Hands up if you wanna pattern test for BHL!

Fresh eyes. That is something we do not have after hours, days, weeks even of staring at a computer screen tinkering with line weights, checking over diagrams and proof reading instructions (seriously, the phrase, "with right sides together" makes a regular appearance in my dreams when we're prepping a new pattern). And that's where our indispensable army of pattern testers comes in. Before we let a new pattern fly the nest, we'll send her off to a select group of seasoned stitchers to get road tested. We then wait with baited breath for the feedback to start trickling into our inboxes... Without their eagle eyes and sewing finesse, we dread to think about all the typos we'd be forever spotting, and after it was too late of course! If you've ever wanted to pattern test, and you just love to get out your red pen, then read on... 

Do pattern testers get paid?

No, they do not. Pattern testing is a labour of love. They get the pattern for free, and sometimes - sometimes - we manage to scrape together a coupon or two to help them out with their fabric expenses. They do, however, get a lot of love and appreciation from us, as well as any relevant social media shout outs and public displays of affection!

What is required of a pattern tester?

First and foremost, a pattern tester has to be a confident sewist with solid experience working from a sewing pattern. A pattern tester also needs to have the time to look through the pattern, sew it up and write up feedback. A pattern tester does not need to have a blog or 50,000 followers on Instagram, although decent photographic skillz are massively appreciated so we can see and share our testers' creations :)

What does a pattern tester do?

Testing a sewing pattern is multi-faceted. The kind of feedback we're after is mostly technical - do the instructions make sense? Could anything be more clearly explained, or is it unnecessarily long-winded? Are there any spelling mistakes or typos? Are there any notches/size markings/information missing from the pattern pieces? Do the notches actually match up?! How was your sewing experience? That kind of thing. What we aren't really looking for feedback on is the design. Mostly because that's a very subjective issue, and one that remains our call (and of course, too late to change once it's in the testing stage!). We would always, however, send through sample images or a sketch of the pattern needing to be tested beforehand, so if the design isn't your cup of tea, by all means you're not obliged to test it!

Do pattern testers have to be UK based?

Nope, seeing as our patterns are PDF downloads, you can be anywhere in the world and we'll just email you over the pattern file so you can get testing right away wherever you may be. However, you do need to be fluent in English in order to be able to properly proof-read our instructions.

Do pattern testers have to be "sample size"?

Not at all, in fact the more variety we can get to test a pattern, the better! Our patterns are multisized UK 6 - 20 (that's US 2 - 16) and it is of course vitally important to us that our patterns fit and flatter as many shapes and sizes as possible. We're also very keen to find out if any alterations are needed, and if so, how easy they are to apply to the pattern, so you don't necessarily need to be proportionate to our sizing chart either.

Why are we looking for new pattern testers? What happened to the old ones?!

Nothing! No one's going anywhere - at least, we hope not! We have a deep and special place in our hearts for anyone who has ever tested for us, and we're not about to stop hassling them to test as much as we always have! Sometimes though, due to work commitments for example, not everyone can test every pattern that comes up. It's also nice for us to mix things up, get fresh perspective and get to know more wonderful and creative women along the way. When it comes to pattern testing, we're firm believers in the more the merrier!

So, what patterns have you got in the pipeline to entice us...?

That would be telling! We can reveal that we have two patterns in the prepping, one to be released in September (so will be ready for testing end August/early September) and the second to be released in time for Christmas party frock planning ;)

Sounds like fun! How do I get in touch?

Just drop us a line at help@byhandlondon.com - let us know a little bit about yourself, your sewing experience and any images of recent makes or links to your blog/Instagram/Flickr if you have. It's also very helpful for us to know your measurements, that way we can be sure to test as broad a spectrum of shapes and sizes as possible. We can't wait to hear from you!

  • Elisalex de Castro Peake
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Comments on this post ( 12 )

  • Sep 29, 2016

    I love to sew. I also teach sewing to middle years students. I find sewing very relaxing. Would love to test your patterns.

    — Kym

  • Apr 02, 2016

    Hi I have been sewing for over 40yrs lol, it’s makes me sound really old, I suppose I am really, I luv trying new designs, I sew for my grandchildren, friends an family, so I have a good variety of abilities, I am dieting at the moment to get back to my usual 10/12 siz, would luv to be considered to become a tester

    Thanks diane

    — Diane shaw

  • Aug 29, 2015

    He he !
    Back from holiday and very motivated to test, if not too late !
    Let me know, it would be great to have a part in your wonderful brand !
    Thank you !!!

    — marine

  • Aug 24, 2015

    If it’s not too late I would love to join the f fun testing your pattern! My blog is www.thatblackchic.com and IG: thatblackchic check out manhunt blog or IG to see my work.

    — Michelle Morris

  • Aug 21, 2015

    Hello! Me too … got an “on holiday” reply. I would like to throw my hat in the ring to be a pattern tester. In case you didn’t get the email, it’s the same address as the one on this reply. Thanks!

    — Bonnie

  • Aug 18, 2015

    Hello there,
    I just sent an email and also got a “holiday” message come right back. Just in case it doesn’t turn up, I am very keen to Pattern Test for you guys and would love to hear from you.

    — Juliette Williams

  • Aug 14, 2015

    I put my both hands up!!!
    I really like to help you, just beacause i love sewing!!!


    — frikael

  • Aug 12, 2015

    I just tried to flick you an email but I got a ‘on holiday’ message bounce back straight away! Just checking, was that what It was meant to do? Thanks! :)

    — Sophie

  • Aug 11, 2015

    Count me in! Just dropped y’all a note. And, thanks for casting a wide net.

    — Najah

  • Aug 11, 2015

    This sounds like fun!

    — Jae

  • Aug 11, 2015

    I would love to do pattern testing as i have
    Lost 10kgs on weight watchers and now will be able to sew your patterns which is so exciting. Even though i would be in the largest size I’m still trying to loose more weight. I do sewing classes 3 times a week and am absolutely loving it. My teacher helps if I need assistance and on Wednesday i volenteer at a home for people with dementia and alzhimers, we do knitting but am possibly going to start a sewing group. I also sew for my daughter who is 26.

    — Michelle

  • Aug 11, 2015

    Man, I REALLY want to submit for this, but since I’m pregnant right now, I’m pretty sure I’m not the “figure” you’re looking for. Could I submit with my prior measurements and be on file for late this year/early next year?

    — Amanda Renea

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