Can’t Keep My Opinions to Myself

I don’t think I usually rant on this page. So far I’ve kept it to mainly finished sewing projects and the occasional side-track. In my mind, however, I rant frequently, and since this is a subject that I keep pondering, I’m going to let it spill out here.

I read mostly sewing blogs. I read blogs where they talk about other stuff too, but even those seem to be written by people who sew some of the time. I’m on Instagram and Twitter (as @carihomemaker). I’m on Kollabora, BurdaStyle, and Pattern Review *though not always as regularly as some). In short, I read a lot about sewing. In those reads, there are a few things that keep being said/done that drive me crazy. I’m not going to say I never say/do these things; I know I have at least for some of them, but they still drive me crazy, even when I’m the one perpetrating. Please, can we all agree to limit our use of the following?

Click for source. I really want to make these now.

1) “I just ‘whipped up’ this project.” Have you ever tried to whip cream or make a lemon meringue pie without the use of a stand mixer? It is really, really hard work. It’s much harder than throwing together a 12th Jalie v-neck t-shirt or a 5th Lady Skater dress. If you’re standing there with a cold bowl and a whisk waiting for something to thicken as your fingers turn numb, the last thing you’re thinking is “this is so quick and easy.” I don’t know what the better phrase would be to describe our quick-and-easy sewing makes, but whipping needs to go.

Via Google Images

2) “This pattern fits me perfectly with no alterations whatsoever which makes it the best pattern ever made and everyone should buy it.” I get the excitement. It’s wonderful when a pattern doesn’t need to have six test versions done before it can be made up for real. That feeling when you put something on and it fits like a glove with no pulling, tugging, or adjusting throughout the day? Incredible. If, like me, you happen to be 5′ 3″ and around 185lbs, then my rave reviews in this format may be helpful (or not, depending on your shape vs. mine). If you happen to be 5′ 9″ and 125 lbs, however, you’re likely to feel quite the let-down when you try to duplicate my experience. I’m not saying that we can’t rave about patterns or discuss how wonderful that it was we didn’t have to spend hours on alterations; let’s just agree that having a body that fits a particular pattern company’s drafting block is not the same as that company having amazing pattern drafting skills.

via Google Images

3) “A ‘pop’ of color” If you read through books or magazines from the 1990’s, you’ll see multiple references to a “splash” of color. Somewhere after Y2K the trendy phrase became “pop of color”. This no longer seems trendy, fresh, or even relevant. I don’t know what it needs to be replaced with. Until someone decides, could we just talk about the colors we are using without using a sad, tired cliche. If we must give a further description, maybe we could talk about them in relation to where they sit on the color wheel? Please, everyone, stop popping colors like they are balloons.

Via Google Images

4) “Sorry that all I have are these iPhone pics to post”. I’m not saying that we all need to have professional cameras and arts degrees to be bloggers. I’m saying that if someone is running a hobby blog and they choose to put up pictures from their digital camera or weren’t able to put on makeup that day, they shouldn’t have to apologize. If they are feeling self-conscious about something that has contributed to their pictures not looking like they usually do, it doesn’t bother me to hear the back-story, but they shouldn’t have to go as far as to apologize. They have done nothing actually wrong or offensive. If they are professional bloggers with sponsors, they might owe their sponsors an apology, but as far as readers go, it should be okay to skip the apologies and go straight to “look at this pretty thing I made.”

Via Google Images

5) “You should buy indie patterns because the people who design/sell them are nicer” Nicer than what? People who work for a larger company? Who could even know that? I’m pretty sure there are plenty of nice people working at all kinds of companies large and small. Actually, I think the problem is deeper than just the debate about buying from indie vs. long-standing, established company. If support for indie pattern companies is based mainly on them being “nice”, what happens if someone has a bad day? What happens if they get sick and can’t return e-mails with an immediate, sunshiny response? What happens if customer expectations are way out of line and the designer has to say “no”? What if that happens in a public forum? Is that designer no longer nice? Can we no longer buy from them? What if one designer’s line ends up hitting a trend and another person’s doesn’t? Does that make the one who ends up stopping their line wasn’t nice enough? Don’t misunderstand, I love trying indie patterns. There are some awesome options out there. I’ve had lovely interactions with indie pattern designers (I’ve never met one yet who hasn’t been nice). But when someone puts themselves out there with a serious business venture, I would like to see the support mainly focused on the beautiful products they are offering, including customer service as needed. Selling patterns shouldn’t have to be a Miss Congeniality contest.

Via Google Images

As the sewing blog world grows, so does the potential for drama. I’m not intending to try to stir up a lot of drama here, but I can’t guarantee that some of my own thoughts haven’t been stirred by reading other bits and pieces of drama floating around. Anyone out there who agrees with me on any of these? Is there something else out there driving you crazy that I should have mentioned? Keep it clean, and share your thoughts below.

15 Comments

  1. smittenness

    Yes. A very measured and reasonable rant. No one needs to apologise for iPhone pics, their hair/make up/background/whatever. I’m looking at the garment, if I can see it, it’s fine. Downloading a free self timer app will make things easier! If you apologise for something you don’t need to apologise for people will think they should be offended. I like the idea of using indie patterns but the reality is, I’m buying based on quality of product not niceness. Don’t get me started on pop of colour. Popping collars? Now THAT’S something I can get behind.

    Reply
  2. Nancy

    Very well said and politely too.

    Reply
  3. oonaballoona

    i’m actually thinking of switching to my iphone for pics…my (old) iphone has more megapixels than my (METHUSELAH old) camera….

    to be the voice of slight dissension, i feel like visiting a blog is like visiting someone’s home, and so it’s house rules, whatever they may be: raves, rants, cliches, cocktails… it only drives me crazy when the host or hostess loses their voice, then i get bored! and boredom makes me bonkers.

    Reply
    1. sthlivingincolor

      Yes, absolutely. It’s your space to write about what you want!

      (And I totally agree with all these, especially the “it’s a great pattern because I didn’t have to alter it” thing.)

      Reply
  4. Suzanne Mills

    If I read the phrase “late to the party” one more time in the blogosphere… For some reason it grates on me and I see it everywhere to describe when a person didn’t immediately jump on a pattern. That’s the great thing about patterns, you can make them whenever and put them whereever you want in your queue. You never have to justify why you are making it at this very moment.

    Reply
  5. Susan (moonthirty)

    Oh #2 reeeeally yes. It fit you great, awesome, but that means nothing to how it will fit me. Why would you think that meant it had magic skill of fitting other bodies the same? That…yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly. 😉

    And iPhone photos are due an apology? My iPhone has a dramatically better camera than the then-good-quality point and shoot I used 5 years ago.

    Hehe. Fun post!

    Reply
  6. emsewcrazy

    Good thoughts! Some phrases I hadn’t thought of and others I agree need to be dropped.

    Reply
  7. Lisette

    I treat sewing blogs the way I treat my friendships. If I don’t enjoy the company, I stop hanging out. Even if they’re an amazing sewer or indie company. Even if it is because they use a phrase that I don’t care for. They are no lesser for it, and I have no reason to rant.

    Reply
  8. Hoosiermama

    Here, here! I especially like point #5. I think people are unconsciously influenced by the politically correct “hate big business” mindset without stopping to consider whether it actually makes any sense.

    Reply
  9. prttynpnk

    Im reading this and worrying about how many times my pop of color has been late to the party….
    What pattern fits out of the envelope? Thats crazy talk!

    Reply
  10. Lynn

    My husband hates “pop of color” too. I hear/read it so much I don’t even think about it but it does sound silly. “Splash” makes more sense but they probably originally started saying “pop” because “splash” had become “worn out”.

    I am guilty of apologizing for bad pictures. I know it’s not necessary and I shouldn’t but still, sometimes I have to. You know? I just can’t make myself not apologize or try to explain.

    Reply
  11. Janine

    I must be the last sewer on earth to sew this pattern. No you are not -sorry.

    Reply
  12. ladykatza

    I’m totally guilty of the “sorry these photos are crap”. To be honest though, my phone’s camera IS crap. I might have gone with a different one if I’d realized that.

    Reply
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  14. Kerry

    ‘Pop of colour’ is annoying, similar to the singularisation of things ‘a red lip’ ‘ a black trouser’ etc. Blech.
    I’m interested in the idea about patterns fitting out the packet too as I find the more I know about sewing and fit the more problems I find. I suppose some are more obvious and live-able with than others. One of the reasons I started sewing was to make things that fit me properly and I always at least add length since I’m tall.

    Reply

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