Last year, I wrote an article about pattern testers. I had just launched my first pattern Rozy (after the $1 series of Embellishments) and by then, I realised that I needed to spruce up my game a little.
It is now almost a year later, and I learned a lot over the last months. I know that I can still rely on a core team of testers, people who were with me from the beginning. Thank you Aafke, Trudy, Andrea, and Gena for never giving up on me!
The Trudy cross body I made with the same people and with the same method.
When I was designing Makey, I did a call for testers. Most of my testers have been found by me, not the other way around, but this was still the beginning. From that group only Ilse is the one who is still testing for me.
The Jody adventure was something else. I would write the pattern for a bag that was showcased in the Creative Bag Making Facebook group. While I was busy with the pattern writing side of it, Kelley made all the rest of the work flow. She put together a testing team for that bag. Carri is the one who is still sticking with my team. She is my fearless pre-tester!
Pyck-me-not got tested by the same group of people. I did make 9 prototypes before it was completely ‘good’ in my eyes.
And then a new adventure started. Together with Gena and Lauren, I would design the Prism collection. A collection of bags. Kaleidoscope and Glitzy were literally ‘made for each other.’ All the pockets you need in a bag were conceived in the bag organizer Glitzy.
So we needed to construct a new testing team. Each of us pattern designers would bring together our trusted testers and each of them would make all 3 of our bags. It’s at this point that you learn, there are different breeds of testers.
You want to take a chance at a pattern that is not yet completely smoothed out. You want to think together with me as to how to make something better. You want to give me pointers as to what part of the pattern that needs extra clarification.
The proof reader
You read the pattern before it goes to the pattern testers. You can find all major errors, all wonky sentences (I am not an English native) and all (spelling) errors. The pattern will change over the course of the testing, so checking all the missing full stops is not yet needed.
I will need you ‘on the spot’. You will know in advance when a pattern is coming, but in less then 24 hours, I will need you to be able to read the pattern through and comment in pdf with all your remarks. Too many is not possible!
You print all the pattern pieces and measures everything and check all the dimensions. Twice.
You check if the cutting list is on par.
You are the person who will make me roll my eyes! But everything you are saying to me, in my face, that needs to be fixed, (while I still have time to correct it, I might add,) is what the haters elsewhere on the internet, will not be using to rip my pattern to bits. You are not only saving the pattern – you are also saving my reputation as a designer.
Since designing a pattern and/or writing the instructions can get me completely soaked up, I sometimes don’t see the obvious problems right there under my nose. The expert is my brainstorming buddy, who will save me from spending hours looking for the obvious answers.
The Beginner and the Newbie
I make it a priority that all my patterns are written for beginners with a ‘can do’ attitude. Like Pipi Longstocking likes to say, ‘I’ve never done it, so I probably can do it.’ That being said, I still need a real beginner who will make sure I’m taking all the steps needed to explain intermediate techniques, and provide helpful markings on the pattern pieces to make the sewing project fun for seamstresses of all levels.
You will have to do your due diligence. You are still responsible for reading the instructions, but more importantly – following them – that’s why I wrote them!
The Helper Bee and Test-Police
You posts links to useful content or go out of your way to answer tester questions you may have seen already or even answered before. Since testing is not the time for hacking and taking liberties with the pattern, you can and will tell others to do exactly that. If I advise you to use a certain interfacing, stabiliser or fabric, please do so, while testing. If you see someone else not doing it, please tell them. If you see someone else not doing as I have asked and they have difficulties with the pattern, you can tell them in your own words. “You’re a tester, know-it-all! Sew the pattern you signed up for!”
The eager tester
You test the pattern as soon as it is released. You come back to the group with all the errors, missing instructions, and suggestions. All in less then 24 hours! 😉
The fashion and Instagram queen
You can not only sew bags, but also have a superb skill of taking the best pictures possible.
Most muslin fabrics aren’t pretty. But you know that you can sew and you have excellent taste. You go out of your way to make a knock-out variation in a fabric combination that has mass appeal and will turn a lot of heads when it’s time for the promotion.
I need someone who will intuitively take detailed photographs, staged photographs, and generally photographs that will sell the fun experience of sewing a desirable design.
All pictures you take during the course of this testing can and will be used to market this pattern. It goes without saying that I will always mention your name. I will never pretend that the bag or those pictures are mine.
The final editor
You can dot the i’s and cross the t’s. You see all the full stops that are missing, or where I forgot to add the dimensions in cm when everywhere else I did that. You can make my pattern writing consistent.
At that point, I have read and written this pattern so many times, that I do not see any errors anymore. You know the phrase – can’t see the wood for the trees!
The Top-notch Marketer
You dream and eat social media. You know when to post and where to post, what to say, and how to engage potential consumers. You will get me days or even weeks worth of buzz from your efforts!
Do remember that you are representing my product and my business.
You want to be in my testing team?
You think you are up to the task?
Because I do ask a lot from my testers and I do not pay you for your hard work.
My testing team exists of different breeds of people. I only need one in each category. And I do need one in each category.
Testing for me is not just ‘I can sew a pattern for free’.
- You will need to be one of the people I just described.
- AND you will have to send in your notes of the pattern (in pdf comments, or you take pictures of hand written notes on the print out pattern) ON TIME.
- AND you will have to send in publish worthy pictures.
- AND you need to have sewn a pattern from me before. You know who I am and what I stand for.
Still convinced you can bring something to the team? Mail me at [email protected] and tell me about yourself and why I should choose you.