Monday, October 21, 2013

Review of Sewing Kit HD

I had been debating over buying a pattern keeping app for some time when I received an email from McCall's indicating that they had partnered up with Vesta Software and put their name on the iPad app 'Sewing Kit Hd'.   I know a lot of people use Evernote to keep their patterns and I tried to put a few patterns in there before I decided that that wasn't going to work for me: too much work to put all the info in and too much info that I would like to be able to sort by.

I read through the negative reviews and the only real complaint that I could see was that there wasn't a way to keep your info from the previous version 'Sewing Kit', but they had a fix for that right on the info page and the link is here.  I was still a little put off by the $9 app as I hadn't even purchased an app for me on the iPad, which was purchased for learning apps for the bear cub and I haven't even paid that much for any of hers yet.

I finally bit the bullet yesterday and started inputting patterns.  I probably have a couple of hundred patterns in there already and figured that was enough to give my review so that others could get a good idea of what they might be purchasing.

There are a lot of good things about this program.  You can input so much information and for the most part current McCall's, Butterick, Vogue, and Kwik Sew patterns will pull up all the pattern info.  For Simplicity and Burda Style, it will often pull up the picture or line drawings from the pattern name and number, but you will still have to enter sizing.  You can also enter indie pattern companies or the like, but I suggest that you enter all your Simplicity patterns before doing so that you don't have to scroll to enter them later.  I absolutely love that there is a place to store the location.  I have a lot of stray pattern pieces and after I'm done inventorying, I'll be able to locate the pattern to reunite the pieces to the pattern.  There is also a way to add extra pictures and notes about the pattern.  It really is a very solid database for keeping your pattern info, and it also allows for tracking fabric, books, machines, notions, threads, and the like - though I have not used any of those other features as of yet.

There are also a lot of drawbacks to it.  I've already sent three separate emails to the company with at least 10 suggestions, and my first qualm is that there is no way to know if they were received or pull the suggestion back up to know exactly what you said.  Another issue is that if you have a vintage pattern that has a duplicate number for a current pattern, you will sometimes have some issues.  For a lot of mine, I could simply delete the older pictures and replace it with pictures taken as I put the pattern in, but there is no way to delete the yardage info and if the current pattern has locked sizes that differ from your vintage pattern, there is no way to enter the new sizes.  You could make a pattern number alteration, but you shouldn't have to do this.  If you try to enter the pattern number with the letter instead of selecting the company first, it will crash every single time.  It will also often crash after taking a picture, especially if you are removing a picture there before.  You will have to enter sizes each time as it will not pull up any pre-given sizes to select from.  Also, when you sort, it is going to sort 10-14 as a different category than 10, 12, 14 which means that even if you are super careful about your own consistency, the pre-filled ones for McCall's and their affiliates will still sort differently when they were inconsistent.  The categories for types of patterns were clearly decided by one person with no input from anyone else and are not consistent with any company out there, though it is easy enough to enter your own, I do wish I could delete some of their choices.  There doesn't seem any way to change the order of photos which is okay normally, but if they have pre-filled line drawings and you want to add your picture, sometimes it adds it in front and sometimes it adds it behind and I haven't been able to figure out the possible coding logic for this.  While I love the location feature, you cannot search by location, which is kind of a drag.  There is also no way to compile statistics from your info.

Most of the things I've listed here aren't even the things I emailed them about so there are a lot of issues.  I really think that the app is way overpriced for the number of flaws that are still in it.  It was clearly thrown together without proper software design or any sort of verification or validation of the app or consideration of the human factor.  I don't, however, regret purchasing it, as I really did need some way to track my patterns and this program is much better than any of the alternatives that I've looked into or seen available.  There is so much potential here and I sure hope they get on the ball to clean up all the issues.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments about features I might have missed.


  1. I gave Sewing Kit and pretty good run (I don't have the HD version, I got the phone one over two years agom before the HD existed), and I do still really like some things about it---especially the part where it scans barcodes and automatically downloads pictures---but there are so many little things that would make it SO much better, and then there are the crashes. I managed to find workarounds to most of the ones I encountered (I found it didn't crash when adding pictures if the pictures were on the phone already)... but when my patterns approached 500, it started crashing on startup more and more frequently, and eventually became completely unusable. I now store my patterns on MyStuff, which is flexible enough to be programmed to do just about everything Pattern Kit does and has several features that Pattern Kit doesn't. I managed to delete enough patterns off of Pattern Kit that I can use it again, as I still like it for storing measurements and looking up new patterns if I want to download the images quickly. Like you said, though, I don't regret purchasing it.... it just seems like with a few minor tweaks it could be so much better.

    In the two years since I first got it I think there have only been two updates. They fixed some (but not all) of the crashes but didn't seem to change any of the features...

    1. I'm sure hoping that McCall's putting their name on it will influence them to have the company make some changes. Your input has inspired me to not just right Vesta but also McCall's. I'll have to get all my thoughts into a nice letter.

      I actually was hoping to get a count of my patterns, but I guess I need to count them myself. I was also thinking that I would put in the BurdaStyle, Ottobre, and MyImage patterns that I had made in, but I won't now since it will just add to the count.