Rattern review trainwreck part three – leaving the rails

Members were really starting to lose patience with MadelineL’s evasive answers, vague non-questions, not-so-subtle digs and general lack of clarity – and MadelineL’s responses were getting sillier by the minute.

She was starting to lose it.

I need to explain that initially she posted her question without any indication that she was anything other than some random PR member; it was only after someone who is indeed a random member, posted that the OP is actually a PR employee, that she changed her avatar to show that she was ‘Customer Support’. Careless? Or underhand? I’ll let you decide.

Kolheidi Date:4/17/15 10:38 PM

Madeline, I do not think you realized just how your words came across. On one hand, there were some rather amusing posts in response, but as someone who is larger, it was very frustrating, not inclusive, and frankly, hurtful what your words implied.

For me, I think I appreciate those patterns that are not just adjusted to fit a larger size, so the big 4, a lot of times, (at least it seems that way), do not really take into consideration that we are not all just the same as a size 4 or 12, only larger. We all have different shapes, and we all are very aware of what is flattering to our figures and what doesn’t work and what does work.

I think you touched on some raw nerves here, and I do not think you were aware you were doing it. So, that also is an issue here.
People who are plus size are also a very misunderstood and judged group of people. We do not sit around, we care about our appearances, our lives, our families, and we all want to look our best with what we have. Basically, we have dignity, and all humor aside, I think your comments really hurt a lot.

esseesee In reply to KolheidiDate: Today at 3:53 AM

I second every word you wrote.

MadelineL In reply to esseeseeDate: Today at 9:39 AM

Just because you haven’t seen something with your own eyes doesn’t mean it does not exist. I have never seen the Eiffel Tower but of course I believe it exists.

MadelineLIn reply to KolHeid Date: Today at 9:56 AM

You’re right. It seems that some people took my intentions the wrong way. PR has been wanting to find corporate sponsors who are inclusive of body diversity for a while now, but we were just unsure of how to go about finding those corporations. We knew that there would be a high chance of miscommunication, which was why this was delayed for some time. At this point I feel like the best way go would be to end my search. I don’t want to make anybody feel uncomfortable, and maybe people would have felt happier if I hadn’t started my search in the first place.

sewbusy888In reply to MadelineL Date: Today at 10:15 AM

MadelineL – my apologies if my posts were unpleasant for you.

I think there are four key messages:

#1 research (the threads here would of helped to understand the group you were trying to reach out to)

#2 don’t expect a firestorm

#3 accept when people are trying to re-direct and take another tack

#4 if in doubt ask a very polite question and allow the target group to give you feedback – ie: “we really want PR to be as inclusive as possible and would love feedback especially from our members about meeting their needs, do you have suggestions about which sponsors would motivate you to join a comp?

I guarantee no-one here wants to be unpleasant and it must feel terrible starting in a job and experiencing this – but please take it as a learning curve of customer service. Uncover the customers’ expectations.

MadelineL In reply to sewbusy888 Date: Today at 10:19 AM

Thank you 🙂
I guess the thing I would have done differently, and I should ask it now, is would people who comment on this forum like to have more corporate sponsors who are conscious of and include body diversity?

sewbusy888In reply to MadelineL Date: Today at 10:30 AM

My answer would be yes! I love diversity.
Finding a corporate sponsor – aka who is good at recognizing and celebrating body diversity – I think you will find some really good answers in the earlier pages on the thread (I think Michelle..et al).
Anyway I will let others suggest – my knowledge is pretty limited.

dmh1 In reply to MadelineL Date: Today at 10:34 AM

Quote: MadelineL
Thank you 🙂
I guess the thing I would have done differently, and I should ask it now, is would people who comment on this forum like to have more corporate sponsors who are conscious of and include body diversity?

I think the answer to this is “yes”, if it applies. I’m not really sure that sewing supply/fabric stores will pay much attention to that aspect of their customers, though, and nor should they. For pattern companies, though, definitely! I think that pattern companies are the real frustration for many plus-sized sewers. Especially for indie pattern companies, I’m often just outside their size range. I was happy to see Colette expand her size range and I think Sewaholic has as well. However, for the larger plus sized folks, I still think the offerings are slim. Even in the Big 4, though they have some patterns that extend to the larger sizes the styles are often not what folks are looking for. Lekala seems to do a good job of offering the same styles to a larger size range, as does Style Arc. They don’t seem to think that plus-sized folks want to walk around in tents all the time. 

I think you opened a can of worms here and I’m not really sure that what you’re after even exists, to be honest.

crazygradDate: Today at 10:51 AM

I’m gobsmacked by some of the responses the OP is making and the tone that basically, we’re saying we don’t want or care about body inclusivity in PR sponsors when some posters are commenting that there’s a lot more to shopping for sewing supplies has more to it than whether or not companies or vendors have a diverse cast of models. After all, a lot of sewing supply vendors have no finished garments in their promotional materials at all. If it was standard marketing to display fully made garments to sell a button card, then maybe more of us would desire and expect a range of sizes. Many online fabric stores only feature garments made by their customers and thus rely on customers to voluntarily send in pics. Given that, it wouldn’t really be fair to hold the company responsible for whom in their consumer base is sending photos. Another story entirely if the company deliberately refuses to post larger customers, older ones, people of color, etc., but barring evidence that fabric vendors or pattern companies are doing so, we really should cut them some slack if the photos that dominate their pages are of more conventionally bodied models. Many plus sewists are not interested in sending pics to be displayed knowing that other sites can grab them and use them for ridicule.

And really. The response that something can exist even if an individual hasn’t seen it? That’s a bit of immature histrionics that frankly does not bode well for someone in customer service. Almost all of the drama in this thread could have been avoided if the OP had been more transparent and open in the first place. Consider:

Hi, everyone,
At PR, we want to expand our list of sponsors to be sure we’re including companies that are body positive and inclusive of a range of body types, races and ethnic groups, ages, and sizes. So we noted some of the pattern companies listed on threads here that have good size ranges, but we wanted to get more information from you about where you buy your sewing supplies and why you like those companies. Tell us about the factors you use in picking patterns and where you get them. What do you look for in an on-line fabric or notion source? Do you try to source from shops and vendors that include a range of body types and sizes? If yes, why? If not, why not? And what does body inclusivity mean to you?

Now. From the replies we could get into a discussion of how PR could become more inclusive and how and why some plus size sewists and shoppers don’t necessarily privilege body inclusivity in their shopping. If you (the general you of people in general) go into a request for info by expecting a firestorm, you’re basically saying you don’t know how to approach a group without being offensive, which means that on some level, you have some intent of offending.
— Edited on 4/18/15 at 10:52 AM —

Until tomorrow! Yet again, weird formatting – sorry.


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