An open letter to Butterick

Hi there,

Sappy seamstress here. I just wanted to ask you a question about your "easy to sew, quick and simple" line of sewing patterns. I think you may have the wrong ideas in mind. Do you have the same dictionary I do? Let me check it:

easy  [ee-zee] : not hard or difficult; requiring no great labor or effort.

simple [sim-puhl]: 1. easy to understand, deal with, use. 2. not elaborate or artificial; plain.

I don't think these words apply to all suchpatterns. Take, for example, the pattern that I am currently sewing: not only is all the info that you need to buy the fabric on the INSIDE of the pattern bag, but you blatantly misdirect people in the inner instructions. Once they decipher what they need to buy to sew the pattern and gleefully try to sew the damn things...they get annoyed...repeatedly.
My case in point: you state at the start of the pattern instructions that "seams are 5/8" unless otherwise stated" and then have ALL the pieces in the entire pattern state a different seam width on them? Why? My favourite so far is the 30" zipper you said I needed, with the pattern instructions saying it"may need to be shortened". Seeing as the entire bunting bag is only 26" long I'd agree! And the zipper was fun, as altho it said it is a 1/4" seam for installing the zipper, it REALLY is 5/8" to put the zipper in properly, which you can't really tell from anywhere except a badly drawn diagram, and a cryptic comment at the end of the pattern. For me, so far, this pattern has involved lots of squinting and huffing and muttering to get that right. Since all the pieces are really really small, there isn't much room for correction. This is a gift, not a macaroni picture. I want to make it look good!

Work with me here. I wish to make cute little things for cute little people. If it doesn't work out I'm making a hat out of it, and you will have to rest in the knowledge that some cute little baby will have no bunting bag...only coal. How could you do that to a poor little baby? If a novice tried this one it would already be a hat...a really ugly hat with a overly long long zipper hanging off of it for no damn good reason.

I am an experienced sewer and you've annoyed me. Rest assured I will think twice before I tread anywhere *near* your "difficult/advanced" patterns, let I combust in a ball of flame fuming over more completely random pattern instructions.

A little more care and attention please.

In stitches,



Pacian said…
"'seams are 5/8' unless otherwise stated" and then have ALL the pieces in the entire pattern state a different seam width on them"


"I wish to make cute little things for cute little people."

Unfortunately, what Butterick want to make is simply MONEY, cute things be damned.
the Bag Lady said…
Butterick patterns used to be pretty good. That said, I haven't used one for awhile. I always seem to go back to Simplicity.
Sorry to hear you had so much trouble sewing a cute thing for a cute little person, but I'm sure you pulled it off!
Magnus said…
This is why I prefer painting and drawing.


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