One Little Step at a Time: Writing and Following Pattern Directions

Have you ever given someone directions for how to do something step by step?  And then no matter WHAT you say or do, they just don’t get it?  OH MY GOSH! It’s so frustrating!

I have come to the conclusion that most people need very simple step by step directions that INCLUDE a picture.  A clearly-defined picture that supports one simple direction. Without that simplicity and visual learning, many people will struggle.

If you are an educator, you probably already know this, but everyone learns differently.  I tell my husband that all the time.  He now clearly understands that if he wants me to really understand something, he has to have paper and a pencil so he can draw it for me while he speaks.  I love it when he does that.  I am a visual person. If I don’t see it while I hear it, I don’t get it.  Period.

I have been looking for a simple pattern for a quilted cosmetic bag that has a zipper and two handles.  When I look on Pinterest, there are so many cute bags that I would like to make, but the directions just, well, stink.  The bag designers I’m referring to are talented people when it comes to sewing and making the patterns, but lack ability to put the steps in order that makes sense and is clearly understood by the reader.  Now I admit, I am zipper-challenged.  My mom tried for years to help me learn how to sew a zipper in place, but I struggled every time.  Mom has been gone now for almost 8 years, and each time I need to sew a zipper, I yell at her.  I’m sure she can hear me up there… That’s why this bag – that I dearly love and adore – will never get made by me.  Too many zippers.
I’d love to make my granddaughter Samantha and her girlfriend this little clutch bag for Christmas, but again, it has a zipper.

Have you ever tried to follow sewing directions and then found yourself yelling at the directions when you can’t follow them? If so, I’m with you.

So here is my challenge to pattern writers everywhere:  keep me in mind.
Make your directions simple, step-at-a-time, picture-by-picture, clearly written for someone who is… oh, let’s say, seven years old.  Then maybe I might understand.


Published by Caron Mosey at Michigan Quilts!, Copyright 2015.
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