Friday, May 24, 2013

Why McCall’s (Big 4) “Printable Patterns” Aren’t

1) Price: I almost never buy a Big 4 pattern for over $5. I wait for their seasonal sales and buy around 8 to 15 patterns in one full swoop. I am a loyal customer in this regard. Occasionally I will pay full price for a pattern; if it is out of print, discontinued, or I NEED it (like when I was making my wedding dress) but these are the exceptions.

Now, the slightly elevated price for the “printable pattern” isn’t astronomical and is competitive compared to indie pattern companies with digital patterns, and I don’t mind paying for instant gratification and convenience from time to time. Price shouldn’t be an issue here, except that it is

2) The pattern isn’t a download. It’s not a PDF that you can save and use over and over as many times as you like. What you are purchasing is the right to print it 3 times in one year from a single computer. THAT IS ALL YOU GET. That is why it’s a “printable” pattern and not a “downloadable” pattern, and that makes the price a little much to choke down.

3) This business model is clunky, inconvenient, and ultimately didn’t work!

First, when I added the pattern to my cart it listed the wrong pattern size. I wasn’t going to pay a non refundable fee for the wrong size, so I fired off an email to customer support.

About 24 hours later I got a response that answered the size question but created more questions. A couple emails back and forth between customer service and I finally went ahead and ordered the printable pattern.

About a half an hour later I got an email from a third party company (PrintSew) with the link to the pattern, only when I followed the link I learned that I needed a password that should have been in the previous email but wasn’t.

Another phone call to McCalls customer service, a phone call and an email to PrintSew’s customer service and another 10 minutes later I got call back from a PrintSew customer service person who reset my password. While I had them on the phone I was able to login, and that was when I discovered that I had to download and install a plugin to my computer that would secure the pattern (from me, the purchaser!) in order to print the pattern. Well, that is impossible because I don’t have a printer at home I print everything at work or at FedEx Kinkos… places where I can’t install anything.

Did I mention that the pattern is nonrefundable? Well, McCall’s made an exception in this case, after another phone call of course. I haven’t actually received the refund yet… that should be forthcoming in a week or so.
So yeah… McCalls, Butterick, Vogue, Kwik Sew “printable” patterns aren't printable. Has anyone out there ever successfully used one?


Andrea (four square walls) said...

It was a confusing and frustrating process, but I was finally able to print a McCalls pattern on my home printer. I installed the required plug-in, but it wouldn't work with Google Chrome, so I had to open it and go through the whole log-in process again with Internet Explorer. It's pretty janky. I tried again recently but got too confused (again) so settled on another project. It shouldn't be such an ordeal every time!!

threedresses said...

Thanks for putting this out there. Sounds too annoying to bother, imo. If the Big 4 is gonna do downloads and try to keep up with other patternmakers doing downloads, they should also make themselves available.

Unknown said...

I did, and was able to print it (after a similar batch of back-and-forthing with Butterick and PrintSew). But honestly, taping together 25 sheets of 8.5x11 only to cut it all up again nearly killed me.

Never again. I'd rather trace tissue.

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