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 firstname.lastname@example.org - 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!