Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Perfect Example

The other day I was griping about nobody indexing the DIY pattern republishers. Today, I have a good example of why this would be a good thing.

Almost a week ago, I bought a pair of patterns from a seller on Etsy called Lyle Pattern Company.  The seller asked for the buyer's bust measurement, then promised quick delivery of a sized pattern. The images were pretty compelling, there was no shipping cost involved, and for $2 a pop, why not? 

Well, first two days go by without even an acknowledgement of the purchase. Then I send an email specifically restating my bust size, and asking when they'd be available. The seller promises to have them to me tomorrow.  Tomorrow rolls around, and still no patterns! I message the seller and ask what's up, they claim that they've sized the pattern up and are double checking and re-truing the pieces, and that they'd be in my email box... guess when? Tomorrow. 

Again, the deadline is missed, so I inquire further about what the seller's process is so I can better understand what's going on.  No response. Monday night I email them again to say "Hey what gives" and lo and behold, this morning, I have a pair of PDF files in my email inbox.  I don't open them at work because I'm on Windows over there and, well, viruses, duh.  But when I get home and look at them, it's pretty... well... awful.

The patterns from "Lyle White" and/or "Lyle Sewing Pattern" are actually a PDF taken from a PowerPoint slideshow as revealed by the file info. (The copy of PowerPoint is licensed to "Daniel" in case you're curious.) What makes this problematic is that there is NO. PATTERN.  What you do get is bits of a few pictures of the pattern envelope, cut up and put into this horrible PowerPoint theme of a frame.  Most of the identifying information has been removed, so I can't even find the pattern number or maker and actually buy or borrow a copy - it's been effectively anonymized and it actually kinda pisses me off a bit.

Sure, I could probably re-draft the pattern from the picture, but those pattern layout pictures are notorious for not having all of the proper markings, and being not-quite-to-scale particularly on the smaller pieces and facings.  At that point, couldn't I just find a copy of the pattern envelope somewhere, and work from that? What did I just pay $2 for?

So I opened a PayPal dispute, and it turns out that the seller has had multiple stores, and multiple email addresses, but they all point back to one Liliana Balan, formerly known as Boutique Vert and Vert Boutique, and she's got an Etsy shop right now called LylaPatterns (like Lyle, but not, eh?) selling crochet patterns.  Oh, and if that wasn't sketchy enough, she's Romanian. Yay. Because Romanian Scams are the new Nigerian Scam.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Many Faces of Reproduction Patterns

The GBACG has become well known for their giant and fantastically useful Great Pattern Review, although it's updated less frequently now. Unfortunately, I'm finding that there's really no end at all to the number and variety of small-time pattern publishers out there.

Some of these folks literally bought a couple of antique books that are out of print, scanned them, and are selling the PDFs online. There's not really any DRM to speak of, except that most of it is pretty niche and not a lot of folks will be interested enough to pirate it. (I mean, really, I can't imagine these things on torrent sites at all.) Some of these are scans, some of them are tracings, some of them are PDFs of line drawings of tracings... barely any of them come in multiple sizes, some are copies of period drafting systems (complete with scanned drafting aids) and some of them are line art with period instructions for enlarging and transferring patterns.

Nobody is reviewing these!  It sucks!  Because there are a ton of great resources out there, and nobody is willing to take a chance when they don't know that they're getting a Big-3 style paper pattern with instructions.  Can we standardize this somehow?  Or at least develop some notation format that would give people an idea of what to expect? 

Maybe something like:
Pattern: Paper, Printable, Draftable.
Instructions: None, General, Step by Step, Complete with Pictures

Maybe I just need to put out a review template for homebrew patterns, and then start reviewing them? It's really frustrating to pay $8 for a digital pattern, then find that it's a scan of a rotary diagram for drafting, which requires rather a lot of setup before it'll do anything for me.

One of the things I'm doing when I restore old patterns is enlarging them to my size. This is literally the quick and dirty slash and spread method, where I figure out how much bigger my bust size is, take the pattern size, and enlarge the pieces by the difference in inches, divided by the number of seams, per seam.  I'm not doing any fancy grading, because apparently aside from my bust, I'm actually fairly normal sized.

And I would appreciate knowing, given the myriad people and myriad methods, what each seller is actually doing.