Sunday, 26 May 2013

Are you having a Giraffe? A Blogger's Moan

For those of my overseas readers who don't know what a giraffe is, in Cockney rhyming slang a giraffe is a laugh and that is what I think some of the crafting magazines are doing at the moment.  They are getting lazy and slapdash.
Last week one of my friends had a baby, a little girl who arrived on Thursday evening... I found out on Saturday morning and knew then that I had the perfect excuse to make a giraffe from a pattern I had kept from a magazine.  I leapt to the kitchen, found the greaseproof and started to trace... well, yes it did look small but then things always look bigger in magazine pictures, don't they?  And well, they seemed to have been a bit generous in the amount of fabric needed but no, I pushed on and then realised that one of the pattern pieces was missing but I can sew, I can draw (OK, that is a lie but I do have a pencil, ruler and rubber) and I can guesstimate the shape of the missing part. So I sewed it up, hmm the ears looked smallish but let's be honest there was no way I was going to be able to sew up the horns without blood being shed, much swearing and causing untold woe to my dentist as I gnashed my teeth.  The pattern was too small...it should have been enlarged by 200%.

I went back to the drawing board photocopier, took six separate copies to ensure that I captured everything and then spent 15 minutes sellotaping it together and retracing the pattern.  So, as is my want, I then read the pattern, next pet hate no indication of the seam allowance, that is until we come to the ears and the horns, when I am told to cut 1/4" outside the line, err could they not have drawn the piece the right size like all the others?
Anyway as you can see I made them up... as one of my friends remarked, "Ooh that little one looks just like that Greek horse!"  Hmmm, well I suppose if a barge painter had got at him, there might have been a resemblence but I hope that David Attenborough might just recognise him...
Now here is my gripe, why are patterns not checked properly?  Seams and sizing are Sewing 101, it's absolute basics, does no-one at a magazine try making it before they publish?  Then we come to knitting patterns, there is one writer in particular, and yes, Debbie Bliss I am looking at you, whose books always seem to have addenda floating from them...  How difficult is it to check numbers and quantities?

Whilst I am on a roll, why am I seeing so many patterns pulled from published books?  Recently I spotted the same cushion in two magazines in the same month by the same maker, really frustrating when you have shelled out quite a bit of cash for something I already have on the bookshelf.  Lovely to have them occasionally but more than three in every issue is taking the proverbial... come on publishers there are lots of talented people out there... use them.

And talking of talented people don't forget to look at Handmade Monday to see what some of the really great original crafties have been up to.
Love to know if I am the only one who is driven up the wall by this... or if, as I suspect, I am just a grumpy old woman!

19 comments:

Claire Cooper said...

I totally agree - I'm sick of seeing the same stuff over and over again. And that goes for pattern mags like Burda too. I'd love to see something that's actually well fitted and that when I cut the pattern I don't have to do a boat load of adjustment just to make the pattern pieces fit together!

CatkinJane said...

I'm with on this too - I have some lovely books, not just magazines, that never mention what size seam allowance they've used.
He may have taken some doing but your Giraffe looks great to me :)

Wendy said...

From what I can gather, magazines do have "checkers" on the instructions (I know, because I was emailed by one of them once asking me about my 1mm seam allowance - should've been 1cm!) but nobody actually tests the instructions by making them up. It is so frustrating when mistakes get through though, I know. Oh, and the taking projects from books really is a bit cheeky when it's overdone - it seems to happen quite a bit nowadays.

knitnrun4sanity said...

Love the giraffe -especially the bright colours. Very appealing. I know that it is not hard to check knitting patterns. I wonder if it is all down to keeping the costs down?

Helen said...

I totally agree with you, i recently read a pattern in a sewing book intended for beginners which gave no indication of seam allowance which wasnt helpful! I really believe that people (and im one of them!)are put off by unclear pattern instructions.
Love the giraffe, he's lovely x

tickledpinkcrafts said...

And breathe...........! I always hesitate to make things up from magazines because of all the things you have mentioned. I am amazed that nobody actually tries to make them up before the pattern is published.
Anyway, I think your giraffe is gorgeous and I love the fabric that you have chosen. x

Louise (Elsie May and Bertha) said...

You're right fact checking seems to be a lost art and not just in craft magazines. Printing back to front pictures is another bug bear of mine. Sometimes it's one one the cover then the opposite inside.
I'm glad you persevered with the giraffes they look great.
Happy crafting :-)

Ginx Craft said...

Your giraffe still turned out fantastic.

MadBirdDesignsUK said...

Agree with everything you say! Magazines exist make money. They are not there to provide you with accurate patterns. The editor is charged with filling the magazine with any form of copy relevant to the magazine subject. All patterns taken from books are cheap and easy copy. The magazines do not make up any product instructions that they put in, that is up to the author or maker or designer that submits the work. They do read through and check for obvious errors. This has been so since I used to publish my machine knitwear designs in the 1908s and 1990's. Now put pen to paper and tell the magazine they boobed, send in pictures of your efforts. You might get a mention!!!

Kate @craftsonsea said...

They look lovely but yep, that would have driven me to a large dentists bill as well!

Free Spirit Designs said...

good points well made! It seems crazy that pattern's are not tested... its like publishing a cooking mag without testing the recipes! (or maybe they do that too?!)

both your giraffes look fab and i love the fabrics you've used - well done for sticking with it! x

Ali said...

First the giraffes look wonderful. Secondly your gripes are definitely worth shouting about. The lack of seam allowance does drive me mad and the repetition of patterns already in books that are on my shelf does grate with me. I've recently found the same problem with recipes, my main annoyance with this, ingredients missing completely. Hope you teeth have survived :) Take care.
Ali x

KC'sCourt! said...

Your giraffes are wonderful. I totally agree with every word you said. There used to be pattern testers, I know I used to be one! Something had to give in these economic times and it was the testers. I suppose they thought if the pattern was made the once it should be OK, but you do need a proof reader, and don't get me started on that subject!
Julie xxxxxxxxxx

nanacathydotcom said...

Totally agree.And I have been around long enough to think Hey Haven't I seen that one before, and yes I will have a much older magazine or book with the pattern in it. The ones that get me going are the ones that say photocopy 225% or some such number. How the H...do I do that! So now I jst go to a shop and buy a proper pattern. Love the giraffe-I made one not so long since from a McCalls pattern!

Gertie said...

Even though he took some making the giraffe is lovely.

It's so frustrating when magazines or books don't test their patterns.

You either end up throwing your work in the bin or make something that bears no resemble to the pattern - or is that just my bad sewing !!!!

Patchwork Fairy said...

So that's why I can never get anything to look like the pictures? :) Your giraffes both are lovely though!

Stephen @ Soy of the North said...

Love the brightly coloured giraffes. I'm annoyed by the lack of basic information like seam allowances too. Fortunately these occurances have been in the minority for me.

Bev Newman said...

The giraffes are both lovely and giraffe like :-) I understand what you mean totally - its also the same with the way they use the same readers pics, letters etc in more than one magazine. I now have a good flick through before buying. But it is easy to make a mistake when typing up patterns and its why its good practice to get all your patterns tested first- which is my next step on the road to selling some of mine in the future :-)

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