There's an interesting discussion of this over on Pattern Review:
Pattern Expectations Thread
This is running the gamut from what we *expect* from a pattern to what we'd *like* to see happen with patterns to why do we even do this in the first place? And why aren't the pattern companies listening?
I'll plagerize my posting just a little; here are my expectations and my wish list:
I expect a pattern to:
Look like the photo/illustration on the envelope when it's made. I don't want to find that, what was portrayed as a straight leg, actually is tapered.
Pieces should match...corresponding seams should be the same length, notches should match.
Printed finished garment measurements should be accurate. I don't expect the pattern to fit fresh out of the envelope...but I do expect to be able to do some math and some adjustments and make it fit.
Directions should be accurate, reasonable, and result in a garment that looks finished. (at least, if that's the style...if it's supposed to have raw edges, that's another thing).
I'd really like for a pattern to have:
clear markings on all pieces for full bust line, full hip, and waistline. The bust point should also be marked.
Streamlined construction techniques reflecting advances in sewing equipment and notions. Some of the independants do this, but the Big 4 seems to be stuck in a 1950's home ec class much of the time.
Reasonable standards for what makes a pattern Very Easy, Average, and Advanced in the ability to make it. Many pieces do not make a pattern advanced; nor does lack of fitting make a pattern easy. I think Heather Claus did a huge survey back when she still had Patternshowcase going as to what we home sewing folks believed was 'easy, average,difficult'...that data should be somewhere and should be used by someone to make some standards.
I won't go into the 'lose the redundant pieces' rant again...I already did that one here.
It would be nice for the size ranges to overlap a bit...6-8-10 in one size and 12-14-16 in another pinches someone like me, who is an 8 in the shoulders and a 14 in the hips....
Finally, I'd like the Big 4 to keep popular patterns around a while...the original twist top pattern was one that Simplicity put out, but somehow I missed it and by the time it was reviewed and I realized I wanted it, it was gone. I've picked up the Kwik Sew version, but I'm going to have to figure out how to turn the horizontal twist into a vertical twist to narrow the 'v' at the bottom and hopefully get a less revealing top. But I digress...my point is, that pattern would've sold a lot more if Simplicity had not been so quick to discontinue it. At least the independants tend to keep their patterns around for a while.