Problem pattern maker pt.2: Rebuttal

Amended 7/15/08
Apparently, some in the community have decided my role is an educator, not advocate. Odd, I thought one determined their own role. I wrote my book as an advocate. I reached the point of intolerance after having watched yet another DE go broke -in part due to exploitation. While the book certainly educates, it was the means to an end. The means was not the end.

In spite of my every caution and diligence, I am sometimes fooled. I have mistakenly recommended people and services that I have come to profoundly regret. Vocal critics in the community do not feel it is my role to elaborate when abuses have occurred. Rather than foment increasing dissent, I will henceforth refrain from illuminating abuses no matter how egregious, even when the offending party is not named as the party in this particular entry was not. As such, I urge you to do your own due diligence with regard to service providers. A good resource for this is the forum. Being private, members can tell you if there’s been problems with a given company.

The remainder of this and its companion entry has been summarily deleted.

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  1. Anir says:


    I am sorry to hear this. I found the whole story educational if only to show us what kinds of due diligence we should do when we contract with others. I feel like this is more important that whether the DE or patternmaker was at fault. I am sorry that the “vocal critics” have silenced this, although I certainly understand the reason why you would capitulate.

    Thank you for what you did tell of this.

  2. /anne... says:

    Some people are afraid that they also will not meet your standards, so they attack.

    Others are ashamed that they are not as brave to stand up to what is clearly wrong, so they also attack.

    The rest of us are very proud of you :-)

  3. kaaren hoback says:

    Those few people that stand high above the rest – make excellent targets. Kathleen, I think your actions are commendable as you are THE mentor, and are unafraid to voice an opinion and are generous enough to share your knowledge.

    I respect that B… has taught and supplies many home sewers to get a decent fitting bra when the RTW market does not meet their needs. Her writings have both encouraged and educated, her supplies are to my knowledge of good quality. If I needed small quantities of fabrics or findings, I would still consider purchasing from her.

    This does not mean her skills necessarily translate to commercial pattern production or line management or procurement. Many fine company’s fail when they grow beyond their capabilities even when their growth seems a natural extension of what they have done successfully in the past.

    The lesson behind all this is that the DE who hands over his/her responsibility to someone else must know and trust whomever she has decided to employ or contract with and then OVERSEE every detail until the on going work is proven to be as exacting as her personal standards.

    When you contract out work you must set standards, keep checking on the progress, and have set deadlines. Missing a deadline is not the end of the world, missing a series of deadlines is a major problem. The first time, set a new firm date and if the work is not at the stage you expect it to be at – STOP, Review your standards, and review your communications- have you explicitly communicated exactly what you need from the contractor or employee or have you left something open to interpretation.

    WRITE down what you need- edit the writing. Put it aside for a short time and review it again. Be clear exactly what you want done, and by what date and with what specific materials/tools you feel the job requires. IF the contractor now feels they cannot provide what you need, within the modified time go find another one.

    State what you need : first samples and patterns by noon on May 10 – not “in time for next season”.

    You need X yards of 105gm/m2 Powernet in pantone color XXX for pattern #12345

    Be specific.

    Throwing more good money after bad will not resolve the problems.


  4. Susan owen says:

    I am disappointed to hear about this from you. I always want to know what you think, unedited, about everything you discuss. It is an extremely important learning process, and we cannot learn without hearing the good and the bad.
    And it is your site after all. Can’t you say whatever you want? I am surprised that you are letting others dictate to you.

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