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Forum > Sergers, Coverstitch and Blindhemmers > A bit of a rant- who writes serger instruction booklets and how do they still have a job?! ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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A bit of a rant- who writes serger instruction booklets and how do they still have a job?!
StacieG2002

StacieG2002
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Illinois USA
Member since 4/12/07
Posts: 212
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Date: 7/11/11 4:48 PM

I swear, the folks who write serger and SM instruction manuals are the worst!

But to focus on my new serger....the box shows about 36 different stitches it can do. Look in the manual for info on how to make them? It shows how to make 6, TOPS! I find it annoying that I have to buy more books but other people, not even the serger manufacturer, to figure out how to do all the things the box for my serger says it can do. Grrrr!

annenet
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annenet  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/11/11 5:38 PM

Which serger is this? Granted my Bernina 1300MDC book leaves something to be desired (like the fact they put four different languages throughout the book) but it does tell me what it does and how.

------
So many projects, not enough time
At my house in VA:
Bernina 1010, Activa 220, Artista 630E, B580
Singer 201-2, 221, Bernina Serger 1300MDC, BL Enlighten, BL Sashiko, BL Cover Stitch, Consew 75T

At my Lake House in PA:
Bernina Artista 165E, Singer 503A. Bernina Serger 1100d

http://sewingtechie.blogspot.com/

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Kansas USA
Member since 12/13/08
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Date: 7/11/11 6:43 PM

I hear you! I felt the exact same way about my first sewing machine. It turned out that all the "special" stitches advertised on the box were variations on the straight/zig-zag... but a beginner sewer wouldn't be able to just figure that out.

But... I just got a serger, too, and mine came with two books--an instruction book and a "technique guide," which explains how to do the specialty stitches. (Also two videos.). Is it possible you're supposed to have more documentation?

I do think an extra book would not go amiss, however. I just picked up Singer's SEWING WITH AN OVERLOCK, which is not great IMO, but it does have a nice section on every type of stitch, with big clear photos of what the stitch should look like, as well as every possible way to do it *wrong,* with each thread a different color, so you can plainly see what's misbehaving and why.

If you don't want to spend *any* more money, check your library for general serger books, or try searching YouTube for your exact machine.

------
~Gem in the prairie

Canadian Jane
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Canadian Jane
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Alberta CANADA
Member since 10/30/10
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In reply to StacieG2002


Date: 7/11/11 6:45 PM

I have come to the conclusion that these are the qualifications:
- absolutely no experience sewing or serging. Nor any interest.
- zero knowledge of English.
- horrible communication skills in any language/culture.

Wish I could say I was joking.

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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California USA
Member since 9/18/04
Posts: 1759
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In reply to Canadian Jane


Date: 7/11/11 7:24 PM

Quote: Canadian Jane
I have come to the conclusion that these are the qualifications:

- absolutely no experience sewing or serging. Nor any interest.

- zero knowledge of English.

- horrible communication skills in any language/culture.



Wish I could say I was joking.

As a technical writer, who writes instructions for a living, even I don't know why some of these instructional manuals are so horrible. It doesn't have to be like this, really it doesn't.

But I have a few guesses.

1. The manuals are written to explain how to operate the machine, not necessarily how to actually sew stuff. That is, the instructions tell you how to set up for stitch XYZ, but don't give you much info on where to use that stitch.

2. The original text may very well have not been written in English. It was, however, translated into many languages. You know the saying about "losing something in the translation"? 'Nuff said.

3. The company may have very clear standards about how to write instructions so that they can be easily translated, or so that they are in a consistent format from one manual to another. Such standards do not always make for clear instructions.

4. More often than not, they don't think instructions are all that important and they give the job to an engineer, one of the people who designed and tested the machine. This is always a mistake. Writing to the end-user audience is probably not the engineer's best skill. I do not blame the engineer for this; they do the very best job they can.

5. They do not have an outside party, an actual home sewer, review the manual and provide feedback.

I've seen it all,
CMC
-- Edited on 7/12/11 0:06 AM --
Canadian Jane
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Canadian Jane
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Alberta CANADA
Member since 10/30/10
Posts: 1910
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In reply to CM_Sews


Date: 7/11/11 8:46 PM

Quote: CM_Sews
5. They do not have an outside party, an actual home sewer, review the manual and provide feedback.


I've seen it all
CMC

Thanks for the good info.

#5 is the problem. I don't understand why they don't do this. It would not cost them much and they would have a much better result. Let's be blunt - in some cases it could not be much worse.
annenet
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annenet  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/11/11 10:18 PM

If you want to read something weird and sort of funny look at one for a blindstitcher - mine is a Consew T75 - definitely not started in English. Since all it does is a blindstitch, not a problem I can figure it out but it doesn't even say what model it is! I know this machine is badged by a bunch of companies but it's pretty funny to read the manual!

------
So many projects, not enough time
At my house in VA:
Bernina 1010, Activa 220, Artista 630E, B580
Singer 201-2, 221, Bernina Serger 1300MDC, BL Enlighten, BL Sashiko, BL Cover Stitch, Consew 75T

At my Lake House in PA:
Bernina Artista 165E, Singer 503A. Bernina Serger 1100d

http://sewingtechie.blogspot.com/

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
Intermediate
California USA
Member since 9/18/04
Posts: 1759
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Date: 7/12/11 0:04 AM

Translation is always problematic. In this case, the translators are not sewers. They may not even have the illustrations or photos to look at; often they have only the text. I'm 99.9999999999% sure that they don't have a sewing machine there to look at and check the instructions.

Good translation is expensive. You pay by the word. For each language. When you see a manual in 4 languages, they paid 3 times for each word that was translated.

In an ideal world, you would have native speakers of each language, who are home sewers, review the translations.

More complicated by the minute, isn't it?

I worked my way through a serger manual with an instructor (my dealer arranged it), one-on-one, just the two of us. She knew what she was doing, but we used the manual as our guide. We were both completely flummoxed by one of the looper threading instructions. Eventually, we figured out the problem: they had the wrong photo, it was a photo of the OTHER looper. The written instructions were actually very accurate, but they could not be reconciled to the photo that was displayed.

CMC

BrightFeather
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BrightFeather
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Georgia USA
Member since 3/7/08
Posts: 204
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Date: 7/12/11 1:44 AM

There's a reason why I tend to take things like serger and pattern instructions and toss them over my shoulder and ignore them.

petro
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petro  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/12/11 2:58 AM

I've nothing to add to this discussion but am still laughing at the title. I've had my machine for fourteen years, I still haven't worked out everything its supposed to do.

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