How Could One Adorable Pattern Cause So Much Trouble?

Not long after I started at Stitch, I received a note from a frantic reader. She was in the dead heat of making a baby swaddle for a newly arrived relative and she could not figure out the pattern instructions. I could just picture the situation because I have been there many times myself.

This adorable swaddle has
been one of our most popular patterns. 

I quickly turned the query over to the technical  editor, who spent 10 hours trying to determine the issue with the pattern, including actually taking the pattern home and sewing it from scratch herself. In the end it came down to a simple matter of reversing a pattern piece and we posted the correction on

The Stitch editorial team puts tremendous  diligence into producing clear and accurate instructions because, being ardent sewists ourselves, we know just how frustrating it is to find a mistake in a pattern. If there is a reader query on a pattern, we make it a point to respond asap. We do that because we've all been there, stitching our way to a deadline, only to be stopped in our tracks by a mistake in the instructions.

Back to the baby swaddle. It is a very popular pattern–with good reason, because it's adorable. Like clockwork every few months, we get another frantic email, from an aunt or grandmother or sister, and the baby swaddle strikes again! We direct that person to the corrections page and avert a crisis. But one day Rose, Eliane, and I got to talking, and we realized that many readers may not know about the corrections page.

We would like to be perfect,  but sometimes we do make mistakes and that's what the corrections page on is for (located under the Magazines tab.) We recommend checking there if you have a concern with a pattern. (You can still write to us, too. We like to hear from you!) 

I want to add that I have a new nephew who is of swaddling age, and I plan to make that darling swaddle, too. Stay posted for the finished product!

For many more adorable children's patterns, please check out Sew Beautiful magazine.

What do you do when you can't figure out instructions for a sewing pattern? I would love know.

Happy stitching!



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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

18 thoughts on “How Could One Adorable Pattern Cause So Much Trouble?

  1. Usually, when I can’t figure something out in a pattern is when I start getting “creative”. I’ll try basting things by hand and experimenting until it looks like the photo. I’m pretty flexible minded and can often figure things out just from the pattern pieces, although I can see how a simply shaped vague geometric form such as the baby wrap can be so simple it’s puzzling.

    A question, though, why can’t the patterns themselves be updated rather than always having to go to a corrections page?

  2. I had a problem with a paper pattern just this Christmas. Was going to make two pairs of shorts for two of my grandchldren. I had made shorts before and knew they should take only 1/2 hour at the most to sew up so left these for the last items to sew on 23rd Dec (needed for the 24th). They were already cut out. Well after two hours and ripping out again and again, realised that something was wrong with the pattern (and not me!). What I did know as an inexperienced clothing sewer was that no way would these go together. Went to the site I purchased it from and had a look to see if any comment was available. Ended up emailing the designer and received a response too late to be of any good. Found out that the instruction to cut out the material was incorrect. Didn’t have enough to recut so just put the material in a Xmas bag and gifted it that way. Thank goodness I had other presents for these two little boys (ages 3 and 2). My experience was frustrating, angering, disappointing. I was really upset that those children did not get the gift they were to get. Each of my grandchildren received one ‘made’ gift and one purchased gift; so the other 4 received their proper gifts.

    So if it is impossible to change the pattern, can you at least add a note in large coloured letters to go to the corrections page (with a link). If that had been done for the pattern I had purchased elsewhere it all would have worked out as I would have had time to purchase material and recut.

  3. Where can I download this pattern? I searched for it and couldn’t find it. Wasn’t under “Fall 2011” patterns. Would love to make it. Thanks.

  4. Since so many people are having a problem with this pattern why don’t you just reissue it with the correction? Sounds like a good solution.
    If I make something incorrectly I delete it or remake or flag it for future correction. .

  5. When I’ve had a pattern I can’t figure out, my best resource is my Mom. Together, we can usually figure it out, or make something work. My sewing group on the internet is also a terrific bunch…we can post photos, links and ask if anyone else has had the same experience and they offer ideas. Sewing Pattern Review is also a great tool, and it’s good to look at the things others have run into on a particular pattern prior to starting.

  6. Happens to me periodically, and as with others, after thinking I’m just not “getting” it, I realize that it may be the pattern. Usually I just get up and go away for awhile, then tackle it again. However, on the latest situation with something for a four year old granddaughter who wanted it right away, I really couldn’t stop for any length of time. So, with young child in front of me, I read the pattern directions aloud. She looked at me quite strangely, and asked me why I was reading that when there was a good book handy. With that and a blown up visual of the finished product, I was able to figure out what the author of the directions had left out. It’s a project I will do more times so went back and rewrote, as well as added details. The author had mostly left out little things that make a huge difference in the end.

  7. I’ve been garment/crafting sewing for years, so if/when I get stuck with a pattern, I usually can figure it out. I’m a very visual learner, so before I start any project, I think about each step and visualize it in my head. If I really get stuck, I either try to find a tutorial about something similar on-line (like you-tube) or I ask my husband for his assistance. Either way, there are only a handful of projects, within the many years of me being on the sewing machine, that I’ve actually tossed something because it’s just not working.

    I agree with the other comments: if you know there is a problem with a pattern, it should be fixed on the pattern. Not just on an unknown corrections page. I wouldn’t think to look at a corrections page when I’m downloading (or paying for) a pattern. I would expect it to be correct already, esp. if there is something as major as a piece being reversed. Just something to think about…

  8. Corrections are easy to find.. go to the top of this feed page.. go to magazines… then Corrections-Errata… find the swaddle fall 2011.. it’s the 3rd one down…

    or follow this link

    What I would like to know is where to find the original pattern.. Anyone that could help with that I would greatly appreciate it… Thanks

  9. One of the first things I do before I even read the instructions is look at the finished project and mentally take it apart looking at how the pieces fit together. By the time I am ready to work on it I usually have a good idea of how it should be put back together. So when the instructions don’t gel it’s fairly easy to spot any errors and I don’t panic because I have already made it mentally

  10. Where can I find the pattern and why isn’t there a link within the article to go to the pattern. I am very frustrated trying to find this pattern and can not find it.

  11. Where can I find the pattern and why isn’t there a link within the article to go to the pattern? I am very frustrated trying to find this pattern and can not find it.

  12. I found it in the Sew Daily Shop, $4.00, I’m still weighing whether I want to purchase it or not, #12 grandchild, due any day, I might only use the pattern once.

    Item #: EP5317

  13. I was a victim of the same problem with this pattern. I figured something out and off went the gift, but it would have been easier to have the fix at hand. So thanks for letting us know about the corrections page. Kris, Roseville, CA