You would think that makers of commercial sewing patterns would like to make the instructions as clear as possible so that the people who buy them have success and are more likely to buy more patterns. Instead, I have come across more than a couple of patterns for the which instructions are written so poorly that I have trouble understanding what they want me to do... and I've been sewing for a while.
Take Butterick B5230, for instance. A. is making M. a largish pillow as a belated birthday present and I was helping her figure out the pattern. I sat reading the instructions and looking at the picture for a long time before I finally figured out what was going on. With a couple more lines of explanation, the whole process would have been made clearer. But it truly felt as if the person writing the instructions didn't really care whether the sewer has any success. This is besides the fact that there were blatant errors in the written instructions as well. This is not a complicated item to make (or explain how to make), but the instructions made it look like rocket science.
Do pattern companies really want to go out of business because of poor products? Sometimes it certainly seems that way.
But there are some bright spots as well. First there is a great site called Sewing Pattern Review. If you want to look up a pattern before attempting it, you can read reviews of people who have actually sewn it. The reviews say if a pattern fits true to stated size, whether the instructions were understandable, and a whole lot of other information. It's kind of fun to browse around.
Second, some patterns are written well and go together easily... I don't want it to seem as though I'm bashing the entire industry. Currently I'm making a new dress for P. for Easter using Simplicity 5234. This is a pattern that I can whole heartedly recommend. The instructions are pretty clear and it's going together easily. Plus, it has no zipper or buttons, so for someone new, it removes those two tricky areas. (And for those of us who can do zippers and buttons, it goes together super-fast.)
Really what I want to say is that if you have had a bad experience with a pattern and have decided as a result that there is something wrong with you and your abilities... I think you need to rethink that assumption. Sometimes it's really just a bad pattern. Try again. You might discover sewing is something you can do.
Because it's not that difficult. Really.