So I was faffing about on Pinterest, and there was this great link from SewWeekly’s Make This Look (isn’t this dress lovely?): 

I went to go check out the pattern (which is simplicity 2180, not Butterick 2180, as it has in the image) and saw that simplicity was now offering print-on-demand patterns. “Cool,” I thought. (Insert ominous music here.)

I blithely entered my Paypal information and got a confirmation link to download my pattern. I should have read the FAQ first. 

So here are some of the ways the PrintSew process is borked:

— you can’t download the pattern, and you can only print the pattern three times. This is stupid DRM-thinking: “Let’s make it difficult to use the product we sold you, and that will stop piracy!” In three minutes I can figure out five ways to subvert this. (Hint: Photo. Copier.) All it really does is make it difficult for people who have bought the pattern to use it again. (And it seems as if their DRM doesn’t even work — Firefox on the Mac downloaded the file without blinking, and Adobe Acrobat opened it right up again.)

— but before you can even print the pattern, you have to add an Adobe “FileOpen” plug-in. Oh, and did I mention you can’t use the Chrome browser? and that the installation process is borked? If the installation fails with no error message (as mine did), here’s what the ReadMe file says to do:

You can also place the plug-in manually into the Acrobat/Reader application. To do so, you must first find the appropriate plug-ins folder. You can find the Acrobat plug-ins folder in one of several ways:

Locate your copy of Acrobat or Adobe reader and then find the Plug-ins folder. typically this will be in locations like the following:
/Applications/Adobe reader 8/Adobe ….

Acrobat/Reader 6 and later are packaged applications, so the Plug-Ins folder must be found by control-clicking the application icon and selecting show package Contents, then opening the folder Contents and within it the folder Plug-Ins. Paste the plug-in into this location. note that the plug-in must not be placed in a sub-folder within Plug-Ins.

Search for another Acrobat plug-in, e.g. Acrofill or WebLink, and place the FileOpen plug-in into the same location. Note, however, that some Adobe plug-ins are installed into folders within the Plug-Ins folder; the FileOpen plug-in must not be placed into a sub-folder, it must be located in the root of the Plug-Ins folder.

How many people would even read the ReadMe? (I did because I compulsively read the ReadMes.) Oh, and it requires that Acrobat be your default PDF reader, too. This is flat-out dumb. It’s ironic that Simplicity’s tagline is “Creativity Made Simple!” because there is nothing simple about this. 

The PrintSew site does not inspire confidence, with icons out of the early 90s and messages like this:

Contrast this with BurdaStyle, which just lets you download a plain-vanilla PDF. That’s how it should work. I recommend BurdaStyle downloads all the time, because they’re great for people who are nervous or hesitant about working with tissue patterns. Screw it up? print it out again! Heck, BurdaStyle should charge me a premium for their patterns, but they’re some of the least-expensive ones out there (shh, don’t tell them that). (And they also don’t do the “list price is $20.99, but we’ll do a 75% off sale every other week, okay?” rigamarole.)

Simplicity (and the other big pattern companies) need to figure this out pronto. I hardly ever go to their websites, and I hardly hardly ever go look at the books in the fabric store, either. If I’m looking for a new modern pattern to make I am much more likely to start with BurdaStyle or one of the other downloadable pattern sellers, because of the instant gratification factor. 

What do you think? have you converted to printable patterns for your non-vintage sewing? Where do you find good downloadable printable patterns aside from BurdaStyle? Or do you prefer traditional tissue paper? (I also know lots of you draft your own patterns: I bow humbly in your direction.)

Share this:

Like this:
Like Loading…


HOW TO: make a three-panel skirt have pocketsFebruary 18, 2007
Duro JuniorJuly 14, 2008
Linktastic Friday: Helpfulness EditionMay 30, 2008With 41 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *