November 17, 2014

Pattern Testing 101: Part 2

See my full disclosure policy here.

Perfect Peasant Dress (pictured below) was free because I helped test it.

Want to see the first post about pattern testing? Go HERE for some tips on being chosen as a tester!

So you've been chosen as a pattern tester. And you want to be a good one, so that you'll be chosen again. But what makes a good pattern tester? That's what we're going to talk about today. Because if you're a good pattern tester, it's more likely that the designer will want you to test again.

Here are  things that make a good pattern tester. This isn't an exhaustive list. If there are things I've left off, please feel free to mention them in the comments.

1. Be reliable. If you sign up to be a tester, make sure that you can finish it within the designer's time frame. Most designers I've tested for want your feedback and pictures in about a week from the time that they send you the pattern, although that can vary. They are working on a schedule, and so it's important that they get feedback in a timely fashion so that they can perfect the pattern in time for it's scheduled release.

2. If something comes up, notify the designer as soon as possible. Sometimes things happen, like a sewing machine breaking and ending up in the shop. Let the designer know so that she can work around that, either by choosing another tester or extending the deadline for you. If other, more serious issues come up, and you can't contact the designer right away, it would still be courteous to contact the designer when you can. Trust me, if you just disappear, the designer isn't going to ask you to test again.

3. Give good feedback. Just saying "Everything is great" is nice to hear, but it doesn't really help the designer perfect her product. Be picky about grammar, and if something doesn't make sense, say so. Do you have a better method of doing something? Suggest it! You can also tell the designer what you liked about the pattern. Maybe this goes without saying, but you need to read the directions in order to do this. I know a lot of the time I skim the directions for the PDF patterns I've purchased or just look at the pictures, but if you're testing, you need to read everything carefully in order to give good feedback. 

4. Make sure you reference the designer's size chart. Your ready to wear size (or your child's ready to wear size) may not be the same as the sizing in the pattern. It doesn't really help the designer if you make something based on your ready to wear size, and then tell the designer the fit was way off. If you made the wrong size, of course it is going to be off. Also, if you needed to blend sizes to get a good fit according to the size chart, make sure to tell the designer what you did.

5. Be willing to go the extra mile. Sometimes sizing is off, or a design element just doesn't work, and the designer needs to change the pattern enough that she wants to send it through another round of testing before releasing it. If you're willing to sew up another test garment, that is helpful to the designer, and she'll know that you're a tester she can count on.

6. Take good pictures. One of the main reasons for testing is to check fit, and if the designer can't see the fit from your pictures, it's not very helpful. Make sure to take pictures from different angles too. Also, if there was a particular fit issue, a close-up can be helpful.

So there you go. Happy testing!


Melissa said...

Great tips Terra - I wish there was a good title image to pin this!

Terra Sews said...

Thanks for the suggestion! Does this work?

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