I got home last night and Jenn was working with the new sewing machine I bought her for her birthday. She’s making some pajama shorts or something. I went in the room to see how she was doing, and she was fussing around with some fabric, mumbling about the buttonhole foot on it. It sounded to me like she thought it was broken or something. She just couldn’t get it to work.
I sat down and asked her if she followed the instructions. “Oh, yes,” she said, “of course I did!” All of the instructions? She looked insulted.
I started looking at the instructions, at which point she decided it was time to start cutting something and then get pissed off because I was instantly in the way, so I left and figured I’d look at it later.
She left for her meeting, and after a while I decided I’d check it out. I mean, how hard could it be? Don’t these machines do everything for you?
I picked up the piece of test fabric she had sitting there, and, following the instructions in the manual, proceeded to try three times to make a buttonhole. And you know what?
It is that easy. The machine does do everything for you and I got three perfect buttonholes - one on each try.
Let’s get a closer look at this, shall we?
Here’s one of Jenn’s “buttonholes.” Note it’s not so much a “hole” as a “rat’s nest of thread.”
Here are my buttonholes. Note that I am the Buttonhole Master.
Turns out that Jenn didn’t really follow all of the instructions, just most. Funny how you can’t just skip the steps you don’t understand or don’t “feel like” doing.
Reminds me of this one time I sent some instructions to one of my users on how to fix a problem he was having. He calls me back a few minutes later and asks how come step 8 isn’t working. I’m like, “Did you follow all the instructions?” and he said, “Yeah - I did step 2, then 4, then I went back and did 3, then 1…” You get the idea. I never thought I’d actually have to specify that you need to follow the numbered steps in the order they’re provided.
Lesson learned: Follow all of the instructions in order prior to saying a process doesn’t work. Chances are, the instructions are there for a reason.