Style Sheets

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What they are and why you should have one.

A few weeks ago I asked on Instagram if the designers in my circle had style sheets and if they didn’t, if they knew what the purpose was.  I received quite a few responses that the designers didn’t have and/or didn’t know what a style sheet was or what a style sheet was for.  With that in mind, let’s talk all about style sheets. 

According to the Chicago Manual of Style a Style Sheet is your list of style guidelines or reminders for specific projects.  So what does that mean for a pattern designer and a tech editor.  For a pattern designer you may work with your own personal style sheet or that of a publication you are working with.  For a tech editor a style sheet is the introduction to how a designer writes their patterns and what elements they should be keeping an eye out for and notating if specific elements are missing or contrary to the style sheet.  

A style sheet can take a few different formats; it can be a simple document that just states the basics of how you write your pattern, as an example your style sheet would specify that you use capital letters for the abbreviations of cast on and bind off but lower case letters for stitch abbreviations.  Another way you may choose to develop your style sheet is to include the previous information as well as information regarding where certain things will be in your pattern; as an example Page 1 includes your main photo, pattern name and description while Page 2 includes notions, abbreviations, special stitch instructions and schematic.  A third way to design your style sheet is to plug it directly into your pattern template so if Page 2 of your template always includes notions, abbreviations, special stitch instructions and schematic you could have the headers with the explanation of how you include these details as the body of the section.  

So now that we have talked about the basics of what a style sheet is and some different format options, let’s talk about why you would want to have a style sheet.  Having a style sheet will help your patterns be consistent which will then help both your tech editor and your purchasers  know what to expect in your patterns in terms of writing style and easily knowing where to look for specific details.  From your perspective having a style sheet will help you as a designer have an easy reference when writing your patterns; did it slip your mind to include special stitch instructions? A quick review of your pattern against your style sheet will easily identify any missing details.  For a tech editor having a style sheet can speed up the process of editing your pattern, the style sheet allows the tech editor to compare your intended details to your actual details and quickly note discrepancies between the two.  

In a nutshell this is what a style sheet is and why it’s important, if you’d like assistance in creating a style sheet please visit my Tech Services page for more information.  

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