My advice – OPEN your paper pattern as soon as you get it home, and check it as thoroughly as you can.catsew

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wrote to Consumer Advice – an arm of the much-respected Citizen’s Advice.

I’ve received a very helpful, informative and positive reply from them, in which they encourage me to disseminate the information they have provided among the hobby dressmaking community. There is more – considerably more! – than I have written below – several posts’ worth! – but I wanted to get this first valuable piece of information out there pronto.

I do want them to expand  further on a couple of matters so I need to compose my query with examples – these people aren’t sewers, after all!  In my email to them regarding the right of refund for faulty patterns, I mentioned missing or mislabelled pattern pieces as faults I have personally experienced, and also told of a not-entirely-fictitious situation where a skirt pattern was described as sitting at the natural waist – but was actually drafted to sit on the hip – and had a finished garment measurement at the putative ‘waist’ significantly larger than the one stated, clearly demonstrated by flat pattern measuring. 


What are my rights in law if a paper pattern I buy from a UK retailer is faulty or misdescribed, given that I am unable to, or prohibited from, inspecting the pattern prior to purchase? (Examples given of faults and misdescription as above) Pattern retailers almost all state that refunds or returns are not permitted once the envelope has been opened.

Response from Consumer Advice

*** please note the information below applies to ENGLAND AND WALES. If you are not in England or Wales, you MUST check locally ***

Dear Ms FatLady

With reference to blah blah We understand that blah blah and you wish to know blah blah …

Faulty and misdescribed goods

The situations you have described would fall into this category. 

Where goods are faulty or misdescribed, your rights are not affected by whether you bought in-store or online. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, all goods supplied by a trader to a consumer must be of a ‘satisfactory quality’ – among other requirements, they should be free from faults and be fit for the purpose they were made for.
Goods should also match any description that was provided.

If the goods do not meet these requirements, then you have 30 days to reject the goods and ask for a full refund.  

The fact that the goods have been opened would not prevent you from pursuing … the above remedy – the law allows for the need to open and inspect the goods before any problem can become apparent.

Yours sincerely

Consumer Advice 

(my bold and my italics)

*** please note the information above applies to ENGLAND AND WALES. If you are not in England or Wales, you MUST check locally ***


  1. I know I am late with this comment Mrs F L – I’ve read your posts about consumer rights – but I’m a bit alarmed now. I’ve bought some patterns from – shall we say a pattern company from which you have some patterns pictured on one of your posts – and I have to date found that that company’s patterns fit me quite well – so if they are suddenly going to the fiery furnace in a handcart I don’t know what to think. It’s some of the newer “Indie” patterns that I have always been suspicious of – not saying they are all suspect but one hears things like they don’t always “walk” their patterns. I am probably making myself sound more knowledgeable than I actually am – although I’ve been sewing on and off for a long time I’m an average sewer not a great expert. I have looked at (and even intermittently) posted on GOMI in the past but the last few times it’s kicked me off – possibly because I have Adblock and I don’t know how to whitelist a site. It may be easier to go in on another browser where I don’t have Adblock. I do find the ads annoying though – but I guess folk have to fund their sites somehow.


    1. Patricia O – my understanding is that, if you have bought a printed paper pattern from a UK retailer and it is faulty or misdescribed in any significant way, you have a clear right of return/refund with no questions asked within the first thirty days from purchase, WHATEVER the retailer might try to tell you. However, beyond that point – which is clear – matters become more murky and I am planning another post very soon.
      I think you are wise to stick mainly to the brand you find fits your body type consistently. Which brand is it that you prefer? Sometimes it’s fun to try something new, but it’s not so much fun when it turns out to be an expensive, time-consuming disappointment.


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