Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Sewing Help

As a pattern designer/instruction writer I get lots of feedback from consumers. Mostly in the form of phone calls and emails, because my name, address, email and every other bit of contact information possible is on everything I publish. I always cringe, just a little bit when the staff hands me the phone and says "It's a customer with a problem". I am human, and try as hard as I possibly can not to, I do make mistakes. We go above and beyond to correct an issue as quickly and efficiently as possible and do everything we possibly can to remedy the situation they create. I want you to be happy with our products. I also appreciate constructive criticism. It is nice to hear that you think another illustration or arrow or red line would help someone be more successful in the future.

Sometimes is isn't me with the problem. From time-to-time we get calls or emails from extremely irritated customers, that insist I am A COMPLETE MORON THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN OUT BACK AND SHOT for writing such horrid instructions. After walking them through the step-by-step instructions that I KNOW are correct because they have been followed hundreds of times, we discover the step they skipped or what they "think" they read and get them back on the right track. Most of customers are grateful for the personalized attention. Sometimes, much to my amusement, when the light bulb finally goes off in the consumers head, they are so embarrassed by the conversation they simply hang up on me!

Sometimes the messages are just plain funny. If you are stressed over holiday sewing, you are going to enjoy the following. Bernie is my BFF. She lives in Florida and has a degree in Family and Consumer Science - that's Home Ec. for us common folk. She recently had an issue with our Tea Towel Apron pattern and the following is the email she sent me. Enjoy!

"I want you to know, that despite your best intentions, your "Quick and Easy Apron" pattern directions are not idiot proof. I am living, almost breathing (despite a stuffy nose) example of it. May I suggest that in future printings you print the "finished edge" line in RED with the caption "Do NOT cut on this line, you Moron". I have already altered my directions in this way - too late. Never mind that I had already made one of these with great success. I'm blaming the cold meds for this disaster. It might also be helpful to suggest that the consumer use a "good quality" tea towel and not one with a rather loose weave that cost $2.

Of course the SMART thing to do, once I realized my cutting error, would have been to attach a casing out of "regular" fabric. I decided instead to sew the corners, that I had just lopped off, back on. Great idea, except that I sewed one of the corners, wrong sides together, instead of right sides together. I had to rip that one out, a nightmare on the loosely woven fabric. Except, I ripped out the one I had sewn correctly, so I ended up ripping them both out. It would have been "smarter yet" to sew them back on using the serger. Except the one I own has been buried in my closet since we did the kitchen remodel, seven years ago..... and it is threaded in black.

Despite ending up with a ravelled mess, I forged ahead. By the time I had everything sewn back on, trimmed correctly and top stitched, the bottom of the casing ended up too "high" on the sides. I decided to sew grosgrain ribbon loops further down to pull the ties through so that they were not right under my boobs. By the time I finished sewing the cute contrasting pocket on, it had been 2 1/2 hours since I started! I fully expect it to unravel the first time I wash it, but it looks SO cute hanging on the side of my fridge!

My plan was to make these for my quilt group for next Christmas. I have 12 months to make 7 aprons. I better get started."

Ho Ho Ho..............