Pet Peeve…Patterns that leave out important details…GRRRR!

It really bugs me when pattern companies don’t take into consideration beginners who are just learning to sew. So many times they will leave out important details and steps that they just assume the sewer will know how to do. I have to admit I have quite a few years of sewing under my belt, and I seldom ever look at pattern directions… I pretty much know how they go together so I just start! Remember this new pattern that I showed a few posts back? It looks like a very simple, easy to make dress, doesn’t it?

If you click on the pictures they will enlarge…


I decided I would give it a try using a pretty green cotton print that I eluded to sometime back before Christmas. Rebecca had already made a necklace for it, so I wanted to get something made to go with it. The pattern says it’s a retro 1946 pattern, but it’s easily converted to a Civil War dress or a Colonial one.

I cut out all the pieces last night and decided on view C for my dress. (the pink dress) There was a long narrow piece used for the ruffle around the neck and I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to be finished, so I decided to look at the pattern picture again…The ruffle looked like it was made from the same fabric, and not a purchased piece of lace trim… but I checked the back of the pattern envelope just to be sure…


It says a “self-fabric bias ruffle on bodice…” which means it is cut diagonally out of the same fabric as the dress.

Next I decided I better look at the directions to see how to finish the edges…


You don’t have to be a seamstress to notice something… there are NO directions about what to do with the edges… are they turned under, left raw to fray a bit, lace added to the edge? IT-DOESN’T-SAY!!! It just says to stitch 2 rows of gathering stitches from end to end. So I looked to the next step in the directions to see if I had missed something…


Does anyone see anything about finishing the edges that I’m missing??? NO! So the average sewer will have a ruffle that is unfinished if they do exactly what the pattern says. It made me a little irked to think they would leave out such an important step as finishing the edges of your ruffle.

I did finish my ruffle at the top edge with a narrow hem and then added some vintage lace to the bottom edge. I will have to go back and take out my basting stitches where I gathered it up with my ruffler before I go any further. I had hoped I would get more done than this, but finishing the edges took longer than I thought. Here’s what it looks like so far…



We’ll see what I get accomplished tomorrow…
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Jeannie B. in TX says:

    Heavens !! Jeanne, you are right on the money !!!! “curses” my prim and proper mother would have said !! Dare she say the actual words!
    Yes, this is a pet peeve of mine. I usually just scan over the directions and then set off on my own using manufacturers system of garment construction. Obviously, this is a glaring error on the part of the pattern company. If the writer had used the original 1946 pattern as a guide I can see why there are missing steps. Those old patterns sorely lacked pattern markings and directions. There was the assumption that “all women sew” especially right after WWII. Very good thing that you could come up with a reasonable solution to compensate for their error. However, there should be some type of compensation to the purchasers of this pattern or at the very least a “re-call”. {so says this legal writer of former days}. Yikes. It is fun to write in {par-ren} !!
    The green dress is darling with the cluny lace. Perfectly set off by Rebecca’s green eyes. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.
    Knitting club is today so I am gathering up my three year project with determination to complete the “Color Whirl Vest”.

    • Jeannie,
      I’m glad I’m not the only one who is bugged when the directions are less than desirable! This one needs to be “reported” to Butterick… I’m wondering if there are any other steps left out on any of the other outfits…
      The lace isn’t actually a cluny lace, but a very dainty antique lace. It’s almost like a strand or two of thread woven together. I thought Rebecca was the perfect candidate to wear this one with those lovely green eyes of hers!
      I hope you got your knitting project solved!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Pretty green fabric. Instructions like that really bother me as well. Can’t wait to see the finished dress. 🙂

  3. Good morning…..I realized that I own a copy of the original pattern from which they made the new one you just bought, so I looked it up and checked the directions for the ruffle. Sure enough, it tells you to “finish the long edge and end with a narrow hem”…..Seems like someone at Butterick just skipped that step! Will send a picture via another site…..

    • HI Kathy,
      You are the second person to let me know that the original pattern has the “right” directions on how to finish the edge of the ruffle… I think Butterick needs to know about this. I can’t imagine how frustrating this might be to a new sewer. It’s things like this that make people give up on sewing!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. That is so interesting that Kathy has the original pattern. I agree that assuming we all know what to do with the finishing of the ruffle could be very frustrating for anyone. A beginner might throw in the towel. Maybe it was an error… I made enough errors on patterns even when I so carefully checked them over.
    Your green dress is looking so pretty! Your lace is gorgeous. I don’t have any “green” planned this year. I skipped right over St. Patty’s Day and I’m not sure why. 🙁 Hope you get LOTS of green sewing done today, Jeanne!

    • Thank you Cindy,
      No green? Cindy… you just skipped St. Pat’s day and went straight for Easter? You’re miles ahead of me! Can’t wait to see your next creations…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. I agree about patterns, Jeanne. i bought one at Christmas time to sew a couple dresses for Bitty Baby. I don’t remember having a particular problem, but I thought the directions were really condensed from what they used to be, I was happy that I knew what I was doing.

    Bias strips make the nicest ruffles, but hemming bias is not fun, I understand why it would take time. However, now that you have it done, it looks very nice and Rebecca’s necklace is perfect with the color as are your doll’s eyes!
    I appears that the ruffle is sewn right at the edge of the armhole, otherwise I might think about insetting the ruffle in the bodice. probably wouldn’t take any longer than hemming the top of the bias strip.’

    Will it be done for us to see tomorrow??

    • HI Jevne,
      Thank you for all your nice comments. I was anxious to make it because that necklace of Rebecca’s was just to pretty to wait any longer without using it.
      Yes, the ruffle does come just to the edge of the armhole. It’s pretty the way it hangs off the shoulder just a bit, don’t you think?
      Actually, my days plans got changed around and I don’t think I’ll get it done till tomorrow. My post tomorrow will explain what happened…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. The green dress is going to be so pretty with her eyes.


    • Thanks so much Judi,
      Yes, it does look lovely with Rebecca’s green eyes. It’s almost a perfect match!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. I love this green dress and I have been sewing green dresses for my Ann Estelle/Patsy dolls since we have had rainy, sleet, snowy weather the last few days. I love green too, makes me think of spring. Looking forward to seeing the finished dress.

    • HI Regina,
      Yes, green fabric is a good way to think about Spring coming quickly…
      We’ve had snow and freezing cold weather too, so sewing is a good indoor activity to get immersed in! Hope you’re getting lots accomplished!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Oh, that is going to be a pretty dress with the vintage lace and the green and purple necklace. Pattern instructions often make me crazy–I generally ignore them unless the construction is complicated. Of course, that doesn’t always work out well either!

    • Hi Carolyn,
      Thanks so much for your nice compliments on Rebecca’s dress. I think green is definitely her color. I’m hoping to get it finished tomorrow…
      I’ve had my fair share of pattern mishaps too!
      Blessings, Jeanne

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