In an attempt to share with you my journey in crochet designing, I want to bring you information I’ve learned and gathered along the way. Thus, one of the biggest reasons I created the Crochet Design Series. You can read more about it here where I ask several questions to crochet designers and they share their knowledge with us.
Well, as I learn more, I want to share with you what I’ve learned. Note that what worked for me may not necessarily work for you but it’s great to have an idea of what someone else has done and go from there.
When I first started designing, I had an idea in my mind how I wanted my pattern’s layout to be. I’m sure that you, too, have a layout in mind. Or, if you’re like me you may think, or have thought once upon a time, that there is one particular layout that you must absolutely use because that’s just how it is. But, in reality, there is no one correct way to write your pattern out. Yes, there are crucial elements that should be included in your pattern, such as: type of yarn – not brand – like yarn weight and fiber content; hook size used – again the brand of the hook is not important; and most importantly the pattern itself; but there is no one particular layout.
As I furthered my research, and even in reading through the designers’ response in my Crochet Design Series, I learned of the term Style Sheet. Particularly from Marie Segares at Underground Crafter in her Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Podcast.* (I’ll provide a link at the bottom of this post.)
So, let’s get on with it… Style Sheets:
- What are they and How are they used?
- What is included in a style sheet?
- Is there one particular layout to follow?
- And, is it necessary to have a style sheet?
What are Style Sheets and How Are They Used?
Simply put, a Style Sheet is a template, guideline, format, or layout to help keep your patterns consistent, professional, and easily understood by your readers. It’s a format that you will use throughout your pattern writing. This is not to say that you can’t change it in the future as you grow and learn more, but consistency is key. A Style Sheet is pretty much how your pattern, in a written format, will look when you decide to publish your pattern. Being consistent with your pattern’s layout helps your loyal customers know what to expect when purchasing a pattern from you.
What is included a style sheet?
Style sheets are personal to the designer, however, there are elements that must be included that is universal in order to not frustrate your customer, who has so excitedly purchased your pattern.
You must include:
- The title of your pattern with a picture of the finished project.
- The materials used to create your pattern, including fiber weight (#1, #2, #3… etc.), the amount of yarn used in yards or meters, and the fiber type and oz. Brand is good to include as well.
- Hook size(s)
- The skill level of the pattern.**
- The size of the pattern if it’s a garment; finished size of the project.
- Gauge to guide your client, especially if it’s a garment being made
- A stitch abbreviation explanation for all the stitches used in the pattern, and whether they are US or UK terms – this helps a lot since you don’t know who is purchasing your pattern.**
- Any special stitches used with instructions on how to create it and/or a link to video/picture tutorial.**
- Notes or instruction needed in order to follow the pattern.
- The pattern itself – very important.
- Any finishing instructions needed to finish the pattern, including assembly and blocking if necessary.
If you find that I have forgotten to include something, please let me know.
Some designers share picture tutorials throughout their pattern if they feel it is necessary to show the process of how a specific part of a pattern is done. This is very helpful to the person creating the pattern. It’s not necessary to include picture tutorials if the pattern is a very simple and easy one to follow. Again, that is up to the designer though.
Having a consistent style sheet will definitely make it easier for your as a designer when typing out your pattern. This ensures that you have left nothing out.
Is there a particular layout to follow?
This is something that I had to ask when I first started designing. The answer is no. There isn’t a special format that you must purchase or sign into in order to write your pattern out. There isn’t a site you go to to get a special layout. No. Your layout is particular to you. If you want to have a cover page of your design with the title and picture, business name and website, copyright information and any other pertinent information, you can. If you want your layout to have a dedicated page to where your pattern information can be found, you can. If you want your layout to have picture tutorials at the end only, or through out the pattern as seen fit, you can. The layout is completely up to. Just keep in mind of the necessary information that you need to include.
The best advice I can give you is to put yourself in your client’s shoes. Think of the things you want to see when you purchase a pattern. Did the information included make you feel at ease or did it frustrate you and left you guessing? Make your style sheet how you’d want to see it.
Now, all this is not to say that you can’t change your layout as time goes. You might find yourself needing to put in more information because your patterns have grown in skill level, or whatever reason you may have. You can change your layout but try to keep a sense of consistency. There have been designers who’ve changed a layout they’ve used for year because that particular layout was not meeting their needs anymore.
Is it necessary to have a style sheet?
Plain and simple, yes. If you want to have a career in designing, yes. If you want to have a loyal clientele and following, yes. If you want your clients to know what to expect when purchasing a pattern of yours, yes. It is necessary to have one. You need to be consistent. This also needs to translate to free patterns you put on your site, and patterns you have for sale that need to be downloaded. You shouldn’t have two separate styles, unless you want to create a distinction between your free and for sale patterns.
The next time you purchase a pattern, or see a pattern for free, pay attention to all that is included. That can help to give you an idea of a style sheet. I have several free patterns on my blog here and here that you can see how I’ve laid out my pattern. Keep in mind that these are some of my earlier designs and I still have some work to do. Progress… without progress you can’t succeed.
Here are some links to help you understand some more about Style Sheets. I recommend listening to the podcast as it helps some more.
**The Craft Yarn Council has some great information on yarn industry standards. They have standards on stitch abbreviations, special stitches, skill levels, and other pertinent information that could be useful to you as you create your style sheet.
I made some simple samples, on PicMonkey, of a style sheet to help you see what it looks like. It’s not fancy shmancy but you’ll get the picture – ha no pun intended. Remember, this is just a sample of a style sheet, you can use something similar to this, or different, as long as the must haves are included. Though it is best to create a template in your favorite word processing program and give it a generic name to be found easily. I use Pages currently but will transition over to Word as that seems to be the most popular word processing program. I pull up my template, start writing out my pattern with the pertinent information and save again but with a new name, usually the name of the pattern.
My hopes are that this information, though lengthy, has been useful to you. Or at least it has given you a better understanding of what style sheets are and how they are used.
As always, much love and happy hooking,