a reason for the products used and why they put them to together for a reason. That doesn’t mean that a change can’t be positive; it just becomes different. My best analogy that I use is when teaching sewing to either newbies or “know it alls”. They will be working on their assigned pattern and product and be complaining that is isn’t working out the way I instructed and I must have told them something wrong or the pattern is “junk”. Inevitably, the student cut a corner in the interest of saving time, money, or just out of boredom and wanted to finish. After going over their end result they will finally tell me they changed it not thinking it would matter (I usually have already seen/figured it out).
    I too would suggest that in this world it is better to take the high road and lead with gentleness and understanding, it will get you much further and earn the respect of more who follow you. You might could respond with a light comment that when 2 different designers/seamstresses with creative thoughts attack the same project it can result in a different finished product, especially if creative license is taken. That you wish her well and hope she will try it one more time “your way” and let you know if there were any changes – positive or negative; to keep a journal this time of exactly how she proceeded so that she can give you a documented review so that if you truly do need to change your pattern you will be better informed.

    I wish you well, remember it is easier for some to criticize than take constructive criticism. Keeping your comments positive is both tactful and essential. It’s less offensive for the person to hear that he has overlooked an opportunity to be helpful than it is to be told that his current ideas are incompetent or defective. With that in mind, please know that I am trying to be supportive and not in anyway suggesting that you are incapable of solving this dilemma. I wish you well and would love to hear how it comes out.
    I’m newly retired and trying to find a new way to connect to the world outside of the 9-5 office. I haven’t created my own blog yet because of how open it is to the world and wondering if anyone would truly be interested in my musings. I would love to “chat” with you sometime about blogging.

    Have a great and wonderful day.

    • Thanks for commenting Debbie

      It’s a tough dynamic. It really is. Sometimes I get the feeling that the blogger is really just looking to find fault, in a pattern, as well as my potential comments. I feel very uncomfortable getting involved in this case. It easily could be a no-win situation.

      Other times I think a blogger has innocently made a change and is totally unaware that her change could have precipitated the undesirable result.

      And sometimes it’s impossible to tell the difference….

      Either way as a stakeholder, I have to be oh so careful about anything I say, since they can so easily be misconstrued or misrepresented. 🙁

    • Debbie W, please contact me; google+ would not let me contact you – about blogging. thanks!

  7. It is the responsibility of the rest of us to comment on these reviews/blogs to help any unsuspecting sew-er from believing it. The only way to counter the effects of a review like this is to exercise the freedom we have to comment.

    • I agree with Dawn. Slip me the address and I’ll be happy to post my own review. In this situation, if it was my business that was being criticized, my challenge would be to swallow my initial reaction (which would probably be overtly hostile), and wait until I’ve found my “zen” place before I made any decision. But that’s one reason why having my own business isn’t on my list of things to do. My initial reaction to this was to wonder how I could get my hands on her good scissors and a ream of paper.

  8. I very much respect pattern designers, good and bad, as I do NOT have the ability to write patterns. That being said, I also do NOT have the learning style associated with reading the written instructions. I learn by visualizing or being taught in a hands on classroom situation, or by trial and error. So my hat goes off to you!! Not everyone had the benefit of having good parental examples of displaying good manners, obviously. No good can come from anyone tearing down another person’s work. I say if you can find a better way to do something, good for you. Just don’t parade it as your original work or put down the person’s work by giving it a bad review.

    • I don’t even have a problem with them saying they we’re happy with the final result. I just think that in the interest of full disclosure, that they should let everyone know what substitutions or changes were made, and then the readers can decide for themselves.

      Thanks for commenting Barb! 🙂

  9. Kathy,

    I take patterns much as I take recipes. I ALWAYS make it the way the instructions indicate, with the listed components or ingredients. On a clothing pattern, I may adjust for my body quirks (don’t we all have them?).

    Doing it “the creator’s way” first is the ONLY way to tell whether any other tweaks can or should be made; otherwise, how would I know whether it was the recipe or me that caused the result?

    Some patterns (and their instructions) and some recipes (and their instructions) are perfect out of the gate. Some, FOR MY TASTE, need tweaking. That’s not a slam against the creator; it’s a reflection on me. Some, alas, are just crud and I don’t make them the third time.

    In your situation, it feels, to me, that the reviewer is asking for a fight. Maybe not, but what would be that person’s purpose in forwarding the review to you?

    I agree with the other posters’ recommendation — take the high road and ignore this person. There’s no win here, other than your secure knowledge that you deliver a highly tested and well-documented product with solid recommendations for materials and opportunities to purchase them.

    Anna in Albuquerque

    • Thanks Anna! I appreciate your kind words and I tend to agree with you. My gut feeling is that folks who send me reviews like this are looking for something to quote…something a little controversial to get something going on their blog.

      Maybe not, but I can’t think of a good reason to send it otherwise. 🙁

  10. What do you say? Nothing. Just let it go. Most odd or negative comments on any website/blog stand out as just that — odd — anyway, in my opinion. The analogy that comes to my mind is recipe sites where someone comments on a recipe yet has substituted over half the ingredients. That makes no sense to me! They didn’t even MAKE that recipe!

  11. I don’t think a response to her email would do any good, people like that have justified in their head what they did/said was absolutly right and nothing you say can change that persons mind. Afterall if the recipe calls for eggs and you use cheese – it’ll still work right!!! (doesn’t just happen on sewing blogs – ever read a recipe review – horrible!!) keep up the good work!

  12. Sometimes my 4 year old granddaughter and I get into little spats. After its over, she comes and cuddles and we are good until the next time she decides to do her own thing against all suggestions I make! I get so frustrated! But I have learnt that no matter what I do or say, 10 minutes from now she is going to be in trouble again! So now when she gets in trouble instead of yelling and stomping my foot, I simply say… I am sorry you had trouble doing that your way. Now, lets try it my way and let’s see how that turns out!

    I believe everyone who blogs publicly, is looking for attention. ( me included, I love to blog). I think this lady maybe riding on the negative attention you have had on this bag. Maybe you should say, I am sorry you had trouble doing the bag your way. It’s always good to hear that my instructions, when followed, work to perfection! Thanks for sharing!

    Sometimes it’s better to be nice than it is to be sorry!

  13. I just want to say I agree with all of the comments so far. You do an awesome job and I appreciate your blog and your patterns. I just picked up the pattern for the Guardian yesterday at my LQS. I talked her into ordering it. I am taking it to retreat tomorrow and hope to at least get it cut out. Can’t wait to get it made. I picked out my fabric when you first started designing the pattern. I love how you blog about the process of designing. It fascinates me to no end. Thanks for all your hard work and attention to detail. I also think you are very tactful and kind. I would not have the strength of character you have to hold my tongue and not comment back. It is a no win situation and I know you will handle it in your very kind and thoughtful way. Have a great day.

  14. I haven’t made this bag yet, but it is waiting its turn. I followed the making process on line. I am looking forward to making it at least 3 times(thats how many I am making for presents)and know it will be easy to make,for me.Thank you also for making the help line, if needed.Please don’t let the nay-sayers get you down. There are a LOT of us”yes-sayers”.

  15. You have wonderful patterns for bags. Your patterns really are not for a beginner and you are upfront with this fact. One of the things I LOVE about your directions are how detailed they are. The directions MUST be followed in order. You state this at the beginning of the directions. You include links to see how you tackled some of the “tricky” sections that the creator may have trouble with.

    I guess what I am is doing is agreeing with Judy H- You did your job- she needed to follow the instructions- It’s a shame because she could have had a very nice bag.

  16. Oh good grief. I do believe that some people believe that they were put on this earth so they could complain.
    Several years ago, a school board member in my town tried to get several books banned from the high school curriculum. I suppose she has that right, however, she had NOT READ the books she intended to ban. Quite the news in this area for a while. She did not win in her re-election bid. Article about this in the Chicago Tribune
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-05-24/news/0605240139_1_reading-list-books-explicit
    When I try a new pattern or recipe I always make it strictly according to the directions. That way,if something is not to my liking, I will know that either I truly don’t like it, or I made an error, or the pattern has an error. If I don’t make it to directions.. how do I know where things went wrong.
    My advice.. take a deep breath, know that most of us love your patterns, your blog, your instruction and your positive view on life. Keep up the good work. And…. block that person’s email 🙂
    Stay dry…. I’ve had 6 inches of rain in less than 24 hours.
    Ruth C

  17. It really boggles my mind that someone would be stupid enough to change your pattern and then blame you for it not working out like it should. It sounds to me like sh was trying to discredit you for some reason. Why else would she do this. Anyone who sews knows that to get the desired result the directions need to be followed unless they think there is a discrepancy. If I were you I would email her and tell her if she wants the bag to be the way it’s supposed tom be she needs to make it following your pattern and supplies, otherwise you cannot be responsible for the outcome.

    • Thanks for commenting janice and although that probably would be my gut reaction, to say what you have written…. one must be ever so careful because my comments can turn into frontpage Facebook news in 10 seconds flat if I’m not. 🙂

      I appreciate you “having my back” though! 😉

  18. Kat, I believe you should respond by explaining that the blogger found another way not to create a lightbulb (purse). Also thank her as she has illustrated why you are very specific in using certain supplies; you have found that it provides the positive result we all want.

    Definitely reply since the blog affects your your bottom line. Just my two cents worth. —Denise S

  19. Hello,

    I understand why you did not include a direct reference to where the review was posted, but you did make me very curious to read it and make my own determination of whether it was, ultimately, damaging to your business. I hope that some of your customers do find the blog and add their positive comments about your products to counteract or point out the reasons why the pattern did not work for the reviewer.

    Best to you,
    Holly

    • Thanks for commenting Holly.
      I didnt want to single this gal out because there are literally a hundred or more prior to her over thepast few years who have done the very same thing.
      It’s more common then you would think unfortunately. 🙁

  20. If you don’t make it the way the pattern states, you didn’t make the bag correctly so it’s on you if it doesn’t come out right. If I make substitutions to anything I make, I realize it’s on me if it doesn’t work out. Sounds like this person has a problem. I believe it’s unfair to criticize the pattern if you don’t at least try to make it as published, and use the appropriate supplies. I’m sorry this happened to you (I’m sure it happens to all of us at times, but it’s still unfair.) Keep up your own good work and don’t worry too much about this problem; I think many people will read this and see that the person publishing like this is unfair as they will do the same to others. It begins to catch up with them sooner or later.
    Hugs,
    Barbara L.

    • Thanks for weighing in Barbara- Of course the REAL problem crops up when the blogger “fails to mention” that they didnt use the right supplies. Often I am the only one that knows that after checking back with them.
      🙁

    • Of course you’re right – will she allow you to comment on her blog? If not, she is being deliberately unfair. I suspect that revealing she was unfaithful to the pattern as well as the recommended supplies would put a different spin on things. If not, maybe you can rebut on your own site – just mentioning the difficulty in untested notions, the problems with changing well-tested patterns in a random way? I know the world isn’t always fair, but sometimes that unreasonable-ness just makes me really mad. Sending you cheerful thoughts. 🙂
      Barbara L.

  21. Well Kathy I’d just reply ‘Thank you so much for the review, nice to have feedback on my patterns!’ because with this type of reviwer you know any other response will turn into a negative situation. As Thumper (Bambi) said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all” 🙂 http://youtu.be/Wui-PNqJrxs This is the short clip of Thumper – so cute!

    • Seems to me that I remember my daughter haveing a little childrens song on a record that went kind like that.
      Goes to show ya that we learn the most important things by the time we’re 5, right?

  22. I guess I would say to her: I’m sorry you found this design not to your taste. But in all fairness if you had made this pattern as written and not substituted notions and supplies and followed the instructions, perhaps you would have liked the outcome much better. It is misleading to the people that read reviews to trash this pattern under these circumstances.

    I’m not as patient as you are with people like this. If she does this with your patterns it makes you wonder if she does it with other ‘test’ patterns. People depend on honesty and integrity when seeking reviews. Her negative remarks will probably have an effect on the sale of this pattern. What a shame!

  23. wi.dragonfly@hotmail.com

    Ah reviews!!! What a challenge! There are 2 (other) blogs that I visit on occasion and my biggest pet peeve with any review is exactly as described! When I look at the products of any site review, I am looking for an honest review so I can make a more informed decision if that product is what I am searching for. When the review says, “I changed this or that” I know to skip that review as it is no longer relevant. What I don’t understand is why the review is even posted as a review: what is being “reviewed” is a whole new product!! Just as bad is a review that says”this didn’t work for me” without explaining why. I also wonder why the reviewer contacted you and the only person who can answer that is the person who contacted you. If you really want to know why they contacted you, you will have to ask them. While that might open you to further conflict, it might also give you insight as to why s/he changed the pattern. It might be as simple as s/he “getting around” something they didn’t understand which might open the opportunity to clarify a step a little bit. The “reason” might give you an idea for another pattern or process. S/he might just want to feel special because s/he actually had contact with someone they view as a celebrity. Or it may set your mind to rest that this person is just on their own path. There are plenty of us on the same path with you. You are not alone. We are happy to be on this path with you and that is where we want to be. Be at peace.

  24. This reminds me of this cute little poem about a recipe:

    “I didn’t have potatoes, so I substituted rice.

    I didn’t have paprika, so I used another spice.

    I didn’t have tomato sauce, so I used tomato paste;

    A whole can, not a half a can, I don’t believe in waste.

    A friend gave me this recipe. She said you couldn’t beat it.

    There must be something wrong with her, we couldn’t even eat it!”

    I do not understand why people are so critical. Your patterns are so well thought out and the directions are amazing with all the detail.

    I do have to admit that when I make an outfit or something from a pattern, I often change it….one time I sewed an outfit for my then teenage daughter and it went so quickly….and I realized that I had not made ONE change, just followed the pattern exactly!! That was kind of an eye opener for me, even though I still make changes. 🙂

    Keep up the good work, and thank you for sharing the creative process with us, too. It is such fun to see how the designs evolve.

    • Thanks so much Cheryl

      You made me smile today! I love the little poem and I’m going to save it for another day and another critic!
      🙂

    • I was going to send in this same poem, but you beat me to it. Like the others, I will follow a pattern or recipe as written (at least the first time). If I don’t like it afterwards, at least I know what it is I don’t like and can make changes that would work better for me. If someone asks me for a recipe, I give the original, but add my changes in a comments and why I made them.

      There will always be critics–good, bad or otherwise. Some you can have an intelligent conversation about their crtics, others you can’t. And unfortunately, many will not be happy whether you respond nicely or not. It seems to me this is on of those situations.

      Just keep up your good work.

      Susan

      senstrings @ (yahoodotcom)

  25. It cannot be an accurate review if the materials used in the original product were not used, therefore, it is NOT an accurate review and unfair to the pattern maker. I would politely:) inform the reviewer that the patterns protocols were not followed and because of that, it could not be a fair review of the merits of said pattern. I realize that people will take certain liberties with fabrics,etc., but when critiquing others hard earned work, I think it is a disservice not to use the required tools to make the product so that it can be given a fair appraisal. That being said, it is so hard to know what lurks in the minds and hearts of women!! I would be the last one to even guess the motives behind this reviewer’s words and actions. But rest assured, that there are enough of us loyal Katters out there who will continue to raise our paws in defense and praise of our purses!! Bad hair day, trying to re-invent the wheel, a spark of green eyed monster? “Who knows what lurks in the hearts of men, the shadow knows.” As Jeter would say, YAWN!

  26. I really must have the kindest customers in the world. You guys are the BEST! No need to worry with you guys in my corner!
    🙂

  27. Well, I think what you wrote here pretty much covers it. A fair review would be to follow the directions exactly. I do think that maybe you should comment so that people that read the review will be aware that the outcome could have been much different. I was always taught that weather it be a recipe, pattern or whatever, to follow directions exactly the first time then make changes the next time around. If the reviewer does not follow protocol why would anyone believe the review. Just Saying!

  28. I have been sewing for many years – I bought my 1st sewing machine at age 13 with my baby sitting money and some extra I earned helping my dad’s business for a summer – now over 45 years. My mother graduated from design school and I suffered the “Rip it out and do it again” from her more often than I can remember.

    From this perspective, I can read a good pattern and know what I can substitute and what I can’t. But I still always follow a pattern as written the 1st time. Always.

    I also draft my own patterns and have yet to offer them publicly. Your blog is both insightful and inspiring to me. Thank you for your generous heart to share, encourage and inspire

  29. Well! First of all, my friend & I have been saying back & forth recently, “You can’t fix stupid!”.

    I can see your point in that having someone review a pattern is very usefull (I’ve done testing on lots of stuff, quilt/block designs, beading designs & even software in my prior life), however, for “valid” results, you have to follow the directions for everything – to the “T”! That includes everything! No changing anything! Gee, that’s like making a chocolate cake and using bananas because you didn’t have chocolate and then complaining that it was awful and then changing the steps for your bananas!

    In my opinion, I would thank the person for her review and then retaliate (maybe not the right word – reiterate?) or point out, that she didn’t use the required supplies, didn’t follow directions on sizing, so of course it’s not going to be the same. (That’s where you can’t fix stupid, sorry.) Why should you take a hit?

    I think if she has a large following (not good), you’re reputation could be at stake and that’s more important. You have a livelihood – she doesn’t.

    My two cents – and I apologize for any spelling errors, should not be on the computer during an electrical storm. 😀

    -gabriele

  30. I have made three of your bags so far, and have not made more because I don’t have the stuff I need to do it “your way”. But I will say that your patterns are incredibly well written and detailed, and if you do them as instructed, they are beautiful! I still get compliments on the Sidekick I made last year. Speaking of which, I have been carrying that bag since July, and it still looks new! The only problem I have had was that I had to split a seam to re-sew the strap in because I forgot to singe the webbing (my own fault!) I used to buy leather and leatherette bags, and they’d end up falling apart in a year. I’ll never buy another purse again, knowing how well the ones I can make from your patterns will hold up. Also, I had never even considered the idea of reviewing patterns on my blog. I will be writing a post up very soon about your sidekick and apropos patterns 🙂 (American and Efird still hasn’t sent my Apropos back so I won’t be able to post new pics of that LOL)

  31. I do like the suggestion (for future use, perhaps?) to thank a person for showing how “ingredients” not listed can affect the outcome. I perceive that you don’t really want to point a blaming finger.

    • I prefer that I had said “other supplies” rather than “ingredients not listed,” as “other supplies” is less finger-pointy.

  32. Seems to me, when you are reviewing a pattern, you should follow the directions for said pattern to the “T”. If you don’t and substitute or “adjust” the pattern in any way at all. THEN, critique pattern in a negative way.When adjustments and/or substitutions are made, this creates a totally different result. “A shortcut to the end result that doesn’t end well.” This is showing poor taste in judgement.
    AND if said “critique-r” does adjustments on this pattern, what else does she/he make adjustments to or substitutions for?
    It’s the same as lying about chopping down the cherry tree, “No, I didn’t chop down the tree, I just pruned it close to the ground.”

  33. You are right on, Kathy. When the blogger decided to revise key components of YOUR copyrighted bag, I think she attempted to make it her own. Therefore, I see her blogged review as a review of HER pattern (copied) and HER component choices and HER skill level. To me, sending her review directly to you indicates her lack of self confidence.
    You are still a top notch bag designer that produces attractive purses/bags with easy to understand directions. Your fans know your skill level and personality and your products. Keep up the good work.

  34. Kathy, It turns out that the bag this person made wasn’t your design. This person did not follow the instructions, didn’t purchase the suggested supplies, changed the shape of one of the pattern pieces, and put the bag together as she saw fit. So, her review really wasn’t about your pattern or design. It was really about herself, and how unskilled she is. So, with that being said, you just remember, her bag turned out to be a “hot mess”, because that was made from her design, and not yours. Be strong, and keep your head up. You are not part of her mess, so don’t wear it. I appreciate you. 🙂

  35. Some people will complain about anything. I have made three of your bags & find your instr incredible & very easy to understand. Most mistakes are made when we try something else than suggested. Ask me how I know. I used a heavier fabric than recommended & although I got through it, I would not do it again. Don’t chg you instr as they are great Shirley

  36. Love your bags! Don’t let the turkeys get you down.

  37. Dear Kathy,
    First of all, I am reading this post almost 1yr later. I enjoy them and keep all of them until I have had a chance to go through them. Then, I save the ones that have information that is pertinent to me.
    In this particular case, if this was directed at me, I would be wanting to say some snarky things right back to her, BUT, most importantly, I would never do that. Never put anything in writing that that can come back to haunt you.

    Some of the points you made in this post are the perfect thing to respond to her (the blogger).

    For example:
    [This is a free country and this customer is certainly entitled to make this bag up as she wants and to change as many things as she likes, even if in so doing the result is a less than optimum outcome. But…maybe she would have been happier with her bag if she had used the recommended materials and followed the instructions? We’ll never know I guess. What I don’t understand, is why this Blogger would depict this as an accurate “review” of our pattern on her website and most mystifying of all, why would she then send this critique directly to ME?]
    &
    [Because the first thing I usually say to MYSELF is… “When changes are made to a pattern, is it EVER really a fair & true review?” Even if she gives it a glowing review, is this an accurate review of this particular pattern, or is it a review of her derivative? After all, let’s say a book critic from a local paper substituted his own ending to a new novel he was reviewing, and then published his review based on the version with HIS ending. Would that be fair to the author? And would that review ever be taken seriously by the public?]

    I don’t know what if anything she was expecting to hear from you. She may have just been trying to get a rise out of you, which some people feel makes them better than you. Or, she might say to her readers, look how she responded, what an unprofessional personal, well, it’s no wonder, look how her pattern turned out

    Anyway, I would rework the body of your post, which I pasted above, and maybe include a couple of the comparisons from the above replies, in a friendly, non-confrontational way.

    I hope this helps, knowing this is a year later, and you have probably already acknowledged her or left it alone, or may this can help for any future similar situations.

    Sincerely,
    A Fan from Kitchener,
    Jasmine

    • Hi Jasmine
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. I’m happy you’re enjoying the blog posts and I very much appreciate the support! 🙂 Come back often!