I love our pattern testers. They play a really important role in the development of our patterns because no matter how much planning and preparation I put into designing and writing our patterns, they always manage to find something that I can improve. And the really amazing thing is that they each find something different! It might be something as simple as a typo or more complicated like a step that seems confusing and needs better explanation, but they each manage to find different corrections or improvements. Our testers are one of the last steps in our pattern development process, and I’m always eager to see what they discover.
As a result, I like to include lots of testers for every size and view of our patterns. This way we’re more likely to cover every possible error that might otherwise find its way into a pattern.
Would you like to be a tester? I’m looking to expand our small team, and I’m hoping you might want to join us.
Let me tell you a bit about the process, so you’ll know what’s involved.
- When a pattern is nearing completion I email all our testers with photos and basic information about each pattern so they can decide which styles and views they’re interested in trying. Usually the time period in which the sewing and testing report needs to be completed is about two weeks. The deadline is important to be sure we get the final corrections in and off to the printer on time to make our release deadlines. If you sign up to test a pattern, you’re making a commitment to follow through. If, for some reason, you can’t complete the testing I ask that you contact me as soon as possible so I can find someone to replace you. But I ask that you not agree to test a pattern if you are not sure you can complete the job by the deadline.
- Each tester receives a PDF of the semi-final pattern. You’ll need access to a 36″-wide printer to print the pattern itself. (The A0 pattern size is not ready yet at this point in the process, so you need to be sure you can have the pattern printed in 36″-wide format.) We reimburse for printing costs. You get to pick your own fabric.
- Testing a pattern means sewing it, following all the instructions completely, and providing 1) answers on an extensive questionnaire that I give you to complete and 2) photos of your finished item. These photos serve two purposes. They help me to evaluate the fit of the garment based on your measurements and the size that you sewed, and select photos are eventually published on the blog to help our customers see what the pattern looks like when it’s finished. It really helps to see a variety of fabrics and bodies, so we ask that your photos be high quality with good lightning, etc.
- Testers don’t have to be advanced sewists, but attention to detail is crucial. You need to be able to take your time, look closely at the illustrations and each step of the instructions, and tell me if something doesn’t make sense or if it could be improved. Our best testers are good at following the instructions line by line, not assuming they know what is coming next. (My Mom is an amazing sewist, but she’s a terrible tester because she knows what’s coming and anticipates the next step, sometimes using her own methods instead of what I’ve written in the instructions…. Don’t worry; I still love her!)
- We need testers of all sizes, but we especially need testers for the larger sizes of our current range of 0-20. You can see our size chart here. And you don’t have to be a single size to be a tester; you can blend between sizes if you measure one size on top and another on bottom, etc.
- We require that our testers don’t share our testing process. And also we ask that they don’t reveal new patterns until the pattern release date. It’s more fun when we have a big reveal of the new patterns, after all!
- Of course it’s important to me that we take care of our testers, too. Since our testers give us their time and attention, we pay them for their work. It’s not much, but we think it’s important to do.
Are you interested? Testing for our women’s patterns usually happens in early January and in June or July. If you’d like to be considered as a tester for our spring collection, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a little information about yourself, your approximate size or body measurements, your sewing experience, and please include some photos of things you’ve sewn for yourself so we can see your sewing and photography skills. We’ll accept applications until the end of November, so that gives you about two weeks.
If you apply, thank you in advance!