Following a couple of discussions I had with a friend recently, and reading some recent reviews on the wonderful Purse Pallooza over at Sew Sweetness, I’ve been pondering patterns of late.

The conversation I was having started with the idea of following patterns.  When I thought about it, I realised that I’ve not made a pattern in years that I haven’t altered in some way, whereas my conversant was merrily following her chosen pattern to the letter.  After that conversation I was looking at the Purse Pallooza reviews, and I had a real giggle counting up the number of reviews that said something along the lines of:

‘I really loved this pattern, it was perfect, it’s just that when I made it I added a pocket/ removed a pocket/ lengthened the strap/ shortened the strap/ made it bigger/ made it smaller etc’

I thought upon this a bit more, and realised that as a pattern writer I tend to write a pattern for something that would suit me at the time, whether it’s the size, shape, strap length, number of pockets and so on.  The same applies for quilt patterns that I create for myself, they are made to be a size that suits the recipient of the quilt.  I imagine I am not unique in this, but feel free to tell me otherwise if any of you are pattern writers.

Possibly writing patterns to suit oneself is somewhat short sighted (although the Whole Lotta Bag contained every technique that you, my dear readers, requested, and that might have been a little mad!) but should I put out a survey every time I write a pattern on what people want instead?  I can only imagine that I’d end up with a technique laden pattern every time that would scare the bejaysus out of my prospective makers if I tried to suit everybody, and really, everyone has their own very different idea of the perfect bag/quilt/clothing etc.

I have absolutely nothing against people altering my patterns – add a bit, remove a bit, make it bigger/smaller, I really don’t mind, you bought the pattern, do as you wish with it when you come to make the thing (although if you switch out the interfacings hell mend you ;o) ), but if you write patterns do you get annoyed if people alter them?  I mean presumably at the time you wrote it you thought it was perfect, so does it bother you?

If you are a maker, do you religiously stick to a pattern, or do you deviate to suit your needs?  As a quilt maker I’ve used a block shape and then made my own sized quilt off the back of that, with whatever sashing I had to hand, the Retro Flowers both big and small spring to mind:

And then there was my fleet of Aeroplanes:

Do you like pattern writers to show you various options?  This is most common in clothing patterns, where there are often different ‘views’ where a skirt might be longer, or the fastening different, a dress may have a variety of necklines and so on.  Some quilt patterns do come with different sized options, but for quilt and bag patterns you tend not to see many variations (the 241 tote in my picture above being a notable exception with its different outer pocket options).  When I did the Whole Lotta Bag Along I showed options, but would you rather have worked that out for yourself?

Answers on a postcard in the comments box please :o)

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