How Not To Respond To Criticism

by Erin on April 18, 2008


Butterick 6015

Has everyone heard about the Butterick 6015/St. Louis Fashion week kerfuffle by now? If not, I will give you a precis.

– St. Louis recently had a Fashion Week. (They sent me the release and a gazillion large jpgs. I don't really cover fashion shows, so I didn't post about it.)
– A blogger (who asked me not to use her name) did look at the photos, and noticed right away that one of the dresses was line-for-line a copy of Butterick 6015, aka the Walkaway Dress. See it here?

Butterick 6015 on the runway

– The blogger tries to find out who the designer was that submitted such an iconic dress to a fashion show.
– She finds the designer, Ashley Dayley, and talks with her. Ms. Dayley doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with just making a dress from a vintage pattern and submitting it to a show.
– She posts all this on her blog. In her post, she gives Ms. Dayley the benefit of the doubt, calling her "young" and "enthusiastic".

Now here's where the story gets interesting — the last three comments on that blog, before the post was taken down, were from anonymous "friends" of the "designer", calling the blogger out for posting about this. They were so nasty that the blogger took down the post.

Dumb. Don't those "friends" know (or doesn't the "designer" know) that the best and ONLY thing to do when you've done something dumb is to take your lumps and own up? Why not say "I didn't know?" Why not say "I won't do it again?" Why not say (as hard as it is, through gritted teeth) "Thanks for letting me know?"

Instead they decided to wear their matching "I'm a Bully" t-shirts (which are probably pink, with sequins) and harass the person who had the temerity to call them on their misdeeds. The commenters, if they are the designer's friends, were just making her look MORE clueless. (If they're her enemies, they're doing a stand-up job.)

Now, I'm not saying that fashion doesn't tolerate knockoffs. (Victor Costa, anyone?) But a fashion show, especially one that was put on to feature "independent designers" is not the place for knockoffs; it's the place for original work.

The best part is the commenters saying that the original blogger didn't have the right to post the pictures of the show. So … let me get this straight: she can't post images that were widely distributed to bloggers just for that purpose, but "designers" can knock off old patterns and that's just fine?

The best way to fix this would be for Ms. Dayley to issue a formal letter of apology to the show's organizers and post it somewhere public online. Then at least the first hit for her might show her doing something thoughtful and grown-up instead of something clueless.

[On a happier note, Marge of Born Too Late Vintage is turning 49, and is offering 50% off shipping on all items in her store to US and international customers from April 18 up to and including April 24th. On everything: patterns, clothes, accessories ... Use the code "49 and holding."]

{ 95 comments… read them below or add one }

the_lazymilliner April 18, 2008 at 8:37 am

Now, if that dress had been worn the other way around, it might look somewhat original.

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Katy April 18, 2008 at 8:41 am

I’m from St. Louis. I’m embarassed about the situation and the designers response. Wow, thanks for posting about this.

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Marge, Born Too Late Vintage April 18, 2008 at 8:43 am

I’ve always learned more from my mistakes than my successes. Let’s hope that this is a life changing moment for Ms. Dayley and she will learn from the experience.

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Anonymous April 18, 2008 at 8:45 am
Anonymous April 18, 2008 at 8:56 am

this pattern has been re-issued and is available, brand new, from Butterick (http://www.butterick.com/item/B4790.htm?search=retro&page=2)I can’t believe any designer wouldn’t want to feature their own work and show of their creativity.

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Miss Kitty April 18, 2008 at 9:11 am

Wow–this blows my mind. It’s plagiarism in the fashion/design industry. Who would’ve thought?Speaking of the dress, Butterick has reissued it in their newer collections; I ordered mine from their website. And it’s fabulous. I’m making three versions of it. :-)

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colleen April 18, 2008 at 9:13 am

Not knowing what the comments said, I think that the blog poster made a mistake in taking down the post. By doing that, haven’t the bullies won? Didn’t they accomplish what they set out to do?If the St. Louis people want to have any credibility whatsoever, they need to ask that designer to withdraw her submission, and issue a formal statement disapproving of the action.

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Eirlys April 18, 2008 at 9:14 am

Yes indeedy, a case of such obvious plagiarism is best admitted to straight away. What cheek! I’m fuming…

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Little Hunting Creek April 18, 2008 at 9:17 am

Maybe she thought original work meant her choice of fabrics? By her logic if I make the gorgeous Chado Ralph Rucci Vogue dress pattern that just came out in a different fabric, that’s my original design. I don’t think it works that way.

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La BellaDonna April 18, 2008 at 9:28 am

Gee, it was my understanding that this was a show designed to let new designers show off their creativity, not a 4-H sewing contest.Now, I think that 4-H sewing contests, Simplicity-sponsored sewing contests, fabric-store-sponsored contests, Woolmark-sponsored contests, etc., are all fantastic. They’re inspirational, and I have seen a lot of creativity. But this wasn’t a Butterick-sponsored sewing-contest, it was a fashion show for new designers. Now, I will grant that Nicholas Ghesquire took a whole LOT of inspiration – like 97% – from a vest designer Kaisik Yoon made in 1973. BUT – it’s not the only piece Ghesquire ever did, it certainly wasn’t his debut piece, and he at least had to make his own pattern up. He didn’t use a Butterick Fast ‘N Easy vest pattern.It is absolutely true that designers are often “inspired” by other designers to an embarrassing degree, and are often the first to shriek about being copied. But this was just a dress somebody made from an existing pattern under current copyright, and tried to pass off as her own work. That’s outright theft, and no pretty words about it.The designers response, upon being caught, is reprehensible. Everyone makes a mistake, and she could even have profited from the notoriety; she could have pulled out something shed already made, and said, Look, this is what I can really do and gotten a lot of publicity for it. But she didnt. Maybe she didnt have anything else. Maybe its the only thing shes ever done. In which case, shes not a designer. Shes a girl with a sewing machine, and delusions of grandeur. She certainly doesnt stand up to the youngster featured in a recent Threads profile she decided to copy Princess Dianas wedding dress as (I believe) her first project. Drafted it all, made it all herself, Just Because. This woman, this fraud, this bully, cant begin to compete with the folks who come to visit here at DressADay, and the people everywhere who love to create.

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Anonymous April 18, 2008 at 9:32 am

I read the original blog page and there where mean comments from both sides. Not necessarily from the original blogger but from comments that followed. Perhaps the designer should issue a formal apology, but for right now, she probably feels attacked from many different angles.

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La BellaDonna April 18, 2008 at 9:34 am

Whoa. I’m stunned. The blogger who’s been linked who’s “taken up this issue” is siding with Ms. Plagiarist. His blog cites the reader who caught the plagiarist as a “Rainman.” For spotting an extremely well-known pattern being passed off as original work.Un. Believable.

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lorrwill April 18, 2008 at 9:39 am

How does McCall patterns (who own Butterick) feel about this? And I while I know knock-off are tolerated (thank goodness, I learned a lot of what I know copying RTW) but isn’t this dangerously close to crossing some kind of copyright infringement line? Its not like the ‘designer’ put her signature (I don’t mean her name here, I mean her unique style details that are supposed to differentiate her from other designers) on this by changing a thing. I would think that Butterick would both be happy for the publicity and not so happy for the rip-off.

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The Original Blogger April 18, 2008 at 9:46 am

My blog wasn’t a good forum for the issue of design plagiarism. It’s just a little blog about my own projects. It’s my happy place. I resent that my blog was weaponized by over-the-top commenters from both sides of the issue. I stand by my observations and my original post, but I also realize that no good would come of leaving the post there. I chose not to let my blog be a tool to kill a young designers career. All it cost me to take it down was a tiny bit of pride and righteous indignation. The costs of leaving it up were much greater, especially to the designer in question. The designer did not ask me to remove the post. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do.I hope that the larger issues of design authenticity can be explored in more suitable settings, like this blog and the fashion blogs.I’m sure that lessons were learned on both sides. I say debate the issue, but leave the specific designer out of it and let her get on with her life.

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Melissa April 18, 2008 at 9:57 am

I am more stunned at how intolerable some people are. The designer made a mistake. I think she should be given some time to react. I would hope that the world of fashion bloggers would take the rope that would be for hanging her – and rather throw it to her to help her up from whence she’s fallen. The designer, I hope, wasn’t aware of this mistake, however I doubt she will ever do this again. This is a good lesson for any young designer / seamstress.

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Erin April 18, 2008 at 10:03 am

Melissa, the original blogger DID try to throw her a rope (she even called her on the phone!) but it’s hard to throw a rope to someone who seems intent staying in the water.If Ms. Dayley wants to make a public reply, in her own name, I’m happy to post it.

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Marianne April 18, 2008 at 10:15 am

Plagiarism this blatant is hardly an easy mistake to stumble into. To quote the back of my Butterick 4790 pattern envelope (the reissue of 6015):”Sold for individual home use only and not for commercial or manufacturing purposes.”I don’t think it gets much clearer than that. Most of the sewists whose blogs I read manage to work more originality into their designs than someone who calls herself a designer.

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ired April 18, 2008 at 10:16 am

Does anyone know the rules for the show? None of the dresses in the photo demonstrate much originality. I think more than one vintage pattern was involved. Walkaway just happens to be readily identifiable.

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merel April 18, 2008 at 10:33 am

I agree with Marianne, this is blatant plagiarism and the designer must have known that was she was doing was wrong. Still, it would not have been a problem if she had admitted to it right away when confronted by The Original Blogger. If I remember the original post correctly, Ms Dayley was rather dismissive to Ms Original Blogger.I’m a young scientist and my work is inspired by /builds on other people’s ideas in a similar way to that in the fashion industry. But whenever I use someone elses work, I say so. If I did not, and someone found out, my career would be over, instantly. No second chance. Ever.I don’t say Ms Dayley does not deserve a second chance, but I think to get it she should say sorry first. To the fashion show organisers, and to Ms Original Blogger. And I haven’t seen her doing that yet.

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Theresa April 18, 2008 at 10:39 am

It really shows how completely clueless she for picking THE MOST POPULAR PATTERN IN THE HISTORY of Butterick to plagarize! She could ahve at leaset picked something obscure…not that I am advocating that – hopefully you know what I mean.

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a fan of both blogs April 18, 2008 at 10:44 am

I’m a fan of the original poster’s blog, so I read that post, but didn’t comment; I thought the comments already made about the wrongness of passing off a current (or ANY) unaltered pattern as your own design. Sorry, E, I don’t think I’ll be able to hold back this time!We all know that designers gain inspiration from eras and from other designers – what’s worked in the past, will work in the future – look at bell bottoms. They’ve been around the wheel twice, and will be back in 2010, mark my words!The original blogger’s post, I though, was pretty darned even-handed, and though some of the comments were pointed, I don’t think that’s anyone’s fault but the designer’s. As one commenter pointed out, one of these things was not like the others, as it were.Upon being contacted, and realizing there would be a fuss, The designer should have made a statement then and there. It could have been something simple, like that she wished she had gotten more creative with the pattern, and while she’ll continue to be inspired by past fashion, she’ll exercise her creativity a little more in the future. Story killed!Someone on the Fashionindie site posted this in the designer’s defence; “Ashley, and other designers world wide have used shapes as well as patterns to design or create a newer, fresher version of a garment.” But you know what, she didn’t create a newer, fresher version, she CREATED THE EXACT SAME GARMENT! And seriously, if you’re going to duplicate a garment based on a past pattern, at least do enough research to find out whether the pattern’s been reissued in the last year, or was the most popular sewing pattern ever sold. Because honestly, that’s just asking to have bloggers all over the world call you down. There are literally HUNDREDS of patterns available at thrift stores that have NOT been reissued. Bottom line? Fail. Admit you were wrong, be gracious, and make all of us sharp-tongued commenters feel guilty for being so mean to you. Don’t get your posse to post a diatribe against a blogger kind enough to call you “young and enthusiastic”.Kudos to you, original blogger. I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long while, and will continue to do so.

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Anonymous April 18, 2008 at 10:52 am

Ms Dayley’s bio on the fashion-show site says she studied fashion design at SCAD. If that’s true, she should *absolutely* know better! She’s not just some girl sewing stuff in her dining room and hoping to make it big; she’s a trained professional – and she should act like one if she wants to be treated like one.Also, this description of Ms Dayley’s line (from the fashion-show site) is hilarious to me, “AFV is a very personalized brand that wants to cater to the shopper that ‘doesn’t want anyone else wearing the same shirt or dress that they have!’” Really?On another note, aren’t those some of the most haggard-looking models you’ve ever seen? Wow… :-p

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Christal April 18, 2008 at 10:53 am

I went to Western Michigan University for a while as a Design major in their Apparel and Textiles group. They have a club there that puts on fashion shows twice a year and I was so excited about the idea until I realized that the majority of the garments in the show were knock-offs. This did allow less experienced designers the ability to show off their color and fabric choices, but I couldn’t understand the juniors and seniors that did the same thing. Perhaps this woman had a past where doing this was considered acceptable, but she still should have known better by now.

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I have an idea... April 18, 2008 at 11:00 am

Still, the Walkaway Dress is drop-dead gorgeous, don’t you think?At least two of those designers must read your blog. Isn’t that an alphabet shift?

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Lady Be Good April 18, 2008 at 11:10 am

It is one thing to ‘copy’ a design by looking at a garment and then drafting a pattern on your own to make another garment… it is an entirely different, and illegal thing, to use a printed pattern that is protected by law and widely available to the general public and then call it your own design. For the record, this is not the only pattern that Ms. Dayley used. She also used Simplicity 3964, a Wendy Mullen pattern. There isn’t a direct link to a picture of this rip-off. To see it, go to the St. Louis Fashion Week website, click on “Fashion” on the right side of the page, and then “Designers”, and then “AFV” (they are the first in the list, so the window might open up with them), and then click “View Gallery” at the top of that window. You can see the dress in photo 3.

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Felicia April 18, 2008 at 11:53 am

Hello, my name is Felicia Pease. I helped Ashley start AFV last year. I have, since the Spring Fahion show, left AFV to explore the world of recovering used furniture, knitting, sewing, etc. Let me start by sincerly apologizing for the part that I played. I was not aware of the magnitude of this issue – I realize that was very naive of me. I was the person that sewed the dress in the above comment – (picture 3). The Fall Fashion show was comprised of items that we created and others that we made directly from existing patterns. The whole concept of AFV was yes, to make items that no one else would have [whether because it was made from a different fabric(s) or because it was from an altered pattern] – but not garments that no one else could make/have – if they knew how to sew. The spring Fashion Show got very out of hand – the show was only ment to showcase gaments that we had made as well as to promote up and coming designers. It wasn’t specified that the lines were to be “originals” only. Again, I am sorry. I can not apologize for Ashley. Nor do I know exactly what was said in her phone conversation with the origianl blogger. I do however, know the motivation of her heart – and I believe it wasn’t to offend anyone.

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bonnie-ann black April 18, 2008 at 12:04 pm

as far as i can see — there isn’t one “design” there that hasn’t got elements of a couple of thousand years of previous fashion lines. i thought the use of the pattern in question was original and beautiful. far more so than the sloppy t-shirt and mini skirt, or the 60s inspired halter dress… if she had taken the dress pattern apart and used elements from 3 different patterns of three different time periods would that have made it original?

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wundermary April 18, 2008 at 12:22 pm

It is important to distinguish between designing and sewing. Almost anyone can pick up a pattern and sew it. Drafting is a whole different ball game.As someone who has been drafting for years, I understand that originality tends to arrive in the form of details, as most every shape and combination has been used at some time or other. For this reason, when showcasing work it is important to be clear as to whether the work has been drafted from the designer’s vision or made from an existing pattern. This is the line that divides designers from seamstresses.That said: when you put your work out there, there will be critics. It is important to learn how to respond apropriately in the face of negativity. It looks as though Felicia is good on this point and will likely understand why it is important to make this distinction in the future. Hopefully, Ashley will learn from this, or her credibility and the credibilty of this show will continue to suffer.

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lynneguist April 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Whatever the rules of the show, if the description was ‘to promote up-and-coming new designers’ and if the people who made the dresses are promoting themselves as ‘designers’, then they give the impression that they have not used someone else’s pattern (inspiration is another matter). Isn’t that what ‘designer’ means–designing something new? You can call yourselves seamstresses, sewists, or fabric technologists, but save ‘designer’ to mean ‘one who designs’, please!

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Val April 18, 2008 at 12:28 pm

As a student designer, I am extremely disappointed. Any opportunity to show one’s original design and point of view is a big deal, and I feel that the designer is doing herself a grave disservice by not taking full advantage of that opportunity.Also, if the intent is not to show originals, that is NOT design. That is the easy way out, and it’s embarrassing.

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Melanie April 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Yesterday, on another website I frequent, we were discussing if the parenting trend to make children believe they are so special that everything they do is perfect and wonderful so as not to hurt their self-esteem is now producing lazy, entitled workers who expect the workplace to conform to their norms not the other way around. Erin, you have given us another example in the “yes” pile.

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Anonymous April 18, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I think perhaps this issue is being beaten to death.

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Allison April 18, 2008 at 12:43 pm

I guess integrity has gone down the tubes all over, not just among mediocre undergraduates who write last-minute papers and pull quotes from internet news sources. *Using* information (news, analysis, patterns) for your own purposes is not the same as *copying* that information wholesale.

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Duchess April 18, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Interesting and sad how little self worth on one hand and humility on the other some people are able to live with. Seems a little paradoxical to me.

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Erin April 18, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Felicia, nicely done. Good luck with your new venture …

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Melissa April 18, 2008 at 12:48 pm

I agree Erin…best of luck.

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Teresa H. April 18, 2008 at 1:07 pm

I agree with Erin. Well done, Felicia. I am sure it took a lot of courage to post an apology (and explanation) here. Best of luck going forward. My only advice is to “do the right thing” when you are in a situation where you have a choice. It may seem more difficult at the time, but you’ll retain your integrity and people will respect you.I really don’t think anyone here means to crucify Ashley about what she did. Her behavior could have been better, but perhaps she’s just not as equipped to deal with criticism. That will probably come with time if she continues to try to compete in a business that is so public. I think that this incident has just brought up a subject in which many of us are interested and, unfortunately for her, her actions served as the jumping off point for the discussion.

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a fan of both blogs April 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

I agree with some of the others – well done, Felicia. Very courageous, and gracefully said.

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Eirlys April 18, 2008 at 1:22 pm

‘Scuse me, friends, for lightening the tone this Friday pm, but this seems a good moment to signpost a Tom Lehrer song on the subject of plagiarism: ‘Lobachevsky’. It’s about a mathematician who steals the contents of his first analytical paper, then an entire subsequent book. An audio version is findable on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWsjpt-p1pQ&feature=relatedHope you like. Enjoy your weekends!

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Anonymous April 18, 2008 at 1:55 pm

I want to say only one thing. The ladies here on ADAD are beynd a doubt some of the most articulte and bright peoplethat I might have the pleasure of reading their posts. They no doubt have high standards and it is rare to see such. The person in question is I think young and no doubt by now feeling the pain of her mistake. I am not standing up for her, but I in my 57 years have been unfortunately irresponsible and stupid too many times to shamefully remember. If age does nothing else it does help you remember sometimes from experience what may be the result of one’s own actions. Thank you ladies and Erin for a great read as always.

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Deirdre April 18, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Hey Felicia!Let me add my thanks to you for coming on board and offering a lovely apology and some backstory. In the context of what you’ve said, Ashley’s error doesn’t seem anywhere near as egregious as it first did.As a case study of the Internet, this would be an amazingly instructive tool: a local fashion show with no intentions whatsoever of going beyond the local can turn into a national story. Sounds a lot like stupid photos on Facebook or boneheaded videos posted to YouTube. The whole world’s watching, now.Amazing.

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Deirdre April 18, 2008 at 2:23 pm

ps Anonymous (right above me) said it straight — I certainly have made a ton of public boneheaded mistakes (sorry, Lauren and woman at the newspaper and Phil and Mary Pat and the president of the Univeristy of Scranton). Thank God all of them happened pre-Internet. They only exist in my shamefaced memory, now. LOL.

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Jenny April 18, 2008 at 3:24 pm

How utterly talentless she must be if she needs to attempt to masquerade someone else’s work as her own. I also don’t think someone needs to be instructed to showcase her own work in a fashion show.

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Anonymous April 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Bad taste jenny…there was a heartfelt apology and I think some of the malicious comments need to stop. It brings a negative energy to a lesson being learned.

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Cathy April 18, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Thank you Erin for your post. Anywhere, anytime the seemingly most-prevalent, unethical, amoral behavior which abounds today is called to “own up,” is a deed well done. Especially well thought of, is that you gave the perpetrators a good alternative to their outrageous response to the original post and comment. Well done. Wrong behavior not commented on as such promotes more of the same and hurts everyone. Bravo to you.

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Cookie April 18, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Can you imagine if after the day’s assignment was announced, the Project Runway contestants whipped open their backpacks and started fishing among their collections of Butterick patterns, to calculate how much material they’d need to buy, etc? Or how about if they asked Michael Kors if he had any leftover patterns from his last collection they could borrow for the assignment? I actually feel sorry for Miss Ashley. Haven’t read any comments from her on the Internet, yet. Golly…what can she say?

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Lady Be Good April 18, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Felicia, thank you for commenting. Your apology is appreciated, and your explanation is reasonable and respectable. I would hope that Ashley might also come forward, but I can understand if she is feeling a bit gun shy after all of this hullabaloo.

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Elle April 18, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Question for those of you who have made this pattern: Is this how the Walkaway Dress looks when sewn up? Ashley’s dress looks to have a higher neckline, the bodice wrap around the front thing is curved instead of coming down in two diagonals to meet at the front, and the “overskirt” part is fully closed as well as fuller. These, to my mind, give the dress an excitement that the pattern illustration is completely lacking. This is one of the few vintage reproductions that I have not purchased because, frankly, I thought it was boring. Ashley has used a couple of other design details that are minor, but still add to the piece: little bow in front and the edging used also to hem the (over?)skirt. Frankly, I’d like to know if this look can be achieved by using the same fabric with this exact pattern, because if it can I’ll go out and buy it right away. If not, I think I can still replicate but if Ashley made those changes, perhaps she has at least interpreted this design and made it a bit her own, instead of blatantly copying.Please don’t flame me, I really am curious!

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scarabee April 18, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Elle, it looks to me like dresses made by other bloggers from the re-released pattern, to be honest. Those I’ve seen (I’ll try to dig some up) have the more curved torso seam and a full skirt. It’s not clear to me how much the runway dress opens when she walks, but it does appear to be partly open because you can see the underskirt fabric in places. A common complaint from those who have made this is that the weight of the back pulls the neckline around so that it sits higher in front, which may explain the difference between the dress in the picture and the pattern envelope.I don’t think adding a bow or edging constitutes sufficient novelty, with or without the other details.

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evalyn April 18, 2008 at 8:18 pm

The alphabet shift – didn only one other person notice right next to the Walk Away dress, the alphabet shift.

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Elle April 18, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Sarah, thank you for clearing that up, I agree that a bow and extra trim are not sufficient to make a design one’s own. I’ll do a search on the web for the Walkaway Dress (didn’t know it had a Name), but I will check back here to see if you post any links.Regards,Elle

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Anonymous April 18, 2008 at 9:48 pm

word, erin. (do people still say that? well, ‘word’ anyway.)h0ly cr@p.sincerely,mary

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lorrwill April 18, 2008 at 9:48 pm

To the original blogger:My heart goes out to you. I feel you did the right thing in both instances. Felicia, you sound like good people.bonnie-ann black asked a good question! I would answer mostly yes. To take pattern bashing (something I used to a lot when I was younger) to this level you really are creating an original garment. But I would not put my name to the result and call it my design (since all the pattern elements were really someone else’s work).

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Noile April 18, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Elle, I made this dress, and mine looks exactly like this one when I’m wearing it (or it did before I altered the neckline). You can see my version here:Butterick 4790The fabric’s quite a bit different, of course. It’s hard to see how sewing a dress truly showcases “designer” skills. If this was allowed at this particular venue, there doesn’t seem to have been much point to the show. Merely sewing a dress doesn’t really prove much if you’re supposed to be a designer.

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AND April 18, 2008 at 10:55 pm

My name is Ashley Dayley and one of the Designers from AFV. Im writing in regards to these blogs that were created over a dress in our line. When the original blogger contacted me she asked if I used this pattern I said yes and was never in denial. As AFV we gave credit where credit was due with this pattern, when asked where the dress came from. We never claimed this dress as our own design. This whole blog situation got out of control and words were taken out of context. This fashion show was a junior show. Some of designers being their first time not even knowing where they were going to go after their first show casing. We were doing this line to beable to be creative and just do one of a kind pieces not manufacturing or mass producing. This all started from someone thinking and assuming that we claimed this as our own when from the begining I said yes I used this pattern. Sorry again, also make sure all the facts are straight and in in a row before accusing any individual. Thank you, Ashley Dayley

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Anonymous April 19, 2008 at 12:00 am

32 bust is a size 14? My times have changed.Sometimes looking at the vintage package details is a little disorienting.

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Erin April 19, 2008 at 7:22 am

Ashley, would you email me please, so I can be sure that comment was from you? My email address is erin AT dressaday DOT com.

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When Ladies Dressed April 19, 2008 at 8:39 am

What an interesting situation. I’m glad to read that it has been resolved with dignity and grace. When it comes to our “communities”, it truly is smaller than you know. Recently, on my prop building site, there was an uproar with somebody stole images of one of our member’s work and called it his own. He was bomblasted, of course, but it shows how knowledgeable people are in any given field of interest. The net certainly spreads information faster than we know. Again, I’m glad this was resolved.-Kellie

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Binkle April 19, 2008 at 9:35 am

Elle, I made the walkaway dress (didn’t know it had a name either) about 6 or 7 years ago when I was about 40 lbs. lighter. I popped it on last night, so I could run around in my very own couture dress. ; ) I love this pattern, it still fits!Walkaway dressIt’s the only dress I know of that has the ability to fit a 40 lb weight difference. On the plus side, it used to ride up due to the back weight, but it doesn’t anymore.

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Anonymous April 19, 2008 at 9:56 am

So will the follow up on this be called “How NOT to Make an Apology”? Is it really unreasonable to assume that you are taking credit for something when you include it in your “line” in a fashion show that is showcasing young designers? For the sake of your career, I think you may want to look into some of the legal aspects of having your own line so that you don’t end up in this kind of mess again.

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Nora April 19, 2008 at 10:19 am

Why do Felicia’s comments sound to me like an explanation, and Ashley’s comments sound like an excuse? I think it has something to do with a dropping of defenses, and a willingness to see others’ perspectives and take responsibility for one’s own actions. Certainly people (myself included) will make mistakes. But as a design program student, I would think the entrants would WANT to do more than demonstrate that they can sew up a pattern. For that there are blogs, flickr, Sew Retro, Pattern Review (!) etc., and – most importantly – the streets of St. Louis. In other words, the venues that the REST of us non-designers use to showcase our craftiness.I was in a forgiving mood after I read Felicia’s post, but Ashley’s soured me a little again. My partner is a TA at UCSC and catches a horrifying amount of plagiarism in student papers. What’s worse than the fact that students are apparently not taught the importance of doing their own work, is that they do not understand what they have done wrong. So, I’m sorry, but but my tolerance for this attitude (not the making of mistakes, but the relentless denial and excuse-making afterwards) has already been reached. Keep trying.

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Meg April 19, 2008 at 10:31 am

My sense of SHAME was instilled at an EARLY age. Is that a lost emotion?

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Cookie April 19, 2008 at 11:09 am

Just a bit of trivia: Maybe everyone else knew this except me, but the “Walkaway Dress” was named that because it was so simply constructed you could supposedly start sewing it in the morning and then walk away from the machine at lunch, wearing the dress.

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Anonymous April 19, 2008 at 11:14 am

In the very first comment, the_lazy milliner suggested, that “if that dress had been worn the other way around, it might look somewhat original.”- But that would also be a copy of a vintage pattern, see Erins post May 21, 2005, about “The Saturday Morning Dress”. Okay, okay I only add this comment because I want to show off and impress with my knowledge of the blog archives.

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Kelly April 19, 2008 at 11:54 am

Ashley did apologize and I am satisfied that she has learned from this. I don’t expect the most hearfelt apology based on what has been written about her. Some of the comments have been ruthless. When someone is come at in such a way, of course their defenses will be up. I think she was not making excuses but trying to explain herself. Maybe it just wasn’t worded properly. I know if people had made one of my mistakes public and then spent time tearing my work and character apart, I would truly be wounded as Ashley probably is.

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Anonymous April 19, 2008 at 1:14 pm
Kimberly Ann April 19, 2008 at 1:25 pm

I just learned about this controversy, but it surprised me that it was over a dress pattern that I have sitting in my basket waiting to create. As an aside, for those who have made it, does it truly run about two sizes small?

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Cookie April 19, 2008 at 1:38 pm

I wonder if you made the dress in a light jersey or crepe, and maybe made the skirt a little less full, if the weight would still drag it backwards? It would be really interesting to see variations on the concept. There should be a contest. Since it’s fairly simple, maybe we should all make one, and see how the pattern can be altered. It seems like a dress people like having in their closets, or it could be a gift tailored for someone else.

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Lady Be Good April 19, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Kimberly Ann, I haven’t made the dress myself yet, but there are a lot of review of the reprint at patternreview.com Just search for 4790 to find the reviews, and you will get some really good tips for making this.Cookie, it would be fun to have a sew-along with this dress. When I get around to making it, I am planning to use a grosgrain waist stay to support the weight of the skirt.

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lorrwill April 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm

If that post really was from Ashley, I am not getting a warm fuzzy from it. Sorry, but I agree with Nora on this one.

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cheekie April 19, 2008 at 3:11 pm

In response to the comment here about the ‘design modifications’, I have this pattern, I have made it (plan on doing many versions btw, I love it) and depending on your fabric and the size it is TOTALLY adjustable. Mine has more of a curve than straight line, and the skirt appears fuller due to the fact that this is a 50′s pattern, therefore the illustrator assumed undergarments (crinoline, girdle etc) when illustrating this. Illustrations are rarely a 100% accurate depiction of final product. I have seen many versions of this dress on different pattern review sites and each looks different due to fabric choice and body shape.I think this whole thing is ridiculous. The designer in question cannot just modify a commercial pattern and call it her own. Anymore than I can take a Picasso, make an eye blue and call it my own.That’s why there are copyright laws.The issue isn’t whether or not she is a talented designer, it is about being forthright, honest and just sucking it up when you do get called on it.I would hope that she does learn a big lesson from this, as many many young designers would kill for the opportunity to have their work in a show, and she is a lucky girl to have been there in the first place, she took it for granted and now has to deal with the shambles….Best of luck to all involved.p.s. get this pattern, it is really flattering…although adding the bias binding to the hem as the designer did is just plain craziness, there is enough on the rest of it!!! that part drove me nutty….lol

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cheekie April 19, 2008 at 3:11 pm

In response to the comment here about the ‘design modifications’, I have this pattern, I have made it (plan on doing many versions btw, I love it) and depending on your fabric and the size it is TOTALLY adjustable. Mine has more of a curve than straight line, and the skirt appears fuller due to the fact that this is a 50′s pattern, therefore the illustrator assumed undergarments (crinoline, girdle etc) when illustrating this. Illustrations are rarely a 100% accurate depiction of final product. I have seen many versions of this dress on different pattern review sites and each looks different due to fabric choice and body shape.I think this whole thing is ridiculous. The designer in question cannot just modify a commercial pattern and call it her own. Anymore than I can take a Picasso, make an eye blue and call it my own.That’s why there are copyright laws.The issue isn’t whether or not she is a talented designer, it is about being forthright, honest and just sucking it up when you do get called on it.I would hope that she does learn a big lesson from this, as many many young designers would kill for the opportunity to have their work in a show, and she is a lucky girl to have been there in the first place, she took it for granted and now has to deal with the shambles….Best of luck to all involved.p.s. get this pattern, it is really flattering…although adding the bias binding to the hem as the designer did is just plain craziness, there is enough on the rest of it!!! that part drove me nutty….lol

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enc April 20, 2008 at 2:24 am

You tell ‘em, Erin!

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Theresa April 20, 2008 at 8:47 am

Yes, the pattern is truly 2 sizes two big. Also, I had read that part about sewing and walking away — which is funny because you have to let it hang for 24 hours to set the bias.

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Binkle April 20, 2008 at 9:23 am

>”Also, I had read that part about sewing and walking away — which is funny because you have to let it hang for 24 hours to set the bias.”Unless you want to wear it RIGHT NOW (like little ol’ instant gratification me), in which case “let it hang for 24 hours” involves a temporary hem via clear duct tape and letting it hang while on your body… ; )

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Kathleen April 20, 2008 at 10:17 am

It’s very gratifying to read all the comments from stitchers; that a “designer” shouldn’t be using home sewing patterns.You wouldn’t believe what some “designers” say when I tell them that. They think I say that because I have a vested interest (I’m a pattern maker). The designer in this example is only a tiny portion of the many “designers” (note how that word is repeatedly in quotes?) who do this. The thing is, this is the awful part. Let’s pretend that it’s legal to use home patterns for this purpose. And let’s pretend originality-design-wise, it’s also okay. You don’t want to use home patterns because most of them over the last 25-30 years are awful quality. The awful part of this and why I tell “designers” like this they have to stop using these, is that they’ll go broke sooner than most. Maybe a “designer” like this (remember, many don’t sew, this one doesn’t) won’t notice the difference btwn a garment sewn with a home pattern vs a commercial one, but that doesn’t mean professionals can’t tell. It’s easy. It’s not even hard.Still worse, if a “designer” doesn’t understand the nuance of details, and why this matters, this is only *one* problem they have. If they’re doing this, they have ALL KINDS of problems and things they’re also doing wrong and likewise, have no intention of changing. Home sewing patterns is just one symptom of a poorly run operation. In the end, most “designers” in this category go belly up. Most of them don’t listen. They’ve decided they’re really smart and somebody like me is an inferior being who should just shut up and do what they say (whilst basking in the glow of their brilliance). I don’t even waste my time anymore.

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wundermary April 20, 2008 at 11:13 am

I watched the video posted above and I don’t think the neckline was altered as someone supposed in a post above. Watch as the model steps up onto the runway, you can see how badly the dress is riding up in the difference between the hem that originates in the front from the one that originates in the back.Noile made some really small mods to hers that fixed this problem, I now want to make it myself.I love the idea of a sew-a-long!

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minya, warrior seamstress April 20, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Cookie, based on the origins of the nickname “The Walkaway Dress,” I can only conclude that mine would be a “Sleep-on-it-&-Wear-Tomorrow” dress, given the fact that I rise rather late.I love all the sewing tips for it being shared!

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Cookie April 20, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Well, this was back in the 1950′s when many homemakers actually had all morning to sew, safe in their little nest, and then actually walked off to a lunch date. In a dress. (Mine might be called the Walkaway “When the Sewing gets Tough” Dress.)

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Thoughts on Life and Millinery. April 20, 2008 at 3:59 pm

As an academic librarian who spends a lot of time teaching how to do a proper citation in presentations (AP or MLA or Turabian format), and fighting on the front lines against plagiarism, I think we’ve shown that there is an need for someone to come up with the definitive format for citing pattern usage in print.Should it be:Designer name, last name, first name, MI, dress title, pattern number, year of issue, view number, fabric designer, city where fabric was purchase?In otherwords, what format could be used to avoid plagiarism when presenting fashion?

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thebookof April 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Haha! I totally made this dress in brown five years ago. I never claimed I designed it though, or entered in BC fashion week (as though we had one)–my poor seam finishings would have given the whole game up anyhow.

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Anonymous April 20, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Based on what I have viewed of the St Louis Fashion Week, This knockoff of the “walkaway dress” is the best DRESS in the bunch. Most of the others are thigh high tee shirts cut to the navel and could not be worn on the street.

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Tara Goldman April 20, 2008 at 10:37 pm

As an aspiring designer, all I want to say is how embarrasing that this ‘designer’ doesn’t know how to do her own pattern work.

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Val April 21, 2008 at 12:04 am

What gets me is that this would’ve been a wonderful opportunity to develop and market one’s own line of home sewing patterns. One of a kind, but easy to make can be interpreted differently, and I think that the goal was achieved the wrong way.So Ashley, here’s a gift from me to you. You are free to take my idea.

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Myrte de Zeeuw April 21, 2008 at 3:22 am

We have our own fashion plagiarism scandal over here in the Netherlands. This TV presenter Wendy van Dijk has her own clothing line at a department store, actually it’s just designers copying the clothes she wears. One designer of a dress woke up and saw her own dress copied and hang in the store. She of course speaks to the press about it and this Wendy person declared it was the fault of the designers not changing anything when they copied!! The fact is that she wears something and then drops it off at the design dept to get copied. Luckily this designer saw it!!I am a designer myself and the times I’ve heard people say”Oh this style as is please!”when they hold up someone else’s original. As a decent designer you just do NOt want to go there. Otherwise you’re not a DESIGNER, and might as well work at kinko’s.

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Alicia April 21, 2008 at 10:05 am

My guess on what happened: This “design” show comes up, offering new designers the chance to showcase their work – and for whatever reason the design show decides that using a pattern is ok. Granted, most of us call that a sewing show, but the fault there is with the “design” show defining design in that way. It’s not unprecedented – heck, pick up a Simplicity Project Runway pattern or McCall’s new DIY line and see the pattern COMPANY telling you that you can be a designer.So Ashley and Felicia enter some of their items. As their line is about both new designs and showing what can be done with old (commercial pattern) designs, they enter both. Not the best idea for a DESIGN show but, again, it was allowed under the (rather odd) rules. From the start neither claim it as theirs but point to the pattern. Is this (and what they do in their line) allowed under copyright laws? I would guess showcasing it (with proper credit given) falls on the ok side, while any mass production or selling of it is on the non-ok side. So at least as far as showing it, they were in the right. If my knowledge of copyright laws is correct.So they show this dress (assumedly with some self-designs) as allowed by the “design” competition. Should they have used every chance to show off mad design skillz? Maybe. But remember what Felicia said about the purpose of AFV – to offer new designs and show what could be done with old patterns. So they show both sides of the line.The press shows up. This is a design show so when people show stuff it’s THIER designs, right? And they run with that. Soon stuff’s in the newspaper giving full credit to Ashley rather than noting (as she did) that some were original, some not. So here the press is at fault for not citing sources or doing the research. By naming old and new as AVF designs, they tell the world that the designer is claiming them all as hers. Again, this is a fault on the side of the news and (perhaps) the “Design” show for not making its rules more clear.Home sew-ers see the pictures of the show which include the eminently recognizable walk away dress and a little blub that states Ashley as the designer. Oops. Ashley gets contacted. Blogger asks if this is a commercial pattern and Ashley (perhaps a little shortly) says yes, what’s the problem. The thing is, under the “design” contest rules, it’s NOT a problem. This is where Ashley could have helped by explaining the show’s rules, how surprised everyone was when the press showed up as they did, her dismay that they credited her incorrectly … but for whatever reason she left the blogger with the impression that this “design” show was more traditional and Ashley was the one breaking the rules. Here’s the designer’s first mistake and, while she could have handled it much better, it’s certainly not as bad as claiming a pattern as your own design (which she never did). Blogger posts her bit and gets snark attacked. Ashley probably should have cleared the record here but doesn’t. One more mistake (two, if she had anything to do with snark attack). This is a good lesson in managing PR, by the way.The story gets picked up here. FINALLY we get the story about the “design” show’s rules (where it all started to go wrong). Felicia says it in a self-effusive way, apologizing up and down for it all. Ashley explains with a “didn’t do nothin’ wrong” attitude. The thing is, except for her poor PR skills, she DIDN’T do anything wrong. So I’m willing to say “hon, take this experience and learn all you can about the public and creating an image and use those lessons to become a great designer.” And then start fussing about the “design” show. Seriously, who puts together a show to show off young DESIGNERS and INVITES THE PRESS and then allows said designers to use patterns? That’s just ASKING for trouble. You know someone’s going to look at a designer’s work and think (unless it’s posted in neon) that the designer, oh say, DESIGNED it. Seriously, not a good idea. But could we please stop with that “theiving young designers these days” bashing of AFV and Ashley? Yes, mistakes were made but that wasn’t one of them. Other designers, yes (and I’ve got some strong suspicious about some garments shown by one Project Runway “designer” but moving on) but not these.

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La BellaDonna April 21, 2008 at 1:19 pm

And because I don’t believe in merely squashing people who claim other people’s work as their own, but Helping If I Can:I urge every professional designer, or would-be professional designer, to click on Kathleen’s name and go to her website: fashion-incubator.com. Kathleen Fasanella offers the most valuable, most important, most irreplaceable information available to any designer who wants to succeed professionally in the sewn-products industry. Children’s clothes? Check. Handbags? Check. Bicycle seat covers? Check. Lingerie? Check. Backpacks? Check. If it’s sewn, and you want to design and produce it successfully, read her site. Buy her book. The material she offers is really priceless. And she’s kind to the hobbyist sewers who go to her site to learn professional ways of sewing (it’s an entirely different world). In my opinion, Kathleen Fasanella is one of the undertapped treasures that the Internet offers. If anyone has ever found anything I suggested useful, believe me when I say she has so much more to offer!

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La BellaDonna April 21, 2008 at 1:24 pm

And because we’re blessed with Kathleens who come and visit, I should specify that I meant the Kathleen who posted atApr 20, 2008 10:17:00. (Still fashion-incubator.com.)I’m sure everyone’s worth visiting, but I KNOW Kathleen Fasanella is worth visiting!*No, I’m not a paid supporter. Just a fan. An admirer. *sigh*

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lorrwill April 21, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Heck even if you are just a home sewist who wants to get better, you should check out fashion incubator. There are excellent tutorials there, too.Ditto with the no personal or professional affiliation. Just someone who has learned a lot by reading stuff that has been posted there (like here, including the comments).

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Eirlys April 22, 2008 at 7:20 am

Having slept on this story a couple of nights, could this moral fable (for that’s what it is) have quite a bit to say about the problems raised by a results-driven rather than a process-driven education system – and wider culture? Put simply, if someone is overwhelmingly afraid of a “wrong” result, and/or lacks the appropriate skills, they will likely cheat to ensure that they get a “right” result, especially if the culture is also focusing on the end rather than the *means* to that end.Perhaps the fashion educators behind this fashion show could give this some thought? Have the students been furnished with the skills they need? Have they been asked to produce too soon? I don’t want to act as an apologist for inappropriate conduct, but it did make me wonder. I struggle with this issue as a parent, with one child very happy to experiment and risk getting it wrong (all the fun is in the journey) and another much less confident, fearful of error and likely to rig a correct result, in whatever way he can.

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Ju April 22, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Alicia,Well said. I don’t know the full story, but yours seems like a reasonable guess at it. I agree that it seems like Ashley’s getting more of a bad rap than she deserves. It looks like there were a number of misunderstandings, and she probably could have cleared up some of them sooner. But she’s getting vilified in some of these comments, and that seems unfair.

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Anonymous April 22, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Why did Butterick ever re-issue such an UGLY pattern?

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Anonymous April 27, 2008 at 3:45 pm

I think it’s slightly different than the Butterick pattern (or maybe it just looks that way), though I don’t advocate ripping off things like that for a design show. It’s true that the other clothes have the same designs as lots of other clothes I’ve seen, too, though. But then, maybe they didn’t directly copy a pattern, as Ms. Dayley admitted to doing. (I think it’s a pretty pattern, unlike some people.)

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Theresa April 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Anonymous below erma, maybe butterick reissued *such an ugly pattern* because it was so popular when it first came out that they had to halt production on all other patterns just to keep up with the demand. but you are entitled to your opinion.

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Mens Fashion Encyclopedia May 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Its not wearing clothes that earn comments but rather your dressing sense. Many times you would have heard people saying Oh that dress was not suiting her or what a pretty dress. This is what called good or bad dressing sense and held importance. Comments are not being made for clothes but for not wearing them properly.Clothes are not just for hiding body but it also portrays your personality. Having a good dressing sense exemplifies a good personality. Silhouette of a dress tells a lot about your dressing sense as well as about the person. Thats why we should always dress up smartly and appropriate for our personality so as to increase grace and confidence.

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