The Patchsmith 6:13pm, 2 July 2012
I noticed today that there are two errors in the bottle holder project. One is to do with the batting measurements (does not really effect project to any great degree) and the other is to do with constructing the outer tube. The latter I found really confusing and in the end I ignored the instructions for that part and did what I thought was right following the pictures.
However, that is four projects with errors out of the fourteen projects undertaken so far. If I wasn't in this sew-along I wouldn't have known to look at the errata page - and not all errors are in the errata page. Also, there was no errata page provided when I brought the book.
I love the little projects - they are great for honing my skills but I am not sure I could recommend the book to others based on this error rate.
I would welcome other people's points of view.
zaynoo1 PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by zaynoo1 (member) 6 years ago
Well, I'm surprised too that there are so many mistakes. To be honest, I just bought the book because of this sewalong. Saw it already before but I'm not so much into the dark colours... Nevertheless I loved all the projects I made so far, changed the colour scheme to my pleasure :))) but you are right, for the buyer outside this group it might be somehow difficult to realize what's right and what's wrong.
thecraftersapprentice 6 years ago
I agree and have already commented that the number of errors is appalling. Was it the travel organiser where over 50% of the cutting instructions were wrong? I know mistakes might creep in, but they shouldn't, why haven't the patterns been tested before being printed?
Celtic Thistle 6 years ago
I have been really surprised by the number of errors in this book too and it would certainly put me off buying any more books by this publisher! My son works in publishing and he is appalled by what appears to be a complete lack of proof-reading!
FindingFifth PRO 6 years ago
Yes, like you, if not for the Sew along I would have been clueless about the errors and got myself into trouble with the patterns. As it is,I have to read the patterns several times before I know what I am doing. I often draw myself a visual of the cutting pieces just to help myself a bit. I certainly hope that the publisher corrects the mistakes before reprinting another batch.
eamylove 6 years ago
I agree that the number of errors is increasing at an alarming rate. Also, thank heavens for the sew along group. I tend to let others clear the path for me and find the mistakes.

That being said, I still LOVE this book. It's not for a beginner or for someone who thrives on following directions, but it has so much inspiration. IF ONLY the measurements were correct, I would be satisfied with having to figure out the rest.

Girls, it's too bad the publishers didn't ask us all to be pattern testers! One project each, and we could have whipped this book into shape!
The Patchsmith 6 years ago
What a great idea Amy - we could become pattern testers for future books. How cool would that be? I agree that I still like the book for the many projects - even with the mistakes. It is inspirational and it is often the projects I am not too bothered about that turn out to be a real favourite, like the Orchard Path Pouch which I didn't enlarge and made into a coin purse - I use it every day. And my little travel sewing kit is used most days too.
I've been surprised too - some things that should be really easy to put together end up getting really complicated due to the directions. I was reluctant to say anything negative in a blog post about it because I know other people put the tutorials together, and I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but a couple times I've just put a project down in frustration and had to walk away for awhile because I didn't know what they wanted me to do, and I don't want to do it the way I think it should be done then have to unstitch everything if I'm not correct.

I still like the book and it has some great projects, but some more diagrams (to back up the written instructions) and some pattern testing before publishing would be so nice.
thecraftersapprentice 6 years ago
I think it's important we DO point these things out. If we pretend that all patterns are amazing and well written, people will never learn. We all bought this book, paid money for it and expect a certain standard, for example the cutting directions to be correct. I don't think it's a downer on the pattern writers themselves, I think this is down to the editors, they are the ones that should be making sure these mistakes don't creep in and the ones that should be making sure the directions are clear with plenty of diagrams.

I bought Rashida Cole's previous book, I heart Patchwork and was so appalled by the terrible instructions, I'd never buy another of her books. I only bought this one as it was compiled by her so I thought it would be OK, clearly not. Wonder if they had the same editor?
Sewwunderful PRO 6 years ago
I bought the book for the sew along also......... what a wonderful idea for us to be pattern testers... I can guarantee you that there would be NO mistakes in the book when we were through with it!

I made a few of the projects and then stopped... I have two nesting boxes cut and ready to sew and the water bottle cut and ready..... i'll get to them eventually I guess.... but for now I have other things to work on and will watch for more errata. I try to print and then cut and tape the corrections to each page in the book.... right now there is a LOT of tape in the book!
Liz DandeliondD 6 years ago
Eeek I have only just ordered this book. I know that I am super late to the party here but I keep seeing all your fab makes and wishing I was joining in.

What a shame that there are so many mistakes. But thank goodness for all of you checkers.
The Patchsmith 6 years ago
Don't worry Liz, you will still enjoy the many projects. The errata page is updated constantly so if you check in, hopefully all will be well. Also, this is a very friendly and helpful group so if you have any problems, just post a question here and we will do our utmost to help.
Enjoy, have fun - after all, that is what it is all about.
Liz DandeliondD 6 years ago
thanks for your lovely reply. I am very glad to find this friendly group and look forward to getting stitching with you all. xxxx
Creativemomentscary 6 years ago
Despite the errors, this book is full of great projects. I've used many of the things I've made, and plan to repeat some of them. I love the pattern tester idea!
Hey Folks!

I have to say that it was very difficult to edit the directions for projects that weren't my own. I tried my best to catch as many mistakes as I could, but some got away from me I suppose. In retrospect I would have gotten some of my crafty friends to help test the patterns for me. A lesson I have now learned for future publications!

With my first book, my technical editor physically sat down and made ALL of my projects, which I stupidly assumed would happen with this book as well. I'm so sorry that this has happened and I'm working with the publisher to correct all of the mistakes in future reprints of Zakka Style. The errata page will be updated soon and I will also be posting them to my blog.

Thank you everyone for your participation in the Sew A Long and working through all of the issues. You've all done such fantastic work! ^_^

The Patchsmith 6 years ago
From a personal point of view Rashida, I have really enjoyed this sew-along. I have learned much along the way and it has introduced me to a wonderful group of talented and creative designers and fellow sewists. Yes there are errors in the book and yes they can be frustrating - but I still wouldn't swap a minute of it. I have found the designers themselves to be very humble and approachable and they take criticism constructively and in good humour which is in the spirit it is given. This, in itself is inspiring. Thank you for your contribution here - it is nice to know that our feedback, as 'pattern testers', is being acted upon. And you will know where to come for pattern testers in the future!!
All the best,
The Patchsmith
The Patchsmith,

I'm grateful for everyone's feedback! It's all a learning process and I've been reading through the blog posts, and flickr threads, and taking notes for my next writing adventure. (Hopefully reader's won't be afraid to buy it. Yikes! :P)

I should have just followed my gut and went ahead and had the patterns tested anyway, despite being told it wasn't necessary. You live and you learn, right? Definitely, positively, absolutely on my to-do list for the next book. Pattern Testers? Check!

The designer's that I worked with on this project are incredible and really were a dream to work with. The projects the designers came up with are all just so fantastic. I'm happy to know that you learned so much while using the book as well as from the designers. They are all truly kindred spirits. ^_^

The only difficulty in this process was gathering everyone's instructions and editing them so that they were cohesive. Everyone had a different style of writing instructions, so it was a bit of a challenge.

Overall I'm happy with the way the book turned out I'm so thrilled that people still love it, despite the errors.

thecraftersapprentice 6 years ago
Hi Rashida,

Despite the errors, I really love the book, I'm having great fun making so many projects from one book. The designers are amazing, such a good collection of people!

On the pattern testing note, you said that for your first book someone sat down and made all the items. Can I be honest? I still struggle with some of the instructions in I Heart Patchwork. I'm thinking that perhaps you need 2 or 3 people to test each project as you may have just chosen someone who knows you, knows your style and has seen the progress of the projects? (I'm not sure if that's true, I'm guessing!). A choice of a beginner (if appropriate), intermediate and advanced sewist might be a good idea? Also, diagrams and photos are really important, some of us learn how to do something with a written instruction, but a lot of us learn with pictures.

Thanks so much for your interest in this thread, it's great to know that designers care about their readers.
Hi thecraftersapprentice,

Oh, I'm so happy that you like the book, still! ^_^ Yay!

With the first book, my the technical editor that I was assigned did all of the pattern testing. So I didn't get to choose nor did I know her before then. I never thought of having different levels of sewists test them. That's a fantastic idea! I will DO that for sure next time.

In regards to the photos and diagrams, I really, REALLY wanted there to be extremely detailed illustrations in both books.(I like to draw. ^_^) Very much the way Japanese craft books are made. The publishers wanted to keep the number of pages below a certain number, thus keeping the cost of the book low. I personally learn much better with photos, than with written illustrations and tend to lean towards books with more pics than words. So I would have liked that for my own book, but you have to keep in mind that the author doesn't get a lot of say on the layout of the book after the manuscript has been turned over to the publisher. Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not trying to put the blame on anyone else, that's just the way it works.

I've learned SO much from everyone's feedback and I now know what I need to do for my books in the future. It makes me so sad to know that everyone is having so many problems. I want everyone to enjoy looking at them, enjoy making the projects, get inspiration, and maybe learn a new skill along the way. ^_^ Frustration is not what I was aiming for! lol

thecraftersapprentice 6 years ago
Hello again,

You know, I don't really know much about the writing of a craft book so I'd never really thought about who made which decisions. Really though, don't take it to heart. We have vented our frustrations a bit, but we're all here to show each other the way when we get stuck and if you have a look around our group pool, I think you'll agree the book is a resounding success!

I have to say, having had this little online conversation with you, I'm even more excited about completing the rest of the projects and I think I'm right in saying that we all understand a bit better about the errata.

i think it's really cool that you've come over to the group to address this with us! Thank you x
LRstitched Posted 6 years ago. Edited by LRstitched (admin) 6 years ago
Rashida, you are a class act! Thank you for taking the time to read through and respond!
aquilterstable PRO 6 years ago
I just want to say thanks to you also, Rashida, for chiming in! How nice to know our concerns are being heard. Despite a few 'issues' along the way, being in this together has been great fun, and I honestly have never made EVERY project in a book before & probably wouldn't have here except for the support & fun of the sew-along. I have learned SO much sewing through these projects! Thanks all!
No worries friends! Believe it or not we ARE all in this together. The authors and publishers need to learn from the readers too sometimes! ^_^

The Patchsmith Posted 6 years ago. Edited by The Patchsmith (member) 6 years ago
Hi Rashida,
I wondered if you could help - I am a little confused about an upcoming project.
I normally buy my supplies two weeks in advance to allow time for postage so I am looking at the pleated coin purse project starting on page 100 in the book.
The size stated on page 100 for the finished item is about 4.5" x 5" yet the materials and supplies state I need a curved metal purse frame of 2.75" wide x 2" tall. I have never made a purse with a metal frame before but it seems to me that the frame may not be large enough for the 'finished size'.. I want to make sure I purchase the right size frame.
Please can you confirm the size of the metal purse frame I need to purchase for this item.
Many thanks.
Miss Patchsmith,
The frame that you need is available here:
The owner of the shop (Karyn Valino) is also the designer of the project.

It's 4" x 2 1/8" according to the store site.

(Aaargh! Yet another error! I remember changing this during review. I'm looking at my copy of the final manuscript and this should have been changed. *sigh*)

I'll make a post about this in the group here.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

zaynoo1 PRO 6 years ago
I already made this purse weeks ago as I needed one and couldn't find an appropriate frame here in Germany so I used a small one as written in the book and what shall I say? It looks a little (but just a little) crinkly but worked... I love the result though... But will try the right size soon too :)))
The Patchsmith 6 years ago
Thanks Zaynoo, that is nice to know to that it will work regardless. Can't wait to see your purse on Flickr.
aquilterstable PRO 6 years ago
Glad to have seen this - I had prepurchased the size listed in the book, so will get another. This will be my first framed purse & I really want it to work! Thanks all.
zaynoo1 PRO 6 years ago Just be a little patient, then you will see it! :))))
fabricmutt PRO 6 years ago
This has been such an interesting thread to read through tonight. Rashida, I have to say that I'm impressed with your attention to people's comments. Zakka Style has been such an important book for me this year as I picked it up when I was brand new to sewing -- I really credit it with so much of my skills development. Challenges and errors aside, it's been a joy to learn from this book. I'm so glad that you put it together and shared it with us! And thanks to you too, Lindsey, for organizing the sew along which gave me the push to try so many projects I wouldn't have dared to start otherwise. This has been a great experience all around!
amyinuk 6 years ago
Nearly finished making the small basket thingy on the last project - anyone else think it is the most ridiculous way to sew a basket? I'm about to put the bottom on and have had to step away to clear my head.

Whata waste of fabric when sewing teh long rectangle of 6inches x17 when the linen and print is 4 inches x 17, andthen it doesn't mention what to do with the top bit - so I just cut it off. What a waste. Still lovely, but quite frustrating.

Doubt I will make the medium or large now that I see how silly the small was to construct. There has to be a better way?
kimizaki 6 years ago
I read through the instructions for the nesting boxes and immediately decided not to do it. Like you, I feel there's gotta be an easier way to construct it, I just haven't come across it. Maybe next week's guest blog will share a different way, fingers crossed!
The Patchsmith Posted 6 years ago. Edited by The Patchsmith (member) 6 years ago
In respect of the last project in the book - the nesting boxes:
I think the backing and batting are cut bigger due to it being the habit with quilting projects. I agree with Amyinuk that it isn't really needed with this project as the quilting is done after three of the sides are stitched together and turned through. I cut the excess off at the top before binding and it went in my ever-growing scraps box.
I also found the bottom fiddly to sew in - it would be easier if you leave 1/4" of each side seam unstitched at the bottom (like the bread basket we made on page 86). This will enable you to fold the sides against the bottom and should make stitching it in easier. I am going to try this when I make the middle size box. (UPDATED - THIS HINT DOESN'T WORK DUE TO THE WAY THE BOX IS CONSTRUCTED BUT LAURRAINE HAS HELPED AND I'VE POSTED HINTS ON MY BLOG)
I have to say, out of all the projects in the book - this was the one I was most attracted to. I have made the smaller pot and I love it - it looks so fresh and lovely. Fiddly yes, functional yes, pretty yes. So I am pleased with it. Also this pattern would have been well served by a diagram or two. I am hoping that next week's guest blog will share some tricks and tips - I will certainly blog about it next when I make the middle size one and if I come up with any better ways I will certainly share them.
amyinuk 6 years ago
Totally agree - I LOVE the way it turned out but a silly way to construct. This was the project that swayed me over to buy teh book and try the sew-along. So glad I did because I have learned so many things but have also had some very frustrating moments with them too!! MORE DIAGRAMS!!!

Working with linen is wonderful so I have become a life-long fan :) And a Zakka fan too!!
thecraftersapprentice 6 years ago
I'm making these today and I've got an idea of a different construction, I'll try it out and post about it. I'll let you know when it's done... might work, might not!
bluepatchquilter 6 years ago
I am looking forward to these boxes, love the way they look but might construct them differently too.
thecraftersapprentice 6 years ago
Ok, I've done it, I made my box a different way to the book and it worked! I've done a mini-non-pattern-publishing tutorial if you'd like to see:
amyinuk 6 years ago
Looks good - thanks for sharing!!!!
PatchworkPottery Posted 6 years ago. Edited by PatchworkPottery (member) 6 years ago
Thanks for trying out my pattern Wendy! This was the first method I tried when constructing the boxes. Although it is simpler, I preferred the crisper edges and more square shape when the sides were quilted beforehand. This is the Japanese method of constructing quilted bags & baskets :o)

I'm excited to see all the different boxes that everyone makes! Please add them to my pattern group:

Hugs & Happy Sewing, Laurraine
PatchworkPottery 6 years ago
I used high loft polyester batting which helped to make the boxes sturdy. If you are finding the bottom is difficult to position you could try sewing the sections together in a "plus sign" arrangement. Then place over batting & backing, turn right side out, quilt & then stitch up the sides. However that is more hand-sewing ;o) Good Luck! Hugs, L
♥rashida coleman-hale♥ Posted 6 years ago. Edited by ♥rashida coleman-hale♥ (member) 6 years ago
Hey guys,

I'm trying to gather all of the errors and send them to the publisher for the next reprint. I just want to be sure that I found them all! Yikes! I'd love your help making sure that I do get everything. Could you please email with anything you've found? I'll compile a list and be sure C&T gets it! (rashida at iheartlinen .com)

Thanks everyone!

Also!! Any suggestions or feedback you have would be FANTASTIC! Please be gentle...I bruise easy. ^_^

I think it's important that the publishers (and authors)know what readers think, so I plan to share some of your thoughts with them as well.

More illustrations? More photos? I've often wondered why American craft books don't show more illustrations like the Japanese one's. They'd be helpful wouldn't they???

So please...pepper me with your thoughts!!

thecraftersapprentice 6 years ago
Hi Rashida,
Overall, I love the book. I love almost all of the patterns - but don't take that as criticism because we are all different and some people loved the ones I didn't like!
I think the main things for me are that patterns need to be tested and tested again. Cutting instructions need to be proof read and diagrams for the tricker parts are an absolute must. Patterns at 100% would be a massive bonus, it's not always easy to get to a photocopier and people who don't have one at work have to pay to get patterns enlarged. I think most of us wouldn't mind paying an extra dollar for a book with full sized patterns if it requires another couple of pages.

Oh, and thanks for asking, it's lovely that you're taking our thoughts into consideration!
Mary-and-Tobit 6 years ago
Really interesting blog post on this subject here:
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