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Saturday, October 22, 2011
The Pro's and Con's of E-Patterns
I've been selling e-patterns for close to 7 years now and have found myself thinking a lot lately about e-patterns, the future of e-patterns, and trends I have been noticing. In doing so for some reason the movie and the soundtrack to the 1966 movie by Sergio Leone "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" kept springing to mind.
Now I know I'm dating myself with this movie, but now that I've mentioned it to you can't you just hear the soundtrack with that really eerie twangy music playing. I'll bet it will be in your head for awhile! LOL LOL It stayed with me for the whole day.
In any event, in thinking about e-patterns I was thinking of all the good - the positive aspects of e-patterns and decided to make three lists. The Good - which is all the positive aspects of e-patterns. The Bad - which is all the negative aspects of e-patterns. And, The Ugly - which is disturbing trends with e-patterns these days. And, of course, the main reason for my post - why my e-patterns are better.
Here's The Good:
1) First of all, you save time and money (both of which are a rare commodity these days).
2) Time because you either get them instantly or you get them emailed within 48 hours.
3) Money because E-Patterns generally COST A LOT LESS then regular patterns mailed via the post office.
4) They are complete patterns sent to you over the internet as a .PDF (portable document format) file which means they can be downloaded directly to your computer. You can view or print them anytime you want with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is already loaded on most computers you buy today or and is also available as a free download from Adobe.com.
5) They can either be sent to you via Email or they can be instantly downloaded depending on the website you purchased them from. If you order an emailed E-Pattern then an Email with a .PDF (Portable Document Format) attachment is sent to you which you then need to download to your computer, save, and then open in Adobe Acrobat.
On some websites if you purchase a single "instantly downloadable" e-pattern the .PDF file is instantly transmitted to you after payment has been made. You can then download, save the .PDF file to your computer, and then open it in Adobe Acrobat. On some websites you are sent an email with the download link.
Or, if you "instantly download" several e-patterns at once via a website that uses a shopping cart (like mine) then a confirmation email with multiple download links is emailed to you once payment has been made. You can then download each of the .PDF files, save them to your computer, and then open them in Adobe Acrobat.
6) There's no waiting for the postman to arrive. Or, worrying that the dog is going to bite the postman.
7) Since you can save them on your computer you can view them over and over again.
8) Because you can save them on your computer you can print them over and over again. No more photocopying pattern piece sheets. Just print whatever pages you need.
9) Because they are in .PDF format this means they can be read by most e-readers like: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple's IPad, Sony Reader, etc . In my opinion this is a wonderful benefit to e-patterns for the future. Most of us who sew keep the e-patterns right next to us while we are sewing. With an e-reader you could download the e-pattern to your e-reader and keep the it right next to you while you are sewing so as to easily scroll through the pages.
Of course, you'd either have to print the pattern piece sheets out before downloading your e-pattern to your e-reader or connect it in such a manner as to allow you to print the pattern pieces.
Here's The Bad:
1) Instant download e-patterns can be problematical at times.
2) Instant download e-patterns generally allow for a certain number of tries to download and a time frame for downloading such as 48 hours. If you don't download the e-pattern within 48 hours or within 3 attempts then the download link will expire. You then have to get in touch with the owners of the websites you bought the e-pattern from and request the links to be re-set or the e-pattern to be sent to you as an attachment to an email.
3) Some of the internet email providers have not caught up with the popularity of e-commerce and e-products. E-patterns can be problematical at times with some internet email service providers. Not all email service providers have caught up with the capabilities of e-commerce and "instant downloads" which are basically computer generated emails. They tend to view all computer generated emails as "SPAM" and send them off to the email users spam account. As a result, depending on your email service provider, you may or may not get the email with the download link.
4) Downloadable e-patterns can be problematical at times. Especially if your website back end is not configured properly with the constantly changing needs of Paypal. With my new Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns website which utilizes the Mals shopping cart we no longer have an issue with Paypal.
Here's The Ugly:
1) Some e-patterns being developed by some of the e-pattern designers these days are HUGE in file size. This means they will take up more memory in the computer, take a lot longer to download, and usually mean more resolution to the pages and pictures which means it takes longer to print them. If an e-pattern is being send as a attachment to an email and if the e-pattern is too large in file size then a zip folder may be created by the email service provider. This means you will need to unzip the folder before you can read the file.
2) Some of the e-patterns being developed by some of the e-pattern designers these days are more like e-tutorials and e-classes and are filled to the brim with pictures. While this is nice when viewing the e-pattern on a computer screen or on an e-reader it can be very COSTLY to print. With too many pictures you'll go through toner cartridges like nothing. This is a major issue as one of the reasons why e-patterns are great is they are cheap. But, if you have to print a ton of pictures they won't be cheap to print.
While lots of pictures are great when it comes to e-classes I think this is a disturbing trend for e-patterns as it undermines one of the very reasons that e-patterns are great - cost savings. While you might be saving on the price of the e-pattern with some e-patterns the cost of printing them in their entirety might be prohibitive.
3) The prices of some of the e-patterns seem to be going up and up and up. To the point where the e-patterns are being priced the same as regular print patterns which, in my opinion, undermines another one of the benefits to e-patterns - they cost a lot less.
If you'd like to see one of our e-patterns and download it just click on the e-pattern image to the right. It's a FREE e-pattern from Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and is the e-pattern illustrated above. The link will take you to the page that "Marsh Me Snow" is on in my instant e-patterns website which utilizes a shopping cart. From there you just add it to your shopping cart and then follow the prompts to check-out. Once you finish the check-out process you'll be sent an email containing the download link for the free e-pattern. Then, just copy/paste the link to your browsers window, download the .PDF file, save it to your computer and then open it in Adobe Acrobat.
Here's why our e-patterns are better:
1) We adjust the resolution of both our Diagrams Pages and Pattern Piece sheets so as to keep the e-pattern file size down to a minimum. This allows for easier downloading and printing time. Our e-patterns range in size from 250kb to 1.0MB.
2) You can buy both instant download e-patterns or emailed e-patterns from me. The choice is up to you. If you buy instant download e-patterns a download link is emailed to you once payment has been made through PayPal. If you order emailed e-patterns then they will be sent as attachments to an email within a maximum of 24 hours after you have purchased them. Generally, we send them right away. Right after Paypal notifies us of payment.
3) Our Linda Walsh Originals shop utilizes a shopping cart which means you can buy multiple e-patterns at the same time. You can then download each of the .PDF files, save them to your computer, and then open them in Adobe Acrobat.
4) My e-patterns contain a minimum number of pictures which means you won't go broke in toner cartridges trying to print my e-patterns out.
5) Our Pattern Piece Sheets are all single sided full size page sheets and none of the pieces overlap one another or need to be reduced or enlarged.
6) We try to keep our e-patterns at a 1 1/2 to 2X rate which means the price of our e-patterns (for the most part) is 50% - 65% the cost of our print patterns. There is a bare minimum cost to producing the e-patterns so sometimes this formula doesn't quite work out.
So now, hopefully, you have a good idea why our e-patterns are so wonderful.
If you love patterns and e-patterns just think of how many you can save on your computer. THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of E-patterns stored on your computer!
No more cluttering up all the drawers in your house. No more hundreds of boxes or plastic containers all over the house. Not only can you get your craft patterns right when your creative juices are flowing, but you also get less clutter and pattern organization. Progress really is being made.
And the best part of all, you can REPRINT the pattern sheets OVER and OVER andOVER again.
No more taping worn paper again. No more photocopying pattern sheets at work. REAL progress is being made.