October 24, 2014

Pattern Testing 101: Part One

See my full disclosure policy here.

All the patterns pictured were free for helping test them, except for the Tee X 3, which was free for a blog tour I participated in.

Go HERE for Part 2.

I am in a couple of facebook sewing groups, and a complaint from sewists that I've seen more than once is that designers tend to pick the same testers over and over and over again, so other people who would really love to test never get chosen.

I've tested for several different designers (as evidenced by the gazillion blog posts about patterns I've tested) and I also dabbled in pattern designing about a year ago. While I am by no means an expert, I thought I'd take some time to write a couple of posts about pattern testing-how to get chosen, and how to be a repeat tester once you're chosen.

So up for discussion today: How to get chosen as a pattern tester in five easy steps.

1. Make Friends!
Several of the writers of blogs I follow have started designing patterns, and they've either approached me with the opportunity to test, or picked me when I have applied. Think of it this way: when you need help, you're going to ask your friends instead of strangers, right? So if you've commented on blog posts and interacted with the blog author on social media, they're more likely to know who you are, and want to pick you to test if/when they start designing. And even if they don't, it's fun to make new friends!

2. Join Facebook Sewing Groups

Obviously you can't follow every sewing blog out there. There are just too many of them, and that would just be crazy. Indie pattern design is really big right now. Lots of new designers are cropping up and they need help testing their patterns. I see a lot of testing calls from new designers in the larger sewing groups, because they don't have a large enough following of their own yet to get a good testing pool. If you start with them right from the beginning, you're more likely to get picked. Fewer applicants=better odds of getting chosen. Keep in mind, though, that newer designers might have more kinks to work out.

3. Display Your Work

Whether its flickr, a facebook page, instagram, or a blog, make sure that you have somewhere to display pictures of things you have sewn. A lot of designers will ask for examples of your work, and it's easier for them to see it if you have it all in one place. Bonus: you also have a place to show off your interpretation of their design.

4. Take Nice Pictures

This goes along with number 3. By nice photos I don't necessarily mean professional photos. But do make a little effort.  A picture in a dark room with a flash isn't going to show off your work. Take pictures outside in natural light. Or if the weather isn't nice, take them inside, away from clutter. We all have messy houses sometimes, but you don't want to show your messy house, you want to showcase your beautiful work. Pick up all the clutter within the frame of your shot and shove it behind you. A blank wall makes a better backdrop than a bunch of unfolded laundry.

5. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Not everyone will be picked for every testing call. But keep trying, and eventually you'll get that email saying you've been chosen to help test.

Next time, I'll be talking about how to be a great tester!

All the pictures are patterns I've tested (except the tee x 3). From the top down they are:

Rose T-shirt
Perfect Cartwheel Shorts
School Day Skirt, Tee Times Three, and Pristine Swing Dress
Lulu Dress and Top

1 comment:

stacey said...

good information about testing! especially the part about showing off your work. Thank you for sharing.

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